2022 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors

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The Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition is the appellate moot court competition for Marquette law students and is the capstone intramural event of the moot court program. Students are invited to participate based on their top performance in the fall Appellate Writing and Advocacy course at the Law School.

Congratulations to the following students who were selected to the 2022 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition:

Jake Apostolu
Tristan Bednarek
James Carpenter
Hunter Cone
John Curran
Ilana Friedman
Travis Goeden
Anne Gonring
Bailey Groh Rasmussen
Alesha Guenther
Nolan Heck
Munifeh Jaber
Nicole Jennings
Samantha Jozwiak
Kyle Kasper
Matthew Kass
Abigail Kincheloe
Ruth Nord-Pekar
Robyn Shepard
Ronald Tenuta
Aimeé Treviño
Rose Vanelderen
Meghan Wallace
Emily Ward
Austin Wesner
Jessica Zimpfer

The preliminary rounds of competition be held on March 26-27, 2022, with the winning teams progressing through the quarterfinals, then semifinals, to the final round. Stay tuned for more details.

Any questions about the competition should be directed to Lauren Brasington, Associate Justice of Intramural Competitions.

Marquette’s Success at the National Moot Court Competition Regionals

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Marquette University Law School hosted the Region VIII round of the 72nd annual National Moot Court Competition on November 19-21, 2021. Both Marquette teams are to be congratulated for their successful and strong advocacy at the competition.

Continue reading “Marquette’s Success at the National Moot Court Competition Regionals”

Remembering Shirley S. Abrahamson: Wisconsin’s First Woman Supreme Court Justice

Posted on Categories Appellate Advocacy, Legal History, Legal Practice, Marquette Law School Poll, Moot Court, Public, Speakers at Marquette, Wisconsin Court System, Wisconsin Law & Legal System, Wisconsin Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on Remembering Shirley S. Abrahamson: Wisconsin’s First Woman Supreme Court Justice
Shirley Abrahamson with raised right hand, taking oath in 1976.
Shirley Abrahamson is sworn into the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1976 by late Chief Justice Bruce Beilfuss.

On Saturday, December 19, former Wisconsin Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson, died after battling pancreatic cancer. She was 87. Just two ways she was like another famous, short, tough, trailblazing Jewish jurist: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Abrahamson, the daughter of Polish Jewish immigrants who arrived in the United States in the early 1930s, grew up in New York City. She graduated magna cum laude from NYU with her bachelor’s degree in 1953. Three years later, she graduated first in her class from Indiana Law School; she was also the only woman.

She met her husband Seymour in Indiana; they moved to Madison in the early 1960s, where Abrahamson earned her S.J.D. from UW Law in 1962. Thereafter, she became the first female lawyer at the Madison law firm La Follette, Sinykin, Doyle & Anderson. She was named a partner within a year. All throughout the time she was in practice, she also taught at UW Law.

In 1976, then-Governor Patrick Lucey appointed her to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’ she was the first woman to serve there. Continue reading “Remembering Shirley S. Abrahamson: Wisconsin’s First Woman Supreme Court Justice”

“Are You a Foreign Exchange Student?” and Other Microaggressions in the Legal Clinic

Posted on Categories Civil Rights, Human Rights, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Pro Bono, Public1 Comment on “Are You a Foreign Exchange Student?” and Other Microaggressions in the Legal Clinic

word cloud of words related to microaggressionsLast year, I watched as a law student was introduced to a lawyer volunteering at the legal clinic. The lawyer was a white man in his 60s. The student was a woman of color in her 20s, and she was wearing hijab. I happen to know that both people have hearts of gold and come to the legal clinic with a desire to help and to give their time and talents selflessly.

Nonetheless, upon being introduced, the lawyer’s first words to the law student were: “It’s nice to meet you. Are you a foreign exchange student?” The student looked confused and embarrassed as she replied, “No. I grew up here in Milwaukee.”

A similar incident happened recently when a white lawyer asked a student of color where he was born and whether he had voting privileges. Again, the student in question replied that he was born and raised in the United States.

Yet another time, a white lawyer sat down at a table with a student of color: “What can we help you with at the clinic today?” The underlying assumption was that the student must be a client.

I also remember a moment when a white lawyer worked with a Latinx student for an entire shift and remarked at the end, “You are so articulate.” Why would this be mentionable? This is a student who has a college degree, has been admitted to law school, and will have a law degree in a few years.

The same comments would not have been made to white students volunteering in the clinic. Continue reading ““Are You a Foreign Exchange Student?” and Other Microaggressions in the Legal Clinic”

Results of the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Final Round

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Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Jay McDivitt and Mathias Rekowski. Congratulations also go to finalists Michelle Knapp and Wynetta McIntosh. A video of the final round is available here.

