Founded just before the 20th century, the Marquette University Law School (Marquette Law) is the only private law school in the state of Wisconsin. In 2010, the law school moved into its new home after several decades of rapid growth. Its current home–Eckstein Hall–is located in downtown Milwaukee in close proximity to the federal and state courthouses and features a sweeping four-story atrium and an array of student space within its 200,00 square feet. Marquette Law reflects the Jesuit traditions of the university by emphasizing the school’s mission to create students who are not only educated but also committed to social justice and serving the public. This commitment is reflected in the school’s alumni which include over a dozen state congress members as well as countless judges and public servants.
The first-year curriculum at Marquette Law is grounded in the six core courses of American Legal education: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. Students also begin the process of mastering fundamental practical skills with a two-semester course in legal research and writing. In their second year, students are required to take courses in evidence, trusts and estates, and a course covering professional responsibility. Prior to graduation, students must choose electives that satisfy certain requirements: a legal process elective, a perspective elective, and a public law elective. Students are also required to take a seminar course, a workshop course, and complete at least six hours of experiential educaiton.
The required courses for all law students grounds them in the fundamental academics and skills required to practice law. The rest of students courses are elective in nature and allow students to develop expertise in a given practice area. Marquette Law offers students a number of curriculum pathways that suggest various courses for a given practice areas. The school is also noteworthy for its programs in sports law, dispute resolution, and intellectual property.
Marquette Law also offers a part-time program that requires the same graduation requirement but allows them to be completed in as many as six years. Students who wish to utilize summer semesters may complete the degree program in 12 semesters (or four years).
Marquette Law offers an additional program for foreign educated lawyers. The Master of Law (LL.M) program is focused on Sports Law and leverages Marquette Law’s stellar reputation in the field. For example, Bud Selig–the former commissioner of Major League Baseball–is a professor in the program. Students in the LL.M program spend one year in residential coursework. All students complete 22 hours of credit hours covering the range of subjects that touch upon the sports law practice. Additionally, all students must demonstrate English proficiency prior to admission.
For Juris Doctor candidates, Marquette Law offers students the opportunity to earn an additional professional degree alongside their J.D. The joint degree program requires admission to both professional schools independently. Once admitted, students complete their first year of law school before completing the remainder of both programs concurrently. By studying both programs at the same time, students gain additional insights through an interdisciplinary approach to the study of law. Joint Degrees also bolster student’s professional resume.
During the course of their academic studies, Marquette Law also offers all students the opportunity to participate in an Academic Success Program that is designed to ensure success by all students. Students participate in a variety of programs that help students master the skills required to succeed in law school.
Career and Career Placement
Within 10 months of graduation, over 90% of all graduates of Marquette Law are employed in legal or professional careers. Of those employed, over 95% are employed in careers that either requires a law license or prefer a Juris Doctor degree. The most common career paths for graduates was traditional law firm work (55% of all employed graduates) with small law firms (2 to 10 attorneys) being the most common choice (23%). Over a quarter of students chose career paths in government or the public interest sector while 12% chose careers in the business sector. Over 80% of graduates remain in Wisconsin to begin their careers.
Marquette Law’s Career Planning Center (CPC) is rooted in a process that provides individualized career planning for every student. The staff of three professionals partners with students to identify their career goals and develop a plan to achieve them. At their disposal, students have a wealth of resources to develop their career path. The CPC administers on-campus interviews as part of the fall recruitment program. The CPC also maintains a dedicated career job bank for students and alumni that is available all year.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
In order to graduate “practice ready” lawyers, Marquette Law offers students a range of practical skill based experiences. Students may participate in the school in-house Law and Entrepreneurship clinic. In the alternative, Marquette Law offers students over 70 external clinics or field placement opportunities. Each year, over 300 students take part in these opportunities to build practical skills in a variety of legal settings. Given the school’s close proximity to the legal centers of Milwaukee–both public and private–students are able to immerse themselves in real-world legal offices.
Marquette Law’s curriculum is also full of experiential based coursework that allows students to take a “hands on” approach to learning the fundamental practice of various legal skills such as mediation or transaction negotiation.
Marquette Law is committed to the academic and personal success of all students. This commitment is reflected in the school’s unique Academic Success Program which offers students additional programs to help them succeed in the classroom. The law school is also home to a vibrant student organization program that reflects the student body’s many passions and diverse backgrounds. The schools moot court and client skills teams compete around the country to showcase their prowess. Students also run several journals that address current legal issues on a variety of subjects. As a Jesuit school, Marquette Law takes seriously the Jesuit motto of “care for the person” by offering a wide range of health and wellness programs.
The law school’s stunning downtown Milwaukee campus offers students the opportunity to study in one of America’s most unique and historical big cities. Set on the upper west side of Lake Michigan (an hour north of Chicago), the law school is surrounded by Milwaukee’s vibrant entertainment scene and sports teams. The city is renowned for its beer community as well as its unique culinary and arts scenes. For a large city, Milwaukee is also notably affordable.