Chief Flynn Discusses “Issues”

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, Milwaukee, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Chief Flynn Discusses “Issues”

Mike Gousha and Police Chief Ed FlynnMike Gousha began his spring-semester series of conversations “On the Issues” by hosting Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, who had come to the Law School last January within weeks of starting as chief and thus has a year under his belt (in addition to his substantial experience elsewhere). Anyone who has never heard Flynn speak is missing a treat: he is smart, extraordinarily well-spoken, and witty. A podcast of the interview, which includes as usual with Gousha questions from the audience, is available here and is well worth a listen.

Perhaps the most striking part, for me, was Flynn’s description (at about the 30-minute mark) of how bad police drag good police down:

And I’m not minimizing or mitigating when I say, “Show me a hospital-ful of doctors, and I’ll show the white-coat wall of silence. Show me a roomful of attorneys, and I will show you the pinstripe wall of silence. Show me a roomful of police officers, and if we’re not thoughtful about it, we will have the blue wall of silence.”

Because the devil’s bargain becomes this—and trust me, this is the truth—the overwhelming majority of your police officers come into the job with notions of moral clarity, and they want to protect the good guys from the bad guys. They function in a world that is far more ambiguous than they thought. And they have to make the kinds of decisions which the order book doesn’t cover and the general orders don’t cover, but they live in a rule-based environment. They know they’re expected to do something, and they do things—and most of the time they’re within a margin of error of right. Sometimes they’re wrong—their colleagues know it. Sadly, over the course of the years, if you’re not careful, if you don’t have adult discussions about it, the devil’s bargain is this: The good cop who screws up makes the devil’s bargain with the cop who’s a thief or a brute, where neither one of them says anything. And that’s where you don’t want to get.

Flynn then proceeds to describe how in his estimation anyone who wishes to change this police subculture has to look upon the general police culture with a basic degree of empathy. Other aspects of the interview included Gousha’s asking Flynn to compare Milwaukee’s drop in violent crime over the past year with Chicago’s rise in the same.

To the list of adjectives that I earlier used in describing Flynn, I should add another. He seems loyal as well: he never misses the opportunity, even while appearing at this Jesuit institution, to credit the Christian Brothers, whose institutions he attended for both high school and college.

Public Legal Services in Times of Distress

Posted on Categories Family Law, Marquette Law School, Milwaukee1 Comment on Public Legal Services in Times of Distress

While the nation is not (yet?) in an economic depression, our “worsening recession” has catastrophically affected thousands of area families across the social spectrum. For those who were desperately poor a year ago, not much has changed except perhaps for having even less reason to hope — dreams of government bailouts are duly noted. Joining the ranks of the forlorn are middle-class types who are facing foreclosures of their homes, job losses, and attendant legal problems. (Economic distress begets a host of family-related issues, to take just one example). For both the old and the newly poor, to use that term loosely, one of their many problems is how to confront complicated legal problems when they cannot afford legal counsel. In sum, this is a time of increasing demand for legal services by the very people who are least able to afford it. So what, if anything, is being done about it?

It is a point of pride for me to be involved in two institutions that are well aware of these gaps and are doing what they can with limited resources to assist: Marquette Law School and the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee. Both the Law School and the Legal Aid Society confronted these issues long before the current downturn. Moreover, their focus has not been on criminal representation, important as it is, but on the unmet needs of indigents faced with a raft of traditionally civil legal problems. My purpose is to familiarize those who may not be aware of these efforts as well as to underscore the affinity between these institutions. Continue reading “Public Legal Services in Times of Distress”

The Company You Keep

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Today I circulated my beginning-of-semester letter to students. I note it here because it gives me an opportunity to answer the question of the month (the month, admittedly, being this past November). That question was, “Who was your favorite law professor?” From the first post (by our Professor Papke concerning his Professor Bork) and throughout (including several posts by Marquette lawyers on some of our predecessors on the faculty), the conversation was rich and offered much to admire even secondhand.

I contributed only comments not posts, but take this opportunity now. I do it while exercising my prerogative (firmly established by Professors Murray and Morse) to redefine the question: appreciating, not just professors, but those from whom we learned in law school.

For my point, as I note in today’s letter to students, is how much I learned in law school from my fellow students. This was especially true of my closest friend in law school, now a partner in a West Coast law firm, but an accurate statement concerning numerous other friends and associates as well. Sometimes I learned legal doctrine, and other times it was more about different things, such as habits, that are not much less important in law and life. This learning occurred in study groups, during upper-level moot court, on a law journal, and in many other contexts.

I note this here, as we begin the semester, in order to encourage students to take this truth into account as they go about their activities this semester: time spent with fellows concerning the law—not just communing with one’s laptop, but in actual and intelligent conversation with other students—can be among the most valuable investments in your legal education. Truly was it for me.

