My father, John Van Lieshout, got his J.D. from Marquette University Law School in 1981. He currently practices law at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren here in Milwaukee. Since it’s been thirty-eight years since he walked these hallowed halls as a student, I interviewed him to get the scoop on what law school was like for him. I knew that there would be differences big and small, but I am happy to report that just as he reports feeling great affection for law both in its nature and because of the connections he made, I feel like coming to Marquette was one of the best choices of my life. I hope you enjoy his fond recollections of his time at MULS, whether you are a current student or a former one, and if you are a member of the graduating class of 1981, please feel free to reach out!
“The law school used to be six or seven classrooms and a hallway, to put it simply. You saw everyone in that hallway. At that time, there were more women than men, and most of the women did not come directly from undergrad. Many of them had been teachers before deciding to study law. We had contracts, torts, and property both semester one and two. We kept the same sections and the same professors through both semesters, which made the transition much easier. Unlike at Eckstein Hall, our lockers were two feet long and two feet deep; they basically only fit textbooks. There was not room for a winter coat or boots.
On May second, the Marquette community lost one of its most interesting, wonderfully eccentric, and beloved members, Professor Gordon Hylton, who died of complications from cancer. Academics by and large are an enthusiastic group of people with extraordinary jobs that give them a privileged opportunity to study and share their passions with colleagues and students. No one more thoroughly enjoyed and reveled in being part of that world than Gordon Hylton. He was a devoted teacher, a relentless, careful, and thorough scholar, and a cherished colleague.
I personally found Gordon to be one of the most interesting people of my acquaintance largely because he had so many interests, found so many things fascinating, and, aided by a legendary memory, pursued them with passion and rigor and a remarkable urge to synthesize, to explain everything. And he was generous. He enjoyed nothing so much as chatting with his students and his colleagues about baseball, country music, the odd personalities who sat on the Supreme Court, the reasonableness of property doctrines, the early history of Christianity, and always with great enthusiasm and courtesy, as if knowledge and insight were both important and the most fun.
Professor Hylton was a native of Pearisburg, a small town (population, 2,699 in 2016) in Giles County in the SW corner of Virginia near the border with West Virginia. He began his college and university career at Oberlin College in Ohio, where, he often explained, he enrolled because they let him play baseball. In the course of his four years at Oberlin, the student radio station also let him host a country music program in the late night, early early morning hours. Oberlin nurtured a pronounced competitive streak. His roommates recall Gordon organizing them to enter a team in every intramural sport including inner tube water polo despite the fact that Gordon did not know how to swim, something his teammates discovered only well into the water polo season.
The Marquette Law School community is saddened by the news that Professor J. Gordon Hylton has passed away at age 65, following a battle with cancer.
Gordon was a wonderful colleague on the Law School faculty. He joined the faculty at Marquette University Law School in 1995, after teaching previously at the Chicago-Kent College of Law of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Gordon left Marquette Law School in 2015 to join the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law full time (having visited at UVA many semesters previously). He also served a memorable year as the Fulbright Professor of Law at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kiev, Ukraine. A wonderful In Memoriam webpage celebrating Gordon’s career appears on the website of the University of Virginia School of Law.
Gordon taught courses in Property Law, Trusts and Estates, and Legal History, among others, and was also closely involved with the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette Law School. He was a frequent contributor to the Marquette Law School Faculty Blog, where he was known for his posts on the history of Marquette Law School in general and on the often overlooked athletes who had a historical connection with our institution. His blog posts were sometimes quirky, often obscure, but always among the most interesting to appear on the Faculty Blog. Continue reading “Remembering Professor Gordon Hylton”
The Marquette University Law School has long been associated with the world of sports. Although the National Sports Law Institute has represented the connection in recent years, the school’s relationship to the sports industry goes back much further than the 1989 founding of the Institute. Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, later the first Commissioner of Baseball, was a lecturer at the law school shortly after it opened; Carl Zollmann, the first major sports law scholar, was on the Marquette Law faculty from 1922 to 194; and a number of outstanding athletes, including Green Bay Packer end and future U. S. Congressman Lavvy Dilweg and Olympic Gold Medalist (and future congressman) Ralph Metcalf studied at the law school in its early years.
However, no one has ever combined the two fields more perfectly than Prof. Ralph I. Heikkenin who, during the 1947-48 academic year, both taught full-time at the law school and coached the Marquette varsity football team, at a time when the team played at the highest level of collegiate competition.
