The Landmines of Practice: Formalities and Professionalism

Posted on Categories Legal Practice, Public, Student Contributor1 Comment on The Landmines of Practice: Formalities and Professionalism

This semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 2L Jad Itani.

The legal profession is profoundly focused on formalities and professionalism to the point that the ABA has dedicated a section of its website for professionalism. There are even unspoken protocols regarding who is addressed first in an email.

Accordingly, the legal profession is sure to be a very precise and particular field with very formal structures, right? My curiosity today arises from considering  the professionalism and formalities of practice as a first-year associate. My experiences working with practicing attorneys and even interviewing with them have provided me with conflicting responses.

Growing up, I am sure most of us were raised with the lesson that we show respect by addressing people by their appropriate title: Ms., Mr., Attorney, Dr., Professor, etc. However, on a number of occasions, when addressing future employers by their appropriate title, I have received conflicting responses.

cartoon alligator the litigator
Another example of an improper salutation. He’s a litigator, not an alligator. Address him properly. 

On a few occasions, when I have addressed some attorneys by saying “Attorney [last name],” they seemed uncomfortable with the formalities and requested I address them by their first name. Is that the threshold that provides a person with the opportunities to drop the formalities? When this occurred, the questions of formalities and professionalism started rapidly running through my mind. Continue reading “The Landmines of Practice: Formalities and Professionalism”

Home is Where the Families Are: Open Adoption in Wisconsin?

Posted on Categories Family Law, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on Home is Where the Families Are: Open Adoption in Wisconsin?

parent & child hands holding cut-out of houseThis semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 2L Brooklyn Kemp.

What makes a house a home is not merely the brick and mortar of a building, but the foundation of a family. As the saying goes, “home is where the heart is”–where one experiences love, support, and growth.

As a student in the Guardian Ad Litem workshop this semester, I have become more aware of the reality that some children do not have a place to call “home” until they are adopted, after their natural parents’ parental rights are terminated through a court order. This can be a lengthy and emotionally debilitating process. Although in some circumstances children get a happy ending with a nurturing family, other children are traumatized when they realize they will never see their parents again.

Even children who are able to manage the emotional turmoil may end up being stuck in foster care, a temporary home, for long periods of time as their parents oppose termination of their rights to the children.

Open adoption occurs when the natural parents still have ongoing contact with the child whom they have relinquished for the adoption. Some states have embraced the idea of open adoption, codifying it into statutory provisions.

Wisconsin currently does not legally recognize open adoption. Continue reading “Home is Where the Families Are: Open Adoption in Wisconsin?”

Finding My Confidence

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on Finding My Confidence
writing in Spanish
A quote the author looks at when she studies.

This semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 2L Mariana Concepcion.

Last summer after finishing my 1L year, I was at the beach. While I was enjoying the warm Texas sun, my brother asked me, “So, what’s your goal in law school?” Because it was a few days after taking my last final, I thought about answering “I don’t ever want to go back.” But I didn’t say that, I was just really tired.

I gave the question some thought as I looked out at the sea. What was my goal in law school? Why was I going back? So, I told my brother that my goal was to find my own voice so that I could use it to help those who don’t have a voice.

Find my own voice? I can talk, right? I may not be the loudest person on earth, but I have a voice. But finding my own voice wasn’t just about finding my speaking voice; it was more than that. I wanted to find my own voice because that would help me become more confident in myself, something I have struggled with for most of my life. If I could find that confidence in myself then I would be able to find my voice and use my voice to speak for those who don’t have a voice. Continue reading “Finding My Confidence”

New Marquette Lawyer Celebrates Eckstein Hall and the Man Who Designed It

Posted on Categories International Law & Diplomacy, Marquette Law School, Milwaukee Area Project, PublicLeave a comment» on New Marquette Lawyer Celebrates Eckstein Hall and the Man Who Designed It

Image of Ralph Jackson on the Marquette Lawyer CoverHas it been 10 years already? Yes, the tenth anniversary is at hand for the groundbreaking for Eckstein Hall on May 22, 2008.

How have things worked out? Anyone who spends time—and especially anyone who spends a lot of time—in the home of Marquette Law School knows the answer: Very well.

The new issue of Marquette Lawyer magazine marks the anniversary of the start of building Eckstein Hall and celebrates the building’s success with two featured pieces, following an introduction by the dean including the famous photo of Tory Hill from the day of the groundbreaking.

One entry is a profile of Ralph Jackson, the Boston architect who was the lead figure in designing the building. Jackson, now retired, has a powerful personal story, rising from modest roots to national prominence as an architect. The story, “How Ralph Jackson Found His Voice,” may be read by clicking here.

The second feature is a photo essay on a day in the life of Eckstein Hall. The 22 pages of beautiful photos illustrate many of the facets of the identity of Marquette Law School as seen on one day, Nov. 14, 2017. The photo essay may be viewed by clicking here.

