Let the (Oral) Argument Begin

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Kudos (on getting this far) and best wishes (as we move forward) to the sixteen upper-level students who are competing this week in the quarterfinals of the Jenkins Moot Court Competition. The students earned this right based on their top performance in last fall’s Appellate Writing and Advocacy course, which is a prerequisite or gateway to both the intramural Jenkins Competition and all extramural or interscholastic moot-court competitions. The students are paired into eight teams of two for purposes of the Jenkins Competition:

  • Lindsay Caldwell & Lindsey Johnson
  • Alyssa Dowse & Tim Sheehey
  • Jessica Farley & Brent Simerson
  • Sandy Giernoth & Megann Senfleben
  • Tim Hassel & Joe Brydges
  • Rachel Helmers & Nick Harken
  • Amber Peterson & Allison Ziegler
  • Nicole Standback & Bridget Mueller

Each team writes a brief in the first half of the spring semester and has a chance to argue twice in a round of quarterfinals. Thereupon, based on a weighted scoring of the brief and the oral arguments, four teams advance to the semifinals. The briefs having been “filed” several weeks ago, the oral arguments begin this week, and culminate in the Jenkins Finals at the United States Courthouse at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 2.

More information on the reasons the Law School structures its moot-court competition this way can be found in this article from the Marquette Lawyer or at the moot-court webpage (and a student’s perspective can be found in a very fine post by a guest blogger last month, Jessica Franklin). I hope that all will join me in congratulating and wishing well to this year’s Jenkins competitors.

Professor Schneider Receives the Women in the Law 2009 Award by the Wisconsin Law Journal

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A few weeks ago, the Wisconsin Law Journal awarded my colleague Andrea Kupfer Schneider the prestigious Women in the Law Award for 2009.  Professor Schneider was one of 21 outstanding women who were selected this year by the Journal for their work with Wisconsin’s legal community.  In its tribute to Professor Schneider, the Journal traces her passion for the law back to her grandfather’s practice, and describes her love for Marquette Law School and our first-class Alternative Dispute Resolution Program.

As a woman in the law, I am thrilled with Professor Schneider’s award! Nobody more than Andrea Schneider deserves this recognition for her tireless work, service, and leadership at Marquette University Law School and in so many other institutional and noninstitutional organizations.   Since I have known Andrea Schneider, she has been a primary source of inspiration and example, and I know she is a guide and example for all of our students and colleagues.  I admire Professor Schneider as a teacher, a great scholar, and one of the most outstanding leaders in committees and programs I have ever met in my career. As a mother, I also tremendously admire Andrea Schneider’s ability to balance work and family, multitask, and get everything done, always impeccably.

Congratulations again, Professor Schneider, and thanks so much for the wonderful role model you are for all of us women in the law!

Congratulations to the Marquette National Appellate Advocacy Competition Team

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Congratulations to the Marquette National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) team!  On Saturday, our students distinguished themselves at the Boston regional NAAC competition.  Stephen Boyett, Carrie Devitt, and Jessie Franklin won each of their five rounds of competition, and they will be advancing to the National Finals in April.  Elizabeth Champeau and Thomas Worsfold advanced to the semifinal round.  The students also distinguished themselves in obtaining high scores on their briefs. 

Approximately 190 teams entered the competition and are participating in six regional competitions.  Only the top four teams from each regional round advance to the National Finals in Chicago.

Both teams have worked hard to prepare for competition.  The students put many hours into preparing their briefs and oral arguments.  We appreciate the assistance that many local practitioners and law faculty gave us in preparing for the oral arguments.  We are especially grateful to Attorney Michael Cerjak, a 2008 law alum and former NAAC competitor, who organized and attended numerous practice rounds.  Michael surprised the team by flying out for the final rounds on Saturday. 

Congratulations, Team!  I’m proud of you!!

Marquette Law School in the 1960s

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I was happy to be asked by Michael O’Hear to be the Alum Blogger for March. I hope to avoid “Beware the Ides of March,” but will be happy with “March Madness,” especially if Marquette does well in the Big East tournament and beyond.

