The Rewards of Being a Small Town Lawyer

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A path forward with trees on either side going through a forest.
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

When asked to write a blog for the Marquette University Law School blog, I was provided several general topics that I could have considered, as I have never blogged.  But it was also suggested that I have an interesting personal story:  I always wanted to be a lawyer in my hometown, a city with fewer people than are enrolled as students at Marquette.  I have always had a desire to return to Ashland, Wisconsin, and practice law, raise my family and live the lifestyle that I enjoy.  I don’t find my situation to be unique or interesting, but maybe that’s because northern Wisconsin is such a wonderful location that it pulls many people home, and my story isn’t unique among residents here.  However, someone who grew up in an urban area may be apprehensive that there will be “nothing to do” in a small town.  To that I say: only boring people get bored.  So rather than discuss a legal topic, I plan to discuss my legal practice, and why being a small-town lawyer is a fulfilling and interesting career.  The State Bar of Wisconsin has also recently encouraged small town practice and tried to connect new lawyers or those looking for a change with lawyers in rural areas. Small towns need lawyers.

I grew up in Ashland, located on the shores of Lake Superior, enjoying the big lake and the big woods (Chequamegon National Forest). In the summer and fall the activities were hunting and fishing, in winter it was hockey rinks and ski slopes, and the in the spring, well that was just mud season.  I have been teased for the pride I take in talking about my home, my high school, and the general area I grew up in.  Unlike larger areas, my high school represents my community and is smaller than most.  Ashland has just over 8,000 people and the county has just twice that many.  There was no other high school, so it represented us as an area.  It represents my home, so I take pride in its success and sorrow in its failures.

In law school I had academic success having offers from large firms and was a summer associate at one.  I graduated magna cum laude and moved back to Ashland the day after being sworn in to the Bar.  While my big firm experience was positive, I knew my long-term happiness was north.  When asked why would you want to live up there, my response was typically the same: “Why do you vacation in northern Wisconsin?”  To many people, Elkhart Lake was “up north,” while I consider Highway 8 to be the dividing line between north and south Wisconsin.   I find cities great places to visit on weekends but I find the small town is the place to live.   I think many lawyers would find small town practice rewarding both professionally and personally. Continue reading “The Rewards of Being a Small Town Lawyer”

Congratulations to the 2019 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Finalists

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Picture of courtroom with judges on the bench and student advocates seated at tablesCongratulations to the winners of the 2019 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Brooke Erickson and Micaela Haggenjos. Congratulations also go to finalists Luis Gutierrez and Nicholas Wanic. Erickson and Haggenjos additionally won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief, and Erickson won the Ramon A. Klitzke Prize for Best Oralist.

The competitors argued before a packed house in the Lubar Center. Presiding over the final round were Hon. Charles R. Wilson (11th Circuit Court of Appeals), Hon. Daniel Kelly (Wisconsin Supreme Court), and Hon. Lisa K. Stark (Wisconsin Court of Appeals).

Many thanks to the judges and competitors for their hard work, enthusiasm, and sportsmanship in all the rounds of competition. Thank you, too, to the 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 to 3L Sadie Olson, who so adeptly handled the details of the competition.

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.

Congratulations to Marquette’s Sports Law Moot Court Team

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The Marquette Sports Law Moot Court team advanced to the Octofinals of the 2019 Mardi Gras Sports Law Invitational Competition hosted by Tulane University Law School. Please congratulate team members Killian Commers, Hannah Compton, and Alexander Hensley. Professors Matt Mitten and Paul Anderson coached the team.  Kara Coppage and Tyler Coppage, who are former MU Mardi Gras Competition team members, coached and traveled with the team.  Tyler is pictured with the team.

NAAC Teams Win Third and Fourth Best Briefs, Advance to Regional Semifinal Rounds at Boston Regional

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public1 Comment on NAAC Teams Win Third and Fourth Best Briefs, Advance to Regional Semifinal Rounds at Boston Regional
one woman and two men, all law students, stand before a courtroom door
Lizzy King, Jad Itani, and Travis Yang
three women, all law students, stand in front of a courtroom door
Anna Meulbroek, Zeinat Hindi, and Libby Grabow

Thirty teams from across the country arrived in Boston at the Boston Municipal Court Department on February 28, all prepared to present oral arguments in the National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) regional. Two Marquette Law teams were among those and both made an impact.

