Congratulations to Marquette’s Billings, Exum & Frye Moot Court Competitors

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Marquette made a strong appearance at the Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition at Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina, and one team advanced to the quarterfinals. Participating in this year’s competition were 3Ls Lindita Hajdari and Taylor Olson, and Cole Bourjeois, Jenny Lehner, and Samantha Jozwiak. Congratulations to both teams on their success at the competition.

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Congratulations to the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

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Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Matt Kass and JP Curran. Congratulations also go to finalists Fefe Jaber and Nicole Jennings. Travis Goeden and Ruth Nord-Pekar won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief. Matt Kass 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. Michael Brennan, Hon. Thomas Hruz, and Hon. Mary Triggiano.

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Jenkins Competitors Advance to Finals

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Congratulations to the two teams that are advancing to the final round of the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition on April 5:

Team 1: Nicole Jennings & Fefe Jaber
Team 4: JP Curran & Matt Kass

All of the teams are to be congratulated for their hard work, competitive spirit, and zeal. We sincerely thank all the judges who graciously and enthusiastically took time from their weekend to judge the rounds. We are grateful.

Jenkins Competitors Advance to Semifinal Rounds

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This weekend our Jenkins Honors Moot Court competitors are continuing their arguments on the way to the final round. This morning, the teams competed in the quarterfinal round. The following teams have advanced to the semifinal rounds:

Team 1: Nicole Jennings & Fefe Jaber
Team 4: JP Curran & Matt Kass
Team 7: Jessica Zimpfer & Emily Ward
Team 9: Meg Wallace & Robyn Shepard

Congratulations, teams!

National Proofreading Day

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It’s the week before Spring Break at the Law School, which can mean only one thing: 1L briefs are due.

It’s timely, then, that today is National Proofreading Day. (It’s also International Women’s Day.) International Proofreading Day “highlights the importance of proofreading our own work.”

That’s easy enough to say, but less easy to do. Or at least, less easy to do well. Among the tips to effectively proofread are:

  • Let it “bake.” I’m not sure where I first heard this phrase, but it refers to setting aside your writing before beginning to proofread it. I always suggest setting aside a brief or memo for a day or so, but I understand that amount of time is not always available. Any amount of time away, though, allows you to return to your draft with fresh eyes.
  • Proof in hard copy. Hard copy edits are a must. You will see things about writing in hard copy that you will easily miss if you proofread only on screen.

    list of proofreaders' marks from the Chicago Manual of Style
    List of proofreaders’ marks, from the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Learn proofreader marks. If you’re going to proof in hard copy, it’s worth it to learn the marks that editors use. Knowing these marks will speed up your proofreading and—if you’re on the receiving end of a proofread document—make sense when you go to make the changes.
  • Monotask. That is, remove distractions—like your phone, email alerts, an open browser. It’s easier to focus when the distractions are set aside.
  • Know your tendencies. Maybe you have trouble with correctly placing apostrophes or passive voice creeps into your sentences. Make a list of the writing habits you know you need to watch for in your own writing, then consult that list as you proofread.
  • Shun autocorrect. Autocorrect does not catch every error; in fact, it always skips over correctly spelled words that are incorrect in context. Just ask my 1Ls, who must watch out for singers who are waving rights, rather than signers who are waiving rights.
  • Read aloud. Or backward. Or out of order. Approaching your document differently allows you to see (or hear) what’s really there, rather than what you know you’re written.

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NMCC Moot Court Team Goes to Nationals

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Please congratulate third-year law students Lauren Brasington and Carsyn Bushman for their success at the final rounds of the National Moot Court Competition (NMCC), co-hosted by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the New York City Bar Association and held virtually this year. The team was capably coached by Attorneys Kieran O’Day and Evan Thomsen.

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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.

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Moot Court Association Names Participants in the 2021 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition

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The Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition is the appellate moot court competition for Marquette law students and is the capstone event of the intramural 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 participants in the 2021 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition:

Olanrewaju (Lanre) Abiola
Lauren Brasington
Carsyn Bushman
Zach Caley
Alexandra (Sasha) Chepov
Ashleigh Dickey
Ben Edelstein
Laura Federico
Jack Flack
Kyle Frank
Charlie Hoffmann
Rebecca Klongland
Josh Kundert
Kevin Landgraf
Josh Le Noble
Alex Lux
Morgan Minter
Natalie Mulvey
Greg Procopio
Matt Rademacher
Thomas Sucevic
Christopher Vandeventer
Taylor Van Zeeland
Zak Wroblewski

The Jenkins preliminary rounds begin March 20, 2021, with the winning teams progressing through the quarterfinals, then semifinals, to the final round. The final round will take place the week of April 5, 2021. All rounds will take place virtually. Stay tuned for more details.

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

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.

Story-telling and the Law

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Tens-of-thousands of years ago human beings would gather near fires to keep the nightly darkness and danger at bay. Under the faint light of long-gone constellations, they would share stories. Stories of long-ago hunts and happenings that could no longer be remembered by any living soul. Dramatic stories of the beginning of the world, of gods big and small and the conflict between them all. Some of these stories were told with cave paintings, a smear of ash and suddenly a herd of elk would materialize on a cave wall.

Story-telling is fundamental to being human. As a collective species we surround ourselves in them and use them to relate to one another. The stories we tell can be light-hearted and full of levity. They might be tragic and heart wrenching. Usually, they are some sort of combination. Whether we realize or not we tell and retell stories every day. We relate the stories of our day to our significant others and friends after a day of work. We bond with our friends over stories of past exploits. Spend ten minutes with any child and you will be inundated with stories.

We use stories to make the complex simple and to craft narratives and mythos of the everyday. We judge the entertainment we consume based on how the stories contained within make us feel and award little golden statutes to those stories we deem best. The overwhelming majority of us will never receive a statute for the story of our own lives, but that doesn’t make them any less important.

From the criminal defendant to the corporation, there is always a story to tell. Which makes the legal profession’s aversion to stories and story telling all the more puzzling. The legal profession prides itself on brevity and regrettably this can sometimes lead to squeezing the humanity out of their story. A human being reduced to a mere two-dimensional caricature is a disservice to everyone. It reduces the humanity of the client and it embitters the attorney to see every client as a transaction, rather than someone who needs help with the complicated legal system. Much like an off-brand powdered juice mix the de-humanized, non-story recitation of a client’s issue can leave one wanting something more substantial.

It is easy to see why this happens. Attorneys at some firms live their lives 15 minutes at a time, constantly aware of the amount of time they spend on a given task. With limited space in written briefs and limited time in front of a judge to make their arguments it is tempting to jettison the human story that brought the suit in the first place. The U.S. Supreme Court for instance imposes a word limit of 9,000 words for Petitions for Writs of Certiorari and generally limits oral argument to an hour total on issues that affect the entire nation.

But despite the limitations placed on how an attorney has to advocate, we shouldn’t forget to tap into the human instinct. I didn’t realize the power inherent in stories until the spring semester of my second year of law school. Up to that point I had dogmatically followed the CREAC, (conclusion, rule, explanation, application, and conclusion) format and could never figure out why my legal writing was never as compelling as my peers. The answer was quite simple. I wasn’t writing a story for the fictional client, I was writing an instruction manual. There was no passion, no emotion, and as a result my writing suffered. I am glad to have learned that lesson. I had forgotten that everyone looks to the faint glow of constellations at night; that we seek out stories to help us understand the world.

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