Pro Bono and Public Interest Legal Work at Marquette

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, Public1 Comment on Pro Bono and Public Interest Legal Work at Marquette

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

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, Public1 Comment on 21st Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with PILS Fellow Patrick Winter

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

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, PublicLeave a comment» on 21st Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with PILS Fellow Trisha Fritz

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

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, PublicLeave a comment» on 21st Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with PILS Fellow Zachariah Fudge

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?”

The Pro Bono Oath

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Marquette Law School, Poverty & Law, Pro Bono, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System3 Comments on The Pro Bono Oath

When the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined in February to grant the Civil Gideon petition and its proposed requirement that legal counsel be appointed for impoverished civil litigants, it instead noted a familiar fallback solution: pro bono initiatives. When Congress decided in 2011 to drastically cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation, which funds legal services providers such as Legal Action of Wisconsin, the message was similar: lawyers should do more pro bono.

When it comes to the issue of poor people and their legal problems, passing the buck to lawyers in private practice is par for the course. Those who have the greatest ability to affect the problem and acknowledge it as a societal issue always give it back to the lawyers.

So much for venting.

The fact is, more lawyers should do pro bono, and not because those with the money and power shift the attention to the profession. Lawyers should be involved in pro bono because we took an oath that said we would; because we are ethically obliged “to provide legal services to those unable to pay;” because with very few exceptions, no one else can represent the unrepresented poor; because the problem is overwhelming; because it is the right thing to do. Continue reading “The Pro Bono Oath”

Equal Justice and the Poor

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Poverty & Law, Pro Bono, Public1 Comment on Equal Justice and the Poor

Many years ago, I attended my first meeting as a newly-elected representative on our church’s parish council. I was enthused, energized. Then an older man, a veteran of the council, pulled me aside before the meeting started and gave me a warning. “Now you’re going to have your eyes opened, ” he said. “It’s a lot easier when you don’t know about all of the issues.” And, of course, he was right.

I had the same experience some time later when I became involved in the most pressing problem facing our legal system: the inability of poor people to afford legal representation for the important life-changing issues they face. I had been involved in pro bono from the day I was graduated from Marquette, handling divorces, landlord-tenant issues, even a capital punishment case in Texas. I enjoyed the rewarding nature of the work and appreciated the hands-on experience. The clients I represented seemed to appreciate having a lawyer.

But while I was helping individuals now and then, and feeling comfortable that I was doing some good, I was blissfully ignorant of the big picture issues and challenges that had the system in a chokehold — the lack of funding for legal service providers, the reluctance of lawyers to become involved in pro bono, the resistance of some to changes in the delivery of legal services to poor people, the lack of leadership from those in the best position to lead. My eyes were anything but open. Continue reading “Equal Justice and the Poor”

Professor Lindsey Honored for VITA Work

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, Public4 Comments on Professor Lindsey Honored for VITA Work

Professor Vada Waters Lindsey today was honored by the United States Postal Service as a one of fourteen “Women Putting Their Stamp on Metro Milwaukee.”  Professor Lindsey was honored in the Government Service or Law category for her tireless work on the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which program has served more than 1,000 people in six years at Marquette University Law School.  Aside from coordinating the program, Professor Lindsey also trains all the student volunteers who assist with the tax preparation.  The MULS VITA site has a 100 percent accuracy rate.

Professor Lindsey received her award today at a luncheon at the Country Inn in Waukesha. Congratulations, Professor Lindsey.

Tackling the Unauthorized Practice of Law in Wisconsin Today

Posted on Categories Immigration Law, Legal Ethics, Legal Practice, Pro Bono, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System2 Comments on Tackling the Unauthorized Practice of Law in Wisconsin Today

Professor Michael McChrystal once pointed out that in the State of Wisconsin, the penalty for working as a beautician without a license is not much different from the penalty for practicing law without a license. Continue reading “Tackling the Unauthorized Practice of Law in Wisconsin Today”