I graduated from the Law School in 1967, a tumultuous time for our society that did not exempt the Law School. I had a chance to look back at that period when Gordon Hylton asked me to participate in the Centennial Celebration at the Law School last semester. That caused me to reflect some more on the role of Robert Boden as Dean of the Law School. On one hand, Bob Boden has come to be a generally revered figure by members of the Law School community — students, alumni, faculty and staff. On the other, I, and I think many of my classmates, have viewed him differently, quite negatively. Can these two views be squared? Continue reading “Marquette Law School in the 1960s”

New Issue of Marquette Sports Law Review

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Congratulations to the editors and staff of the Marquette Sports Law Review for producing Volume 19, No. 1 (Fall 2008), which is an excellent symposium issue on “Doping in Sports: Legal and Ethical Issues.” Information about how to obtain a copy of this issue is avaiable here. The symposium issue includes the following:


Federal Labor Law Obstacles to Achieving a Completely Independent Drug Program in Major League Baseball, Robert D. Manfred, Jr

Corruption: Its Impact on Fair Play, Richard H. McLaren Continue reading “New Issue of Marquette Sports Law Review”

New Issue of Marquette Law Review Available

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Congratulations to the editors of the Marquette Law Review, who have just posted the final versions of the articles for their winter issue (volume 92) here.  Here is the table of contents:


J. Thomas Sullivan: Published on Page 231

Michael E. Chaplin: Published on Page 307


The Honorable Diane S. Sykes: Published on Page 341


Allison Cimpl-Wiemer: Published on Page 355

Brian P. Dimmer: Published on Page 385

Reflections of a 3L, Installment Two: Fieldwork and Clinics are Indisputably Indispensable

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Casebook reading got you down?  Tired of briefing pretend issues for pretend clients?  Wish you’d never heard of Socrates or his dubious method?

Have I got news for you!  Now for the low, low (HA!) price of your already-paid tuition, you can learn about the law through real life experience.

I don’t mean to denigrate the value of our classroom legal education.  It is, of course, of vital importance to our growing legal knowledge and our ability to think about the law.  However, I am of the opinion that no legal education is complete without a foray into the wide world of the real-life practice of law.  For me, Marquette’s well-developed clinic and fieldwork selections were a large part of why I chose to come here.  I remember talking to Professor Hammer on the phone while making my where-to-go decision, just to check that all the clinic experiences listed on the website were real.  He assured me that, not only are they real, but that students who participate in them do real legal work for real clients.

In spite of my pre-law school enthusiasm about fieldwork, after my first two semesters, I became fearful if I left the confines of Sensenbrenner Hall, some sort of apocalypse would ensue.  At the end of my 1L year, I asked a 2L friend about the advisability of taking a clinic in my second year.  I was worried that taking on another responsibility would take away from my classroom performance and keep me from getting as much as I could from my classroom learning.  She told me that without her clinic experiences, her classroom experiences would have been less meaningful.  She couldn’t have been more right. Continue reading “Reflections of a 3L, Installment Two: Fieldwork and Clinics are Indisputably Indispensable”

My Effort at a Half-Court Shot, or the Importance of a Faculty Blog

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Years ago, before I arrived at the Law School in 1997, the annual student-faculty basketball game concluded on a dramatic note. My colleague, Professor Michael McChrystal, was fouled as time expired, with the faculty trailing by 2 points. There being essentially no time left on the clock, the court was cleared as Prof. McChrystal went to the foul line. He calmly sank both foul shots, sending the game into overtime, where the faculty proceeded to win. Prof. McChrystal has had the good sense never to play in the game again. (I once asked his daughter whether she had ever heard the story, and she allowed that it had come up on more than one occasion.)

This past Thursday evening saw this year’s game between the students and the faculty (the latter term being used loosely, as, happily, there are several other personnel who play on the faculty side). I declined the invitation to play, as I have in each instance since arriving in 1997, on a rather straightforward cost-benefit calculus. But I attended, of course, and even suggested to Tonya Turchik and Andy Shiffman, our Student Bar Association leaders, that I would do a half-court shot at half-time.

