Getting an Education on Being a Lawyer, and Not Just on the Law

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What is your personal conception of professional success and satisfaction for yourself as a lawyer?  How will you know when (or whether) you achieve your conception of success and satisfaction?  These are important existential questions for anyone working in a professional setting to reflect upon, but especially for me, as a 3L gearing up for my last semester of law school.  Yet, I was struggling.  I always knew I wanted to go to law school.  I always knew I wanted to litigate, and I had always planned on going into criminal law.  I have known these things for years.  Why had I never gone a step further, and thought about how I viewed success and satisfaction, and at what point I would feel I achieved those goals?

The questions were posed to those of us in Professor Peter Rofes’ Lawyers & Life course during the Fall 2018 semester.  They were the first of what would be scores of questions, each one seemingly simple in language and length, but digging deeper than many of us had ever been asked to do in our law school careers.  What parts of your legal education have you found to be the most rewarding?  What makes you stand out from other soon-to-be new lawyers?  What do you look for in an employer’s organizational culture? What aspects of your career, disposition, or accomplishments would you want emphasized in your “career obituary”? Continue reading “Getting an Education on Being a Lawyer, and Not Just on the Law”

Resume Booster

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Pen and ink caricature showing a lawyer arguing very strenuously while three judges are sitting at the bench, napping.While I was working into the evening on the third floor of Eckstein Hall, a friend stopped to catch up.  On the table in front of me were piles of handwritten notes, highlighted cases, outlined arguments, and cheat-sheets, organized by Petitioner or Respondent.  Color-coded flashcards were stacked in the corner. I was surrounded by seven-and-a-half weeks worth of sticky notes. I was a few days away from my moot court competition, and reviewing every single note card’s scribbled phrase, ensuring I was ready for any and all arguments from opposing counsel and questions from the judges.  She gave me a sympathetic look.  “Moot court,” I said.

She asked if I felt it was all worth it, for “just a resume booster.”

I looked at everything in front of me.  Seven-and-a-half weeks of color-coded chaos.  The disorganization reflected my anxiety.  But all of it also reflected an extraordinary amount of work and number of hours mastering an area of the law that just seven weeks ago I found foreign and intimidating.  I smiled.  Was it all worth it? Continue reading “Resume Booster”

Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Wellness in the Legal Profession: Change is Necessary

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Symbol of a heart with a jagged line representing an EKG printout superimposed over it, in order to represent the concept of "wellbeing"Last week, the American Bar Association (“ABA”) designated and celebrated October 10th, 2018 as National Mental Health Day for Law Schools.[1] This date coincided with the World Mental Health Day.[2] The ABA’s National Mental Health Day for Law Schools serves as a vital reminder that the legal profession is not immune from mental health problems. In fact, the numbers themselves highlight just how important discussing and tackling mental health and wellness are to both law schools and the legal profession in general. Both law students and lawyers suffer in large numbers from mental illness and substance abuse. Therefore, it is important to address these concerns and to help both law students and attorneys live a life that focuses on their wellbeing.

Statistics on Attorneys

In comparison to other professions, lawyers themselves experience higher rates of mental health issues and substance abuse. Attorneys are the most frequently depressed occupational group in the United States, and they are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression in comparison to non-lawyers.[3] In a study of roughly 13,000 practicing attorneys conducted by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, 28% of the attorneys reported experiencing depression, 23% reported experiencing stress, and 19% reported experiencing anxiety.[4] Of these participants, 21% are qualified as problem drinkers, and they “experience problematic drinking that is hazardous, harmful, or otherwise generally consistent with alcohol use disorders at a rate much higher than other populations.”[5]

This same study found that younger attorneys, rather than older attorneys, are at a greater risk for experiencing these issues. Continue reading “Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Wellness in the Legal Profession: Change is Necessary”

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Study Abroad Opportunities at MU Law