The new magazine includes other valuable reading, including:

“International Human Rights Law: An Unexpected Threat to Peace,” an edited text of the Boden Lecture delivered by Ingrid Wuerth, who holds the Helen Strong Curry Chair in International Law at Vanderbilt University. Read it by clicking here.

“Migration Challenges: Trends in People’s Movement to and from the Milwaukee Area and Wisconsin Illuminate Important Issues,” a piece in which John D. Johnson, research fellow with the Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education, and Charles Franklin, the Law School’s professor of law and public policy, analyze population trends. It may be read by clicking here.

“An Unveiling and a Blessing.” A portrait of St. Edmund Campion was unveiled at a ceremony on October 25, 2017, and now hangs in the Chapel of St. Edmund Campion in Eckstein Hall. An image of the portrait and the text of remarks at the ceremony—variously by the Hon. Paul D. Clement, Dean Joseph D. Kearney, Rev. Thomas S. Anderson, S.J., and the portrait’s artist, Henry Wingate—can be found by clicking here.

The “From the Podium” section includes texts of speeches at the Columbus Day Banquet of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Justinian Society of Lawyers on October 13, 2017, by the three honorees: State Public Defender Kelli S. Thompson, Dean Kearney, and Judge William Brash III. The section also includes “The Person on the Other Side of the Table,” the text of remarks from Michael J. Gonring, executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, upon receiving the Faithful Servant Award of the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society. Read the section by clicking here.

The Class Notes section, which may be read by clicking here, includes entries about Jessica Poliner, L’06, who coauthored a book with advice for improving gender equity in the workplace, and about Rachel Lindsay, L’11, who gained fame by appearing on the television programs The Bachelor and The Bachlorette, but who continues her work as a lawyer in Dallas.

To view the entire magazine, click here.

Remembering Professor Gordon Hylton

Posted on Categories Legal History, Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Public, Sports & Law1 Comment on Remembering Professor Gordon Hylton

Headshot of the late Professor Gordon Hylton.The Marquette Law School community is saddened by the news that Professor J. Gordon Hylton has passed away at age 65, following a battle with cancer.

Gordon was a wonderful colleague on the Law School faculty.  He joined the faculty at Marquette University Law School in 1995, after teaching previously at the Chicago-Kent College of Law of the Illinois Institute of Technology.  Gordon left Marquette Law School in 2015 to join the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law full time (having visited at UVA many semesters previously).  He also served a memorable year  as the Fulbright Professor of Law at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kiev, Ukraine.  A wonderful In Memoriam webpage celebrating Gordon’s career appears on the website of the University of Virginia School of Law.

Gordon taught courses in Property Law, Trusts and Estates,  and Legal History, among others, and was also closely involved with the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette Law School.  He was a frequent contributor to the Marquette Law School Faculty Blog, where he was known for his posts on the history of Marquette Law School in general and on the often overlooked athletes who had a historical connection with our institution.  His blog posts were sometimes quirky, often obscure, but always among the most interesting to appear on the Faculty Blog. Continue reading “Remembering Professor Gordon Hylton”

Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks Permanent Suspension of the Milwaukee Police Department’s Alleged Unconstitutional Policies, Practices, and Customs

Posted on Categories Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law & Process, Human Rights, Milwaukee, Public, Race & Law, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks Permanent Suspension of the Milwaukee Police Department’s Alleged Unconstitutional Policies, Practices, and Customs

This semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 3L Andrea Jahimiak.

On February 22, 2017, six individuals who identify as either Black or Latino filed a class‑action lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission (“FPC”), and Police Chief Edward Flynn. The plaintiffs allege that their constitutional rights were violated when they were unlawfully stopped, frisked, or both, by Milwaukee Police Department (“MPD”) officers.

Together, the plaintiffs are seeking relief by way of the court: (1) declaring that the defendants’ stop and frisk policies, practices, and customs are unconstitutional; and, (2) ordering immediate and permanent suspension of such policies, practices, and customs.

Allegation of a Named Plaintiff

One of the plaintiffs alleged that her teenage son has been unlawfully stopped by an MPD officer on at least three occasions. The first unlawful stop took place when he was ten years old.

Around noon in October 2010, D.A. walked to his friend’s home. When D.A. arrived at his friend’s home, he rang the doorbell, but no one answered. D.A. then used his cellphone to call his friend.

While on the phone, an MPD officer walked up to D.A., put his arms around D.A. shoulder’s and walked D.A. to his squad car located in the nearby alley. The officer then forcibly removed D.A.’s phone from him, patted him down, and made D.A. put his hands on the hood of the squad car.

The father of D.A.’s friend, a white male, ran out of the home. The father immediately asked the officer what was going on and asked why he was searching a child. The officer replied that he was making sure nothing was wrong. The officer then left.