New Issue of MU Law Review

Posted on Categories Intellectual Property Law, Labor & Employment Law, Legal Ethics, Legal Practice, Legal Scholarship, Marquette Law School, Religion & LawLeave a comment» on New Issue of MU Law Review

I’ve just received my brand-new, hot-off-the-presses issue of the Marquette Law Review, which has several articles I am looking forward to reading.  Here are the contents:

Nantiya Ruan, Accommodating Respectful Religious Expression in the Workplace, 92 Marq. L. Rev. 1 (2008) (SSRN version here).

Scott A. Schumacher, MacNiven v. Westmoreland and Tax Advice: Using Purposive Textualism to Deal with Tax Shelters and Promote Legitimate Tax Advice, 92 Marq. L. Rev. 33 (2008).

Michael W. Loudenslager, Giving Up the Ghost: A Proposal for Dealing With Attorney “Ghostwriting” of Pro Se Litigants’ Court Documents Through Explicit Rules Requiring Disclosure and Allowing Limited Appearances for Such Attorneys, 92 Marq. L. Rev. 103 (2008).

Barbara O’Brien & Daphna Oyserman, It’s Not Just What You Think, But How You Think About It: The Effect of Situationally Primed Mindsets on Legal Judgments and Decision Making,  92 Marq. L. Rev. 149 (2008).

Joan Shepard, Comment, The Family Medical Leave Act: Calculating the Hours of Service for the Reinstated Employee, 92 Marq. L. Rev. 173 (2008).

Charles Stone, Comment, What Plagiarism Was Not: Some Preliminary Observations on Classical Chinese Attitudes Towards What the West Calls Intellectual Property, 92 Marq. L. Rev. 199 (2008).

Congratulations to the student editors of Volume 92 for the successful completion of their first issue!

Marquette Has No Place on the New Moss Law School Rankings (Thankfully)

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Marquette Law School2 Comments on Marquette Has No Place on the New Moss Law School Rankings (Thankfully)

My former colleague Scott Moss (now teaching at Colorado Law) recently posted his Moss Law School Rankings.  Harvard and Yale took the top spots, but you may be surprised by the remainder of the top 10.  

#1: Harvard (7 points)
#2: Yale (4 points)
#3: Tulane (3 points)
#4: NYU (2 points)
#5: Georgetown (2 points) 
#5: Cincinnati (2 points) 
#5: Rutgers (2 points) 
#5: Pepperdine (2 points) 
#5: Louisiana State (2 points) 
#10: Fordham (1 point)
#10: Washington & Lee (1 point)

After the list, Scott explains his methodology. Continue reading “Marquette Has No Place on the New Moss Law School Rankings (Thankfully)”

Appreciating Our Professors: Robert F. Boden

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Marquette Law School2 Comments on Appreciating Our Professors: Robert F. Boden

When I applied for admission to Marquette Law School in the fall of 1971, my application was denied because over half of my undergraduate coursework was ungraded, a consequence of the policy at the Residential College of the University of Michigan from which I graduated.  Upon being admitted to the Law School when my application was reconsidered, the lowest grade I received was in Professional Responsibility.

That I am a Professor of Law at Marquette University with particular expertise in legal ethics is due in large part to Dean Robert F. Boden, who caused my application for admission to be reconsidered, who hired me during my third year of law school, and who assigned me as a junior faculty member to teach Professional Responsibility even though he gave me my lowest grade in law school when I took that course from him. 

Marquette had some great law teachers in my era as a student (1972-1975).  Continue reading “Appreciating Our Professors: Robert F. Boden”

Appreciating Our Professors: Chuck Clausen

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Marquette Law School3 Comments on Appreciating Our Professors: Chuck Clausen

Although I had many teachers who played a significant role in my development as a lawyer, a judge, and now a law professor, Professor Chuck Clausen most profoundly impacted me. His love of teaching and his unwavering commitment to his students came across in everything he did.  Chuck believed in the goodness of all people and wanted to be sure that all of us demonstrated our own personal goodness in our legal careers. He was committed to the responsibility of lawyers to help others, particularly the poor, in every way that we could.

I was fortunate enough to have Chuck for a few classes and to have him as a faculty advisor on some moot court work that I did. What I loved about Chuck is that having a conversation with him was like speaking to a renaissance man. He was so knowledgeable and engaged in so many different areas of life and of the community that I always learned something new when I was around him. His enthusiasm for life was infectious.

Because of my deep admiration for him, we continued to have contact after graduation. He truly became one of my most trusted advisors. Continue reading “Appreciating Our Professors: Chuck Clausen”

Biskupic Stepping Down

Posted on Categories Eastern District of Wisconsin, Federal Criminal Law & Process, Marquette Law School, Western District of WisconsinLeave a comment» on Biskupic Stepping Down

Our graduate and adjunct faculty member Steven Biskupic announced yesterday that he is stepping down from his post as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, effective January 9.  Steve made us proud over his six years of distinguished service in this important position, winning convictions in many high-profile public corruption cases.  It is customary for U.S. Attorneys to resign after a new President is elected, but this is one instance in which the community may be ill-served by the custom.  Best wishes, Steve, in your new endeavors!

