25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction: Interview with Andrew Lawton

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The 25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held on February 16 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS Fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Andrew Lawton, a current law student, shares his experience here as a PILS Fellow.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

The United States Attorney’s Office-Eastern District of Wisconsin.

What kind of work did you do there?

The United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) prosecutes a wide variety of federal crimes. The case load within the office is diverse, depending on enforcement priorities and actual apprehension of suspected criminals. My work was primarily to draft research memorandum summing up the case law in a specific area of interest to any of the attorneys, which included a wide range of topics from asbestos to armed robbery to human trafficking. But I also drafted court documentation such as motions when needed, and I observed court appearances where I took notes for the attorneys, including in prolonged jury trials.

Continue reading “25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction: Interview with Andrew Lawton”

25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction: Interview with Jacob Haller

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The 25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held on February 16 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS Fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Jacob Haller, a current law student, and the Public Interest Student of the Year, shares his experience here as a PILS Fellow.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

The Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office—Milwaukee County Drug Treatment Court.

What kind of work did you do there?

The Milwaukee County Drug Treatment Court is a pioneering specialty court aimed at addressing addiction as a root of criminality.  The MCDTC works with non-violent offenders who are facing nine months or more of incarceration.  The defendants are given the option to participate in a 12-18 month intensive rehab program supervised by the court.  I worked with defendants and their families to ensure that goals set by the court were being met.  This meant working with a defendant directly, as well as service providers, district attorneys, and employers to enure the best possible outcome for the defendant and the broader community.

Continue reading “25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction: Interview with Jacob Haller”

25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction: Interview with Grace Gall

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The 25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held on February 16 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS Fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Grace Gall, a current law student, shares her experience here as a PILS Fellow.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

I worked as a PILS Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee in the Civil Division.

What kind of work did you do there?

Legal Aid provides free legal service to individuals throughout Milwaukee who cannot afford private legal counsel. I worked mainly on Civil Rights cases for indigent clients who required Legal Aid service. I did several client interviews for cases involving excessive bail or use of segregated housing within jails. I also worked in the Civil Division on cases dealing with Landlord Tenant law. I helped prepare case documents and did research on a variety of topics.

Continue reading “25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction: Interview with Grace Gall”

25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction: Interview with Shannon Strombom

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The 25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held on February 16 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS Fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Shannon Strombom, a current law student, shares her experience here as a PILS Fellow.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

What kind of work did you do there?

The legal services office of Catholic Charities provides immigration and refugee assistance to low-income clients. Over the summer, I got a chance to work on a variety of different immigration petitions and applications. This included responding to Requests for Evidence on a petition to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residency and Special Immigrant Religious Worker petitions, as well as writing briefs for asylum applications, and helping eligible legal permanent residents or refugees apply for naturalization.

Continue reading “25th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction: Interview with Shannon Strombom”

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”

“Work-Mom” Balance

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Legal Profession, Public, Uncategorized1 Comment on “Work-Mom” Balance

A young child sits on the floor looking at a copy of the Marquette Lawyer magazine.My husband Brad and I are proud parents of a 20-month-old daughter, Lucille.  Having to balance being a mom and a litigator at a large firm is probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.  But it’s also an accomplishment of which I am very proud, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I don’t pretend to be an expert, and I still have a lot to learn.  But based on the past 20 months, here are some tips that I’ve acquired to support a “work-mom” balance:

It takes a village.  I won’t sugarcoat this:  I’d have to quit my job if it weren’t for my husband and my mom.  My husband works predictable, regular hours and, with rare exception, does not have to work at night or on the weekends.  He is an extremely present dad, is helpful at home, and is very supportive and understanding of my job.  My mom lives 30 miles away and is our go-to babysitter, with little to no notice, particularly when Lucy is sick and has to stay home from daycare.  She watched Lucy twice per week when she was an infant and is the most dependable person in our lives.