Heikkinen was already well known to sports fans in the upper Midwest when it was announced that he would be joining the Marquette faculty and staff in the spring of 1947. A native of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Heikkinen had grown up in the community of Ramsey. He had enrolled in the University of Michigan in the fall of 1935 where he excelled academically. Not only was he an outstanding student, but he was a published poet and the president of the student government. On top of that, he was an under-sized lineman who made the powerful Michigan football team as a walk on.
Although he began his career as an unheralded newcomer, by the time he was a junior, Heikkinen had developed into one of the best two-way linemen in the country. Although just 6’ tall and weighing only 183 pounds, he was voted as his school’s MVP during both his junior and senior years and was chosen unanimously as a guard on the 1938 All-American team. During Heikkinen’s senior year, the Wolverines, under new coach Fritz Chrisler, narrowly missed a perfect season thanks to a narrow 7-6 defeat at the hands of Minnesota, in which Michigan botched an extra point kick, and a 0-0 tie with Northwestern, which featured a Michigan missed field goal from the 6 yard line. Even so, the team finished the season 6-1-1, ranked #16 in the country in the final Associated Press poll. Continue reading “The Law Professor Who Coached the Marquette Football Team”
James D. Ghiardi, professor emeritus, passed away yesterday, at the age of 97. Jim was a Marquette lawyer, from our Class of 1942, and after service in World War II served as a member of our faculty, active or retired, for almost 70 years. From his first-year Torts course to his (somewhat) gentler approach with upper-level students, as I understand it, Professor Ghiardi was the legendary member of the Marquette Law School faculty for more than a generation. Professor Ghiardi enjoyed immense respect and esteem from Marquette lawyers—his former students.
Jim had retired by the time I arrived in 1997, but he remained a presence at the Law School until as recently as a few months ago. He was unfailingly gracious and supportive to me even before I became dean—indeed, from my earliest days on the faculty. I have been fortunate to count him among my colleagues and friends. At the same time, it seems appropriate to let speak here one of my predecessors as dean—indeed, one of Professor Ghiardi’s former students. Robert F. Boden wrote the following of Professor Ghiardi in 1971:
I first knew him when I was one of 160 terrified freshmen students entering Law School in the fall of 1949. As a student I came to respect him as a fine teacher. As a fellow member of the bar, a fellow Marquette alumnus, faculty colleague, and finally as his Dean, I have come to respect him as a gentleman and a scholar. Few are more zealous in their loyalty to the University and to the profession. Few also have the industry and capacity for work that manifests itself every day in Professor Ghiardi’s vigorous and devoted attention to the responsibilities which he has assumed in the Law School and in the many other related activities which he has undertaken.
In a quarter century of teaching of tort and insurance law, Professor Ghiardi has come to be recognized nationally as one of the academic leaders in this area of the law. Since 1962 he has served as Research Director of the Defense Research Institute, the national research and educational arm of the defense bar. He is often called upon to address legal organizations throughout the country in the field of his expertise, and his long record of publication in the leading bar journals of the country is a further manifestation of his accomplishments in legal scholarship.
Dean Boden made these remarks in the context of dedicating, on behalf of the student editors, a volume of the Marquette Law Review to Professor Ghiardi. The dedication, which also notes Professor Ghiardi’s unusual service as the president of the Wisconsin bar, may be read here.
It concludes by expressing “certain[ty] in the fact that [Professor Ghiardi] will continue for many more years to reflect the highest ideals of his University and his profession.” Dean Boden was right to be so certain in his remarks nearly forty-five years ago. The loss of Jim Ghiardi now diminishes us, but his work and life magnified us—and as a legacy will continue to do so. Requiescat in pace.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, January 24th at Feerick Funeral Home, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. A visitation will also be held starting at 9:30 AM on Monday, January 25th, followed by the celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial at the Church of the Gesu, 1145 W. Wisconsin Ave. at 10:30 AM. Committal Services and Military Honors will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery, 7301 W. Nash, after the Mass. A lunch will follow at 1:30 PM at the Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago Ave.
Memorials in Jim’s name may be made to the Marquette University Law School, (James D. Ghiardi and Phyllis A. Ghiardi Scholarship Fund), or to the Milwaukee Catholic Home (Employee Fund).
Editor’s Note: This semester, Marquette University Law School students will hear the immortal words, “I already have a friend,” for the last time. After a legendary career, Professor Jack Kircher will end his teaching duties in December. He has influenced and inspired thousands of Marquette Lawyers over the past four-plus decades, and he has graciously agreed to share some reflections on his career. And if you don’t understand the reference to “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” the answer can be found in John Mortimer’s delightful television series “Rumpole of the Bailey.”