Steve’s counterpart in the Western District, Erik Peterson (who is also a Marquette alum), has not yet announced his plans.

Appreciating Our Professors: Dean Howard Eisenberg

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Francis de Sales, the bishop of Geneva in the early 1600’s, said “the measure of love is to love without measure.” The late Dean Howard Eisenberg embodied this message. Dean Eisenberg gave his love without measure to the Law School, the legal community, and the pro bono clients he served.

I met Dean Eisenberg shortly after I graduated from college. At the time, I was teaching high school English. Dean Eisenberg talked to me about the legal profession as a helping profession — that lawyers are uniquely situated to protect and aid the individuals and entities they serve. Dean Eisenberg’s comments so inspired me that I decided to apply to law school. Dean Eisenberg’s presence at the Law School also convinced me that it was the right place to go to school. Any place, I thought, that had the good sense to have him at the helm was a place where I wanted to be.

In my second year of law school, Dean Eisenberg again influenced my life when I took his appellate advocacy course. That class turned me onto advocacy. I remember the thrill when I found the key case for my side in the Wisconsin reporter stacks. As I drafted the brief, I felt the joy of crafting language that would persuade a court. In that class, we also had to make an oral argument. I enjoyed turning my brief into an oral argument and observing how my use of language changed from its presentation in written form to oral form. I was hooked on advocacy, and I decided to go into litigation.

The last memory I have of Dean Eisenberg came two weeks before his untimely death. Continue reading “Appreciating Our Professors: Dean Howard Eisenberg”

Professor Jay Grenig Hosts Thanksgiving Feast

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School1 Comment on Professor Jay Grenig Hosts Thanksgiving Feast

As reported in the Journal Sentinel this morning, Professor Jay Grenig hosted a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner for a number of law students and faculty yesterday. 

The Grenigs don’t host the event every year, but when they do, it’s quite the feast. Jay got the hang of timing dinners for large groups back when he worked as a weekend cook in a sorority house at Sharon’s school, Willamette University in Oregon.

Continue reading “Professor Jay Grenig Hosts Thanksgiving Feast”

Appreciating Our Professors: James D. Ghiardi

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Marquette Law School1 Comment on Appreciating Our Professors: James D. Ghiardi

My first experience with Professor James D. Ghiardi occurred in the fall of 1960 when I was a first year student at the Marquette Law School. I learned that Jim was my Torts teacher. Prior to that time I had never known any attorney. There were none in my family, and none of my friends had relatives who practiced law. I recall thinking in that first Torts class, if Jim was what being a lawyer was about, I had selected the right form of postgraduate education. He was the kind of lawyer I wanted to be.

At the inception, Jim made it clear to me and my fellow students that he was there not only to help us learn what Torts was all about, but also so that we learned to think, speak, and act like lawyers. We were not there to learn how to be philosophers, economists, sociologists, or political scientists. He also made it clear to all of us that knowing the elements of any particular Tort theory did a lawyer little good if he or she did not know how to prove those elements in court. What I experienced in that class made me want to take Jim’s other courses as well. It was very clear to anyone who cared to observe that Jim loved the law and what he was doing.

But Jim Ghiardi was much more than a law professor. He was and remains a dedicated husband, father, and now grandfather. He has served as President of the State Bar of Wisconsin. Election to that post speaks volumes about the respect he earned from lawyers in the state — even those who were not Marquette alums. He also served as a representative of the State’s bar in the ruling body of the American Bar Association. Jim loves sports, being a Marquette Basketball season ticket holder for as long as I can remember. Up until a few years ago he was also an avid golfer.

Several years after I graduated from the Law School, I felt a great deal of pride after making a presentation at a Wisconsin State Bar meeting. Thereafter, a member of the audience approached me and said that he was one of Jim’s former students. He then said that when he closed his eyes while listening to me he could have sworn that it was Jim making the presentation. High praise indeed.

The View From the Middle

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Marquette Law School1 Comment on The View From the Middle

Students and faculty of the Marquette Law School in the early years of the twenty-first century have the benefit of an affiliation with an institution that most outside observers seem to feel is right smack dab in the middle of the law school pool.  Our US News & World Report overall rating is almost exactly in the middle of the pack, and the American Bar Association reports that we are the 90th most selective of the 184 ABA-approved law schools in the United States. Our current median LSAT score (157) is exactly the median LSAT score for all students enrolled in ABA-accredited law schools, and our median GPA is almost exactly the national median as well. In the peer ratings collected by the US News survey, our score (2.3) is exactly the median for all schools, as is our ranking by judges and lawyers (2.8). (Although our judge and lawyer ranking is higher, it is, like our ranking by law professors, exactly at the median. Apparently, lawyers and judges generally think more highly of law schools than do law professors.)

Continue reading “The View From the Middle”