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.

Celebrating the Class of 2022—Old Traditions and New Elements

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Hon. Elizabeth B. Prelogar
       Hon. Elizabeth B. Prelogar

It was my privilege to be in the splendid courtroom of the Wisconsin Supreme Court yesterday (Monday, May 23) to move the admission of Marquette law graduates to the bar. They graduated this past weekend, so such admission was their privilege, by virtue of receiving our diploma, meeting the court’s curricular requirements, and satisfying its character and fitness standards. In looking for a prior such motion that I had made, I came upon the one from 2015, where I noted that it was the twelfth consecutive May that I had appeared before the court for this purpose. I seemed to expect to do this annually until I should no longer be dean. In fact, the “streak” soon ended, in 2016, when an injury prevented my appearance before the Court—and then of course, a few years later, there would be the pandemic. Even then, the Court, on paper in 2020 and in the Wisconsin Assembly chamber in 2021, went to great lengths to ensure the prompt admission of our graduates via the diploma privilege.

The 2022 end-of-year proceedings seemed more like old times, though with some new elements. We convened for our Hooding Ceremony this past Saturday evening in the elegant, historic Milwaukee Theatre, as for many years. Yet this year, it was also our Commencement Ceremony, as Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell had delegated to me the authority, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, to confer the J.D. degree on each of our graduating students. Hannah Chin, a graduate selected by her classmates, addressed the ca. 1,300 people in attendance, reminding us of all that our 2022 graduates have earned and gained throughout the past three difficult years. The commencement address was delivered by the federal government’s top lawyer before the U.S. Supreme Court: the Hon. Elizabeth B. Prelogar, solicitor general of the United States. Solicitor General Prelogar, in her first trip ever to Wisconsin, gave a substantial amount of wise counsel. Yet my own wisdom, in inviting her, you will permit me to say, seemed entirely confirmed by her unexpected but most welcome rousing endorsement of the “Oxford comma”—and her exhorting, if not quite enjoining, the graduates always to use it. Of course, Solicitor General Prelogar highlighted not just punctuation but also such (other) foundational topics as the need to put oneself in uncomfortable circumstances in order to grow professionally, the importance of being kind to those above and below oneself in any group, and the value of always carrying a notepad (see what I did there, including that last comma?). There was much to be learned from the evening’s guest addresses.

The completion of the program entitling one to a Marquette law degree is a substantial accomplishment, I always tell our graduates. This is so “in any era,” I said in my remarks this year. It did not seem necessary for me to engage in any larger discussion of the pandemic. Yet, truly, I extend particular kudos to the newest group of Marquette lawyers, and I express much gratitude to all involved in their education, graduation, and admission to the bar.

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.

Continue reading “Congratulations to the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists”

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!

Jenkins Competitors Advance to Quarterfinals

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This weekend the Law School hosted our Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition in person for the first time since 2019. Congratulations to the students advancing to the quarterfinal round:

Team 1: Nicole Jennings & Fefe Jaber
Team 2: Bailey Groh Rasmussen & Aimeé Treviño
Team 4: JP Curran & Matt Kass
Team 6: Jake Apostolu & Hunter Cone
Team 7: Jessica Zimpfer & Emily Ward
Team 9: Meg Wallace & Robyn Shepard
Team 10: Samantha Jozwiak & Kyle Kasper
Team 13: Travis Goeden & Ruth Nord-Pekar

Continue reading “Jenkins Competitors Advance to Quarterfinals”

Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Dixon, Jozwiak, and Knackert

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This past fall, the Milwaukee Association for Women Lawyers (AWL) Foundation honored three Marquette University Law School students with scholarships.

Sebrina Dixon, 3L, 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.

head shot of Sebrina Dixon
Sebrina Dixon, 3L

Dixon is an Iowa native and a graduate of Iowa State University. Although she double majored in psychology and criminal justice, she found tax law in law school and settled into her niche. She is the co-founder and co-president of the new Tax Law Association. Dixon is a member of the student chapter of AWL and the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and is a staff editor of the Marquette Benefits and Social Welfare Law Journal.

Samantha Jozwiak, 2L, received the Shirley S. Abrahamson Scholarship. Recipients of the Shirley S. Abrahamson Scholarship must have “demonstrated perseverance in the face of adversity” and show commitment to issues affecting women or children in the community and to public service. The late Shirley S. Abrahamson served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for 43 years. She was the state’s first female supreme court justice and, later, its first female chief justice. Continue reading “Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Dixon, Jozwiak, and Knackert”

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.

Mike Gousha to Become Law School’s Senior Advisor in Law and Public Policy

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Mike GoushaFifteen years ago, at the suggestion of one of my faculty colleagues, I began a conversation with Mike Gousha, who had announced his intention to depart his daily broadcast television news duties at WTMJ, here in Milwaukee (“Channel 4,” if you prefer). Mike accepted our invitation to join Marquette University Law School as distinguished fellow in law and public policy. Thus was born what we came first to denominate our public policy initiative and now (since 2017) tend to refer to as our Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education.

