The Top Five Skills Necessary to be a Lawyer

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Legal Writing, Public2 Comments on The Top Five Skills Necessary to be a Lawyer

Hello to the blogosphere! Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Joanne Lipo Zovic, and I am a 1999 MULS grad. By way of background, my current (and very schizophrenic) professional life is comprised of a small private practice, work on a court-appointment in Chapter 128 cases, and teaching both at MULS and UWM and some private training (my teaching is all in the field of Negotiations). This rather unique work life reflects my deliberate effort to have flexibility in order to fulfill my most demanding job as a mother of four teenagers. Crazy as it may appear, it works . . . most of the time.

When I was contacted about being an alumni blogger some time last year, I paused for a brief moment and then said yes. Like the bliss of pregnancy and the denial of eventual childbirth, blogging seemed painless. However, . . . it began to feel uncomfortable as February began to loom.

What could I possibly write about? And more . . . what can I write about that would be at all interesting to the readers, whoever they may be. I was reminded of the scene in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” where Steve Martin’s character chides John Candy’s character as Candy blathers on and on endlessly. Martin advises Candy that when you tell a story, you should try to have a point because “it makes it so much more interesting for the listener.”

Continue reading “The Top Five Skills Necessary to be a Lawyer”

Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Dickens

Posted on Categories Legal Writing, Public3 Comments on Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Dickens

Today marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth.  As the New York Times notes,

“We can rejoice that so many of the evils he assailed with his beautiful, ferocious quill – dismal debtors’ prisons, barefoot urchin labor, an indifferent nobility – have happily been reformed into oblivion.  But one form of wickedness he decried haunts us still, proud and unrepentant:  the lawyer.”

Dickens included lawyers in 11 of his 15 novels.  Perhaps they made so many appearances because he was enmeshed in England’s legal system.  According the New York Times, at 15 Dickens was hired as an “attorney’s clerk” and later became a court reporter.  “For three formative years he was surrounded by law students, law clerks, copying clerks, court clerks, magistrates, barristers and solicitors . . . .”  And for a time, he was a law student.  One scholar has framed Dickens as a legal historian and another has written a book that examines Dickens’ portrayal of lawyers and others in the legal system.

In honor of Dickens’ birth and his ties to our profession, please share your favorite Dickens quotes.

19th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction—An Interview with PILS Fellow Meghan Refinski

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on 19th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction—An Interview with PILS Fellow Meghan Refinski

The 19th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held on February 10 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. Meghan Refinski, a current law student, shares her experience here as a PILS Fellow.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

This past summer I served as a law clerk at the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian.

What kind of work did you do there? 

In my role there, I advocated for children who had been abused or neglected by their parents. This included client interviews (both in the community and in the office), drafting pre-trial motions, researching case law in preparation for an appeal, and standing up in court for permanency hearings.

Continue reading “19th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction—An Interview with PILS Fellow Meghan Refinski”

Happy Birthday, ICA?

Posted on Categories PublicLeave a comment» on Happy Birthday, ICA?

ICC BuildingTime was, a “multiple-of-25” anniversary of the Interstate Commerce Act would have been an event. Law review symposia and even a speech by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter variously marked the 50th, 75th, and 100th anniversaries of the passage, on February 4, 1887, of “An Act to Regulate Commerce,” as the Interstate Commerce Act was denominated. Such celebrations (as these events substantially were) and studies seemed entirely appropriate, not simply on account of the Act’s introduction of federal entry-and-exit and rate regulation into the world of interstate railroads, but also for its status as the harbinger of the administrative state.

How times have changed. Insofar as I have been able to tell, this past Saturday—February 4, 2012—seems to have come and gone without any public notice of its being the 125th anniversary of the Interstate Commerce Act. That, too, is logical enough: after all, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) created by the Act was abolished by Congress in 1995, and the landmark building along Constitution Avenue (pictured here) has been rededicated to other purposes of the federal government. At the same time, the Act lingers: there is no sign of the coming abolition of most of the ICC’s various descendants (grandchildren, I suppose they must be, if the ICC is the “granddaddy of them all,” as we are sometimes told), such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And no one would suggest that the now larger administrative state is in danger of passing away anytime soon.

