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”

It’s Illegal to Do What? Strange Laws and Why They Exist

Posted on Categories Legal History, PublicLeave a comment» on It’s Illegal to Do What? Strange Laws and Why They Exist

jumping frogThis 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 Kelly Owens.

“In Bellingham, Washington, it is illegal for a woman to do what while dancing?” my dad asked the family during a heated game of Balderdash while I was home for the Easter holiday.

For those who might be unfamiliar with the (highly entertaining) game of Balderdash, the game poses questions across various categories to the players, and each player must come up with a convincing answer to attempt to trick other players into picking their answer over the correct one.

During this particular round, the category was weird laws.  And, apparently, Bellingham, Washington, has at least one such law.

No, Bellingham does not make it illegal for a woman to kick her legs into the air while dancing (my mom’s answer), but it is illegal for a woman to take more than three steps backward while dancing.  Or is it?

My immediate thought after getting through the round and hearing the answer was, How did such a ridiculous thing become a law?  Better yet, how does one even go about enforcing such a law?  My law student curiosity got the best of me, so I of course decided that this law required some more investigating. Continue reading “It’s Illegal to Do What? Strange Laws and Why They Exist”

Congratulations to the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Legal Practice, Marquette Law School, Public1 Comment on Congratulations to the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Olivia Garman and Sarita Olson. Congratulations also go to finalists Killian Commers and William Ruffing.  Killian Commers and William Ruffing additionally won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief.  Olivia Garman won the Ramon A. Klitzke Prize for Best Oralist.

The competitors argued before a large audience in the Lubar Center. Presiding over the final round were Hon. Goodwin Liu, Hon. Stephen Murphy, and Hon. Lisa Neubauer.

Many thanks to the judges and competitors for their hard work, enthusiasm, and sportsmanship in all the rounds of competition, as well as to the moot court executive board and Law School administration and staff for their work in putting on the event. Special thanks to Dean Kearney for his support of the competition.  Thank you as well to the Moot Court Association for its work in putting this event together, and especially 3L executive board members Tsz King Tse, who organized the competition, and Chief Justice Nathan Oesch.

Students are selected to participate in the competition based on their success in the fall Appellate Writing and Advocacy class at the Law School.

Here is a link to the video of the final round.

California Supreme Court Justice Calls for Improving Access to Legal Services

Posted on Categories Legal Profession, Pro Bono, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on California Supreme Court Justice Calls for Improving Access to Legal Services

Goodwin Liu, a justice of the California Supreme Court, came to Marquette Law School Thursday to be a judge of the Jenkins Honor Moot Court Competition Final Round. The widely-known justice also brought with him a fascinating personal story and provocative ideas for lawyers and law students on several subjects, presented during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Eckstein Hall. I encourage you to listen to the program by clicking here. This blog item will on two of the messages Liu delivered.

Liu, then a professor at the University of California-Berkeley law school, was nominated in 2010 by President Barack Obama to be a federal appeals court judge. The nomination drew strong opposition from Republicans in the US Senate, largely because of controversial things Liu had written. After the nomination was held up for more than a year, Liu withdrew. He was appointed by California Gov. Jerry Brown to that state’s Supreme Court in 2011.

Did Liu regret the things he had written? Liu said there were  some specific things he would handle differently in retrospect, but overall, he was not sorry he had taken strong stands. He urged the law students in the audience not to fear taking positions on things they care about.

Liu said, “You should not just kind of live your life in an exceedingly cautious or antiseptic way, never saying anything, never doing anything that could cause someone else to disagree with you. No. That’s not a good way to live. You have to think about (and) remember why you came to law school — what were the things that motivated you – and, within reasonable ethical and prudent bounds, pursue those things. Because you’re not going to be happy if you don’t do that. . . .  or do anything. . . .

“I had a friend who told me a nice quote once, which was, ‘no one ever goes to his grave seeking an epitaph that reads, “He kept his options open.” I mean, that is no way to live.”

Gousha asked Liu if the nation was in a situation where there two justice systems, one for those who can afford lawyers and the other for those who can’t.

Liu said that was one of the biggest issues facing America. He spoke of the principle that everyone should have equal access to the legal system.

“The principle is an important one .We are so far away from that principle overall in society. Most of us, myself included, do lots of important transactions every year or every couple years where we probably should have a lawyer look things over. Did you ever buy a house? Did you ever read all of those documents? My guess is probably not, but you just signed a lot of your life away in those documents. Wouldn’t it be useful to make sure all those things were done right? This is a big thing.

“Two piece of concluding thought there. One is, of course, that I’ll offer an exhortation to the lawyers and the law students here that doing work for people who can’t afford legal services is so important. No matter whatever you do in your career, that has to be one of the things that you do.  . . . Especially for the younger people here, it is one of the things that will actually give you the greatest skill-building types of opportunities. . . .

