In Remembrance of One Public Defender—and in Praise of All Such

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Howard EisenbergHoward B. Eisenberg’s yahrzeit, as some might say, is late this week: June 4 will mark 20 years since his death. We remember him at Marquette University Law School as our dean, a position in which he served with great effect and distinction but for too brief a time (1995 until his death in 2002). On occasional past anniversaries of his death, various of us have recalled one aspect or another of his deanship (a post last year contains various links).

Yet it is another part of Howard’s remarkable professional life to which I find myself often returning these days. For almost six years—from December 1972 to September 1978—Howard served as the State Public Defender, by appointment of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Without doubt, this was his great formative work after law school, and much that he did subsequently can be traced to those six years (we reprinted Howard’s full resume in the special memorial issue of the Marquette Law Review published upon his death, beginning at p. 208 in the journal’s numbering).

Without doubting the difficulties of a deanship (in Howard’s case, first with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and then at Marquette), Howard’s work as the State Public Defender was an extraordinary challenge. He was thrust into it barely a year out of law school and only months after finishing a clerkship with Justice Horace Wilkie of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. (What remarkable work Howard must have done as a law clerk to engender that sort of confidence from the court.) Howard met the challenge, at least insofar as anyone could have, as attested in the 2002 memorial issue by three of his former colleagues in the public defender’s office. Their essays capture an impressive amount of his work and even personality, as I am reminded by his occasional wry self-introduction in those years (recalled on p. 248): “I’m Howard Eisenberg, State Public Defender, which the Supreme Court thinks is Latin for ‘Judgment Affirmed.’”

I have never been a public defender, of course, although a long-running pro bono case that over the past decade Anne Berleman Kearney and I have handled, as appointed by the public defender’s office, has given me a small bit of relatively firsthand insight into the joys and (mostly) sorrows experienced by public defenders, at least in appellate matters (Howard’s métier). So I am reminded of him in that professional sphere as well.

In all events, this year, even as I recall Howard Eisenberg, I hope, looking forward, that we, as a legal profession and certainly as a law school, can celebrate the work of these extraordinary men and women: our public defenders. We are fortunate in Wisconsin to have the leadership of Kelli Thompson, L’96, as the State Public Defender, and her colleagues include Tom Reed, longtime adjunct professor here. To preview an upcoming issue of the Marquette Lawyer magazine (the one coming out not in a couple of days but in late 2022), I imagine that we will have more to say there. For what it is worth here, I wish to say that the work of all of these individuals has my great admiration.

Recalling (and Rehearing) Howard Eisenberg

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Howard B. Eisenberg

Howard B. Eisenberg, dean of Marquette Law School from 1995 to 2002, died nineteen years ago today. That number may not have independent significance or resonance (unlike, say, 18, in Jewish tradition as I understand it, or 20, for a round number), but we may agree that it is now some time ago. Yet no one will doubt that Howard’s spirit—indeed, legacy—lives on here at the Law School, even in Eckstein Hall, opened more than eight years after his death.

Our Office of Public Service, which we created in 2006 and now house in the Howard B. Eisenberg Suite, has been our most significant institutional effort to ensure his legacy of “doing good,” as Alan Borsuk noted as recently as a week ago, in this Marquette Lawyer article. In light of this evidence surrounding us all, there seems no need to post at length on his yahrzeit. “Si monumentum requiris, circumspice,” one is tempted to say (well, I am, anyway).

Yet I wanted to use this blog to mark the anniversary, pointing anyone interested to two previous posts: one by me, twelve years ago today, whose virtue is that it contains a link to the wonderful 2002 special issue of the Marquette Law Review, remembering Howard in so many different ways (and through so many different eyes); and the other a decade ago, by our longtime colleague, now-retired Professor (and Justice) Janine P. Geske, whose welcome advantage is that it enables you to hear Howard’s very voice on a special topic: “What’s a Nice Jewish Boy Like Me Doing in a Place Like This?”

May his memory be for a blessing.

Marquette Law School: 1989 v. 2019

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The Year 1989: The Berlin wall came down, the world wide web was invented, Seinfeld first aired, and, not quite as significant for the planet, my dad, Michael Haggenjos, graduated from Marquette Law School. (He also felt the need to remind me that it was the year certain celebrities, such as Taylor Swift and Danielle Radcliffe, were born.)

My dad devoted a large portion of his earlier blog post talking about some of the events in my life leading up to my decision to go to law school, and the subsequent direction my law school career has taken towards litigation. While it’s true that it took me longer to realize what I wanted to be when I grew up, I did eventually have that moment where I knew I wanted to go to law school. It happened around my junior year of college, when I was studying at UW-Madison.

