Wisconsin and the Startup Community: Why Attorneys and Law Students Should Become Engaged

Posted on Categories Business Regulation, Public, Student Contributor, Wisconsin Law & Legal SystemLeave a comment» on Wisconsin and the Startup Community: Why Attorneys and Law Students Should Become Engaged

Next week from November 5th to November 11th, Wisconsin is celebrating its Startup Wisconsin Week. Cities across the entire state of Wisconsin will be hosting programs and events geared toward helping Wisconsin grow its startup community. For the entrepreneurial-minded, this week provides an array of opportunities to network, learn tricks of the trade, and become more involved in the startup process. For transitionally focused attorneys, this week offers a variety of opportunities to meet new potential clients and learn more about how entrepreneurs can affect Wisconsin.

Wisconsin itself has a lot of success with maintaining new businesses. According to the Kauffman Index of Main Street Entrepreneurship, out of the 25 largest states, Wisconsin ranks second in small business activity. Out of this same group of states, Wisconsin also ranks fourth for the highest rate of female business owners and fourth with the highest rate of business owners between the ages of twenty to thirty-two.  Continue reading “Wisconsin and the Startup Community: Why Attorneys and Law Students Should Become Engaged”

Heartbroken in Pittsburgh

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I thought that teaching the Kavanaugh hearings in a careful and respectful manner a few weeks ago would be the biggest teaching challenge of the semester. I was wrong. This weekend, as you have all no doubt heard, a gunman with a history of anti-Semitic rants and far too many legally acquired guns in his possession, entered a synagogue and killed 11 people there in the middle of Saturday morning prayers.

Tree of Life is a synagogue in the heart of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh. This is my home. I went to Hebrew School at Tree of Life, my mom was a teacher there—it is one of several synagogues in this neighborhood that we have belonged to over the years and those killed are parents, cousins, dear friends of our community—two learning-disabled men, leaders of the synagogue, the list is too painful.

As the newspapers have noted, Squirrel Hill has been a Jewish enclave in Pittsburgh for years but that also misses the point of its diversity.  Continue reading “Heartbroken in Pittsburgh”

New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Examines War Powers, State Supreme Court Elections, Legal Scholarship Ethics, and More

Posted on Categories Legal Scholarship, Marquette Law School, President & Executive Branch, Public, Speakers at Marquette, Wisconsin Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Examines War Powers, State Supreme Court Elections, Legal Scholarship Ethics, and More

The bald eagle symbolizes the strength of the United States, not least when the country uses its military power. The eagle on the cover of the Marquette Lawyer magazine, Fall 2018 issue, shows the determination, even the fierceness, of the eagle during times of war.

But the process involved in deciding where and how that eagle flies is more complex than many people may realize. In the cover story in the new Marquette Law School magazine, David J. Barron, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and formerly a Harvard Law School professor, insightfully examines three chapters in American history when a president and leaders of Congress had differing positions on use of power. Barron focuses on three of the nation’s most revered presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The article is an edited and expanded version of the E. Harold Hallows Lecture that Barron delivered at the Law School in April 2018. To read the article, click here.

Interspersed throughout the article are reactions by three individuals with different perspectives on the relationship between Congress and the commander-in-chief: Russ Feingold, former three-term U.S. senator from Wisconsin and currently distinguished visiting lecturer in international studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; Julia R. Azari, associate professor of political science at Marquette University and a scholar of the American presidency; and Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of Lawfare and senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

Barron’s article, together with the reactions, is only one of the thoughtful and thought-provoking pieces in the new Marquette Lawyer. Elsewhere in the magazine: Continue reading “New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Examines War Powers, State Supreme Court Elections, Legal Scholarship Ethics, and More”

The Great Lakes Compact At 10: Significant Achievements, But Still A Work In Progress

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Enacting the Great Lakes Compact was a remarkable achievement that likely wouldn’t be possible in today’s political climate; it is a bipartisan, multi-jurisdictional agreement that will benefit future generations and was adopted in the absence of a crisis. Yet its ultimate success or failure remains Great Lakes from spaceto be determined, as questions persist about its staying power and about our commitment to its consistent application. Those two conclusions were broadly shared by presenters and attendees at a conference held earlier this month at the Law School’s Lubar Center. The Law School’s Water Law and Policy Initiative organized the event to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Compact’s signature into law by President George W. Bush, and to evaluate its success since then.