In all events, whether for its lasting effects or for itself in its time, the Interstate Commerce Act is worth remembering. So we will fill the void, as it seems. I will be joined by six distinguished scholars of regulated-industries law in writing short remembrances of the Interstate Commerce Act:

  • Richard D. Cudahy, Senior Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Paul Stephen Dempsey, Tomlinson Chair in Global Governance in Air and Space Law, McGill University
  • James W. Ely, Jr., Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law Emeritus and Professor of History Emeritus, Vanderbilt University
  • Thomas W. Merrill, Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Law, Columbia University
  • Randall C. Picker, Paul H. and Theo Leffmann Professor of Commercial Law, University of Chicago
  • James B. Speta, Professor of Law, Northwestern University

Prof. Speta and I will edit these essays for a future issue of the Marquette Law Review; we may find a spot for them on this blog during the next several months.

The Court of Appeals Speaks in the Recall Case

Posted on Categories Civil Procedure, Election Law, Judges & Judicial Process, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System10 Comments on The Court of Appeals Speaks in the Recall Case

Today, the District IV Court of Appeals issued an opinion that reverses a ruling by the Waukesha County Circuit Court denying a motion to intervene in the case of Friends of Scott Walker v. Brennan.  The practical impact of today’s Court of Appeals decision is that the committees seeking the recall of Governor Walker and other Republican officeholders will be permitted to intervene in the case of Friends of Scott Walker v. Brennan.  As a result, all of the legal rulings made by Judge Davis subsequent to his denial of the motion to intervene must be vacated, so that these legal issues can be reargued with the participation of the recall committees.

This means that Judge Davis’ earlier ruling, interpreting the statutory procedures for recalls under Section 9.10, is now vacated.  On January 5, 2012, Judge Davis ordered the Government Accountability Board (GAB) to take affirmative steps to identify and strike any recall signatures that are fictitious, duplicative or unrecognizable.  Because of this earlier ruling, the GAB went ahead and adopted new procedures, purchased new signature recognition software, and sought additional time in which to review the recall petitions. Continue reading “The Court of Appeals Speaks in the Recall Case”

19th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction—An Interview with PILS Fellow Garrett Soberalski

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on 19th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction—An Interview with PILS Fellow Garrett Soberalski

The 19th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held on February 10 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. Garrett Soberalski, a current law student, shares his experience here as a PILS Fellow.

Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?

This past summer I worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Milwaukee Field Office (HUD).

What kind of work did you do there?

The bulk of my time was spent assisting various Equal Opportunity Specialists in the office investigate fair housing complaints and prepare determinations regarding fair housing complaints. I also performed research for two larger matters that may still be under investigation, so I will not discuss those activities further. Overall, it was a lot of research and writing, with some field investigations from time to time.

Continue reading “19th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction—An Interview with PILS Fellow Garrett Soberalski”

Tommy Thompson to Critics: Get Out of My Way

Posted on Categories Election Law, Marquette Law School, Public, Speakers at Marquette2 Comments on Tommy Thompson to Critics: Get Out of My Way

It was near the end of Mike Gousha’s interview with US Senate candidate Tommy Thompson. Alluding to critics, many from the right, Gousha asked, “So when they say –and they do say — Tommy Thompson is part of the problem in Washington, not part of the solution, you say?”

“Get out of my way,” Thompson answered quickly.

If you think that at 70, the political fire inside Thompson has diminished, you should have seen him during the “On the Issues” session with Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy at Eckstein Hall on Thursday. (In fact, you can, by clicking here for the video.)

The man elected governor of Wisconsin four times before serving four years as US Secretary of Health and Human Services was every bit the forceful, self-confident, optimistic, almost swaggering figure before about 200 people that Wisconsinites knew so well in the 1980s and 1990s.

When Gousha said other people running for the open US Senate seat wanted the job as much as Thompson did, Thompson said, “I don’t think so.” Continue reading “Tommy Thompson to Critics: Get Out of My Way”

The Many Faces of Adoption

Posted on Categories Family Law, PublicLeave a comment» on The Many Faces of Adoption

Recent news reports describe a new twist in adoption practice. According to the reports John Goodman, a wealthy Florida man, has adopted his 42 year old girlfriend, apparently in an attempt to protect some of his assets against possible losses in a wrongful death action filed against him. Goodman is alleged to have been drunk at the time he ran a stop sign, resulting in an accident that killed another man. Prior to the adoption of his girlfriend, Goodman had set up a trust for his two minor children, which the girlfriend may now share in as an adopted child, and news reports say that, under Florida law, the parents of the deceased man could not claim wrongful death damages from that trust.

