The Last Word: Marsha Mansfield ’84


Describe your current job.

I am a clinical professor at UW Law School and the director of the Economic Justice Institute (EJI), home to the school’s civil legal assistance clinical programs. I am responsible for the overall administrative operations for all of the EJI clinics and supervise students in the Family Court Clinic, where law students represent individuals and
provide information, forms, and guidance to self-represented individualsin family law matters under my supervision.

Who is your favorite lawyer of all time?

Marian Wright Edelman, who was the first African American woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar and who spent her
legal career advocating for disadvantaged Americans.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

Working with the students is by far the most rewarding aspect of my work. I have the opportunity to teach and interact with all of the students enrolled in the EJI clinics. In addition, the students enrolled in the Family Law Clinic and I are part of a team, working together to solve our clients’ problems as the students learn more about the nuts and bolts of a family law practice, as well as gain a greater appreciation of the judicial system and barriers to justice encountered by individuals who cannot afford legal representation.

Who was your favorite UW Law professor, and why?

Margo Melli ’50 was one of my favorite UW Law professors because she was a leader in her field and helped me understand the impact of the justice system on families. I admire all that she has done as a woman, a teacher,
and a scholar.

Describe the work you are doing to improve access to justice outside of your role at UW Law School.

As a member of Wisconsin’s Access to Justice Commission since its inception, I was involved with a petition to change
Supreme Court Rule 60.04 to give more guidance to judges in facilitating the fair adjudication of cases involving self-represented litigants, and thus further access to justice for all litigants.

Finish the sentence: If I hadn’t gone to law school, I probably would have…

…opened my own restaurant. I love to cook!