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

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Public, Student Contributor1 Comment on The Landmines of Practice: Formalities and Professionalism

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”

Congratulations to the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Legal Practice, Marquette Law School, Public1 Comment on Congratulations to the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

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.

If You Want to Be a Defense Attorney, be a Prosecutor

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Legal Practice, Marquette Law School, Public2 Comments on If You Want to Be a Defense Attorney, be a Prosecutor

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 3L Naomi Tovar.

As of earlier this week, I was one of the few people in law school that had never watched Making a Murderer. I did not even know what it was about. Then last night, I decided to watch the first episode. I thought it was finally time to watch the show, considering that I had recently decided the criminal law field is where I want to grow professionally.

Those decisions (to pursue criminal law and to watch the documentary) were easy. The more difficult decision I have to face, however, is whether I should be a prosecutor or a defense attorney. At first blush, the answer is simple: defense. A defense attorney protects the rights of those who, according the founding law of our country, are innocent until proven guilty. Many times, defense attorneys represent the poor, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised of our society. I came to law school to do exactly that.

Then I binged watched the first six episodes of Making a Murderer and my thoughts changed. Continue reading “If You Want to Be a Defense Attorney, be a Prosecutor”

Congratulations to the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Semifinalists

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Legal Practice, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on Congratulations to the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Semifinalists

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!

A Simple Wardrobe for a Complex Profession

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Public3 Comments on A Simple Wardrobe for a Complex Profession

man in a business suitThis 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 3L Corey Westfall.

A lawyer wears—what does a lawyer wear? I ask you that question after my roommate professed that “we are going to be lawyers soon, so we should dress like lawyers.”

If the 2017 American Bar Association (“ABA”) annual conference provided an entire session focused solely on fashion, fashion must be a real legal issue! ABA paid for a Brooks Brothers session that provided modeling, lectures, and a pamphlet.

And while Brooks Brothers used that session to advertise their “relatively affordable pieces” (do not be duped; there are more affordable options), Brooks Brothers also provided some useful tips: (1) stick to dark grey and dark blue suits/skirts; and (2) limit shirts to solid blue and solid white, and lightly patterned versions of blue and white. (Number (2) for women may have some slight variations in color, but not much.) Conservative tips, but safe nonetheless.

We law students are joining a profession older than we are, with fashion norms out-aging our already-outdated law school wardrobe! Continue reading “A Simple Wardrobe for a Complex Profession”

The Need to Educate the Nonlegal Public About Lawyers and the Legal System

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Legal Practice, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System2 Comments on The Need to Educate the Nonlegal Public About Lawyers and the Legal System

Gavel and BenchJust over fourteen months have passed since I first appeared in a Milwaukee County courtroom as a newly minted (Marquette) lawyer. Rolling the clock back another two and a half years, I recall my first few days as a law student. In all, I’m nearly four years into what I hope will be a long and eventful career in the law.

Over these last four years—this last year, in particular—I’ve found myself often making the same two observations. Though I don’t suspect that either of my observations are especially unique, both are surely the product of spending so many of my days in and around our state’s most active courthouse.

The first of these observations is one I began to consider very early on during my time at Marquette: we (society in general, but lawyers and others inside the legal system more specifically) must do more to educate and inform all those individuals who too often lack even the most rudimentary understanding of what it means to be a nation of laws. Continue reading “The Need to Educate the Nonlegal Public About Lawyers and the Legal System”

Jenkins Competitors Move to the Quarterfinals

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public1 Comment on Jenkins Competitors Move to the Quarterfinals

Congratulations to the students in the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition who have moved on to the inaugural quarterfinal round of the competition.    The students will be competing on Saturday, April 14 at 1 p.m. to determine who will be advancing to the semifinal round on April 15 at 1:00 p.m.

The teams will be paired as follows:

Emily Gaertner and Jehona Osmani v. Simone Haugen and Anne O’Meara

Olivia Garman and Sarita Olson v. Katie Bakunowicz and Kelsey Stefka

Claudia Ayala Tabares and Alexander Hensley v. Elizabeth Grabow and Zeinat Hindi

Killian Commers and William Ruffing v. Be’Jan Edmonds and Ian Pomplin

Congratulations to all the participants in the competition.  We also very much appreciate the judges who grade briefs and participate in the preliminary rounds.  This year we had two Jenkins alums, Attorneys Lindsey Anderson and Averi Niemuth, judging together in the preliminary rounds.  One of the great things about moot court is how active our alums and volunteers are, and we appreciate their time and assistance every year.

