The Rewards of Being a Small Town Lawyer

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Public, Uncategorized1 Comment on The Rewards of Being a Small Town Lawyer
A path forward with trees on either side going through a forest.
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

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”

Welcome May Bloggers!

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Marquette Law School, Public, Student Contributor1 Comment on Welcome May Bloggers!

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

Tyler Wickman

Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Tyler Wickman.   Tyler was born in Ashland, Wisconsin.  He is a member of the Wisconsin Bar and received his education at St. Norbert College (B.A., 2005 summa cum laude, majored in political science and education) and Marquette University (J.D., 2008, magna cum laude). While in law school, Tyler published in the Marquette Law Review and served as an academic support program leader. Also during law school, he was an extern for the Hon. William Griesbach of the Western District of Wisconsin, a law clerk for Hupy & Abraham, and a summer associate at Von Briesen & Roper.

Following law school, Tyler returned to his hometown of Ashland and has been with Dallenbach, Anich, & Wickman, S.C. for his entire career. His practice areas include criminal defense, family law, personal injury, municipal law, estate planning, business formation, and civil litigation, among others. He has handled jury trials and has argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Tyler lives in the Ashland area with his wife, Michaela, and their five children. He is living the dream with a beautiful family, in a beautiful area, with a satisfying career.

Karen Heineman

Our Student Blogger of the Month is Karen Heineman. Karen grew up in a small college town in western New York. She prefers to say that because no one understands what upstate New York refers to.

She graduated from Williams College with a degree in chemistry. Although her goal was to attend veterinary school, at the time there were only 27 schools (only 31 now, I think) with class sizes around 80, so there were/are few opportunities open to those pursuing that profession. She looked for back-up plans and took the LSAT with some thoughts of law school. Fortunately, she was able to pursue her primary goal, so the possibility of law school was dropped for the time being. She received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Minnesota. Continue reading “Welcome May Bloggers!”

Team Based Learning in ADR

Posted on Categories Arbitration, Legal Education, Mediation, Negotiation, Public, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on Team Based Learning in ADR

Black and white photo of a group of men in gymnast uniforms in a formation where some stand on the shoulders of others.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.

So, I decided to try the TBL ideology. Continue reading “Team Based Learning in ADR”

Israel Reflections–Final Thoughts…Leave with More Questions

Posted on Categories International Law & Diplomacy, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Religion & Law, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on Israel Reflections–Final Thoughts…Leave with More Questions

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:

About 40 law students pose in casual clothes with the green hills of Israel in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Cross-posted at Indisputably.org .

Israel Reflections 2019–Feminism & Women

Posted on Categories Feminism, International Law & Diplomacy, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Religion & Law, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on Israel Reflections 2019–Feminism & Women

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.

Our second speaker Keren Greenblatt immediately connected to all of us  when she started speaking having fun when you go out at night.  She then talked about her organization Layla Tov (Hebrew for good night), which organizes bars and clubs to combat harassment.   (News story here.Continue reading “Israel Reflections 2019–Feminism & Women”

Israel Reflections 2019–Justice Aharon Barak

Posted on Categories Arbitration, International Law & Diplomacy, Judges & Judicial Process, PublicLeave a comment» on Israel Reflections 2019–Justice Aharon Barak

MU Law students with retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak

It is always such a highlight of our trip to hear from Justice Barak and this was no exception–student Lucas Baker reflected on the meeting:

It was an incredible opportunity to meet with retired Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, Justice Aharon Barak. Rarely do law students have the chance to learn from a true giant in the law. Justice Barak lectured our group about the general contours of Israel’s Judiciary and non-constitutional system, before we took a deeper dive into a number of other topics.

The Chief Justice fielded questions regarding differing judicial philosophies between the United States and Israel. With incredible insight, Justice Barak discussed how the public confirmation proceedings in the United States lead to manufactured and politicized “judicial philosophies.” In Israel, on the other hand, the confirmation process is not public and therefore not politicized, which allows for consensus in rules of interpretation. In Israel there are no “activist” nor “originalist” judges. Rather, judges have a much more uniform approach to the law. After witnessing the recent circus of a confirmation process here in the United States, it was fascinating to hear that there is little political split among judges, and no divergence in methods of interpretation in Israel.