Posted on Categories International Law & Diplomacy, Legal Education, Marquette Law School, Public, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Study Abroad Opportunities at MU Law
The interior of a classroom as Professor Pablo Rueda-Saiz stands at the front of the class and studdents sit attentively in their seats.
Professor Pablo Rueda-Saiz teaches Comparative Constitutional Law in Giessen, Germany
  1. An Orientation Session about your study abroad opportunities during law school, with important deadlines, will take place Thursday September 6 at 12:15 pm in Room 257 of the Law School.
  2. The shortest study abroad opportunity takes place over Spring Break 2019 and is a component of Professor Schneider’s International Conflict Resolution class.  The class will travel to Israel and study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict first hand.
  3. The month long Summer Session in International and Comparative Law, scheduled to take place in Giessen, Germany Saturday July 20 through Thursday August 15, 2019, includes multi-day field trips to Berlin and Hamburg.  In Hamburg this past summer, MU students danced until dawn and then had breakfast at the Fish Market as the sun rose.  Apparently, its a thing.
  4. MU Law regularly hosts exchange students visiting for an entire semester from the University of Comillas in Madrid, the University of Copenhagen, and the University of Poitiers  in France.  Oddly enough, these students find Milwaukee to be an exotic locale.
  5. At the same time, MU Law students have the opportunity to spend one or more semesters of their legal education as a visiting law student in Madrid, Copenhagen, or Poitiers.  We definitely get the better of that deal.
  6. Professor Sorcha MacLeod, who teaches in the Summer Session in Giessen, Germany, is an expert in the law of armed mercenaries.  And I thought I was cool because I teach Con Law.
  7. You can explore the Study Abroad homepage on the Law School website, however updated information for 2019 will not be available online for a few weeks.
  8. After teaching in Germany for 6 summers, I have come to the conclusion that the words “German” and “pizza” should never be used in the same sentence.
  9. Things you learn teaching Comparative Constitutional Law: the first two words of the German Constitution are “human dignity,”  while the U.S. Constitution did not originally mention human rights at all.
  10. Did I mention that an Orientation Session will take place Thursday September 6 at 12:15 pm in Room 257 of the Law School?

 

First Looks Can Be Deceiving in Giessen, Germany

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A plate of gelato ice cream shaped like spaghetti noodles and covered in red sauce.To the left you can see a photo that seems to show a plate of spaghetti noodles topped by some sort of strawberry sauce.  However, first looks can be deceiving.  This is actually a photo of a popular type of gelato, called “spaghetti eis,” that is served at the Cafe San Marcos and at numerous other locations in Giessen, Germany.

Similarly, if you were to walk around the campus of Justus Liebig University for the next three weeks, you would undoubtedly see a large group of students laughing and talking as they make their way to and from classes.  You might even assume that these are German law students attending a summer session.  However, once again first looks can be deceiving.

These students currently enjoying the warm and sunny weather are actually over 40 law students who have gathered in Giessen from the United States and across the globe to participate in the Summer Session in International and Comparative Law co-hosted once again by the Marquette University Law School and our partners the University of Wisconsin and Justus Liebig University.  There are 14 students attending from the United States and a variety of other countries represented including Brazil, Poland, Egypt, Portugal, Belgium, Macedonia, Italy and Vietnam, to name a few.

At this stage of the program, the students have finished a week of classes, and a whirlwind field trip to Berlin, and they are beginning to feel at home in Giessen.  A Laser Tag outing has been planned.  The best Karaoke Bar in town has been located. Continue reading “First Looks Can Be Deceiving in Giessen, Germany”

J. Gordon Hylton: In Memoriam 1952-2018

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Headshot of the late Professor Gordon Hylton.On May second, the Marquette community lost one of its most interesting, wonderfully eccentric, and beloved members, Professor Gordon Hylton, who died of complications from cancer.  Academics by and large are an enthusiastic group of people with extraordinary jobs that give them a privileged opportunity to study and share their passions with colleagues and students.  No one more thoroughly enjoyed and reveled in being part of that world than Gordon Hylton.  He was a devoted teacher, a relentless, careful, and thorough scholar, and a cherished colleague.

I personally found Gordon to be one of the most interesting people of my acquaintance largely because he had so many interests, found so many things fascinating, and, aided by a legendary memory, pursued them with passion and rigor and a remarkable urge to synthesize, to explain everything.  And he was generous. He enjoyed nothing so much as chatting with his students and his colleagues about baseball, country music, the odd personalities who sat on the Supreme Court, the reasonableness of property doctrines, the early history of Christianity, and always with great enthusiasm and courtesy, as if knowledge and insight were both important and the most fun.

Professor Hylton was a native of Pearisburg, a small town (population, 2,699 in 2016) in Giles County in the SW corner of Virginia near the border with West Virginia.  He began his college and university career at Oberlin College in Ohio, where, he often explained, he enrolled because they let him play baseball.  In the course of his four years at Oberlin, the student radio station also let him host a country music program in the late night, early early morning hours.  Oberlin nurtured a pronounced competitive streak.  His roommates recall Gordon organizing them to enter a team in every intramural sport including inner tube water polo despite the fact that Gordon did not know how to swim, something his teammates discovered only well into the water polo season.

Continue reading “J. Gordon Hylton: In Memoriam 1952-2018”

The Significance of Others

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Black & white photo of Flatiron Building (NY) under constructionThe concept of bringing your significant other to law school with you almost every day probably sounds frustrating to some and fantastic to others. Due to my disability and the fact that she is my primary caregiver, my fiancée Caitlin attends school with me at least three days out of the week; I am sure you have seen us around. The truth of the matter is that it is both frustrating and great having Caitlin with me, oftentimes both at the same time.

