Dean Joseph Kearney Receives 2015 Faithful Servant Award

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Dean KearneyOn October 8, Dean Joseph Kearney received the 2015 Faithful Servant Award from the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society of Wisconsin.

Dean Kearney was honored for many reasons, including his expansion and support of the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic, his commitment to a culture of public service, and his efforts to ensure that the Law School serve as a public forum for discussion and debate. Justice Janine Geske introduced Dean Kearney, emphasizing his longstanding dedication to law students, faculty and staff, the community, and the legal profession. Student Windsor Wrolstad, president of the student chapter of the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society, presented the award.

The Faithful Servant award honors an individual “who, in the course of religious, legal, community, public or human services, has exemplified in outstanding fashion the commitments and steadfast dedication of Thomas More, first to Almighty God, and to family life, statesmanship, and the law.”

The dean is also giving the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Pallium Lecture on Wednesday, October 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Mount Mary University. The topic is “The Supreme Court and Religious Liberty,” and the public is welcome.

Congratulations, Dean Kearney.

Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission Hearing: Student Perspective

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Marquette Law School, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System1 Comment on Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission Hearing: Student Perspective

Makda Fessahaye is a 2L student who has been working on research for the Access to Justice Commission.  Below she shares her thoughts about why a student might want to attend the Access to Justice hearing on September 13.

Cura Personalis. Marquette University Law School encourages us, as students, to follow the Jesuit educational principle, to care for the whole person, throughout our legal education, in the hopes that we embed this value into our legal careers. Through the expansive pro bono opportunities offered through Marquette, we have several chances to work with populations in great need of legal assistance. However, our calling to aid these populations does not disappear upon graduation; the need for legal assistance continues to grow. To properly demonstrate cura personalis in our legal careers, it is necessary to recognize the daily hardships our communities face and the legal issues that follow. Our Wisconsin low-income residents find difficulty with the limited and lack of access to justice to properly address the legal issues they encounter.

On Thursday, September 13, 2012, the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission holds a public hearing at Marquette University Law School from 5:00pm to 7:30pm. At this hearing, we will have the opportunity to hear from our community leaders, judges, policy makers, and lawyers to share information about access to justice and the growing needs of low-income individuals. After hearing these testimonies, we hope to expand our knowledge, combine our efforts and properly address the lack of legal access available to our low-income population. 

Whether you are interested in going into the public sector or the corporate route, I strongly encourage you to attend this public hearing to better understand the community in which you are to serve. As future lawyers, we should acknowledge the issues that face several of our residents. Finally, as Marquette law students, we must identify with the whole issue, the whole community, and most of all, the whole person.

Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission Public Hearing

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In May 2012, alum blogger Michael Gonring wrote about Wisconsin’s lack of funding for civil legal aid for poor people and the importance of our shared pro bono oath. These posts highlight a formidable challenge facing our profession, the courts, and society at large. Our poorest residents often cannot get legal help with civil legal problems. Resources have declined dramatically in recent years for low income Wisconsin residents who have critical civil legal needs, depriving many of access to justice.

On Thursday, September 13, 2012, Wisconsin’s Access to Justice Commission will hold a public hearing at Marquette Law School from 5-7:30 p.m. The purpose of the hearing is to gather and share information about access to justice issues in Wisconsin, civil legal services for low income residents, and the great and growing unmet legal needs of poor and vulnerable Wisconsin residents. All are welcome to attend the hearing and provide testimony.

This public hearing is a project of the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission. The Access to Justice Commission was created by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the State Bar of Wisconsin to develop and encourage means of expanding access to justice for low income Wisconsin residents. More information about the Commission can be found at www.wisatj.org.

Continue reading “Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission Public Hearing”

Law Student Pro Bono Publico Award

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Last week, Kristin Lindemann (2L), received the Milwaukee Bar Association’s Law Student Pro Bono Publico Award. Kristin was honored at the MBA’s State of the Court luncheon, where she received her award in front of large group of judges, lawyers, and law students. Kristin’s commitment to pro bono service is quite remarkable and something that we as a law school community should celebrate.

Continue reading “Law Student Pro Bono Publico Award”

Lawyers and Happiness (And a Little Bit of Virtue Ethics)

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Legal Ethics, Legal Practice2 Comments on Lawyers and Happiness (And a Little Bit of Virtue Ethics)

Most of the lawyers I know are happy to be lawyers.  They take pride in their work, and they feel good about their role in the justice system.  Life as a lawyer isn’t easy, but it’s rewarding and fulfilling.

But it seems like there’s a perception that has intensified in the past decade or so that lawyers are miserable—that we feel alienated from the profession and that justice rarely plays a role in our tedious, all-consuming work.  There’s a stereotype of a “soulless” lawyer who works to pay off debt or make more money but who feels no satisfaction with the job.    I’m not sure how true this stereotype is (see above), but it’s prevalent and widely discussed.  (Raise the Bar:  Real World Solutions for a Troubled Profession is an interesting book published by the ABA that contains multiple essays exploring the “miserable lawyer” question.)  I want my law students to become lawyers who are happy in their chosen profession, and this blog seems as good a place as any to consider happiness and lawyering. Continue reading “Lawyers and Happiness (And a Little Bit of Virtue Ethics)”

Hope and Optimism

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Uncategorized1 Comment on Hope and Optimism

1345598329_3dd58320f2Every year, about this time, the stress level here at the law school starts to rise.  First-year students seem particularly susceptible.  I hear the word “outline” a lot in the halls.  Students talk about how much they studied over the weekend instead of how much fun they had.  Everyone gets a little bit more serious.