Former Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle opened the conference by reflecting on his work as one of the Compact’s architects. Doyle acknowledged the Compact’s primary feature, a general ban on diversions of water outside the basin, and also highlighted lesser known provisions resulting in the creation of a framework for employing sound science in the joint management of the Lakes. He struck a note of caution, however, predicting that thirsty regions across the country are still focused on the Great Lakes as a potential water source, and at some point “people will go to Congress and say we have to get rid of [the Compact].” The Compact will not be fully tested, Doyle suggested, until water shortages strike broad swaths of the country, including areas outside the Great Lakes basin but within the Great Lakes states. The basin line bisects Wisconsin. Would a future Wisconsin governor remain committed to the Compact even if severe water shortages struck Madison or other Wisconsin communities just outside the Basin? Doyle urged audience members to ask all candidates for public office about their commitment to the Lakes and the Compact. Continue reading “The Great Lakes Compact At 10: Significant Achievements, But Still A Work In Progress”

How the Basic Journalism of PolitiFact Has Changed the Political Landscape

Posted on Categories Media & Journalism, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on How the Basic Journalism of PolitiFact Has Changed the Political Landscape

In 2007, with President George W. Bush’s second term as president coming to an end and Vice President Richard Cheney not aiming to succeed him, open races for both Democratic and Republican nominations for president were developing. Bill Adair thought it was time to bring more fact-checking into American political journalism.  Adair, then a Washington-based journalist with the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) began a project that the newspaper called Politifact.

The idea took off and, more than a decade later, PolitiFact and other political fact-checking efforts have become an important part of the national journalism landscape. PolitiFact is now an independent non-profit organization. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel became a partner with PolitiFact in 2010, ahead of the election that year in which Republican Scott Walker defeated Democrat Tom Barrett for governor, and continues to run PolitiFact pieces, with either national or local focuses, almost every day.

In an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program Tuesday at Marquette Law School, Angie Drobnic Holan, now the editor of PolitiFact and a part of its team since the start, and Tom Kertscher, who has worked on the Journal Sentinel’s PolitiFact team since its start, described the goals of what they do in terms core journalistic values. Continue reading “How the Basic Journalism of PolitiFact Has Changed the Political Landscape”

New Book on Sentencing and Corrections

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Federal Criminal Law & Process, Federal Sentencing, Legal Scholarship, Marquette Law School, Prisoner Rights, Public, Race & LawLeave a comment» on New Book on Sentencing and Corrections

I am pleased to report that my latest book, Prisons and Punishment in America: Examining the Facts, is now in print. Structured as a series of questions and answers, the book synthesizes the law and social science on sentencing, corrections, and prisoner reentry. Individual chapters cover:

  • Sentencing law and practice
  • Alternatives to incarceration
  • Experience and consequences of incarceration
  • Release and life after prison
  • Women, juveniles, and other special offender populations
  • Causes and significance of mass incarceration in the U.S.
  • Race, ethnicity, and punishment
  • Public opinion, politics, and reform

The book is intended to be accessible to readers who do not have training in law or social science, but I also hope that there are some aspects of the book that will be of interest even to those who are already quite familiar with the workings of the criminal justice system.

Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Wellness in the Legal Profession: Change is Necessary

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Symbol of a heart with a jagged line representing an EKG printout superimposed over it, in order to represent the concept of "wellbeing"Last week, the American Bar Association (“ABA”) designated and celebrated October 10th, 2018 as National Mental Health Day for Law Schools.[1] This date coincided with the World Mental Health Day.[2] The ABA’s National Mental Health Day for Law Schools serves as a vital reminder that the legal profession is not immune from mental health problems. In fact, the numbers themselves highlight just how important discussing and tackling mental health and wellness are to both law schools and the legal profession in general. Both law students and lawyers suffer in large numbers from mental illness and substance abuse. Therefore, it is important to address these concerns and to help both law students and attorneys live a life that focuses on their wellbeing.