When half-time came, I took off my suit coat, put on my Opus hard hat (for no real reason, and certainly not, as one colleague suggested, because I feared that the ball would come back down on my head), and went to half-court. Professor Peter Rofes, in handing me the ball, asked which way I wanted to shoot; I suggested the direction in which all the fans (gathered at one end) could best see the whole thing. I would later learn that he and another colleague had a bet on the precise way in which I would miss the shot.

With little fanfare, I took the ball, bounced it several times, and shot it into the air from half-court. What would be the result? Continue reading “My Effort at a Half-Court Shot, or the Importance of a Faculty Blog”

Reflections of a 3L, Installment One: Put Down That Book and Go To the Gym; or, Yes, You Do Have Time.

Posted on Categories Health Care, Legal Education, Marquette Law School2 Comments on Reflections of a 3L, Installment One: Put Down That Book and Go To the Gym; or, Yes, You Do Have Time.

As I’m very, very fond of telling people, I am now a 3L.  A 3L in my last semester, no less.  Actually, I will graduate exactly 100 days from today.  (Awesome.)  So I’ve been reflecting a bit lately on my law school career, and I’ve noticed that there are ways I could have managed parts of it better.  As many of you already likely know, I have a general propensity to dispense unasked-for advice.  Lucky for me, Professor O’Hear kindly offered me the opportunity to climb up on my e-soap box here. (Thanks so much for that!)  Thus I bring you…

Reflections of a 3L, Installment One: Put Down That Book and Go To the Gym; or, Yes, You Do Have Time.

The more you move your body, the more energy you have to move your body.  Exercise introduces endorphins into your system that make the daily grind seem smoother.  And my mother swears – though I’m pretty sure she’s making this up – that your body will grow new blood vessels to your brain if you exercise on a regular basis.  As my fellow 3L Staci Flinchbaugh put it, there is just no downside to exercising.  Not that I’ve been doing it much during law school.  Ok, at all.   I haven’t been exercising at all.  There was never a time when I decided, “Ok, absolutely no more physical activity for me aside from pack-muling these books to and from class.”  It just happened by increments.  Not today, I have that brief due.  Not today, I am super far behind in my reading.  Etc.  I even signed up for a Pilates class my first semester.  Alas, my attendance was short-lived.  And it likely resulted in a group of undergrads who still discuss the weird woman who came to Pilates and kept falling asleep on the mat.   Continue reading “Reflections of a 3L, Installment One: Put Down That Book and Go To the Gym; or, Yes, You Do Have Time.”

Outliers and the Health and Wellness Fair at MULS

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I appreciated Professor Dan Blinka’s thoughtful post on the book Outliers.  The book begins with a quote from the book of Matthew in the New Testament:  “For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance.  But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”  Matthew 25:29.  Malcolm Gladwell refers to this quote in the title of the first chapter as the “Matthew Effect.” 

This passage from Matthew always makes me squirm, because it doesn’t seem to square with another famous passage from the Bible that “the meek shall inherit the earth.”  Gladwell’s first chapter similarly made me slightly uncomfortable, because it suggests boldly that such undeniably unfair factors as the month into which a person is born may determine whether they end up as a professional hockey player.  Gladwell may well be right, and his insight is in its own way stunning, but it still makes someone who likes to be in control of his or her own destiny feel suddenly out of control. Continue reading “Outliers and the Health and Wellness Fair at MULS”

Marquette to Host 2009 Central States Legal Writing Conference

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As just reported on the Legal Writing Prof Blog, the law school will host this fall’s Central States Legal Writing Conference.  The conference planning committee (led by our wonderful Alison Julien) met last Friday, and I am already excited for the event.  The regional legal writing conferences tend to focus on ideas for improving our teaching, and the conference here next fall will especially emphasize reaching out to resources beyond the legal writing faculty–the librarians and other law school faculty.  The blurb from the Legal Writing Prof blog website:

[T]he 2009 Central States Regional LRW/Lawyering Skills Conference,”Climate Change: Alternative Sources of Energy in Legal Writing,” will be held on October 9-10 at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Central States is also planning a Scholars’ Forum, which will be held on October 9 in conjunction with the conference.  At the end of the Scholars’ Forum and just before the welcome reception for the conference, conference attendees will be able to participate in an hour-long discussion on getting published and giving effective presentations.

Chief Flynn Discusses “Issues”

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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.