Serious is fine.

Frantic is counter-productive. Continue reading “Hope and Optimism”

Writing Competition Success

Posted on Categories Legal Writing, Marquette Law School1 Comment on Writing Competition Success

I am pleased to announce that 3L Douglas Hoffer just won third place in the James E. Beckley National Writing Competition, which is sponsored by the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association.  Doug received a cash prize, and his paper, “A Square Peg in a Round Hole:  Why the Investment Company Act is a Poor Regulatory Fit for Hedge Funds,” will be published in the PIABA Law Journal later this year or early next year.

I encourage students to follow in Doug’s footsteps and enter national writing competitions.  Many competitions award cash prizes and give students publication opportunities.  A link that contains information about student writing competitions is here.

Congratulations, Doug!

California Moves Towards Civil Right to Counsel

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california-state-flagToday California became the first state to establish a pilot program to provide appointed counsel to low-income people in civil legal matters.    The program is scheduled to be in effect from July 1, 2011, to July 1, 2017.  Low -income people will receive appointed counsel for assistance in critical civil legal matters in areas like disability law, family law, and housing law.  California will pay for the program by redirecting a $10 court fee increase that had already been approved.

                I’m excited by this development and wish that more states, including Wisconsin, would establish similar programs.   Too many poor people with critical legal needs navigate a complicated system without legal assistance.   When parties with critical legal needs are represented, the system is fairer and more efficient.

Law School Hosts Regional Writing Conference

Posted on Categories Legal Research, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on Law School Hosts Regional Writing Conference

attachment.ashx (29)This weekend, from Friday evening through Saturday, the Law School hosted the Central Region Legal Writing Conference, welcoming more than 100 attendees, not only from the central United States but from all over the country.  The theme was “Climate Change:  Alternative Sources of Energy in Legal Writing,” and those who attended seemed energized by the interesting speakers and lively discussion among faculty who teach research and writing skills.

Professor Alison Julien took the lead in organizing this conference, and several participants (including Mark Wojcik at the Legal Writing Prof Blog) remarked upon how well the event was organized and run.  The biggest testament to its success, I think, is that conference participants have encouraged Marquette to serve as the host school again.

The conference featured a diverse range of interesting topics, and though I was unable to attend every session, the six I attended are representative:  Collaboration in Teaching and Scholarship; Update on Interdisciplinary Skills Scholarship (presented by our visiting Boden Professor of Legal Writing, Michael Smith); The Six Things You Can Do in a Contract; Assigning Clients in Persuasive Writing Assignments; Using Literature to Teach Theme Development in Persuasive Writing, and How to Identify and Counter Logical Fallacies (presented by Prof. Melissa Greipp).  The sessions were informative and thought-provoking, and I left the conference thinking of ways I can improve my teaching and engage in scholarship.

Many thanks to everyone who made the event a success, including, especially, Dean Kearney, Prof. Julien, Sharon Hill, Beverly Franklin, Carol Dufek, and many student volunteers.

Questions of Professionalism

Posted on Categories Judges & Judicial Process, Legal Ethics, Legal Practice, Legal Scholarship, Legal Writing, Wisconsin Law & Legal System2 Comments on Questions of Professionalism

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I’ve been thinking about professionalism lately.  Two discussions in the past week or so have stuck with me.

The first discussion appeared in the Law Librarian Blog (thank you, Professor O’Brien, for forwarding it.)  In Florida, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Presnell issued an order denying a plaintiff’s motion for voluntary dismissal for

Failing to comply with Local Rule 3.01(g), for failing to secure a stipulation of dismissal from Defendant pursuant to FED. R. CIV. 41 (a)(ii), and for otherwise being riddled with unprofessional grammatical and typographical errors that nearly render the entire Motion incomprehensible. Continue reading “Questions of Professionalism”

It’s a Rap. Really.

Posted on Categories Legal Writing, Wisconsin Civil Litigation, Wisconsin Law & Legal System2 Comments on It’s a Rap. Really.

In Advanced Legal Writing class, students discuss different persuasive techniques that lawyers and judges use in their writing.  We debate the pros and cons of using literary references, illustrative narratives, pop culture references, historical examples, and unusual formats and organizations.

I never once, however, discussed (or even considered) the possibility that a litigant would submit a brief in the form of a rap.   The pro se litigant submitted the “rap brief” and won.

As professional writers, should we lawyers be concerned?  I can’t imagine this form of writing starting a trend, but does its use suggest something about a changing level of formality in court documents?

I’m not sure.  I think it may be a fluke, but I’m troubled.   

Appreciating Our Professors: Martin F. Guggenheim

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I was the idiot in civil procedure who asked, on the first day of class, “So what happened to the plaintiff after remand?”  Actually, I’m not sure I understood or used the word “remand.”  But I definitely wanted to know what happened to the parties after the decision.

I will never forget my professor’s response.  She became quiet.  She narrowed her eyes.  She squinted at me in a way that suggested she was repulsed by the question.  Of course, everyone else in the 100-person class looked at me as well.   Finally she said, “It doesn’t matter.”

We continued with another case. Continue reading “Appreciating Our Professors: Martin F. Guggenheim”