Statistics on Attorneys

In comparison to other professions, lawyers themselves experience higher rates of mental health issues and substance abuse. Attorneys are the most frequently depressed occupational group in the United States, and they are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression in comparison to non-lawyers.[3] In a study of roughly 13,000 practicing attorneys conducted by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, 28% of the attorneys reported experiencing depression, 23% reported experiencing stress, and 19% reported experiencing anxiety.[4] Of these participants, 21% are qualified as problem drinkers, and they “experience problematic drinking that is hazardous, harmful, or otherwise generally consistent with alcohol use disorders at a rate much higher than other populations.”[5]

This same study found that younger attorneys, rather than older attorneys, are at a greater risk for experiencing these issues. Continue reading “Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Wellness in the Legal Profession: Change is Necessary”

Our Student Blogger This Month

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Headshot photo of law student Yamilett Lopez.Our Student Blogger for the month of October is Yamilett Lopez.   Yamilett is a 3L at Marquette University Law School and President of the Organization for Student Wellbeing. During her three years at Marquette Law School, Yamilett has been involved in a wide range of activities and organizations, including serving as a tour guide, being Comment Editor for the Marquette Law Review, and volunteering her time at the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic. Prior to law school, Yamilett graduated summa cum laude from Marquette University in 2017 and received a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in marketing.

Yamilett’s first post is on the way!

More Help Urged for Those Making “Re-entry” from Incarceration

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Marquette Law School Poll, Public, Speakers at Marquette, Wisconsin Criminal Law & Process2 Comments on More Help Urged for Those Making “Re-entry” from Incarceration

“When does the sentence end?“  Albert Holmes says he often faces that question as he works to help people who have been released from incarceration and who are re-entering the general community.

Holmes, president and CEO of My Father’s House, was one of the speakers Thursday, Oct. 4, at a conference at Marquette Law School that focused on what can be done to provide paths for more people in those situations to establish stable lives.

The conference, “Racial Inequality, Poverty, and Criminal Justice,” drew an audience that included two Wisconsin Supreme Court justices, several circuit judges, prosecutors (including Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm),  defense attorneys, and many who work in agencies that try to help those getting out of prison or jail or who are advocates on issues involved with the subject.   Continue reading “More Help Urged for Those Making “Re-entry” from Incarceration”

Bitcoin and Money: An Advocate’s View

Posted on Categories Business Regulation, Computer Law, Public, Student Contributor, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on Bitcoin and Money: An Advocate’s View

Photo of a lampost with a paper flyer taped to it asking passerby to send bitcoins to pay for college.Some refer to Bitcoin as the internet of money. Why? Because they believe Bitcoin will revolutionize the way we transact with each other the same way the internet revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. Some critics argue otherwise. But, quite interestingly some of Bitcoin’s biggest critics are the same institutions and industries that stand to be disrupted by Bitcoin. To some, the idea of Bitcoin replacing our current mediums of exchange is too far-fetched. I would argue that our mediums of exchange throughout history have suffered arguably more drastic changes. As a human race we went from bartering, to exchanging precious metals, to paper money, and most recently to plastic cards with magnetic strips.  How do you think people reacted when they were told they would not be buying and selling goods with precious metals, but instead they would be using paper? This was a substantial aberration in the manner people transacted with each other, and it took hundreds of years for there to be consensus on this transition.

On that note, what is Bitcoin? Most people will say that Bitcoin is a digital currency. While at its essence this is not a false statement, if Bitcoin is simply a digital currency it would be inconsequential. Most of our currencies today are already digital. Bank accounts today are digital databases, and we use those bank account to transfer money to and from each other, in electronic form. That is digital money. The reality is that only about 8% of total world currencies exist in physical form. It would seem that if Bitcoin is as revolutionary as some claim, it would need to offer something beyond the digitalization of money, and it does. Let’s discuss some of these characteristics and possibilities. Continue reading “Bitcoin and Money: An Advocate’s View”

Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Seymour and Brisco

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Seymour and Brisco
Taylor Brisco and Christa Seymour
Taylor Brisco and Christa Seymour at the AWL Annual Luncheon.

Yesterday, September 25, 2018, the Milwaukee Association for Women Lawyers (AWL) Foundation honored two Marquette University Law School students with scholarships.

Christa M. Seymour, 2L, received the AWL Foundation scholarship. The AWL Foundation Scholarship is awarded to a woman who has exhibited service to others, diversity, compelling financial need, academic achievement, unique life experiences (such as overcoming obstacles to attend or continue law school), and advancement of women in the profession. As a child, Seymour moved from South Milwaukee to Rio, Wisconsin, a small town in the northern part of the state with just over 1,000 people (as 2010). She completed her undergraduate degree at UW Madison, and in the next 13 years, she worked in business and became a mother to four children. When she started law school—13 years after finishing her undergrad degree—Seymour’s children were between 2 and 8 years old. On top of a busy life with a family and law school, Seymour works with the Milwaukee Justice Center, volunteers with the Domestic Violence Injunction project, and is involved in student associations. Seymour said she wanted to be an example of where hard work and perseverance can take someone, and to be that example for her children and for others.