This year, Jay McDivitt won the Jenkins Competition’s Ramon A. Klitzke Prize for Best Oralist, and he and teammate Mathias Rekowski won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief. Kelley Roach and Ashley Rossman were awarded second-place brief, and Xavier Jenkins and Wynetta McIntosh won third place in the briefing scores among the twelve teams in the competition. Continue reading “Results of the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Final Round”

Marquette’s First Virtual Appellate Oral Arguments

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This weekend the Law School hosted its first ever virtual appellate oral argument competition.  The Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition went forward virtually this weekend on the Microsoft Teams platform.  The oral arguments, originally planned for the spring, had been initially canceled due to the outbreak of COVID-19.  Students and judges did a fantastic job of adapting to the new format.  Students who competed had a unique opportunity to practice a skill that will likely become a more regular part of legal practice.  Congratulations to the competitors, and thank you to the judges who graciously offered their time.

How to Have Restrictive Contracts and Still Be “The Good Guys”

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Cover of Adventure Zone graphic novelJustin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy have built a podcast empire on being wholesome good guys. They come off to their fans as three brothers who are down-to-Earth, goofy, and will never do anything to hurt people. This has connected with podcast listeners worldwide, helping them build a massive fan base.

But at some point, businesspeople and celebrities make mistakes. For the McElroys, this mistake has come in the form of them trying to find ways to make money off the success of their podcasts. Prior to 2018, the McElroys had sold merch for their podcasts, gone on tours to do live recordings of podcasts, and had a brief TV adaptation of the podcast “My Brother, My Brother and Me” on the failed streaming platform Seeso, which was owned by NBCUniversal.

Then came the graphic novel adaptation of “The Adventure Zone,” which shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller’s list. The graphic novel, while illustrated by Casey Pietsch, features a gallery of fan art at the back of every volume. Given the relationship the McElroys have with their fans, it seems reasonable they would pay tribute to the fans and the artwork they create by including a gallery of artwork tied to the events of that volume.

This fan art gallery has become the center of a bit of controversy in recent weeks. Continue reading “How to Have Restrictive Contracts and Still Be “The Good Guys””

Palsgraf and Humanity in the Age of Covid

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Public, Student Contributor, Tort Law3 Comments on Palsgraf and Humanity in the Age of Covid

If Covid were the subject of a suit, how would the decision describe my grandfather?

My grandfather recently passed away. It wasn’t Covid; not directly at least. A lifetime of kidney problems and other assorted ailments weren’t helped by the pandemic-induced lock-down. Rather than go out to eat or graze at the local grocery store buffet, as he normally would, he dined on pre-cooked meals and unsurprisingly his health suffered for it. So no, Covid didn’t kill him, but it certainly helped. In legal-speak it was more of a proximate cause.

In any law school tort class, students learn about proximate cause as it relates to negligence. One case, which is widely cited, is Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad. In this slice of history, a remarkable and tragic chain of events took place. The plaintiff, Mrs. Palsgraf, waited for her train, at the railroad’s train station. As she waited, an employee of the train company unknowingly helped two men load explosives onto a different train. The explosives detonated, and had one of the two men been injured by that explosion this case would almost assuredly be lost to the sands of time, a simple case of negligence with a simple resolution. Instead, in the hubbub that ensued, a large scale Mrs. Palsgraf was standing near struck and injured her. The exact manner in which the scale injured her isn’t mentioned in the opinion itself.

Every law student learns about this case and its meaning. The legal rules and principles of law that the majority and dissenting opinions announced are followed to this day. But the decision doesn’t spill any ink about Mrs. Palsgraf. A terse statement of facts accompanies the majority opinion, in which Mrs. Palsgraf isn’t even mentioned by name. She is simply “Plaintiff.” Thus, she is reduced to something less than human. I thought of this case as my grandfather lay in hospice, near the end of his life. Continue readingPalsgraf and Humanity in the Age of Covid”

What Does Addiction Look Like?

Posted on Categories Family Law, Health Care, Legal Practice, PublicLeave a comment» on What Does Addiction Look Like?

Picture of PillsWhen lawyers think about working with clients who have addictions, we often imagine clients who are young or middle-aged and facing legal consequences such as criminal charges for drug possession or for driving under the influence of alcohol or another drug. But not every person struggling with addictions is young, in trouble with law enforcement, or even using substances in a visible way that signals addiction to family members or professionals.

More than 2.5 million adults over age 55 struggle with addictions every year in the United States. Continue reading “What Does Addiction Look Like?”

A Community Lawyering

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Civil Rights, Legal Practice, Milwaukee, Public, Race & LawLeave a comment» on A Community Lawyering

(Gratitude to Rodrigo Sanchez for assistance in compiling data on 53206.)

