Outliers and the Health and Wellness Fair at MULS

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I appreciated Professor Dan Blinka’s thoughtful post on the book Outliers.  The book begins with a quote from the book of Matthew in the New Testament:  “For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance.  But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”  Matthew 25:29.  Malcolm Gladwell refers to this quote in the title of the first chapter as the “Matthew Effect.” 

This passage from Matthew always makes me squirm, because it doesn’t seem to square with another famous passage from the Bible that “the meek shall inherit the earth.”  Gladwell’s first chapter similarly made me slightly uncomfortable, because it suggests boldly that such undeniably unfair factors as the month into which a person is born may determine whether they end up as a professional hockey player.  Gladwell may well be right, and his insight is in its own way stunning, but it still makes someone who likes to be in control of his or her own destiny feel suddenly out of control. Continue reading “Outliers and the Health and Wellness Fair at MULS”

Appreciating Our Professors: Dean Howard Eisenberg

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Francis de Sales, the bishop of Geneva in the early 1600’s, said “the measure of love is to love without measure.” The late Dean Howard Eisenberg embodied this message. Dean Eisenberg gave his love without measure to the Law School, the legal community, and the pro bono clients he served.

I met Dean Eisenberg shortly after I graduated from college. At the time, I was teaching high school English. Dean Eisenberg talked to me about the legal profession as a helping profession — that lawyers are uniquely situated to protect and aid the individuals and entities they serve. Dean Eisenberg’s comments so inspired me that I decided to apply to law school. Dean Eisenberg’s presence at the Law School also convinced me that it was the right place to go to school. Any place, I thought, that had the good sense to have him at the helm was a place where I wanted to be.

In my second year of law school, Dean Eisenberg again influenced my life when I took his appellate advocacy course. That class turned me onto advocacy. I remember the thrill when I found the key case for my side in the Wisconsin reporter stacks. As I drafted the brief, I felt the joy of crafting language that would persuade a court. In that class, we also had to make an oral argument. I enjoyed turning my brief into an oral argument and observing how my use of language changed from its presentation in written form to oral form. I was hooked on advocacy, and I decided to go into litigation.

The last memory I have of Dean Eisenberg came two weeks before his untimely death. Continue reading “Appreciating Our Professors: Dean Howard Eisenberg”