Caitlin and I have been together since I was a senior in high school. She and I started living together when I started college and by my junior year she was attending the majority of my classes with me. Going into my 1L year the plan was for her to come to school with me three days of the week, with the other two days being covered by my other caregiver, Danny. Naively, I assumed that this plan would go just as smoothly for us as it had during the last two years of my undergraduate career. Having both attended Lakeland University, Caitlin and I shared a common group of friends there and she was already familiar with the campus and faculty. Even though the social sciences were not her area of study, she tended to follow along with some of my classes. We discovered quickly that law school is (at the risk of sounding incredibly cliché) a completely different animal.  Continue reading “The Significance of Others”

Finding My Confidence

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writing in Spanish
A quote the author looks at when she studies.

This semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 2L Mariana Concepcion.

Last summer after finishing my 1L year, I was at the beach. While I was enjoying the warm Texas sun, my brother asked me, “So, what’s your goal in law school?” Because it was a few days after taking my last final, I thought about answering “I don’t ever want to go back.” But I didn’t say that, I was just really tired.

I gave the question some thought as I looked out at the sea. What was my goal in law school? Why was I going back? So, I told my brother that my goal was to find my own voice so that I could use it to help those who don’t have a voice.

Find my own voice? I can talk, right? I may not be the loudest person on earth, but I have a voice. But finding my own voice wasn’t just about finding my speaking voice; it was more than that. I wanted to find my own voice because that would help me become more confident in myself, something I have struggled with for most of my life. If I could find that confidence in myself then I would be able to find my voice and use my voice to speak for those who don’t have a voice. Continue reading “Finding My Confidence”

9 Must-Have Products to Get You Through Finals

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This semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 2L Margaret Johnson.

It’s no secret that finals are just around the corner and that studying for finals in law school can be unpleasant at best and excruciatingly painful at worst. While I can’t guarantee any of these products will help you snag an honors grade, these are my favorite products for making the studying process more bearable – or at least more productive.

  1. Colored Pens and Highlighters

If you’re a pen-snob like me, nothing makes note-taking more enjoyable than a set of colorful pens to brighten up my outline and flashcards. If you’re looking for variety of fine-point gel pens that don’t smudge, look no further than KACO Retractable Gel Ink Pens. If you prefer pens that write more like a marker, check out the Huhuhero Fineliner Color Pen Set, which includes 10 colorful pens that write smoothly and clearly without smudging.

  1. Highlighters

Highlighters are great for color-coding different types of information in your outlines when studying for finals. Sharpie Clear View Highlighters offer vibrant colors and the clear tip allows you to neatly and evenly highlight across the page without smudging the page or getting ink on your hands.

  1. Notecards

Flashcards are great for rule-based classes like Civil Procedure or Evidence and for writing down case holdings and black-letter law. While writing out holdings and rules is time-consuming, I’ve found that doing so helps me remember the material that much better than just reading from my outline. Continue reading “9 Must-Have Products to Get You Through Finals”

Congratulations to the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

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Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Olivia Garman and Sarita Olson. Congratulations also go to finalists Killian Commers and William Ruffing.  Killian Commers and William Ruffing additionally won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief.  Olivia Garman won the Ramon A. Klitzke Prize for Best Oralist.

The competitors argued before a large audience in the Lubar Center. Presiding over the final round were Hon. Goodwin Liu, Hon. Stephen Murphy, and Hon. Lisa Neubauer.

Many thanks to the judges and competitors for their hard work, enthusiasm, and sportsmanship in all the rounds of competition, as well as to the moot court executive board and Law School administration and staff for their work in putting on the event. Special thanks to Dean Kearney for his support of the competition.  Thank you as well to the Moot Court Association for its work in putting this event together, and especially 3L executive board members Tsz King Tse, who organized the competition, and Chief Justice Nathan Oesch.

Students are selected to participate in the competition based on their success in the fall Appellate Writing and Advocacy class at the Law School.

Here is a link to the video of the final round.

2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors Advance to Finals

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Congratulations to the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition finalists.  The teams advancing to the final rounds on April 19 are as follows:

Killian Commers and William Ruffing v. Olivia Garman and Sarita Olson

We appreciate the judging assistance in the semifinal round of the Hon. Michael Aprahamian, Hon. William Duffin, Hon. Beth Hanan, Hon. Michael Halfenger, Hon. Nancy Joseph, and Atty. Brent Nistler.

Congratulations to the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Semifinalists

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Congratulations to the students in the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition who advanced from the quarterfinal round to the semifinal round.  These students will be competing at 1 p.m. today:

William Ruffing & Killian Commers v. Alexander Hensley & Claudia Ayala
Jehona Osmani & Emily Gaertner v. Sarita Olson & Olivia Garman

Congratulations to all the teams who competed in the quarterfinals.  We appreciated the judges coming out to hear the oralists.  Among the judges were a number of Jenkins and moot court alumni, including Natalie Schiferl, who came all the way from Minnesota to judge with her Jenkins partner, Mary Youssi.

Best of luck to the semifinalists!