Another key takeaway from Justice Barak’s lecture involved dispute resolution. Continue reading “Israel Reflections 2019–Justice Aharon Barak”

Israel Reflections 2019–Immigration, Racism, & Refugees

Posted on Categories Civil Rights, Human Rights, Immigration Law, International Law & Diplomacy, Public, Race & LawLeave a comment» on Israel Reflections 2019–Immigration, Racism, & Refugees

On our first full morning in Tel Aviv, we turned to some (other) hard issues facing different parts of the population in Israel. Our first speaker was Mazal Bisawer, a PhD candidate and student leader at Tel Aviv University. Mazal spoke to us about the Ethiopian population in Israel—a minority within a minority—most of whom immigrated to Israel in the 1970’s and 1980’s. We’ve had visits with other Ethiopian Jews over the years (see blogs from 2017 here and 2015 here) dealing with the issue of diversity in Israel. And even on the main street in Tel Aviv, the concept of refugees is front and center with this beautiful mosaic:

Refugees mosaic

Shayla Sanders identified with Mazal’s comments:

She spoke broadly about police brutality against young Ethiopian men and emphasized that while only 2% of the population in Israel, Ethiopian young people make up 60% of the population in juvenile detention facilities. I was struck in this moment with a sickening, yet somehow validating sense of déjà vu. I recognized these statistics. I know that African Americans in the US face a similar plight. In hearing her speak to some of these issues, I heard some of the same emotions I myself experience when discussing racial issues here in the US. I heard in her the same passion I feel when discussing instances of injustice against my people. I heard her pain when she told us how people would say that Ethiopians should feel lucky to only be experiencing minor levels of racism because they are the only group of black people not brought by force into a country and compelled into slavery. I felt her frustration when she emphasized that speaking out on these issues, she is often met with the same reaction as if she had stated a belief in little green aliens and UFOs… I have myself been written off as a radical idealist who plays the race card all too frequently. I have been faced with those who would rather police my tone than address and confront the truth in my statements. So, imagine my utter lack of shock when our very own tour guide immediately dismissed Mazal as radical and gave an open invitation to our tour group to take her opinion with a grain of salt not granted to any of the other speakers we had seen thus far.

Continue reading “Israel Reflections 2019–Immigration, Racism, & Refugees”

Israel Reflections 2019 — Shared Society Continued!

Posted on Categories International Law & Diplomacy, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public, Religion & Law, UncategorizedLeave a comment» on Israel Reflections 2019 — Shared Society Continued!

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.

A line of young martial arts students wearing black uniforms stand with a line of adults inside of a gynmasium.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!

A smiling adult in athletic clothing rests his leg on top of the shoulder of a smiling friend.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.”

Cross posted at Indisputably.org .

The Costs of Janus v. AFSCME

Posted on Categories Business Regulation, Constitutional Interpretation, Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Labor & Employment Law, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Public, Speakers at Marquette, U.S. Supreme Court1 Comment on The Costs of Janus v. AFSCME

Photo of statue depicting a bust of Janus, the two-headed Roman God.On April 10 I participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the Law School Chapter of the Federalist Society.  The presentation was entitled “Lawyers, Plaintiffs, and Professors, Oh My!: Janus v. AFSCME.”  The other panelists were Adjunct Professor and Director of the Law Library Elana Olson, Alumnus Daniel Suhr from the Liberty Justice Center , and Mark Janus, the name plaintiff in the case of Janus v. AFSCME.  What follows are my prepared remarks.

In June of 2018 the United States Supreme Court held, in the case of Janus v. AFSCME, that it is a violation of the First Amendment for State and public sector unions to assess mandatory agency fees to non-consenting employees.  The majority of the Court held that forcing non-union workers to contribute money to support non-political activities which benefit all workers violates the Free Speech rights of non-consenting employees.

In so holding, the Court overruled a precedent of over 40 years, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, a 1977 case that had upheld the practice against a First Amendment challenge.

Opposition to labor unions and collective bargaining rights is a policy choice held by many political conservatives today, but it was not always the position of the Republican Party.  One of the early icons of the conservative political movement in the United States, Whittaker Chambers, was himself a union member at times in his career, he was supportive of the labor movement, and his wife and many of his relatives were union members.