The Shriver Center in Chicago provides training on a particular model of community-based lawyering.  They define “community lawyering” as “using legal advocacy to help achieve solutions to community-identified issues in ways that develop local leadership and institutions that can continue to exert power to effect systemic change.” The concept grew out of the older ideas of community organizing generally pioneered by Saul Alinsky’s work in 1930s and 40s Chicago, where, broadly speaking, the goal is to promote the empowerment of citizens, i.e. members of the community, to address problems and effect change. These ideas were applied to the practice of law at least as far back as 1970 in the form of a Yale Law Journal article where Stephen Wexler outlined a number of ways in which effective lawyering in an impoverished community is different from the traditional practice of law.

Whereas the traditional lawyering model sets up an adversarial dynamic between parties, community lawyering may engage alternative systems of relational power or power sharing aimed at ultimate reconciliation or compromise, founded on a recognition of common interests between parties.  (See Ross Dolloff & Marc Potvin, Community Lawyering—Why Now?, 37 Clearinghouse Review 136 (July–Aug. 2003)).  Whereas traditional lawyering may entail simply spotting issues that can be resolved through litigation or formal legal recourse, community lawyering can approach citizen-identified problems as opportunities to engage stakeholders in a broader conversation in the hope of building authentic, trusting relationships.  Whereas the traditional lawyer model is that of a litigator, negotiator of claims, and counselor to the client, the community lawyer’s focus may be to “develop inside the client population a sustainable knowledge base that allows the population to build foundations for opportunity from within,” to identify and defeat the causes of poverty.  Whereas in the traditional lawyering model the attorney is the “voice” of the client before the court, in a community lawyering model, the strategy and policies are accountable to the voice of the population being served.  The lawyer assists a community in identifying a structural barrier (access to economic resources, housing, sustainability, stability, employment opportunities, political voice, etc.) and then helps build capacity within the community to take action (through organizing, relationship building, advocacy, policy development, traditional case work, etc.).

The Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee applied for and received a grant funded by the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation to introduce its related but unique approach of embedding lawyers into communities called “neighborhood lawyering,” focused on two targeted communities in Milwaukee.  Continue reading “A Community Lawyering”

A Love Letter to Baby Lawyers

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Ah, yes, the Baby Lawyer™. The finished product of the intense demands of law school, crisp diploma freshly in hand, joining the fray of the courtroom or the boardroom, ready and oh-so-willing to tackle each and every problem he or she is about to face. So full of life and hope, chock full of caselaw, best practices, tidbits from internships, faculty blessings and encouragement, and an undying love for the Oxford comma. We are blindingly sure that all of our preparation will be enough as we strut into the hallowed halls of the legal profession, away from the strictly regimented last three years . . . and its safety net of office hours and a curved grading scale.

I can say with some certainty that the baby lawyer experience is relatively similar throughout the generations. Some new attorneys begin in the proverbial “mail room,” getting coffee, delivering senior attorney mail, and living in a three by three foot cubicle that they have determined to make their own with pictures of friends and motivational quotes from Target. Baby Lawyer is our name, legal research is our game, and we have embraced “other duties as assigned” as our personal motto.

Some First Year Associates (i.e. the Baby Lawyer With A Title) may have a trial by fire. They will be handed a brown accordion folder, a case of their very own.

“Thank you, I’ll take care of this right away.” Continue reading “A Love Letter to Baby Lawyers”

A Day in the Life of a Music Festival Attorney

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Legal Practice, PublicLeave a comment» on A Day in the Life of a Music Festival Attorney

During the off-season, there are big projects, small projects, legal research, and the expected minutiae of the practice of law. But as the sun begins to peek through the Midwest haze that is winter, all hell breaks loose.

“Oh a music festival? That sounds fun. But what do you DO every day?”

“It’s only 11 days. What do you do during the rest of the year? Vacation!?”

“I bet you get to meet all the famous people, right?”

The daily life of a music festival attorney is likely similar to your own. There are big projects, small projects, legal research, and the expected minutiae of the practice of law. I have written briefs and legal research memos with the customary headings and content, appeared in administrative court, push a not-insignificant amount of paperwork, and manage a team. The difference between practicing law to benefit a client and practicing law to benefit thousands of screaming concertgoers is complicated; my job is governed by the courts of this land and the court of public opinion, with one delivering a much swifter, and less researched, judgment in the modern age. The stakes are huge; my company is responsible for the safety of each and every guest on the festival grounds, as well as the thousands of employees operating the festival at any given time. Within this pursuit for a perfect show, I have contributed to multi-million dollar capital stage construction projects and, just a few hours prior, stood in front of a group of Milwaukee’s underserved job-seekers, recruiting hopeful employees at the Department of Workforce Development. I have researched the nuances of the Americans with Disabilities Act to better serve all festival patrons, while simultaneously approving marketing images of a (very cute) cartoon feline for our mobile marketing team. I have opined on topics from acceptable marketplace vendors to high-level sponsorships to recycling bins to golf-cart safety. I have filed and renewed trademarks, while fielding phone calls regarding worker’s compensation claims.  To put it simply, what I do every day is advance the world’s largest music festival. Continue reading “A Day in the Life of a Music Festival Attorney”