When asked to write a blog for the Marquette University Law School blog, I was provided several general topics that I could have considered, as I have never blogged. But it was also suggested that I have an interesting personal story: I always wanted to be a lawyer in my hometown, a city with fewer people than are enrolled as students at Marquette. I have always had a desire to return to Ashland, Wisconsin, and practice law, raise my family and live the lifestyle that I enjoy. I don’t find my situation to be unique or interesting, but maybe that’s because northern Wisconsin is such a wonderful location that it pulls many people home, and my story isn’t unique among residents here. However, someone who grew up in an urban area may be apprehensive that there will be “nothing to do” in a small town. To that I say: only boring people get bored. So rather than discuss a legal topic, I plan to discuss my legal practice, and why being a small-town lawyer is a fulfilling and interesting career. The State Bar of Wisconsin has also recently encouraged small town practice and tried to connect new lawyers or those looking for a change with lawyers in rural areas. Small towns need lawyers.
I grew up in Ashland, located on the shores of Lake Superior, enjoying the big lake and the big woods (Chequamegon National Forest). In the summer and fall the activities were hunting and fishing, in winter it was hockey rinks and ski slopes, and the in the spring, well that was just mud season. I have been teased for the pride I take in talking about my home, my high school, and the general area I grew up in. Unlike larger areas, my high school represents my community and is smaller than most. Ashland has just over 8,000 people and the county has just twice that many. There was no other high school, so it represented us as an area. It represents my home, so I take pride in its success and sorrow in its failures.
In law school I had academic success having offers from large firms and was a summer associate at one. I graduated magna cum laude and moved back to Ashland the day after being sworn in to the Bar. While my big firm experience was positive, I knew my long-term happiness was north. When asked why would you want to live up there, my response was typically the same: “Why do you vacation in northern Wisconsin?” To many people, Elkhart Lake was “up north,” while I consider Highway 8 to be the dividing line between north and south Wisconsin. I find cities great places to visit on weekends but I find the small town is the place to live. I think many lawyers would find small town practice rewarding both professionally and personally. Continue reading “The Rewards of Being a Small Town Lawyer”
Hi all–I talked about this at the ABA meeting resource share but also wanted to blog about this in a little more detail. Apologies for the length–do reach out if you are interested in learning more and I’d be happy to walk you through what I did. In short, this was totally worth it and I felt like the class organization and teamwork reflected exactly what we are trying to achieve. Let me explain:
Team-Based Learning, or TBL, is a concept that I first learned that about in an article by Melissa Weresh applying TBL in the legal writing classroom. After reading Weresh’s article, I thought it would be an interesting concept to incorporate in my Alternative Dispute Resolution course. The ability for students to work together in groups is something that I have done for years, but this added a different flavor to it as the groups were for the entire semester—allowing for developing chemistry and comfort with working with the same group members for an extended period of time (much like they will once they graduate.)
Up to this last year, I would teach the ADR course in three sections (1) negotiation, (2) mediation, and (3) arbitration. Three quizzes for each section acted as “mini-capstones” to end a section. This both allowed for a more focused assessment on the content area and a clear division between the material for the students. But, I felt like students crammed for the one-time quiz as opposed to reading throughout the semester. Additionally, taking a whole class period to quiz the students and then time to review the quiz in the next class felt like too much time devoted to assessment versus learning.
Most of this blog post is from my colleagues Alex Lemann and Rebecca Blemberg who joined Natalie Fleury (our fabulous DR program coordinator) and me on the trip. It was such a delight to have them with us on this great and educational adventure. And, as they note, we are all likely returning with more questions rather than less. Here is one last group pic:
It is hard to believe that a month has gone by since we returned from Israel. On one hand, the experience was so intense and meaningful that it feels like it just ended. On the other hand, it was so far outside our normal experience that it immediately felt foreign, such that looking back now it almost feels like it was all a dream.
We have all had time to rest and reflect since we got home, and we even got the chance to gather socially for a potluck dinner. Seeing everyone again has been a great joy; there is a special bond between us now that we hope will be lasting. Initially, we wondered what it would be like to travel with 40 students. To our delight, we were warmly received by students and welcomed into serious conversations, joyful silliness, and everything in between. (We are grateful we got to travel with such wonderful students.)
One thing that has been particularly interesting upon our return has been following the news from Israel. Many students have been sending articles on current events to our (still vibrant!) group chat. Much of the news from the Middle East has a new immediacy that it lacked before our visit. We also feel informed and aware of the issues in a much deeper way than we were before. Reading that the Trump administration recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights mere days after being there ourselves, for instance, was almost surreal. And Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection, a week after he promised to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank, has given us all a lot to think about.