When most people hear the word “adoption,” they picture what I often call the “Little Orphan Annie” model. You will recall in the Broadway play “Annie,” and before that in the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip, Annie was only an infant when she was abandoned on the orphanage steps by her poor parents. After many adventures, Annie was adopted by Daddy Warbucks, a kind man with the emotional and economic resources to provide Annie with a real, forever home. Similarly, many people think of adoption mainly as a procedure for bringing babies and young children into forever families who will love and protect them. Although adoption takes that form for many people, in fact adoptions of older children and of stepchildren (adopted by second spouses to one of the children’s birth parents) are becoming more and more common.

Continue reading “The Many Faces of Adoption”

A Comparison of an Article 32 Investigation with a Federal Grand Jury (And Why the Former Prevails)

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, PublicLeave a comment» on A Comparison of an Article 32 Investigation with a Federal Grand Jury (And Why the Former Prevails)

My recent military law class helped me to understand the judicial system employed by our armed forces. Many similarities exist between the judicial system in the armed forces and the Article III courts, but differences stand out as well. One such difference is that between an Article 32 investigation and its civilian counterpart, a federal grand jury. An Article 32 investigation provides more rights and opportunities for the accused than a federal grand jury. With that in mind, and an eye on overarching judicial policy, I concluded that the Article 32 investigation is better.

The comparison of the two judicial systems stems from the fact that both are designed to avoid trials on baseless charges. Beyond the similarity of this broad rationale for each process, however, little is in common between the two. An Article 32 investigation results in a non-binding recommendation, is limited to the charges on the charge sheet, and provides that the accused and counsel may be present. Conversely, a grand jury session’s indictment is final, allows any charges to be found, and neither the accused nor his or her counsel is allowed at the session.

Continue reading “A Comparison of an Article 32 Investigation with a Federal Grand Jury (And Why the Former Prevails)”

Collecting Judges, Past and Present

Posted on Categories Eastern District of Wisconsin, Judges & Judicial Process, Public, Seventh Circuit1 Comment on Collecting Judges, Past and Present

Tom Shriner’s recent remembrance of Judge Dale Ihlenfeldt said to law students and new lawyers that “you can—must—learn the lessons of the law (and life) from everyone, not just your professors, but your colleagues, your adversaries, your clients, and even from judges.” This last (neatly phrased) is the case, in my estimation, both of judges whom one knows and of others whom one has never met. One should collect judges, as Tom and I say to the students in our courses.

Two whom I have collected in my time in Wisconsin are Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson and Seventh Circuit Judge Diane S. Sykes, L’84. While I have previously alluded to their friendly competition with one another on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as it seemed to me, I do not seek to remember them here: They are very much with us. Rather, each herself had occasion in the U.S. Courthouse in Milwaukee, in the past year or two, to remember a late predecessor and friend: Judge Myron Gordon (pictured here, courtesy E.D. Wis.) in Chief Justice Abrahamson’s case, and Judge Terence T. Evans, L’67, in Judge Sykes’s. With permission, I wish to share these remembrances here.

Continue reading “Collecting Judges, Past and Present”

Cockfighting, Congress, and Interstate Commerce

Posted on Categories Congress & Congressional Power, Constitutional Interpretation, Criminal Law & Process, Federalism, Public1 Comment on Cockfighting, Congress, and Interstate Commerce

Some convicted defendants in South Carolina are crying foul at the application of the federal Animal Welfare Act to criminally punish the promotion of cockfighting. The statute is said to be based in the power of Congress, found in article I, section 8 of the Constitution, to “regulate commerce . . . among the several States . . . .” Federal prosecutors successfully applied the statute at the trial level, and now the case is before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

The defendants (now appellants) argue that their conduct is not sufficiently related to interstate commerce, and is too local in character, to justify Congress’ exercise of its interstate commerce authority. Their contention in this regard is not about whether the promotion of cockfighting may be banned, but rather whether such conduct may be banned by Congress, which can only enact statutes that further its constitutionally enumerated powers. (Such conduct is largely prohibited, albeit with a lesser criminal sanction, by South Carolina law.)  Their contention, moreover, appears not to be that the Animal Welfare Act as a whole is unconstitutional, but only that its application to their particular conduct exceeds Congress’s interstate commerce power.

The appellants’ arguments have a familiar ring to them. Continue reading “Cockfighting, Congress, and Interstate Commerce”