This icon of political conservatism in the 1950s and 1960s supported collective bargaining rights so much, that when the parent of the conservative National Review Magazine gave an award named after Whittaker Chambers to our guest Mark Janus, in recognition of his participation in the Janus v. AFSCME litigation, the family of Whittaker Chambers objected to their father’s name being associated with the case. Continue reading “The Costs of Janus v. AFSCME”

Israel Reflections 2019—Shared Society

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One key focus of our trip was all of the organizations working on shared society across groups in Israel. Our day of shared society started at Sindyanna of Galilee with a Za’atar workshop. Sindyanna of Galilee is a non-profit organization that employs Arab and Jewish women who aim to create a peaceful coexistence between the two cultures. The students were able to create their own Za’atar after hearing from employees on how they strive to create peace. (This was delicious! And all available on Amazon too…)

We then headed towards Nazareth to have lunch and see The Basilica of Annunciation. When we arrived there was a service in progress in front of the Grotto of the Annunciation. For student Margaret Spring it was one of the most breathtaking experiences she has ever had in a church. “Being at one of the most sacred Christian sites in the world while a congregation was singing is something that I will never forget.”

Our next stop was Givat Haviva. Givat Haviva is dedicated to promoting mutual responsibility, civic equality and cooperation between divided groups in Israel as the foundation for building a shared future and shared society—critical elements of a sustainable and thriving Israeli democracy. While there, we visited the divided city of Barta’a.

Student Mercy De La Rosa wrote a thoughtful self-reflection that is shared in full about her experience at Givat Haviva and how that compared to her childhood in El Paso near the Mexican at the Texas border.

 

 

Walking through the rolling green lawns of Givat Haviva, it was hard not to draw comparisons to college campuses across America with laughing students stretched out on beautiful trimmed lawns. This, however, is no idyllic American campus. Instead here Muslims and Jews strive to work together bridging differences and embracing commonalities. Clearly underneath the beautiful surface there has been a lot of hard work in community building and deep difficult conversations. Armed with cookies, coffee, and a razor-sharp witted Welsh guide we trekked to the Barta’a….Driving up to the town, I never imagined what was in wait for me. Driving up Lydia shared a heartbreaking story of how she often felt like a person divided, split between friendships on what at first glance seems like diametrically opposed sides. In hindsight, that story should have prepared me for the painfully wonderful parallels that would be presented between my home city of El Paso Texas and Barta’a. As we walked through the city, I was vaguely reminded of downtown El Paso until we hit the market area where all I could see was memories of Juarez. Granted it has been at this point almost 12 years since I have been to Juarez, but to me it felt like someone had just put up Arabic signs instead of ones in Spanish. As we ascended into the mountains to better see the divide, it was like looking out from Scenic Drive where you can see the connection of the two downtowns. From that viewpoint almost seamlessly merging into one another. On closer examination you can see the border but looking at it from a distance it is more a feeling than articulable distinguishing characteristics….This small town shook me to my core, serving as a stark reminder that though we may travel far from home sometimes it is the familiar that frightens and motivates us the most.

[Cross-posted at Indisputably.]

Congratulations to the 2019 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Finalists

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Legal Practice, Lubar Center, Marquette Law School, Public1 Comment on Congratulations to the 2019 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Finalists

Picture of courtroom with judges on the bench and student advocates seated at tablesCongratulations to the winners of the 2019 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Brooke Erickson and Micaela Haggenjos. Congratulations also go to finalists Luis Gutierrez and Nicholas Wanic. Erickson and Haggenjos additionally won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief, and Erickson won the Ramon A. Klitzke Prize for Best Oralist.

The competitors argued before a packed house in the Lubar Center. Presiding over the final round were Hon. Charles R. Wilson (11th Circuit Court of Appeals), Hon. Daniel Kelly (Wisconsin Supreme Court), and Hon. Lisa K. Stark (Wisconsin Court of Appeals).

Many thanks to the judges and competitors for their hard work, enthusiasm, and sportsmanship in all the rounds of competition. Thank you, too, to the 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 to 3L Sadie Olson, who so adeptly handled the details of the competition.

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.

Israel Reflections—Golan Heights, the Galilee and the Druze

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The group had a memorable night at the kibbutz and were very sad to leave the cozy cottages we were able to stay in. Our busy day (Tuesday) of sight-seeing started with a visit to Mount Bental. At the peak of Mt. Bental we had views of Golan and Syria. Taylor Brisco and her friends went into the army bunker to imagine what it was like to be a solider during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Ms. Brisco said “Visiting Mount Bental was one of my favorite activities due to the historical significance of the mountain peak and also for the amazing view of Golan—and even Syria.” Below is a view from the bunker over to Mt. Hermon where this is still snow…

View from Mount Bental, Israel

Continue reading “Israel Reflections—Golan Heights, the Galilee and the Druze”