Taylor Brisco, 3L, received the AWL Foundation’s Virginia A. Pomeroy scholarship. This scholarship honors the late Virginia A. Pomeroy, a former deputy state public defender and a past president of AWL. In addition to meeting the same criteria as for the AWL Foundation scholarship, the winner of this scholarship must also exhibit what the AWL Foundation calls “a special emphasis, through experience, employment, class work or clinical programs” in one of several particular areas: appellate practice, civil rights law, public interest law, public policy, public service, or service to the vulnerable or disadvantaged. Brisco, a former sports journalist, is the first African American woman to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Marquette Sports Law Review. Last spring, she received the Anne Wall “Ethics in Sports Law Writing Competition” Award for her essay about unethical practices of player re-entry in the National Football League and how to fix those practices. Brisco is currently the legal intern for the West Allis City Attorney’s Office and the legal intern for the Milwaukee Bucks. In addition to pursuing a sports law certificate here, she is also completing her master’s degree in dispute resolution from Pepperdine University. Somehow, Brisco still finds time to be a research assistant for Professor Mazzie, participate in mock trial, serve as a student ambassador for the law school Admissions Office, and volunteer for the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic.

Congratulations to both women for outstanding service and for their representation of Marquette University Law School.

Posley Offers Optimism on MPS’ Future, Driven by Emphasizing Basics

Posted on Categories Milwaukee Public Schools, Public, Speakers at Marquette1 Comment on Posley Offers Optimism on MPS’ Future, Driven by Emphasizing Basics

You can’t build a home from the roof down. You have to start with the foundation and build upward. And that’s what Keith Posley, interim superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, is stressing in the early months of leading Wisconsin’s largest and most challenging school district.

Educators often get caught up in new programs and ideas for education that sound appealing, Posley said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program Wednesday at Marquette Law School. But education – and building greater success for MPS – needs to be start with teaching the basics so that all students learn to read, write and do math early in their school years. Add to that building good school attendance and the ability to work well with others and you have grounds for a bright future for kids and for MPS, Posley said.

Posley offered Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, and an audience of about 200, including many key figures in education in Milwaukee, an optimistic vision of what lies ahead for MPS.

“Milwaukee Public Schools is alive and well and we’re going to do great things,” Posley said. “Give me five years,” Posley said, and MPS tests scores in reading and math will be above the state average. Maybe it can be done in three, he added. Overall, MPS scores as of last year were far below state averages.

Gousha asked how patient people should be with seeing improvement in the overall success of MPS students. It will take some time to see results, Posley said, but people should see right away how energized Posley and MPS as a whole are in improving. “We have to move at a fast pace and I am moving at a fast pace, my team is moving at a fast pace.” Posley said. “I know exactly what needs to happen.”

He said, “Everyone knows if we have a strong Milwaukee Public Schools, we’re going to have a strong Milwaukee and a strong Wisconsin. . . . We’ve got to continue to work – to work until we can get to where we need to be.”

Posley proposed to the School Board during its budget work in the spring that large cuts be made in the central administration of MPS rather than cutting budgets in schools. Posley said he did that because “if we’re going to make a change, it’s going to happen in the classroom.” He said, “I have to put every ounce of money we have – I put 89 cents of every dollar we have — in the classroom.” His goal for next year is to raise that to 90 cents, he said.

Concerns were raised in a recent report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum about the long-term financial picture for MPS. Asked about that, Posley said MPS could use more money, but he would not be deterred by finances. “I’m going to make it happen with whatever I have,” he said. What will he do if MPS gets fresh revenue in upcoming state budgets? “I’ve created a wish list already,” he said. The list, he said, includes reviving an effort of about a decade ago called the Milwaukee Math Partnership and doing more to strengthen offerings for children from birth to five.

Posley grew up in a small town in Mississippi and was recruited for a teaching job in Milwaukee almost three decades ago. He said he expected to stay in Milwaukee for one year. But he loved working in schools and advanced from being a teacher to an assistant principal to a principal to a series of administrative positions before being named to head the system.

His willing to make a long-term commitment to this job? “Mike, this is home,” he said. “Mississippi is in the rear-view mirror.” Posley wants to drop the word “interim” from his title, a step the Milwaukee School Board is likely to take soon. He certainly is not acting like someone who intends to fill the job for a short time. “I have the steering wheel now, and I’m driving,” Posley said.

To view the one-hour video of the program, click here.