D.A.’s mother called the associated MPD district and spoke to the sergeant. D.A.’s mother demanded to know why a police officer stopped and frisked her ten-year-old son. The sergeant said that it was MPD policy to stop and frisk young men walking through alleys.

Expert Reports Confirming MPD

Almost a year after filing suit, the ACLU of Wisconsin released three expert reports regarding the MPD’s stop and frisk policies, practices, and customs. The expert reports were conducted in relation to the ongoing class‑action lawsuit.

The expert reports concluded that the MPD has unconstitutional policies, practices, and customs. And that MPD officers routinely conduct unconstitutional stops and frisks procedures, motivated by race and ethnicity. Continue reading “Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks Permanent Suspension of the Milwaukee Police Department’s Alleged Unconstitutional Policies, Practices, and Customs”

Hunters and Fishers: Conservationists and Stewards of the Land

Posted on Categories Environmental Law, PublicLeave a comment» on Hunters and Fishers: Conservationists and Stewards of the Land

wild turkeyDuring the past several years I have seen an increasing number of attacks on people like me, who enjoy hunting, fishing and who consider themselves to be both conservationists and stewards of the land.

The common argument has been that a hunter is just out to kill an animal for the pure enjoyment of it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When a hunter decides to kill an animal, it is not a decision that is taken lightly and, in most cases, has been a culmination of a long period of preparation and investment in the environment.

Most people who advocate for the banning of hunting do not realize the impact it would have on both the environment directly and to the funding of conservation and environmental projects. No other group in the history of this country had asked the legislature to tax the tools and equipment necessary for their pursuit, but hunters and fishers did so in the 1937 Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and the 1950 Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act.

By voluntarily agreeing to be subject to this excise tax, hunters and fishers ensured that wildlands would have a funding source. Some of the items that fall under the tax are: fishing equipment (10%), firearms (10-11%), ammunition (11%), archery equipment (11%), import duties on boats (1-2.7%), import duties on fishing equipment (3.7-9.2%), and taxes on boat fuel.

Additionally, hunters and fishers submit to additional taxes every year when they purchase their hunting and fishing licenses. Continue reading “Hunters and Fishers: Conservationists and Stewards of the Land”

Appellate Work: Getting the Law Right

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Judges & Judicial Process, Public, Wisconsin Court System, Wisconsin Law & Legal SystemLeave a comment» on Appellate Work: Getting the Law Right

Recently, I authored a post on this same blog discussing the first of two frequent observations I’ve made since joining the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor and rookie lawyer in February of last year. There, I expressed my belief that we must do more to educate the nonlegal public about what it is we do as lawyers. Here, however, I wish to share what is perhaps as much a personal conclusion as it is an observation—appellate work is where it’s at.

In the last six or so months, I’ve been tasked on several occasions to represent the State before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. These experiences have been enjoyable for several reasons—not the least of which is that I do enjoy writing about the law.

More generally, I have come to prefer legal argument over arguing facts. For these reasons, I expect that my career in the law will naturally gravitate toward appellate work. This is not to say I that I don’t enjoy trying cases to juries, but rather it is acknowledgment of one introspective observation.

As I’ve arrived at this conclusion, I’ve also realized that I’m most interested in getting the law right—regardless of whether doing so helps or hurts any particular position I’ve taken in a case. That said, what I find most appealing about appellate work is that I’ve come to believe that appellate courts generally prioritize getting it right above all else. Continue reading “Appellate Work: Getting the Law Right”

The Southwest Engine Explosion and Products Liability

Posted on Categories Public, Tort LawLeave a comment» on The Southwest Engine Explosion and Products Liability

This semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 2L Mitch Raasch.

In Products Liability class with Professor Kircher this semester, we often discuss manufacturing and design defects and companies’ requirements in making safe products. Since starting this course, I have often found myself analyzing news stories for potential products liability cases. So, when I read about last week’s tragic incident in which a woman died after an engine in a Southwest Airlines plane exploded, I naturally thought about the potential liability that multiple parties might face.

The Southwest Incident

The Southwest airliner was a twin-engine Boeing 737 travelling from New York to Dallas. One of the windows was struck by debris from a blown engine, causing passenger Jennifer Riordan to get pulled partially out of the opening. She later died from her injuries, and seven others were injured.

graphic of SW plane
https://www.afp.com/en/news-hub

The last passenger death on a U.S. commercial flight was in 2009, so the amount of media coverage the incident has garnered comes as no surprise. Nearly all of us have flown commercial, and we expect that each aircraft has gone through in-depth inspections prior to takeoff. But are engine makers and commercial airliners fulfilling their duties under the law? 

The Investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that a preliminary examination of the engine showed evidence of metal fatigue, but that a full investigation will last up to fifteen months. Debris from the engine, which is manufactured by CFM International, should have been prevented from flying out by the engine’s metal cowling.