I found myself at a crossroads: Do I go to grad school and get my doctorate in English Literature so that I can teach at the university level? Or, do I follow in my dad’s footsteps and go to law school? In order to find an answer, I decided to take the philosophy of logic at the suggestion of my advisor. It may sound cheesy, but after a single class I was hooked, and I knew from that moment on that I was going to attend law school.

Although my dad and I have now both attended Marquette Law School, our law school experiences are quite different in several very important ways. Continue reading “Marquette Law School: 1989 v. 2019”

New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Discusses the Search for Better Outcomes in the World of Law Enforcement (Post 3 of 3)

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Environmental Law, Lubar Center, Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Milwaukee Public Schools, Prisoner Rights, Race & Law, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Discusses the Search for Better Outcomes in the World of Law Enforcement (Post 3 of 3)

A drawing of a policeman sitting on a badge. This third and final post reflecting the “In Search of Better Outcomes” theme of the new Marquette Lawyer magazine begins with a third pair of articles, the one that actually provides the quoted phrase (see here and here for the previous posts and previous pairs). These last two articles, with a brief introduction, look at the impact of law enforcement on people on different sides of the badge—and at possibilities for better outcomes both for those in law enforcement who are affected negatively by the cumulative trauma with which they deal and for offenders upon release, after they have served time in incarceration.

“Behind the Badge: A Growing Sense of the Need in Law Enforcement to C ope with Trauma” is an edited transcript of a panel discussion involving four people who have served in law enforcement. They offer insights on the need for better avenues for getting help for those who see so much violence and extreme behavior as part of their jobs protecting the public. The discussion was part of Law School’s Restorative Justice Initiative conference on November 9, 2018, titled “The Power of Restorative Justice in Healing Trauma in Our Community.”

“Putting a Period at the End of the Sentence,” an article by Alan Borsuk, draws on a conference, on October 4, 2018, of the Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education. Titled “Racial Inequality, Poverty, and the Criminal Justice System,” the gathering focused on issues facing people who are returning to the general community after incarceration. The story features some of the keynote remarks by Bruce Western, a sociology professor at Columbia University and author of Homeward: Life in the Year After Prison (2018). It also reports on observations by leaders of programs in the Milwaukee area that aim to help people leaving incarceration establish stable lives in the community.

Continue reading “New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Discusses the Search for Better Outcomes in the World of Law Enforcement (Post 3 of 3)”

Remembering Professor Ray Klitzke

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Headshot photo of Professor Ray Klitzke wearing a suit and tie.The Marquette Law School community was saddened to learn of the death March 29 of Emeritus Professor of Law Ramon (“Ray”) Klitzke.  He was 90 years old.

Named by his mother after silent screen star Ramon Novarro, Ray had ramrod straight posture and an athletic build.  He was a competitive swimmer and diver throughout his life.  He cut a dashing figure in the hallways of Sensenbrenner Hall, not unlike his namesake.

Ray was a devoted teacher and scholar.  Ray also served the Wisconsin State Bar in a variety of capacities during his career, serving at various times as Reporter for the Local Government Section, Reporter for the Administrative Law Section and Chairman of the  Patent, Trademark & Copyright Section.  During Ray’s tenure as a full time faculty member, I doubt that there was a single Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin State Bar that did not include Ray on the agenda in some form, usually as a presenter providing an update on recent legal developments in his field.

Ray retired from the Marquette Law School faculty in 1994.

I valued Ray as a friend, as a colleague, and as a valuable contributor to the Wisconsin legal community.  He leaves his wife Doris, his children Ramon, Albert and Ann and their spouses, and an extended family of grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Services will be held tomorrow April 5 at Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Brookfield.  More information about Ray’s life, the visitation and services is available here.


Interview with an Esquire

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 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 Sensenbrenner Hallschool 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. 

Continue reading “Interview with an Esquire”

J. Gordon Hylton: In Memoriam 1952-2018

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Headshot of the late Professor Gordon Hylton.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.

Continue reading “J. Gordon Hylton: In Memoriam 1952-2018”

Remembering Professor Gordon Hylton

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Headshot of the late Professor Gordon Hylton.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 Law Professor Who Coached the Marquette Football Team

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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.

After completing his college career, Heikkinen was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National Football League.  Because of concerns over his size and his interest in playing professional football he was not chosen in the 1939 draft until the 12th round, the #105 overall pick.  Since the end of the 1938 college season, Heikkinen had been on the fence on the issue of professional football, and initially appeared to be leaning toward remaining at the University of Michigan as a graduate or law student who would also coach the linemen on the freshmen football team.