Alex: I still haven’t been able to shake something we heard on our very first night in Israel, from Dr. Alick Isaacs. Dr. Isaacs is the co-director of Siach Shalom, which works to create a dialogue about peace that builds on a foundation of deep respect for and understanding of the fervently-held religious beliefs of people on both sides. This type of emphasis feels very foreign to us as Americans, something Michael Karayanni, Dean of the faculty of law at Hebrew University, echoed on our very last day. To many Americans, the problem of peace between Israel and Palestine (and in the region more generally) can seem like an interesting puzzle, one whose solution lies in figuring out how to fit the pieces together (or perhaps divide them up) in just the right way. Dr. Isaacs suggested that to people of faith, the Holy Land cannot simply be divided up. It is as if, he said, two people found a Torah (a bible scroll) at the same time. Cutting the Torah in half is simply unthinkable; another way to share must be found.
Rebecca: The question that stays with me also came up at Dr. Isaacs’ talk, after he gave a powerful account of people meeting together after an act of violence and finding empathy for one another. Student Shayla Sanders asked how peacemakers can bring that deep empathy we experience when we interact as individuals into more large-scale political questions that consider group interests. That question stayed with me when we heard Adam Waddell from EcoPeace speak about sharing resources and social space and “being human with one another” despite differences. I thought about it again when Genevieve Begue from the Shutafot Coalition for Economic Equality spoke to us at Juha’s Guesthouse in Jisr al Zarqa and stated that sharing personal and even painful experiences bridged some cultural divides and helped create trust needed for a social business seeking to empower impoverished women and children. Again it came up at Kuchinate, a refugee women’s collective, in Jaffa. Refugees shared their personal stories with our group, and I will never again think about political questions concerning refugees and status without remembering these two brave women.
Where thoughts like these lead us is open to interpretation. One benefit of understanding a problem more deeply is that easy answers are no longer satisfying. At the very least we all feel that we all understand so much more than we did when we left, not only about Israel but maybe also about the human condition.
We can’t resist closing with a big Thank You to Professors Andrea Schneider and Natalie Fleury for all the work they put into this incredible class trip!
And thanks to all of our students for their wonderful reflections and our blog readers for their attention–feel free to reach out with any comments or questions. We hope that the blogs gave you a sense of the range of our trip and what we learned. What you might not have picked up is how much fun this was (for me too!) and how much I enjoyed. With much appreciation to Marquette Law School and our extra trip funders for supporting this!
Our last chunk of speakers were strong women who work to make Israel more inclusive and safer. Kylie Owens shared her thoughts on our first speaker.
Professor Halperin-Kaddari is a renowned expert in family law, who earned both her L.L.M. and J.S.D. from Yale Law School. Our visit with Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, a family law professor from Bar-Ilan University, was truly enlightening. Israel has a unique system of law that regulates marriage, divorce, and child custody issues. Under this system, mainly governed by religious courts, women can be oppressed, the courts completely prevent interfaith marriage, and domestic abuse can be overlooked. Professor Halperin-Kaddari discussed some of these problems in detail and offered a look at the current state of the opposition and efforts to change the system to allow the possibility of civil marriages in Israel.
Great to see so many of us at the ABA conference this past week! We will have blogs soon about conference sessions and lessons…And, in the meantime, here’s another from Israel:
Our work out for the week was held at Budo for Peace (BFP). BFP is an innovative non-profit educational organization based in Israel that uses the ethical values of traditional martial arts to empower children while promoting social harmony and peace in the Middle East. Since its establishment 14 years ago, BFP’s programs have impacted thousands of children from diverse cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic origins throughout Israel and the Middle East, including refugees in Lesvos, Greece.
Yamilett Lopez said “When our group arrived, we got to practice some Budo with the children as well as learn about the Budo for Peace’s goals of advocating co-existence and dialogue, empowering females, fostering immigrant communities, and engaging at risk youth. Overall, it was amazing to see a sports organization help bridge a divide among communities.” This was both a ton of fun and hilarious!
We then had dinner at Juha’s Guesthouse in Jisr a Zarqa. Meaghan McTigue noted “The town is the only Arab village on the Israeli coast of the Mediterranean Sea and their guest house is an embodiment of hope in their future. The guest house is the fruits of a Jisr local Ahmed and Jewish Israeli Neta. The unlikely pair partnered with a shared vision and believe in the potential of the town and its people. The guest house serves as an economic asset to the village where guests are encouraged to explore the area and shop from local merchants.”