Jad Itani, Elizabeth (Lizzy) King, and Travis Yang were seeded 13th after three rounds of argument. They advanced to the fourth (regional semifinal) round but faced a tough bench while arguing respondent’s side, a tough argument in the context of the Eighth Amendment issues presented. They lost that fourth round. King had a strong performance at oral argument in the second round, despite battling some unfortunate shellfish poisoning; Itani had to sub in for her in the third and fourth rounds, despite not having argued that side at all. Their team’s brief was named third best in the region.

Elizabeth (Libby) Grabow, Zeinat Hindi, and Anna Meulbroek were seeded 3rd after three rounds, but they, too, faced a tough bench in the fourth round. Unfortunately, they lost that round, but delivered consistently high-quality oral arguments in every round. After the third round, the judges commended them for their winning performance and encouraged each of them to continue with litigation work. Their team’s brief was named fourth best in the region.

This year was the first in memory where both teams advanced to the regional semifinal round and both teams received brief awards. Marquette has much to be proud of.

Both teams were assisted by practitioner coaches Elleny Christopolous, Kate Maternowski, and Zachary Willenbrink (L’11). Thank you, too, to practice judges Professors Ed Fallone and Elana Olson; Judge J.P. Stadtmueller (L’67), law clerk Nathan Bader and law clerk Joan Harms; City of Milwaukee attorneys James Carroll (L’08), Bill Davidson (L’17), Patricia Fricker, Katryna Rhodes; Meredith Donaldson (L’18); and former NAAC competitors Lucas Bennewitz (L’15), Ali Klimko (L’17), Andrew Lawton (L’18), and Adam Woodside (L’18).

Congratulations to team members for their outstanding representation of Marquette Law.

 

 

 

Interview with PILS Fellow Kylie Kaltenberg

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This year’s 26th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do Gooders Auction to support the Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will take place on February 15, 2019 at Marquette Law School.  Here is a link to details about the event.  Attendees may purchase tickets online and check out items that are being auctioned.  The theme this year is Game On!  The proceeds from the auction go to support scholarships for Marquette law students to engage in public interest work during the summer.   This is an interview with 2L Kylie Kaltenberg, who had a PILS Fellowship last summer.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

I worked at the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee this past summer.

What kind of work did you do there?

The Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee helps low income individuals with a variety of civil legal matters. I was able to help attorneys and clients with various landlord/tenant disputes. I was also able to see firsthand how Wisconsin law has changed regarding the protections afforded to tenants. I also worked a great deal with the Milwaukee Jail ensuring the inmates were being housed in suitable conditions. For me, to generalize all that I was able experience this past summer:  my experience was like seeing in real life the cases I had read about during my 1L year.

Continue reading “Interview with PILS Fellow Kylie Kaltenberg”

Interview with Marquette PILS Auction Volunteers Charles Bowen and Alexander Sterling

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This year’s 26th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders Auction to benefit Marquette’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will take place on February 15, 2019 at Marquette Law School.  Here is a link to details about the event.  Attendees may purchase tickets online and check out items that will be auctioned.  The theme this year is Game On!  The proceeds from the auction go to support scholarships for Marquette law students to engage in public interest work during the summer.   This is an interview with 2Ls Charles Bowen and Alexander Sterling, who are Co-Vice Presidents of Solicitation for the Auction this year.  Charles had a PILS Fellowship last summer with the ACLU of Wisconsin.

What is the Do-Gooders Auction?

It is the main fundraiser of the PILS Program, raising money to fund PILS Fellowships for law students interested in summer internships at nonprofit or government agencies that cannot afford to pay their interns. You can earn up to $5,000 for the summer.

How does the Auction support these Fellowships?

Every single dollar earned from the event goes toward the fellowships. We have a silent auction where you can bid on items, and games you can play to win great prizes. This year there’s even a roulette table. So the money people spend playing games and having fun actually goes towards helping students. It’s a two for one.

Continue reading “Interview with Marquette PILS Auction Volunteers Charles Bowen and Alexander Sterling”

Interview with Marquette PILS Fellow Kelsey McCarthy

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This year’s 26th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do Gooders Auction to support the Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will take place on February 15, 2019 at Marquette Law School.  Here is a link to details about the event.  Attendees may purchase tickets online and check out items that will be auctioned.  The theme this year is Game On!  The proceeds from the auction go to support scholarships for Marquette law students to engage in public interest work during the summer.   This is an interview with 2L Kelsey McCarthy, who had a PILS Fellowship last summer.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

I worked at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin.

Continue reading “Interview with Marquette PILS Fellow Kelsey McCarthy”

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

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Jamie Yu after finishing first marathon
Jamie Yu, after finishing her first marathon.

It’s February, which means that for many long distance runners, it is time to emerge from winter hibernation, sign up for the next race, and begin the long and thankless training process. While some would not agree, I, as a lawyer and a long distance runner, have found that the training process for a marathon eerily mirrors the path to becoming a lawyer.

