Marking the Tenth International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

nov25_stamp_96x96As I wrote about a year ago today, November 25th has been designated by the United Nations as “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women” since 1999.  The date was selected to “commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters,” who were assassinated on November 25, 1960 during the Trujillo dictatorship (as explained more fully in the General Assembly resolution to which I just linked).

Today Vice President Biden issued a statement marking the occasion:

Violence against women is found in every culture around the world. It is one of our most pervasive global problems, yet it is preventable.  When gang rape is a weapon of war, when women are beaten behind closed doors, or when young girls are trafficked in brothels and fields – we all suffer. This violence robs women and girls of their full potential, causes untold human suffering, and has great social and economic costs….

Indeed, it is hard to overestimate the impact of pervasive violence against women in the lives of women, men, and children all over the earth.  According to a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report,

The UN Development Fund for Women estimates that one in three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused.

It describes domestic violence against women as perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation known today.

Women are more at risk of death or disability from violence than from cancer, road accidents, war, or malaria.

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Journalist Alan Borsuk Joins the Law School

Alan BorsukAs announced today in this press release by the University, Alan J. Borsuk is joining the Law School as senior fellow in law and public policy. This appointment follows a search in which the Law School sought a journalist with experience and skills in investigating and reporting on matters vital to the community. Marquette Law School is becoming a powerhouse of education, ideas, and action, thanks in large measure to the support from the University, as has especially characterized the presidency, since 1995, of Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J. To have attracted Alan—a seasoned reporter who gained an outstanding reputation for his work at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel—not only confirms but also expands the Law School’s role as a civic institution committed to gathering and communicating information and ideas about critical public policy concerns. Alan will work with faculty and others at the Law School, such as Mike Gousha, on matters such as criminal justice, water policy, health care, technology, and dispute resolution. Alan will also maintain his own portfolio of projects, particularly in the area of education policy. Alan’s appointment presents exciting opportunities to further advance our missions of research, teaching, and service.

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Lawyers & Social Networking

computer_with_scales3An article in today’s New York Times talks about what can happen when lawyers open up online.  The article begins with the story of Sean Conway.  Attorney Conway took to his blog to state exactly how angry he was with a Fort Lauderdale judge.  He said she was an “Evil, Unfair Witch.”  But because Conway is a lawyer, his online ranting resulted his being reprimanded and fined by the Florida bar.

Of course, lawyers aren’t the only ones whose livelihood is affected by their online postings.  There’s this, and this, and this.  Having one’s online activity be the basis of dismissal has increased so much that a new phrase – “Facebook fired” – has entered our lexicon. 

But being a lawyer means something more.  Lawyers have long been held to a higher standard of conduct than other members of society.  As the New York Times article points out, your “freedom to gripe is limited by codes of conduct.”  Thus, criticizing the court or revealing client details online – even if the lawyer thinks she’s veiled the true subject – can cause trouble for a lawyer because she runs the risk of violating rules of professional responsibility.

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