Diversity at Marquette Law: Community Engagement

Annual Wisconsin Statewide Pre-Law Diversity Day
This annual and completely free day-long event is held each spring semester. Attendees can anticipate a busy and exciting day of activities including a discussion on law school admissions featuring guest speakers, breakout workshops for students & pre-law advisors, and lunch during a mock law school class. Admissions representatives from law schools across the nation join us to meet with advisors and students during a Law School Fair.

The event brings together students, advisors and admissions representatives to discuss applications, trends, and opportunities in legal education. Specifically tailored to advisors and minority pre-law students from Wisconsin and neighboring states, the event helps attendees gain a better understanding of both the admissions process and the study of law.

Summer Youth Law Institute
The Summer Youth Institute is designed to introduce middle and high school students from the City of Milwaukee to the legal system, expose them to careers in law, and provide them with practical tools for achieving their educational goals. The program includes interactive lessons, critical thinking exercises, practice in writing and oral advocacy, instruction from guest speakers, and field trips to area law firms, corporations, and courthouses. Local judges, lawyers, and law students serve as instructors and mentors. The Summer Youth Institute is a program of Marquette Law School and the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association, in collaboration with Just the Beginning Foundation, Johnson Controls, the Association of Corporate Counsel Wisconsin Chapter, and Kids, Courts & Citizenship, and in cooperation with DiscoverLaw.org.

Milwaukee Street Law Project
Law students teach a two-semester course to Milwaukee Public School students that is designed to foster an understanding of the law, the legal process, our system of governance, and effective citizenship. In the fall semester, law students teach subjects such as criminal law and procedure, juvenile justice, consumer law, torts, family law, housing law, and individual rights law. In the spring semester, the law students teach basic trial advocacy skills, and the high school students participate as lawyers and witnesses in a city-wide mock trial competition presided over by federal and state trial court judges.

Clinics & Coursework
Marquette Law School is known for its commitment to graduating students who are ready to practice law. Thus, it is common to find our students (often working aside our alumni) engaged in the Milwaukee community in a diverse array of experiential options--enrolled in dozens of clinics, internships, and fieldwork opportunities; helping fledgling businesses get started with the help of our Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic; and providing about 10,000 hours of pro bono work annually in the community vis a vis the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics and numerous other endeavors. Be sure to explore our extensive Experiential Learning opportunities.

Council on Legal Education Opportunity
In 1968, the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) was founded as a non-profit project of the American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education to expand opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school. Since then, more than 8,000 students have benefited from CLEO pre-law and law school academic support programs, attended law school, and joined the legal profession. CLEO extends the legal education and professional pipeline by offering training and workshops to college and post-college students who are interested in attending law school and pursing a legal career. Further, CLEO stresses stress the importance of the students' commitment to serve under-served and low-income communities upon graduation. Marquette University is proud to be member of the Consortium on Diversity in Legal Education as a Partner School.

Milwaukee's Town Hall & the Marquette Law School Poll
Marquette University Law School has been described as Milwaukee's town hall, the place for discussion and debate of important issues and ideas. Our On the Issues series features conversations with news and policy makers. Further, the Marquette Law School Poll is nationally recognized. Created in 2012, the Poll has surveyed tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters, providing valuable insight into public attitudes on policy issues and political contests. Be sure to check out these recent events:


Upcoming Events:

On the Issues: Vincent Lyles, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Now in his sixth year as CEO, Vincent Lyles runs the largest Boys & Girls Clubs chapter in the country.  With 800 employees and 1,200 volunteers, the Clubs carry out an important mission; every day, they provide safety, support, and meals, along with academic and recreational programming, for thousands of Milwaukee kids.  Lyles brings a combination of private and public-sector experience to his job.  Prior to joining the Clubs, he was President of M&I Community Development Corporation.  Before that, he was a director with Robert W. Baird & Co. and provided financial advice to Wisconsin municipalities, school districts, and special taxing units.  He also served as City of Milwaukee Election Commissioner.  Lyles received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin.  A native of Milwaukee, he is working to build the future of the city.  “Despite the challenges our kids face every day—poverty, violence, lack of positive role models—they are resilient, talented, and hopeful for a brighter future.  They just need more of us to take notice of them.  That’s where Boys and Girls Clubs steps in.”

On the Issues: Ricardo Diaz, executive director of the United Community Center
Thursday, November 9, 2017

The UCC, as it’s known, is a powerhouse on Milwaukee’s south side.  The social service agency is a vital part of Milwaukee’s growing Latino community.  It provides a wide range of programs for families, from educating children to caring for the elderly.  Ricardo Diaz has been at the helm of the UCC on two different occasions.  He ran the Center from 1984 to 1988 and then “returned home” in 2003 for his second stint as executive director.  Diaz is a passionate advocate for the city’s Latino population, which he says holds the key to the city’s future.  He’s also passionate about education.  It was education that brought Diaz to the Milwaukee area in 1970 to attend Carroll College.  Diaz was born in Cuba and lived in Puerto Rico before moving to New Jersey at the age of 10.  He’s had a long career in public service and nonprofit work, including leading the city’s economic development efforts and overseeing its housing programs.  During his visit to the Law School, Diaz will discuss the UCC’s role in our community and its impact, the potential of the area’s growing Latino population, immigration, and education. 

On the Issues: Atiba Ellis, Boden Visiting Professor, Marquette University Law School; Molly McGrath, American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Since the 2010 election, more than 20 states have enacted new voting laws. They range from photo ID requirements, to limits on early voting, to changes in voter registration rules. Supporters of the changes say the goal of the legislation is to guarantee the integrity of elections and prevent voter fraud. But opponents say the new laws make it harder to vote, and have a disproportionate impact on minority communities. Molly McGrath says she’s seen the impact first-hand. McGrath is a voting rights advocate, organizer, and attorney who has led voter access projects in several states, including Wisconsin. She is currently with the ACLU’s Voting Right Project. Professor Atiba Ellis is a faculty member at the West Virginia University College of Law and a visitor this semester at Marquette. His research focuses on voting rights law and more generally includes democracy, voting, and race. Together, Ellis and McGrath will discuss how voting laws have changed in recent years, and what impact those changes might be having on our elections.

Recent events:

Michael Scott, Director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing
Monday, June 26, 2017

Professor Richard Florida, author of The New Urban Crisis and The Rise of the Creative Class
Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Hon. Paul Watford, Judge, U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dr. Angela Davis, Distinguished Lecturer
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Judge Thomas Buergenthal, leading authority on international and human rights law and one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust.
 Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dr. Darienne Driver, Superintendent of the Milwaukee Public Schools
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 

Monday, February 6, 2017
Screening of the documentary Milwaukee 53206, which explores issues of incarceration and racial justice in a neighborhood on the north side of Milwaukee and the ripple effects of incarceration of men of color on their families and the greater community.

NPR host Michel Martin delivered lecture during Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kimberly Motley, Founder, Motley Legal Services, Co-founder, Motley Consulting International
Thursday, October 6, 2016

Sam Mihara, Japanese-American Internment Camp Survivor
Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Patrick Sharkey, Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University, author of Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress Toward Racial Equality
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Matthew Desmond, John L. Loeb Associate Prof. of the Social Sciences, Harvard University; Author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Tuesday, March 1, 2016