My occasion for noting all this—which omits for the moment everything in between—is that Mike has decided to shift to a new role at the Law School, as of the end of this new semester. In particular, he will step back from his daily obligations here and assume a sort of emeritus status. The word is especially appropriate: Although Marquette University now uses emeritus more broadly, its origin (well, its modern usage, anyway) is in academe, and Mike’s position here has been much in the nature of a faculty member. He has not taught students in law courses, but his initiative, creativity, and leadership have dramatically expanded the Law School’s role in civic education, as the creation of the Lubar Center dramatically attests.

Going forward, Mike will serve the Law School as senior advisor in law and public policy. It seems worth noting that the theory underlying Mike’s affiliation with the Law School will not change. In my initial correspondence with him years ago, I encouraged Mike to consider making Marquette Law School “the platform” for journalism and policy work that he might pursue. Since he joined us in January 2007, he has done this brilliantly—whether the particular form has been the “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” series; his crucial role in imagining the possibility, and persuading us as to the value, of the Marquette Law School Poll; introducing us to Alan Borsuk, senior fellow in law and public policy since 2009, and Charles Franklin, professor of law and public policy and director of the poll since 2012, among many other people; establishing the Law School as the go-to place for debates for important political office in this region; organizing conferences on K–12 education, national security, and Milwaukee’s regional water initiative, among many other topics; or, most recently, fashioning with John D. Johnson, our Lubar Center Research Fellow, an important series of articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as part of the Lubar Center’s Milwaukee Area Project.

That list is scarcely exhaustive, but my point, as noted, rather involves Mike Gousha’s work going forward. Like a faculty member assuming emeritus status, Mike is not likely to take up full-time work at the Law School and will surely partner with others than the Law School for aspects of his possible activities (e.g., work on a documentary such as this project last year with his wife, Lynn Sprangers, and others). But, as senior advisor in law and public policy, Mike will remain part of our Marquette University Law School community and engage in projects with us here as they appeal to him. Meanwhile, the work of the Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education will continue on a daily basis. That can be the subject of separate communications or announcements as we plan and realize that future.

More immediately, please join me in extending good wishes to Mike in this next (Marquette Law School) chapter.

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.

Congratulations to the 2021 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

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screenshot of zoom moot court competition, with head shots of three judges and four competitorsCongratulations to the winners of the 2021 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Ben Edelstein and Kyle Frank. Congratulations also go to finalists Alexander Lux and Natalie Mulvey. Frank won the Ramon A. Klitzke Prize for Best Oralist. Ashleigh Dickey and Matt Rademacher won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief.

 

Presiding over the final round were Hon. Paul Thissen (Minnesota Supreme Court), Hon. Michael Y. Scudder (United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit), and Hon. Cynthia M. Davis (L’06) (Milwaukee County Circuit Court). This year’s final round was held virtually on Zoom but livestreamed over YouTube. More than 70 people watched the final round on YouTube.

 

Many thanks to the law school’s media and tech team for making all the tech magic happen. Thank you, too, to the law school administrators and staff who helped coordinate the event and to Dean Kearney for his support of the competition and his front-line presence as host. And special thanks to 3L Kelsey Pelegrin, who handled the details of the competition.

 

Students are selected to participate in the competition based on their success in the fall Appellate Writing and Advocacy class at the Law School.

 

Here is a link to a recording of the final round.

Jenkins Competitors Have Busy Weekend; Two Teams Advance to Finals

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head shot of Ben Edelstein
Ben Edelstein
head shot of Kyle Frank
Kyle Frank

(Updated 3/30/21 12:25 PM to add registration link)

The last two weekends have been busy ones for the students competing in the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition. Each team argued four times the weekend of March 20-21 in the preliminary rounds to determine which teams would advance to the quarterfinal round.

On Saturday, March 27, the eight teams that advanced argued to see which would advance to the semifinals.

head shot of Alex Lux
Alexander Lux
head shot of Natalie Mulvey
Natalie Mulvey

After some very close rounds, four teams moved on to the semifinals. Those four teams were:

Alexandra (Sasha) Chepov & Zak Wroblewski;
Ben Edelstein & Kyle Frank;
Lauren Brasington & Carsyn Bushman;
Alexander Lux & Natalie Mulvey

These four teams competed on Sunday, March 28. The two teams that emerged as finalists are:

Ben Edelstein & Kyle Frank
Alexander Lux & Natalie Mulvey

Congratulations to the finalists, and thank you to the many alumni and area attorneys who helped with the competition by grading briefs or judging oral arguments. Thanks, too, to the law school’s tech department and to Steve Nelson who kept this weekend’s virtual competition glitch-free.

The final round of the competition will be held virtually on Tuesday, April 6, at 3:30 PM, and will be lived streamed on YouTube.

The final round will be judged by The Honorable Michael Y. Scudder (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit), The Honorable Paul Thissen (Minnesota Supreme Court), and The Honorable Cynthia M. Davis (L’06) (Milwaukee County Circuit Court).

The Jenkins Completion is named in honor of the late James G. Jenkins, the first Wisconsin judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1893-1905) and the first dean of Marquette Law School (1908-1915).

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required to receive the link. You can register here.

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