Invest in superior daycare, whatever that means for you and your family.  For us, it means that Lucy attends a daycare in downtown Madison, only two blocks away from both my and my husband’s offices.  Continue reading ““Work-Mom” Balance”

Aren’t Lawyers Always Supposed To Be Stressed?

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Google the words “lawyer” and “stress” or “anxiety” and you’ll see hundreds of comics about lawyers dealing with stress. Most of the comics are pretty funny and yet somewhat sad because they are also all pretty true to real life. Just last month the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being released a report entitled “The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change.” The report is intended to bring more pointed awareness to the mental health issues many lawyers face and to also provide recommendations to instill greater well-being in the profession as a whole.

The report is 73 pages in total, which appears to create a daunting read for lawyers and law students, already over-burdened and stressed out. But it is worth the time to read through it. As the report points out, in a study released in 2016 by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, out of nearly 13,000 practicing lawyers who participated in the survey, 28% struggled with some level of depression, 19 percent struggled with some level of anxiety, and 23 percent struggled with some level of stress. In Wisconsin, there were approximately 15,550 active lawyers in 2017. Continue reading “Aren’t Lawyers Always Supposed To Be Stressed?”

Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Lambert and Manjee

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Aliya Manjee

Elisabeth Lambert

Today, September 26, 2017, the Milwaukee Association for Women Lawyers (AWL) Foundation honored two Marquette University Law School students with scholarships.

Aliya Manjee, 2L (pictured at left), received the AWL Foundation scholarship. The AWL Foundation Scholarship is awarded to a woman who has exhibited service to others, diversity, compelling financial need, academic achievement, unique life experiences (such as overcoming obstacles to attend or continue law school), and advancement of women in the profession. Continue reading “Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Lambert and Manjee”

“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?”

The Benefits of Bar Associations

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A gavel with scalesPicture this: you have finally been accepted as a member of the Bar in your respective state. Job offer in hand, you anxiously await the first day of the rest of your life – your first full time law position. The Sunday night before your first day of work, you peruse the attorney profiles on your new firm’s website. Viewing the profiles with a clear head, that is, a mind free of finals, bar prep, and interview details, a section catches your eye for the first time: PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS. The organizations that your colleagues belong to vary in category. Some groups appear to relate to practice areas, while others are seemingly dedicated to specific causes. Now you begin to wonder – do I need to join any specialty bar associations?  What purpose will it serve? If I decided to join, how do I narrow down the best organizations for me?

It is commonplace for states across the country to have a bevy of specialty bar and legal associations that cater directly to a specific segment of the legal community. Attorneys’ specialties and practice areas vary, so it can be difficult to find your footing as a new lawyer outside of your specific firm or corporation. This is just one of the ways these organizations can help. While it isn’t necessary to join any specific organizations, the benefits are plentiful. Joining an association, whether local or national, generally provides you with the opportunity to network with your peers, grow your practice, continue your legal education, and commit yourself to work that is personally important to you.

When I graduated from law school, the first organization I committed myself to was the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers (WAAL). Formerly known as the Wisconsin Association of Minority Attorneys (WAMA), WAAL was established in 1988 with the mission of dedicating itself to ensuring diversity in Wisconsin’s legal community. Since its inception, WAAL has been actively involved in community affairs throughout Wisconsin. My first introduction to WAAL was during my 1L year at its annual welcome reception, where Marquette and University of Wisconsin law students are invited to mingle with WAAL members. Through that reception, I met numerous Wisconsin attorneys, and formed relationships that have helped carry me through my career today. As a member of the Board of Directors since 2014, my admiration for the organization and its partners has only grown. Continue reading “The Benefits of Bar Associations”

Woman Interrupted: The Pernicious Problem That’s Not Just in Our Heads

Posted on Categories Federal Law & Legal System, Feminism, Judges & Judicial Process, Legal Profession, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public2 Comments on Woman Interrupted: The Pernicious Problem That’s Not Just in Our Heads

On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions about his contacts with Russian officials in Washington D.C. and his conversations with the President about the Russia investigation or about former F.B.I. Director James B. Comey.

