Diversity & Inclusion at Marquette Law

Joseph D. Kearney, Dean and Professor of Law

The legal profession is a helping profession. I note this to each Marquette Law School student during first-year orientation and at graduation. We hope that Marquette lawyers will help those in society, to do their deals, to right their wrongs, and to protect their freedoms.

We are better positioned to assist our students in developing themselves into such lawyers because Marquette Law School is a community of widely different backgrounds. We expect members of our community to treat one another with the respect and dignity that are due to each individual. We want our students to know and embrace this ethic and commitment.

All this is simply one aspect of our great privilege to be part of Marquette University: “As a Catholic, Jesuit university, Marquette recognizes and cherishes the dignity of each individual regardless of age, culture, faith, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, language, disability or social class.” You may wish to read the University’s full Statement on Human Dignity and Diversity.

You will also find at that same link its—that is, our—Vision Statement for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. We at the Law School fully embrace the active work “to promote a more diverse, welcoming, and inclusive campus community.”

This has been one of our best traditions at the Law School, however imperfectly lived at times. For example, Mabel Raimey, the first Black woman known to have been admitted to the practice of law in Wisconsin, studied at Marquette Law School in the 1920s, as chronicled by my colleague Professor Phoebe Weaver Williams, L’81. This school long welcomed Jewish applicants, at a time when equality of opportunity was often denied to Jews in our society. Maxine Aldridge White, L’85, now on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, was the first African American judge to lead the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

While I could multiply these examples, that is not my interest here. Nor is to suggest that we have been or today are perfect in our approach. Racism, antisemitism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination remain challenges in our world, and we must work against them. An especially important way to do this is to build a legal profession that reflects America by building a more inclusive law school. I am committed to this, as are my colleagues, including not only Professor Vada Waters Lindsey, our Associate Dean for Enrollment and Inclusion, but all others.

We hope that you will join with us in this effort. We encourage you to visit this page often to keep current on our ongoing efforts in these respects.

Joseph D. Kearney
Dean and Professor of Law
Marquette University