Finally, after accepting an invitation to play in the 1939 College All-Star game, which pitted the top senior collegians against the NFL campion Washington Redskins, “Heik,” as he was known, decided to sign with the Dodgers.

However, the football success he had achieved in Ann Arbor was not to be repeated in Brooklyn.  Even though NFL players in 1939 were much smaller then than they are today, Heikkinen was undersized by the NFL lineman standards of the time. Also, having missed the pre-season because of his indecision and his participation in the College All-Star game (which was won by Washington, 27-20), he had trouble earning playing time after his arrival in Brooklyn.

Although one of the Dodgers’ 1938 guards had retired and the other had been moved to tackle, Heikkinen lost out in the competition for the two guard positions to two other, less-heralded rookies.  After only three games of the 1939 season (in only two of which he actually played) the Dodgers simply released Heikkinen rather than keep him on the bench while paying his salary.

Some published accounts reported that the release had been that Heikkinen’s request so that he could accept a coaching position at the University of Virginia.  Whatever the reasons for his release, within three weeks, Heikkinen was in Charlottesville, Virginia.  There, he accepted a position as assistant line coach for the school’s football team which has coached by former Marquette head coach Frank Murray.  At the same time he enrolled as a first year student at the University of Virginia Law School, even though the fall semester was already underway.

For the next five football seasons, Heikkinen was an assistant coach on the Virginia football team.  In 1940, he was promoted to head line coach, a position that he would hold for the next five seasons. Virginia’s football fortunes increased dramatically after Heikkinen’s arrival, but that probably had more to do with the simultaneous appearance of future Hall of Famer halfback “Bullet Bill” Dudley, arguably the greatest player in the school’s history.  Although the team’s fortunes fell off after Dudley graduated, in 1944, the team had its second best record since 1925.

When not coaching the Cavaliers, Heikkinen divided his time between his legal studies and his involvement with the University of Virginia’s Flight Preparatory School which was established as part of the United States Navy’s V-12 program during the Second World War.  According to the University records, Heikkinen was enrolled as a law student in 1939-40; 1940-41; and 1944-45, although it seems likely that his coaching duties kept him from taking a full load of courses during the fall semester, and he may have taken classes in 1941-42 and 1943-44 to catch up for the work that he had missed.

In 1943 and 1944, he was an instructor in aeriel navigation and physical education for Naval Officers enrolled at UVA under the V-12 program.  (The UVA football teams in 1943 and 1944 were greatly strengthened by the presence of the Navy students who were eligible for intercollegiate sports.)  It is entirely possible that Heikkinen was also enrolled in the Navy Reserves between 1942 and 1944, in preparation for his service to the V-12 program.

In spite of his protracted time as a law student, Heikkinen excelled academically.  When he graduated, he ranked number 1 in his class, and he was selected to Phi Beta Kappa and was one of two law students in 1944 honored with membership in the Order of the Coif.  He was also chosen as a member of the University’s prestigious Raven Society.  Although his work schedule was not really compatible with law review membership, he did become a member of the staff of the Virginia Law Review during his final semester in law school.

After graduating from law school in June of 1944, Heikkinen remained on Murray’s coaching staff.  However, at the conclusion of the 1944 season, he announced his resignation from his coaching position and his decision to accept an associate’s position with the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine and Moore.

While practicing law in New York, Heikkinen kept his hand in the world of football by serving as a scout for Lou Little’s football program at Columbia University during the 1945 and 1946 seasons.

Following the 1945 season, Coach Murray left the University of Virginia and returned to his previous employer, Marquette University, where he was a legendary figure.  As the head football coach of Marquette from 1922 to 1936, the Golden Avalanche/Hilltoppers compiled a won-lost record of 90-32-6, culminating with an appearance in the inaugural Cotton Bowl during Murray’s final game at the helm. Neither of his successors, Paddy Driscoll and Tom Stidham, came close to matching Murray’s success on the playing field, and in 1946, Murray was enthusiastically welcomed back to Marquette.

In 1946, Murray’s first season after his return, the Golden Avalanche went 4-5-0.  At the conclusion of the season, head line coach Al Thomas decided to step down. Thomas had actually been Heikkinen’s replacement at the University of Virginia, and he had come back to Marquette with Murray in 1945.  As a replacement for Thomas, Murray seized on the idea of convincing Heikkinen to return to the coaching ranks. Heikkinen was initially reluctant to return to coaching, but Marquette was willing to sweeten the pot a good deal by offering Heikkinen a full time position as Associate Professor of Law as well as a job as Murray’s chief assistant with the football team.