“The other piece however, is more fundamental, which I think those of you who are in the public policy realm might give some thought to. And that is (that) law is a strange profession in so far as it is not a differentiated profession as, for example, the health care industry is. Not that our health care industry is any great paragon of success. However, it is the case that when you go to seek health care, it isn’t thar you only go and see a doctor, a physician. We have differentiated roles up and down the health care system. We have nurses, we have nurse’s assistants, we have physician’s assistants, we have technicians, we have all kinds of people where we are triaging your needs to the lowest-cost provider and allocating in an efficient way functions up and down the system and differentiating those functions up and down the system.

“In the legal system, we don’t have that. We have lawyers and nobody else, right? And it doesn’t seem to me that it’s absolutely necessary to have just this one model where, for many things like an eviction or a simple family law matter or immigration matter, whatever it , a lot of things are just about  navigating complicated forms or figuring out what building to go to, or how to do a process.

“There are a lot of roles there that could be filled by people who will not be as fancy as all of you will be when you graduate from this august institution, right? If we could bring the cost of those services down by having different kinds of roles to help people navigate the legal system, why, I think that would be a great service.

“The analogy I would give is: The cost of accessing this kind of basic legal service should be no greater—we should have a model where it’s no greater — than the cost of getting a plumber. If your toilet doesn’t work, you’re going to get it fixed and you’re going to pay the price of a plumber to get it fixed.

“Well, shouldn’t we have at least the same bargain available for very important things in people’s lives, like whether you’re buying a house, whether you’re negotiating a custody agreement, whether you’re trying to get special education for your kids, whatever it is? These are at least as important as your toilet. And so we need to have a market in which access to those kinds of things can be priced accordingly, so average people – average people, I’m not talking about low income people, I’m talking about average people –can afford them. . . .

“I think this is an idea whose time has come. And I think also, for the younger generation, technology is going to be a big part of this, too. Law firms remain brick and mortar enterprises in an age when most  legal services can be done pretty much at a home computer in many instances.“

Liu said that some say that the legal profession resists such ideas as a way to defend the profession. “I think that kind of mentality has a shelf life, because there is a greater and greater demand in our society for fair access to legal services.” Liu said. “As the world becomes more complicated, more and more people are going to need this and we as part of the legal profession should be part of the solution, not a hindrance to it.”

 

Right-to-Work or Right-to-Free Ride?

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment Law, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on Right-to-Work or Right-to-Free Ride?

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 Frank Capria.

Labor and employment law is an area of law that is of high importance. However, it gets little coverage or recognition. It does not get the publicity like criminal law does in hit TV shows like “Better Call Saul.” But, the Supreme Court is about to decide Janus v. AFSCME, which could dramatically change the entire public sector and make it right-to-work. This case will have a serious impact on teachers, firemen, police officers, and other public employee union members. If the Supreme Court rules mandatory collection of agency fees is unconstitutional, public sector unions will be weakened.

Policy

Right-to-work is a policy that allows dissenting union members to not pay non-political dues, or agency fees, to unions. Because of the exclusivity provision in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), unions must still represent these dissenting members when negotiating the collective bargaining agreement or when the member is in an arbitration proceeding. The NLRA permits states to have right-to-work laws. Continue reading “Right-to-Work or Right-to-Free Ride?”

Pop Music and International Relations

Posted on Categories International Law & Diplomacy, Popular Culture & Law, PublicLeave a comment» on Pop Music and International Relations

The Korean pop music group Red Velvet, consisting of five women wearing blue and white outfits, pose on a stage in Inchon, South Korea.Some find the superficiality and commercialism of pop music troubling enough to justify ignoring the whole thing.  However, if a music fan approaches pop music with some variety of critical consciousness, the pop music fan can use it to consider everything from personal values to national identity.  If recent developments in the Korean Peninsula are any indication, pop music, a type of pop culture, can even play a role in improving international relations.

North Korea has traditionally been leery of South Korean and especially American pop culture.  For years, the North Korean government attempted to suppress DVDs and thumb drives with pop cultural television shows, movies, and popular music.  Often smuggled into North Korea from China, these pop cultural works struck the government as evidence of bourgeois decadence.  Mere possession of South Korean or American pop culture was a criminal offense and could lead to a sentence in prison camp. Continue reading “Pop Music and International Relations”

If You Want to Be a Defense Attorney, be a Prosecutor

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Legal Practice, Marquette Law School, Public1 Comment on If You Want to Be a Defense Attorney, be a Prosecutor

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 Naomi Tovar.

As of earlier this week, I was one of the few people in law school that had never watched Making a Murderer. I did not even know what it was about. Then last night, I decided to watch the first episode. I thought it was finally time to watch the show, considering that I had recently decided the criminal law field is where I want to grow professionally.

Those decisions (to pursue criminal law and to watch the documentary) were easy. The more difficult decision I have to face, however, is whether I should be a prosecutor or a defense attorney. At first blush, the answer is simple: defense. A defense attorney protects the rights of those who, according the founding law of our country, are innocent until proven guilty. Many times, defense attorneys represent the poor, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised of our society. I came to law school to do exactly that.

Then I binged watched the first six episodes of Making a Murderer and my thoughts changed. Continue reading “If You Want to Be a Defense Attorney, be a Prosecutor”