The 2019 Summer Session in International and Comparative Law, commonly know at the Marquette University Law School as “the Giessen Program,” has been approved and will take place July 20 through August 15 on the campus of Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.
There are still a small number of spots available for additional Marquette law students, students at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and students from other U.S. law schools. Information on the program is available at the Marquette University Law School website or by emailing Professor Ed Fallone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in applying for the 2019 program, do not delay.
On Day 2 of our magical trip to Israel we visited Masada and the Dead Sea. As student Alexander Hensley put it “[It] was the perfect way to kick off this trip.” (Let me note to all travelers, a day in the sun outside is quintessential jetlag recovery!)
The story of Masada is one that flies under the radar for many non-Jewish people but is fascinating to learn its history. The isolated plateau that is Masada has a history of being a fortress, built into a palace by Herod and then used as the last holdout by the Jews fighting the Romans in 70 A.D. Today it is one of Israel’s largest tourist attractions not only for its history but the beauty of it rising up in the desert. Alex Hensley “absolutely loved standing over the Dead Sea and looking down at the ramp that the Romans built.” Our tour guide Yoav expertly guided the group across the fortress in record time. As student Cole Altman so aptly stated “To be able to share its beauty and joy with the entire group was absolutely incredible.”
We then headed toward the Dead Sea to float. Many of the students decided to “farm” the mineral rich mud to rub all over their bodies. The mud makes your skin extremely smooth and floating was definitely a highlight of the trip for many students.
After a rest, we then started our more academic visits on Saturday evening. We heard from Dr. Alick Isaacs who is the Co-director of Siach Shalom (translated as Talking Peace). This is an organization that works to create dialog about peace using religion rather than arguing to take the religion out of the conflict and tries to include and welcome religious leaders who have been dissenting voice against previous peace efforts inside Israel. Dr. Isaacs is the author of A Prophetic Peace: Judaism, Religion, and Politics which recounts his experience as a combat soldier in the Second Lebanon War. Dr. Issacs’ talk included snippets of how he made “Aliyah” (The immigration process for Jew’s to move to Israel) after dealing with anti-Semitism in England growing up, and discussed Judaism as an ethnic identity. (Here is a link to a talk he gave several years ago) Student Van Donkersgoed explained that hearing Dr. Isaacs speak “Helped form the context for much of the trip, and also helped clarify my perception of Jewish culture and the State of Israel.”
Hi blogosphere–it is my pleasure to start us off with blogging about this year’s spring break trip. We had 40, yes 40!, law students on this trip with four faculty. And it was a great group.
Per usual, we started off on Friday night with a lookout over Jerusalem where we all celebrated our safe and easy arrival.
Then we visited the Western Wall to see the prayers at Shabbat. This can be both beautiful and unsettling, as men and women are separated. And, as we had arrived on International Women’s Day, the difference was even more notable.
As student Madison Mears noted, “The [smaller] women’s side was crowded and silent; the only noise filling the women’s area came from the prayers, songs, and chants of the men from the other side of the fence…To experience that dichotomy of expression and repression, left me walking away with more questions…” This impact of religion and gender continued to be a theme throughout the week as was the fact that we often left with more questions than when we came.
Student Micaela Bear also noted how the separation of the sexes led to questions by her classmates but also wrote, “As a Jewish student at a Jesuit law school, it was hard to fathom that my cohorts of different religions would feel such a special connection to a Jewish holy site. It filled my hear with warmth to experience the start of Shabbos with Jews of all denominations, but also to share this experience with my classmates.”
I felt the same way–what a privilege to be able to share a place I love with a new group of students!
Please join me in welcoming our Guest Blogger for the month of March.
Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Attorney Brandon Jubelirer. He is currently an associate at Hawks Quindel. His law practice primarily consists of litigating a wide variety of worker’s compensation matters on behalf of injured and wrongfully terminated workers. Before joining Hawks Quindel as an associate, Attorney Jubelirer served as a law clerk with the firm for over a year and a half. Throughout his legal education, Attorney Jubelirer also interned for a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, served on the board of directors for the Marquette Labor & Employment Law Society, and performed pro-bono service for the Sojourner Family Peace Center’s Domestic Violence Clinic in connection with Marquette University Law School. Attorney Jubelirer graduated cum laude from Marquette University Law School. Prior to entering law school, Attorney Jubelirer earned his B.A., cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with a double major in political science and history. He also graduated from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Honors College program.
