Our Law School transforms lives. I say that all the time, as I travel around the country and meet our alumni, talk with prospective students, and engage with my partners here on campus. But it’s not just a catchphrase. It’s a core aspect of who we are here at UW Law.
In this issue, you’ll read about some of those transformations. We feature several unique graduates and show how their legal educations changed their lives and, in turn, equipped them to benefit their clients and communities.
Debra Katz ’84 helps her clients fight back against sexual harassment and hostile work environments. Part of her goal is to empower women to tell their stories, which in turn, often empowers others to come forward with their own claims.
When Vata Edari ’01 — trial lawyer and award-winning chocolatier — was sued by candy giant Mars for trademark infringement, she successfully represented herself in the ensuing David-and-Goliath court battle. Although running her business is a full-time job, she didn’t want to give up her law practice, so she continues to selectively take on cases, while advocating for change in the legal community to make practice more diverse and inclusive. (And her chocolates are fabulous.)
And Samuel Crowfoot ’12 serves as the Chief Judge for the Pueblo of Zuni Tribal Court, where he “helps people who are often forgotten, people who aren’t used to getting help.”
How did these remarkable graduates build the skills and strength to do this extraordinary work? I like to think they learned from our faculty. In this issue, you’ll read about some great members of our faculty who have been recognized for their teaching and research excellence. Their passion, engagement, and commitment to doing their important work with joy help make the student experience here special.
Because our faculty are such an integral part of our community, we grieve when they leave us. This year, we lost Margo Melli, Cheryl Weston, and Richard Heymann. They all played powerful roles in the lives of our students. They will all be missed here.
Another aspect of a life-changing UW legal education is the great experiences we create for our students. We had an unforgettable one last year: a visit from US Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Her wisdom is included in this issue as well, in “Nine Lessons from Justice Elena Kagan.”
We take pride in the unique experience we offer here at UW Law — we have been doing it for 150 years! That makes this our sesquicentennial. Over the next year, we’re planning a number of exciting events and activities in celebration of our anniversary. If you want to learn more, check out the sesquicentennial website at 150.law.wisc.edu. We hope you’ll be part of celebrating the last 150 years of transforming lives at UW Law School — and gearing up for the next 150.