The Challenges of Being a Bad Lawyer

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Public1 Comment on The Challenges of Being a Bad Lawyer

I know this is technically a blog, but, if it were some other social media platform, that right there, my friends, would be “click bait.”  What?? This guest blogger is going to talk about how difficult it is to be a lousy attorney?  But, no, I don’t mean bad lawyer in the sense of legal incompetency or shaky professional ethics; I mean it in terms of being the bad-guy lawyer, the bearer of the bad news, the lawyer whose job it is to tell the client that he or she is not getting a settlement or can’t win the case or …any number of other unhappy communications.

It turns out that I am conflict averse.  That this was news to me was pretty lame because I chose – at age 49! – to go into litigation after graduating law school. In fact, I chose to join the products liability defense litigation practice group when I joined a Milwaukee firm the September after graduation.  For some reason, I imagined that being a litigator would suit my personality, which, as my husband will confirm, likes to win arguments.  But it turns out I didn’t have a very good sense what litigation entailed: rather than using persuasive argument to prevail on some esoteric, high-minded point, litigation is really more like a bare-knuckled battle royale.  For me anyway, there was just too much…conflict.  And, I was too old for it.  It was exhausting.

When I changed course in my legal career and became general counsel for a national insurance trade association, I thought I’d left my conflict days behind me.  But, another epiphany here (and, yes, I really am getting to be too old for these), there is “conflict” even in a legal profession that is primarily transactional.  Continue reading “The Challenges of Being a Bad Lawyer”

The Myth About Practicing IP

Posted on Categories Intellectual Property Law, Legal Practice, Pro Bono, Public1 Comment on The Myth About Practicing IP

I was recently visiting a relative in the hospital when the attending physician struck up a conversation with my family.  When he found out that I am an attorney, he asked about my area of practice.  I told him that I practice product liability defense and intellectual property litigation.  He then asked me the following question, a variation of which has been posed to me dozens of times over the past five years:  “What type of engineer are you?”

I am an English major, and I practice IP litigation.  Not only do I not have a science background, but I made a concerted effort to avoid science classes in college.  Law schools precipitate a myth that you can’t practice IP without a science background.  It’s a myth because it’s not true.  I’m proof.  (Disclaimer:  it is true that you can’t prosecute patents before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office without a science background.  But patent prosecution is only one part of IP.) Continue reading “The Myth About Practicing IP”

New Magazine Focuses on Opening the Door for More Work Addressing Big Questions

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Marquette Law School, Public, Speakers at Marquette, Wisconsin Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on New Magazine Focuses on Opening the Door for More Work Addressing Big Questions

Marquette Lawyer Magazine Cover Fall 2017The illustration on the cover of the new Marquette Lawyer magazine shows people entering a large door shaped like the letter Q—or a comment bubble.

Consider the door a symbol for big questions—or the information that we might get from others to help answer them. It has been a goal of the public policy initiative of Marquette Law School for more than a decade to engage people in considering many of the major issues that face Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the world beyond. The Law School does not purport itself to provide the answers, but offers a platform for furthering awareness and knowledge about the questions and ways different people answer them.

A recent $5.5 million gift from Milwaukee philanthropists Sheldon and Marianne Lubar is “opening the door to much more” for the initiative, as the magazine cover says. Now named the Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education, the initiative is expanding its scope and offerings. This gift, added to a gift the Lubars made in 2010, has created a $7 million endowment to support the work.

In one article, which can be read by clicking here, the magazine describes the development of the public policy initiative and looks at what lies ahead. A second article, which can be read by clicking here, profiles the Lubars, who have had great impact on the Milwaukee area as business and civic leaders. Continue reading “New Magazine Focuses on Opening the Door for More Work Addressing Big Questions”

“Diversity” in the Law: Savvy Business, Self-Motivation, or Both?

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Public, Race & LawLeave a comment» on “Diversity” in the Law: Savvy Business, Self-Motivation, or Both?

“Diversity” is a term to qualify something diverse, which the American Heritage dictionary defines as “made up of distinct characteristics, qualities, or elements.” Diversity in the work environment of law firms, agencies, in-house counsels, and non-profits usually relates to the genetic makeup of the employees’ gender, race, national origin, and sexual orientation, but for purposes of brevity and, frankly, your time, this post focuses solely on race.

In 2007, per the ABA National Lawyer Population Survey, the racial demographic of the attorney population consisted of 77.6% Caucasian/White, 3.2% African American, 3.1% Hispanic and even lower numbers for the other categories of races and ethnicities. Not surprisingly, this disparity has not made much progress in the past decade which is displayed in the 2017 percentages that show attorneys consisting of 66.8% Caucasian/White, 4.1% African American, and 3.9% Hispanic. Accordingly, these statistics create more questions than answers, such as: Why is there such a low presence of minorities in the law? Is this disparity due to a systemic problem in the American education system or attributed to employers’ implicit bias? Do schools/employers care about these statistics? If not, should they? Continue reading ““Diversity” in the Law: Savvy Business, Self-Motivation, or Both?”