22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with Katherine Seelow

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Katherine SeelowThe 22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held in the evening on Friday, February 13, 2015 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Katherine Seelow, a current law student, shares her experience here as a PILS fellow.  Besides her work as a PILS fellow, Katherine is helping to organize this year’s auction.

Where did you work as a PILS fellow?

I was lucky enough to be a fellow twice-over.  First, I worked for the Milwaukee Justice Center. Next, I worked at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, in the Felony Trial Division.

What kind of work did you do there?

At the Milwaukee Justice Center I worked the Family Law Help Desk, helping the pro-se litigants with a wide variety of family law issues fill out the appropriate paperwork. Additionally I was able to conduct research on family law issues and participate in tracking the progress of MJC clients. At the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office,  I was assigned to a trial team and helped them organize discovery on felony, criminal cases. I was also able to appear on the record under the 711 Student Practice Rule.

How was the experience meaningful to you?

My experience at the MJC was meaningful to me because it gave me great experience working with clients, one-on-one, which is not something you often get to do as a rising 2L. My experience as a Law Clerk with the Cook County State’s Attorney was meaningful because I got to prepare and handle cases on the record.

Continue reading “22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with Katherine Seelow”

Attorney Priya Barnes Highlighted for Pro Bono Work

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This month the State Bar of Wisconsin highlighted Attorney Priya Barnes, a 2013 Marquette Law School graduate, for her pro bono work. The State Bar’s Inside Track interviewed Barnes.  Barnes noted that while in law school, she volunteered with the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic (MVLC) and the Milwaukee Justice Center (MJC).  She now represents pro bono clients referred through the Volunteer Lawyers Project at Legal Action of Wisconsin, handling primarily Chapter 7 bankruptcy and domestic violence matters.  Barnes said that her pro bono work reinforces the work she does in her general practice and gives her “valuable practice experience” as a newer attorney.

As mentioned in the article, the State Bar Pro Bono Initiative “works to improve public access to the legal system by promoting solutions that eliminate barriers to effective access to the civil justice system.”

Of Trump Cards and Lawyering

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Pro Bono, Public, Seventh CircuitLeave a comment» on Of Trump Cards and Lawyering

King of SpadesSome of the best and the worst of the legal profession can be seen through Socha v. Boughton, No. 12-1598, decided by the Seventh Circuit this past week. The substance of the case involved the court’s applying — for the first time — the doctrine of equitable tolling to excuse a late filing by a state prisoner in a habeas case. This required a conclusion that the district court had abused its discretion in concluding otherwise, including the catchy characterization that “[t]he mistake made by the district court and the state was to conceive of the equitable tolling inquiry as the search for a single trump card, rather than an evaluation of the entire hand that the petitioner was dealt” (slip op. at 19).

Yet it is the lawyering that I want especially to note. Continue reading “Of Trump Cards and Lawyering”

Congratulations to Marquette Pro Bono Award Recipients Mindy Nolan and Bryant Park

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Congratulations to graduating law students Mindy Nolan and Bryant Park, who were honored this academic year for their pro bono work.  The Wisconsin State Bar awarded Mindy Nolan as Public Interest Law Student of the Year, and the Milwaukee Bar Association awarded Bryant Park as Pro Bono Law Student of the Year.

Mindy NolanPro bono work has been a focus of Mindy Nolan’s time in law school.  Mindy was the recipient of two Public Interest Law Society (PILS) summer fellowships, which enabled her to work for the Public Defender in Rhinelander in 2012 and the Public Defender in Milwaukee in 2013. Her pro bono work centered on the Milwaukee Justice Center’s family help desk.  Angela Schultz, the Pro Bono Director at the Law School, said in her nominating letter to the State Bar:

As a regular supervising attorney of the help desk, I have observed Ms. Nolan’s professionalism, patience, and kindness, along with her high level of competence learning this complex system.  She treats each person accessing the help desk with the same level of respect, infusing into her volunteer work a sense that all members of our community deserve equal access to justice.  When given the opportunity to complete an advanced training in family law forms, she jumped at the chance and as a result has been able to assist with a broader range of issues being presented by community members accessing the help desk.

 

Continue reading “Congratulations to Marquette Pro Bono Award Recipients Mindy Nolan and Bryant Park”

Pro Bono and Public Interest Legal Work at Marquette

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Friday was the 2014 Posner Exchange and Pro Bono Society Induction at the Law School.  The event honors law students who have achieved 50 or more hours of pro bono service while attending law school.  Special recognition is given to students who have achieved 120 or more hours. The Hon. Ramona E. Romero, the general counsel of the United States Department of Agriculture, was the speaker at this year’s event.  Congratulations to the honorees for starting their careers by including pro bono service in their work.

Recently I attended a panel presentation at the Law School on pro bono opportunities available to our law students.  I was so impressed by the opportunities that I am highlighting them here.  To qualify as pro bono, the work must be supervised by a licensed attorney, not for pay or credit, primarily legal in nature, and in the service of underserved populations–those with barriers to equal access to justice, or for an organization whose mission is to serve underserved populations.