Someone, possibly me, once said that if you find a job you love you will never again work another day in your life. That speaks well of my time here at the Law School. My work here has been, with all apologies to “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” a love affair.
But my goal, leaving here as a graduate, was not to become a Law Professor. I wanted to be a lawyer who would spend most of the time in a courtroom. That is how I started, but then came the phone call. It was from Professor James D. Ghiardi, my most favorite teacher during my three student years here at the Law School. He asked me to join him as his assistant at the Defense Research Institute (DRI). It was a national think tank for lawyers who defend insurance and personal injury litigation. It involved a lot of research, writing and editing. It was then and there I learned, for the first time, that Jim had two full-time jobs.
My initial thought at his call was pride that he would seek me out to join him. I also came to the conclusion that if I did not like the new job I could always go back to the courtroom. But I did not go back to the court room. But how did I end up in the classroom? The first step again relates to Jim. Continue reading “Forty-Five Plus Years – Wow!!!!”
Several people have used the phrase “old school” when talking about Don Walker. I know what they mean and it is certainly intended as a compliment.
But I want to make sure no one thinks that what Don did as a news reporter and editor for 37 years in Milwaukee was in any way out of date.
The Don Walker approach to news was to get to know all you can about important subjects and to tell what you know to the public in as clear and straight-forward a way as you could. That’s something we need so much these days. That’s why whatever he wrote, whatever subject he was covering, his reporting was a must-read for anyone who wanted to know what was going on.
As I have described elsewhere on this blog, Marquette Law School Dean Francis X. Swietlik played a prominent role in public affairs during the Second World War, primarily because of his leadership role in the American Polish Community. As the leader of the “Chicago Poles,” as Midwesterners of Polish descent were known, Swietlik advised President Franklin Roosevelt on Polish issues and was a national spokesman for the cause of his ancestral country — Swietlik had been born in Milwaukee in 1899 — which had been dismembered in 1939 by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Marquette’s men’s basketball program has produced a long line of All-American basketball players. The ranks of this elite group include such notable hoopsters as George Thompson, Maurice Lucas, Dwayne Wade, Jim Chones, Dean Meminger, Earl Tatum, and Butch Lee.
However, the first Marquette basketball All-American was 6’2” guard Edward “Boops” Mullen who played for the Hilltoppers (as the team was then known) from 1931 to 1934. Mullen was named as a first team selection to the Converse All-American team following the conclusion of his final varsity season, during which he had been enrolled as a first year Marquette law student.
Justice Janine P. Geske, Distinguished Professor of Law at Marquette Law School, received the Faithful Servant Award from the Milwaukee chapter of the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society at its annual Red Mass dinner on October 10. The Faithful Servant Award is given to recognize a person “who, in the course of religious, legal, community, public or human services, has exemplified in outstanding fashion the commitments and steadfast dedication of Thomas More, first to Almighty God, and to family life, statesmanship, and the law.” Presenting the award was the Honorable Diane Sykes. Judge Sykes praised Professor Geske’s lifetime of service to the legal profession.
Howard Eisenberg, dean of Marquette law school from 1995 until his untimely death at age 55 in 2002, was renowned as an appellate litigator. After his death, the American Academy of Appellate Litigators created the Howard Eisenberg Award in his honor to be given annually to the best article on appellate practice and procedure published in a journal. (One of the winners of this award is our own Prof. Oldfather.)
Howard’s talents evidenced themselves early in his career, beginning with a highly successful performance in Moot Court at the University of Wisconsin Law School. The picture below recently resurfaced on the Internet and shows Howard’s championship moot court team from 1970. Howard is the individual on the far right of the photo.
A fuller description of Dean Eisenberg’s career can be found here.
The following essay is based on remarks delivered at the April 2011 Marquette Law Review banquet that marked the 95th anniversary of the journal.
In December of 1916, Volume 1, Issue # 1 of the Marquette Law Review rolled off the presses. The new publication announced itself as “A Journal Published Quarterly during the School Year by the Marquette Law Students.” The cover price was 35-cents per number, but an entire year’s subscription could be had for one dollar.
(By way of comparison, tuition and fees for students in 1916 were $60 for day students and $40 for those enrolled in the evening division. Relative to today’s tuition rates, that would be equivalent of $200 for an individual issue and about $600 for a year’s subscription. As current students have probably noticed, the cost of law school has gone up a good bit since 1916.)