Moreover, Murray suffered a heart attack in the spring of 1947, a development that would require his role in the management of the football program to be reduced for the rest of the calendar year.  As a result, Heikkinen was offered the chance to run the football team’s spring practice in April and to coach the team from the bench during regular season games in the fall (although Murray would officially remain the head coach).  Heikkinen accepted the position in April of 1947, with the stipulation that he would be allowed to retain his New York affiliations and would be free to return to New York at the end of the 1947-48 academic year, if he chose to do so.  He arrived in time to oversee the 1947 spring practice.

The law school that Heikkinen joined in 1947 was thriving, as more than 400 students, many of whom were ex-GI’s, streamed into its hallways.  (Three years earlier, during the War, the enrollment had fallen to 44 students.)  Over the past two years Dean Francis X. Swietlik had quickly rebuilt the law faculty which had been largely dismantled during the war years.

To accommodate the influx of students anxious to return to civilian life and get on with their legal careers, the law school had decided to continue the “three semesters per year” curriculum that it had embraced during World War II.  With full length Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters each year, this format meant that law students could graduate from the law school in just two years.  Heikkinen’s first class was part of the Summer 1947 semester.

The addition of Heikkinen brought the number of professors on the law faculty to 15, which included eight full-time professors.  Four–Dean Francis Swietlik, Francis Darneider, E. Harold Hallows, and Willis Lang —were full professors, while four others–James Ghiardi (who joined the faculty in January 1946, after returning from military service in Europe), Warner Hendrickson, Kenneth Luce, and Heikkinen—were associate professors. Of the eight full-time professors, four—Darneider, Swietlik, Lang, and Ghiardi–were Marquette Law School alums, while the other four had law degrees from Michigan, Chicago, Harvard, and Virginia.

In addition, the faculty included seven part-time lecturers and instructors, and a regent, Rev. Edward McGrath, S.J., a Jesuit who was also a professor of jurisprudence. The most prominent of the part-time faculty was Milwaukee lawyer Carl Rix, who taught Property and who was wrapping up his term as president of the American Bar Association.

Associate Professors Ghiardi and Heikkinen, who were only a year apart in age, were both from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (although from opposite ends) and quickly became great friends, often socializing with their wives and with colleague and fellow-Michiganer Kenneth Luce and his spouse.

As a teacher Heikkinen appears to have been readily accepted by his colleagues.  He taught a variety of courses, but he specialized in corporations and security transactions, and during the 1947-48 academic year, he and Luce contributed an article on recent developments in Wisconsin corporation law to the Marquette Law Review.  Although he was a football coach, Heikkinen had a surprisingly soft speaking voice.  As an AP wire service story noted in November of 1947, he had “such a low-pitched voice that he uses a microphone during classroom hours.”

He was also quite conscientious when it came to making sure that his coaching duties and opportunities did not interfere with his classes.  Shortly after he joined the faculty in the summer of 1947, he declined a much coveted invitation to coach the North team in the Upper Peninsula High School All-Star football game because it would have required him to cancel some classes.  During several away games during the football season that fall Coach Heik had to follow the team in a later train, and in one case, take an airplane, to avoid having to miss any classes.

Under the joint direction of Murray and Heikkinen, the 1947 Marquette football team got off to a roaring start, defeating South Dakota, St. Louis University and Detroit Mercy in its first three games by a combined score of 101 to 47.  The winning streak came to an end, however, in game four when the Hilltoppers lost in Milwaukee to a fellow Jesuit school, the University of San Francisco, 34-13.  Trailing 28-0 at half, Marquette was never in the ballgame, and the victory elevated the California school to #20 in the Associated Press rankings.

Marquette may have been over-confident coming into the San Francisco game, given that the team was undefeated, and San Francisco was coming off a home loss to Mississippi State.  The next week featured the game that most Marquette fans felt was the most important of the season, the annual match-up with the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

The 1947 game, like all the others in the series, was played at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, and pitted the 3-1-0 Hilltoppers against the 2-1-1 Badgers.  Even though Madison was coming off of a 9-0 upset of #12 Yale the week before, Marquette fans seemed confident that this could be one of the rare years that the Catholic school might win out over the state university.

In spite of optimistic predictions of success, Marquette’s offense simply could not gain any traction, and single touchdowns in the first three quarters put the UW ahead 21-0 before MU finally scored.   The Badgers subsequently added two more TD’s to Marquette’s one, for a final score of 35-14.