Students gain valuable experience in client interviewing skills and accessing and completing forms, two practical skills that are difficult to convey in a classroom setting. Pro bono also gives students exposure to a variety of practice areas and opportunity to work alongside and be mentored by a cadre of more than 250 volunteer attorneys.

Continue reading “Pro Bono and Public Interest Legal Work at Marquette”

21st Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with PILS Fellow Patrick Winter

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Patrick WinterThe 21st Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held in the evening on Friday, February 21, 2014 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Patrick Winter, a current law student, shares his experience here as a PILS Fellow.  Besides his work as a PILS Fellow, Patrick is helping to organize this year’s Auction.

You may attend the Auction by purchasing tickets here, or you may purhcase tickets at the door.  This link also provides you with an option to donate to the Auction.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

I worked for the U.S. State Department, at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York.

What kind of work did you do there?

I worked with the U.S. policy negotiation teams for the Middle East and East Africa to forward U.S. policy on issues pertaining to Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I attended UN Security Council proceedings as well as bilateral and multilateral negotiations with other UNSC Member States, and prepared briefing memorandums for senior U.S. government officers on issues arising in the Council. Much of my work involved operational issues with peacekeeping operations, as well as topics on the protection of women and children in armed conflict zones, and UN mandated country-specific sanctions. I received reports from peacekeeping operations abroad, created diplomatic cables on current progress and setbacks in conflict zones, and prepared reports on legal issues pertaining to regulatory sanctions imposed by the UN and the United States.

Continue reading “21st Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with PILS Fellow Patrick Winter”

21st Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with PILS Fellow Trisha Fritz

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Trisha FritzThe 21st Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held in the evening on Friday, February 21, 2014 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Trisha Fritz, a current law student, shares her experience here as a PILS Fellow.  Besides her work as a PILS Fellow, Trisha is helping to organize this year’s Auction.

You may attend the Auction by purchasing tickets here, or you may purchase tickets at the door.  This link also provides you with an option to donate to the Auction.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

I worked at the Milwaukee County Public Defender’s Office in the Juvenile and Mental Health Office located in Wauwatosa.

What kind of work did you do there?

I mainly worked with Juveniles involved in Juvenile Delinquency cases. The office also handles CHIPS, TPR, JIPS, and Mental Health Commitment cases, and I was able to dapple in those areas, but I mainly worked with Delinquency cases. All of the Juveniles that come through the delinquency system have a state public defender assigned to their case. My role was to interview clients and families and continue to handle their cases at various stages through the criminal process. I was able to practice under the student practice rule where I was able to handle all delinquency hearings from the initial detention hearing to disposition hearing (sentencing in the juvenile system).

Continue reading “21st Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with PILS Fellow Trisha Fritz”

21st Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with PILS Fellow Zachariah Fudge

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Zach FudgeThe 21st Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held in the evening on Friday, February 21, 2014 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer. Zachariah Fudge, a current law student, shares his experience here as a PILS Fellow.  Besides his work as a PILS Fellow, Zachariah is active on the PILS student board.

You may attend the Auction by purchasing tickets here or you may purchase tickets at the door.  This link also provides you with an opportunity to donate to the Auction.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

This past summer I was a legal intern at the Alternate Public Defender’s Office in San Diego.

What kind of work did you do there?

The Alternate Public Defender took on felony cases where there was a conflict with the main Public Defender’s Office, so our cases were usually more complex, multi-defendant affairs. I was able to do quite a bit over the course of my brief tenure, including conducting client and witness interviews, researching, drafting motions, and representing clients during various types of hearings. I was able to second chair a ten-day trial that ended in the dismissal of all charges, so that was exciting.

Continue reading “21st Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with PILS Fellow Zachariah Fudge”

Do Like a Lawyer

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Legal Ethics, Legal Practice, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, Public2 Comments on Do Like a Lawyer

The start of the new academic year means a new group of first-year law students, ready for the three-year adventure that is law school. And each fall, those same students hear much about what they’re going to learn in law school. Usually the main thing they hear is that they will learn to “think like a lawyer.”

It’s certainly true that law school will teach students a particular way of thinking critically that will infuse all of their thinking from here forward. It’s also true that lawyers ought to be thinking critically. (So should everyone, in my view.) But law school should do more than teach students how to “think like a lawyer.” It should teach students how to “be” lawyers.

It is on this thought that I am reminded of Steven M. Radke, L’02.  The Law School invited Radke, vice president of government relations at Northwestern Mutual Insurance Co., to speak at its orientation event in fall 2006. Radke gave an entertaining and informative speech to that year’s entering class, the text of which can be found here. At one point, Radke discussed the often-stated law school goal of learning to “think like a lawyer,” a goal, he said, that is a bit troubling, particularly if it suggests that there is a single way lawyers think. He continued,

[I]f, God forbid, I someday find myself being wheeled into an emergency room, I hope the person preparing to operate on me doesn’t just think like a doctor.  I want him or her to be a doctor.