The hearing has been called “at times fiery” and Sessions’ testimony “highly contentious.” Indeed, several Democratic senators engaged in some testy back-and-forth with Sessions, with Oregon Senator Ron Wyden saying that Sessions’ answers did not “pass the smell test” and New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich declaring that Sessions “[is] obstructing.”

But the grilling of Sessions that has probably received the most attention is that of California Senator Kamala Harris, a junior senator and former California attorney general. Senator Harris was questioning Sessions about his many non-answer answers at the hearing. Sessions claimed he was not answering due to long-standing Justice Department policy. Senator Harris pushed Sessions on this policy.

The New York Times described Senator Harris’ questioning style as “a rapid-fire . . . pace more commonly seen in courtrooms—a style that at times has her interrupting witnesses.” During her questioning, she was interrupted by both Arizona Senator John McCain and by North Carolina Senator Richard M. Burr, the chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Both men suggested that Sessions be allowed to answer. This was the second time in two weeks that Senator Harris has been interrupted by Senators Burr and McCain. Last week, she was interrupted by them while questioning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. (Following the Sessions testimony, Jason Miller, a panelist on CNN, referred to Senator Harris as “hysterical,” most certainly a gendered analysis. CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers called out Miller’s gendered statement and pointed out how Miller believed neither Senators Harris (a woman of color) nor Wyden (a man) were “trying to get to the bottom of answers,” yet Miller called only Senator Harris “hysterical.”)

Earlier this year, during a Senate debate about Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was interrupted and then formally rebuked by Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for reading a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King about then-U.S. attorney Jeff Sessions, who had been nominated at that time for a federal judgeship. The letter had criticized Sessions for using “the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge.” (The Senate rejected Sessions’ nomination for that federal judgeship.) Later, three male senators read the same letter on the Senate floor, and none were rebuked.

Maybe Harris’ and Warren’s treatment is all about rules of decorum in the Senate. Decorum may be part of it; more than that, though, it appears to be the ages-old pernicious pattern of men interrupting women. It happens to most women, much of the time, in both personal and professional settings.

Continue reading “Woman Interrupted: The Pernicious Problem That’s Not Just in Our Heads”

The Importance of Legal Apprenticeship: Why There is no Substitute for the Master-Student Relationship

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“Never trust a teacher who does not have a teacher.”

-Unknown

On the first day of my Summer Clerkship in 2016 at the firm of Anspach Meeks Ellenberger LLP in Toledo, Ohio, Mark Meeks, a partner at the firm, sat me down in his office to give me the rundown of what I could expect during my twelve weeks there.  At that meeting, he stressed the importance of the work I would be doing, as well as the fact that most of it would be spent on what was going to turn out to be one of the most important cases the firm would try in years.  He also said something I will never forget: “What you learn in law school is a mile wide and an inch deep.”  He told me I would likely learn more during that summer than I did in my entire first year of law school.  I was skeptical, but by the end of the summer, I would come to understand what he meant.

My father, Robert Anspach, is founder and managing partner of the firm.  In his office there is a picture hanging on the wall of a man no older than my father is today.  If I didn’t know any better, I would have guessed it was his father.  It is, however, not a blood relative: it is a picture of Charlie W. Peckinpaugh, Jr., the man who mentored my father during his early, formative years as a practicing attorney, into the effective lawyer he is today. (Pictured above.)

The Master-Apprentice relationship has been around for millennia. (Consider, for example, one of the most well-known teacher-student relationships of Socrates and Plato).  In the study of Yoga (capital “Y,” for union of mind, body, and spirit), those who want to become teachers (or better yet, who are called to be teachers), learn to master their art by studying under this sort of tutelage. Continue reading “The Importance of Legal Apprenticeship: Why There is no Substitute for the Master-Student Relationship”