Congratulations to Jade Hall, Simone Haugen, Anne O’Meara, and Aleysha Thomas for their strong effort in the 2019 Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Midwest Regionals in Chicago. In its 60th year, the Jessup Competition is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 680 law schools in 100 countries. This year’s Jessup problem involved the appropriation of traditional knowledge for commercial purposes, state responsibility for corporate environmental degradation and human rights violations, and protection of migratory species.
Attorneys and Marquette Law alumni Rene Jovel (Jessup 2014), Margaret Krei (Jessup 2013), and Alyssa Gemein (Jessup 2017), as well as Professors Ryan Scoville and Megan A. O’Brien served as team advisors. Special thanks to Juan Amado (Jessup 2011 and former team advisor), Jared Widseth (Jessup 2014), Nathan Oesch (Jessup 2018), Courtney Roelandts (Jessup 2018), Matt Tobin (Jessup 2014), and Professor Andrea Schneider for judging oral practice rounds.
February is upon us, and it is time to welcome our Guest Bloggers of the Month.
Our Alumni Blogger of the Month for February is Jamie Yu, Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated. Ms. Yu joined Baird’s legal department as an intern in 2013 and joined the Baird legal team full time in 2015. Ms. Yu’s primary areas of responsibility include advising Baird’s Fixed Income Capital Markets and Investment Banking business and providing general legal counsel to a variety of areas throughout the firm, including data privacy. Prior to joining Baird, Ms. Yu worked for three years in Taiwan as a legal assistant and translator. Ms. Yu received her J.D. from Marquette University Law School in 2015, where she was the editor-in-chief of the Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review, an Academic Success Program leader, an admissions ambassador, and a Student Bar Association student mentor. She received her B.A. in political science and international studies from Case Western Reserve University in 2009.
Our Student Blogger of the Month for February is Scott Lyon. Scott is currently a 3L at MULS. He graduated from Emory University with a BA in Economics in 2013. Before law school, Scott taught at-risk youth at a high school in Cook County, IL. Scott currently participates in the MULS Prosecutor Clinic. He interned at the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel through the MULS Supervised Fieldwork Program in 2018 and spent the summer of 2017 in the Marinette County Circuit Court, Branch 2, clerking for Judge James Morrison. Scott focuses his studies on criminal law and litigation. He is the President of the MULS Student Chapter of the Federalist Society, and he participated in the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition. Scott is proud to attend MULS with his younger brother, Eric Lyon, who is also currently a 3L.
Please join me in welcoming our Guest Bloggers. We look forward to your posts.
We start off the new year with two guest bloggers.
Our Student Blogger for the month of January is Foley Van Lieshout. Foley is a current 1L at Marquette University Law School. She graduated cum laude from Lawrence University in June 2018. She majored in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Ten of her relatives attended Marquette University Law School, but she is the first guest blogger of the family. Foley hopes to focus her studies on criminal law and litigation while at Marquette. She is currently a member of the MULS Association for Women Lawyers and the Federalist Society.
Our Alumni Blogger for the month of January is Daniel Murphy, a recent graduate of Marquette University Law School. Dan provides the following self-introduction:
“After graduating from Marquette Law School in 2016, I was hired by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. I had participated in the Prosecutor Clinic there working in the Violent Crimes Unit on Drug Team 1 assigned to Judge Timothy Witkowiak’s court. As a newly minted Assistant District Attorney I was fortunate to start in that same position. Judge Witkowiak rotated in January of 2017. Since that time, I’ve practiced in front of Judge Janet Protasiewicz. As a member of the Drug Unit, I prosecute felony level drug and gun crimes. My job mainly consists of charging cases, reviewing search warrants, providing discovery, and litigating motions and trials. My case load fluctuates but is typically around 90 cases. In addition to my normal responsibilities, I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to work closely with a group of officers assigned to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Group. Those officers work longer term, more complex investigations. Through that portion of my work I’ve rode along with officers for take downs and search warrants, I work with the officers on planning investigations, and I help wade through legal issues that crop up during the investigations. I thoroughly enjoy being an ADA in the Violent Crimes Unit. The work is challenging and exciting. My colleagues at the DA’s office are excellent attorneys and supportive teammates. I’ve learned an enormous amount about criminal prosecution in my short time there. My personal life has also seen a significant change since graduating law school with the birth of my son, our first. And life continues to get more (happily) complicated as my wife and I are expecting our second child, a girl, any day now. We are very happy with our small but growing family and fortunate to have the support of many close friends and family.”
Welcome! We look forward to starting off 2019 with your posts.