Radke’s point is spot on. Law school should not only teach students how to “think like a lawyer,” but it should also teach students how to be a lawyer.  Continue reading “Do Like a Lawyer”

Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Carstens and Fahley

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, Public1 Comment on Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Carstens and Fahley

On Tuesday, September 11, 2012, the Milwaukee Association for Women Lawyers (AWL) Foundation honored two Marquette University Law School students with scholarships.

Codi Carstens, 2L, 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.  Carstens is a first-generation college graduate and a first-generation law student.  She is supporting herself through law school, yet she has found the time for public service, already completing 180 hours of volunteer time doing pro bono work in the community, primarily through the Wisconsin chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.  Carstens is also a member of the student chapter of AWL.

Alaina Fahley, 3L, received the AWL Foundation’s Virginia A. Pomeroy scholarship.  This scholarship honors the late Virginia A. Pomeroy, a former Deputy State Public Defender and a past president of AWL.  In addition to meeting the same criteria as for the AWL Foundation scholarship, the winner of this scholarship must also exhibit what the AWL Foundation calls “a special emphasis, through experience, employment, class work or clinical programs” in one of several particular areas:  appellate practice, civil rights law, public interest law, public policy, public service, or service to the vulnerable or disadvantaged.  Fahley has a sister with autism.  Her experience with her sister has emphasized for her the importance of working with vulnerable populations and her plan to practice public interest law upon graduation. Fahley is a member of the student chapter of AWL and a member of the Pro Bono Society, and she volunteers at the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic. She is currently the President of the Public Interest Law Society.  

Congratulations to both women for outstanding service and for their representation of Marquette University Law School.

Marquette Grad and Lawyers Honored for Service

Posted on Categories Immigration Law, Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, Public3 Comments on Marquette Grad and Lawyers Honored for Service

As noted at the 2012 hooding ceremony this past Saturday, May 19, 2012, our recent graduates join a long line of Marquette lawyers in their dedication to excellence, faith, leadership, and service. This dedication to the university’s guiding values will be the measure of their contributions as lawyers. Perhaps former Dean Howard D. Eisenberg, whose legacy both Dean Kearney and speaker Judge Diane Sykes drew upon during the ceremony, expressed it best: “For those who seek an opportunity to do well, I hope you succeed, but neither your success nor your happiness can be measured unless you also do good.”

Exemplifying these values is our recent graduate Melissa Longamore (’12) (pictured), a recipient of this year’s Outstanding Public Service Law Student Award from the Wisconsin State Bar. As a law student, after establishing the Marquette Immigration Law Association, Melissa sought out new opportunities for herself and other interested Marquette law students to serve local immigrants with unmet legal needs. Among the new initiatives she helped bring about is the volunteer clinic at Voces de la Frontera, where she and other students, under the supervision of immigration attorneys, provide information and referrals to local immigrant clients. It has been gratifying to see the outpouring of enthusiasm among the student body for these efforts to serve the local immigrant community. It is also gratifying to Melissa’s excellence recognized by the bar.

Similar kudos are due to this month’s blogger, Quarles & Brady lawyer, Michael Gonring (’82), recognized for a lifetime of service, with the bar’s Pro Bono Award for Lifetime Achievement; as well as to alumna (and retired Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge) Hon. Barbara A. Kluka (’78), who is the deserved recipient of this year’s Lifetime Jurist Achievement Award.

 

Who Will Lead the Fight for Access to Justice?

Posted on Categories Judges & Judicial Process, Legal Practice, Poverty & Law, Pro Bono, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System, Wisconsin Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on Who Will Lead the Fight for Access to Justice?

Jess Dickinson was on a roll, his Southern delivery infused with force and emotion. The Constitution is meaningless unless it is effective, said the presiding justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court. It is time, he said with rising voice, for judges to “stand up” and help insure that poor people have equal access to the courts.

The audience noted its approval with a standing ovation, but that result was never in doubt. After all, the occasion was the Annual Meeting of State Access to Justice Chairs last Saturday in Jacksonville, a gathering of 168 lawyers, judges and state supreme court justices from over 40 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, all of whom have signed on to the cause of equal access. There was an understandable enthusiasm for the justice’s remarks.

And the audience included the Honorable Shirley Abrahamson, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, making a rare but significant appearance at the meeting; significant because in Wisconsin, access to justice has not enjoyed the out-front leadership of the highest court as it has in many other states, including Justice Dickinson’s Mississippi.

The Wisconsin court, principally the Chief Justice, has been active in the cause of self-representation, striving to make the courts more user friendly to those who cannot afford a lawyer. The Court also approved changes to the rules of professional responsibility that paved the way for the expansion of brief advice clinics, and adopted a State Bar petition to create an Access to Justice Commission. The Chief Justice has led the way in promoting the study of limited representation, considered an essential step in addressing the problem of access to the courts.

Most significantly, the court approved the $50 annual assessment that goes to the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation’s Public Interest Legal Services Fund, providing much needed funds as IOLTA income fell. (One of the more bizarre events I’ve ever witnessed is the State Bar Board of Governors actually debating a proposal to sue the Court because of the assessment.)

But it would be a stretch to say that our Court has been out in front, leading the way on access to justice issues in Wisconsin. Continue reading “Who Will Lead the Fight for Access to Justice?”