There are a number of different possibilities as to why the metal cowling failed to operate as it was intended. Continue reading “The Southwest Engine Explosion and Products Liability”

Our May Bloggers Have Arrived!

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on Our May Bloggers Have Arrived!
Headshot of law student Darrin Pribbernow.
Darrin Pribbernow
Headshot of Attorney Mark Thomsen.
Mark Thomsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please join me in welcoming our two guest bloggers for the month of May.

Our Student Blogger of the Month is Darrin Pribbernow.  Darrin introduces himself as follows: “I grew up in New Holstein, Wisconsin. I attended Lakeland University and achieved a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with minors in sociology and political science in 2017. During my undergraduate career I was involved in many organizations including: Student Government Association, the Zeta Chi Fraternity, and Criminal Justice club. Each organization afforded me unique networking and leadership opportunities. My interest in the law began in middle school and it has been my goal since then to become a lawyer. The move to Milwaukee from such a small community was daunting to say the least. Having now lived here for a year, however, I can’t imagine going back to a small-town lifestyle. My decision to attend Marquette is already one of the best that I have made and I look forward to further developing my skills as a lawyer in pursuit of a career as a criminal prosecutor in Wisconsin.”

Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Mark Thomsen (cum laude, 1987).  Mark is an attorney at the Milwaukee office of Gingras, Cates & Wachs.  On the lawfirm website, Mark describes his career as follows: “When the Indiana steel mill department shutdown in 1984 where I had worked for nearly 8 years as a steelworker, including a stint as union representative, my family and I moved to Milwaukee. I started law school and after graduating in 1987, I served as a law clerk to the Hon. John L. Coffey, circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. My time as a lawyer has now spanned 30 years, and my practice is primarily dedicated to representing and fighting for justice for injured people, including those injured by nursing home neglect, by medical and legal malpractice, in automobile and trucking collisions, by people’s general negligence, by defective products, and for violations of individual’s civil rights (§1983 claims). During this time, whether by settlement or trial whenever necessary, I have successfully obtained millions over the years for those individuals and families I have been honored to represent.”

We look forward to reading your posts over the next month.

Negative Preconceptions of Lawyers

Posted on Categories Legal Profession, Pro Bono, PublicLeave a comment» on Negative Preconceptions of Lawyers

scales of justiceThis semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 2L Desiree Geromini.

Being a lawyer comes with many associated preconceptions and many are not very positive. Though this is the case, from my experiences and discussions with fellow aspiring attorneys and those already in practice, the main motivator for entering the legal field is the desire to make a positive impact in people’s lives. In thinking about this discrepancy in public opinion and the motivating factors behind practicing and aspiring attorneys’ decision to become lawyers, it made me think about what I can do to spur a more positive spin on the profession.  Though this is an uphill battle, the best plan of action I can think of is to use my voice to initiate open conversations with friends, family, colleagues, clients, and anyone who is willing to listen. Continue reading “Negative Preconceptions of Lawyers”

9 Must-Have Products to Get You Through Finals

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Public2 Comments on 9 Must-Have Products to Get You Through Finals

This semester in Professor Lisa Mazzie’s Advanced Legal Writing: Writing for Law Practice seminar, students are required to write one blog post on a law- or law school-related topic of their choice. Writing blog posts as a lawyer is a great way to practice writing skills, and to do so in a way that allows the writer a little more freedom to showcase his or her own voice, and—eventually for these students—a great way to maintain visibility as a legal professional. Here is one of those blog posts, this one written by 2L Margaret Johnson.

It’s no secret that finals are just around the corner and that studying for finals in law school can be unpleasant at best and excruciatingly painful at worst. While I can’t guarantee any of these products will help you snag an honors grade, these are my favorite products for making the studying process more bearable – or at least more productive.

  1. Colored Pens and Highlighters

If you’re a pen-snob like me, nothing makes note-taking more enjoyable than a set of colorful pens to brighten up my outline and flashcards. If you’re looking for variety of fine-point gel pens that don’t smudge, look no further than KACO Retractable Gel Ink Pens. If you prefer pens that write more like a marker, check out the Huhuhero Fineliner Color Pen Set, which includes 10 colorful pens that write smoothly and clearly without smudging.

  1. Highlighters

Highlighters are great for color-coding different types of information in your outlines when studying for finals. Sharpie Clear View Highlighters offer vibrant colors and the clear tip allows you to neatly and evenly highlight across the page without smudging the page or getting ink on your hands.

  1. Notecards

Flashcards are great for rule-based classes like Civil Procedure or Evidence and for writing down case holdings and black-letter law. While writing out holdings and rules is time-consuming, I’ve found that doing so helps me remember the material that much better than just reading from my outline. Continue reading “9 Must-Have Products to Get You Through Finals”