The suddenly dispirited Hilltoppers proceeded to lose their next three games to Michigan State, Villanova, and Indiana, all of which had winning records in 1947.  The team finally rebounded in its last game of the season which required it to travel to Phoenix the weekend before Thanksgiving.  There, it defeated the 5-2-0 Arizona Wildcats.  Rolling to a 33-7 lead in the third quarter, Marquette coasted to a 39-21 victory to bring its final record to 4-5-0, the same mark it had achieved in 1946.  However, the season did at least end on a positive note.

Although many Marquette law students had played on the university football team in the years before World War II, the growing expectation that law students in the post-war era would be college graduates all but eliminated the law school football player.  It does not appear that any law students played on the varsity football team during Heikkinen’s year as coach.

Following the end of the football season on November 22, Heikkinen continued to be an active faculty member at the law school, and most members of the law school community assumed that he would remain at Marquette the following year.  He participated in the spring football practice in late April of 1948, and several newspapers reported that he would be part of the Marquette coaching staff in 1948.  However, in August, the university announced that Heikkinen had resigned both his law school and coaching positions so that he could return to law practice in New York.

According to Heikkinen’s friend Jim Ghiardi in a 2014 interview, no one at Marquette ever knew exactly why Heikkinen decided to leave the law school after only one year on the faculty.  He may have been disappointed with Murray’s decision to return to full-time coaching in 1948, which would have diminished his role in the program.  He also may have simply missed practicing law; after accepting the coaching position in the spring of 1947, he briefly considered turning down the faculty position in favor of a position with a Milwaukee law firm.  Also, by the summer of 1948, Heikkinen’s wife was pregnant with the couple’s third child, and Heikkenen may have decided that he could better support his planned large family—the Heikkinen’s ultimately had six children—on the salary of a Wall Street lawyer than he could on his modest assistant football coach-law professor salary at Marquette.

On the Marquette Law School faculty, Heikkinen was replaced by a young law professor named Leo W. Leary, who left the faculty at the University of Texas to return to his native Wisconsin in the fall of 1948. While he never coached the football team, Leary became a Marquette Law School legend in his own right over the next three decades. If you want to strike up an interesting conversation with any Marquette alum over age 70, just ask him or her what they thought of Leo Leary.

Shortly after his return to law practice in New York, Heikkinen became the executive secretary and attorney for the Studebaker-Packard Corporation, an automobile company that had been a Cravath client.  In 1958, he left Studebaker and went to work in the legal department of General Motors, where he remained until his retirement in 1978.  At different times in his life Heikkinen apparently battled alcohol problems, and at General Motors he was responsible for initiating and establishing corporation-wide alcohol treatment and education programs.  After leaving Marquette, he never again worked as a football coach, but at his induction into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 1973, he was also identified as a former professional football scout, so his involvement with the sport may have continued after 1948.

Heikkinen died in Michigan in 1990, where he lived in the Detroit suburbs.

Although there have not been very many, Ralph Heikkinen was not the only combination football coach and law professor in American history.  Lawyer and Hall of Fame coach Daniel McGugin coached the Vanderbilt football team and taught occasional classes at the Vanderbilt law school during the first three decades of the 20th century.  Similarly, Fred Folsom taught part-time at the University of Colorado Law School while coaching the school’s football team from 1908 to 1915.  However, unlike McGugin and Folsom, Heikkinen was a full-time law professor, and he managed to hold both positions in the post-World War II era, when both coaching and law teaching were more demanding tasks than they had been forty years earlier.

Since it appears that Heikkinen is the only person to have been a full-time major college football coach and full-time law professor at the same time, it is entirely appropriate that he accomplished this distinction at the Marquette University Law School where the connection between law and sports has long been recognized.

Gordon Hylton is a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.  Prior to joining the faculty at UVA, Professor Hylton was a longtime member of the Marquette University Law School faculty.

Remembering Professor James Ghiardi

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Law professor James Ghiardi stands at a podium and lectures to a class, circa 1985.
Law professor James Ghiardi stands at a podium and lectures to a class, circa 1985.

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).


Forty-Five Plus Years – Wow!!!!

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Public2 Comments on Forty-Five Plus Years – Wow!!!!
John Kircher teaches a law school class, 1986
John Kircher teaches a law school class, 1986

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!!!!”

The School of Don Walker

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School History, Milwaukee, Public1 Comment on The School of Don Walker

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.

That’s one big reason – but only one – why Don will be missed. He collapsed and died Friday at home, apparently of a heart attack. He was 62.    Continue reading “The School of Don Walker”

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