I signed up for my first marathon, somewhat foolishly, during my second year of law school, the race coinciding the first semester of my third year. As I embarked on the first long run of my training schedule, I was filled with excitement and anticipation. Like a 1L, I felt invincible and ready to take on the challenge.

However, as the weeks passed and my mileage, and long run distances increased, so did my frustrations and anxiety. What seemed like a fun adventure was turning in to a daily chore, and my love for running was quickly being replaced with dread.

But when I stopped in at the running shoe store for yet another pair of running shoes, I saw a shirt with the phrase, “It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint…Trust the Process.” Continue reading “It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint”

Congratulations to Marquette’s National Criminal Procedure Tournament Team

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Congratulations to 3Ls Olivia Garman and Samuel Simpson for placing in the Octofinals in the National Criminal Procedure Tournament in San Diego. The team’s advisors are Professors Susan Bay and Thomas Hammer, and the team coaches are Attorneys Brittany Kachingwe, Sarah McNutt, and Mary Youssi.  All three coaches are former Marquette moot court competitors.

Congratulations to Marquette’s National Moot Court Competitors

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Marquette hosted the Region VIII round of the NMCC on November 17-18, 2018.

Please congratulate team members Jessica Delgado, Emily Gaertner, and Sarita Olson, who received the highest brief score in the competition and award for best Petitioner’s brief. The team advanced to the quarterfinals. Professor Rebecca Blemberg advised the team, and attorneys Bryn Baker, Veronica Corcoran, and Chal Little coached the team.

Please congratulate Claudia Ayala Tabares, Katie Bakunowicz, and Kelsey Stefka for placing in the semifinal round. I had the privilege of working with this team, and the team was coached by Attorneys Jason Luczak, Brianna Meyer, and Max Stephenson.

Continue reading “Congratulations to Marquette’s National Moot Court Competitors”

Compliance: The Emerging Career Path for Lawyers

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Business Regulation, Corporate Law, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, PublicLeave a comment» on Compliance: The Emerging Career Path for Lawyers
Political cartoon from Puck Magazine in 1908 showing Moses holding the Ten Commandments and various business and Wall Street figures reacting with alarm.
From Puck Magazine, 1908. Various Wall Street figures react to Moses and the Ten Commandments.

When entering law school, and sometimes even before law school, students are put in front of this metaphorical “fork-in-the-road.”

Transactional or litigation?

In most law schools today, those are the two apparent options. However, this is just not the case anymore. There is at least one more, and emerging, option: the compliance route. It’s not completely transactional nor is it at all litigation. In some cases it takes ideas from both, and involves a bit of work in areas that would not necessarily be considered “practicing law.”

Oh, I’m sure I just hit a nerve for many of you. “Why would you go to law school and get into mountains of debt, and then get a job where you’re not completely practicing law?”

Bear with me and let me explain.

o In June 2016, a car manufacturer was forced to spend $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers on its diesel vehicles.

o In September 2016, a banking giant was hit with $185 million in fines by governmental authorities after thousands of its employees illegally opened unauthorized bank accounts. Earlier this year, new regulatory restrictions were imposed against the bank essentially halting the growth of the business until there has been sufficient improvement in its business practices. Continue reading “Compliance: The Emerging Career Path for Lawyers”

The Landmines of Practice: Formalities and Professionalism

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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 Jad Itani.

The legal profession is profoundly focused on formalities and professionalism to the point that the ABA has dedicated a section of its website for professionalism. There are even unspoken protocols regarding who is addressed first in an email.

Accordingly, the legal profession is sure to be a very precise and particular field with very formal structures, right? My curiosity today arises from considering  the professionalism and formalities of practice as a first-year associate. My experiences working with practicing attorneys and even interviewing with them have provided me with conflicting responses.

Growing up, I am sure most of us were raised with the lesson that we show respect by addressing people by their appropriate title: Ms., Mr., Attorney, Dr., Professor, etc. However, on a number of occasions, when addressing future employers by their appropriate title, I have received conflicting responses.

cartoon alligator the litigator
Another example of an improper salutation. He’s a litigator, not an alligator. Address him properly. 

On a few occasions, when I have addressed some attorneys by saying “Attorney [last name],” they seemed uncomfortable with the formalities and requested I address them by their first name. Is that the threshold that provides a person with the opportunities to drop the formalities? When this occurred, the questions of formalities and professionalism started rapidly running through my mind. Continue reading “The Landmines of Practice: Formalities and Professionalism”