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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Law School welcomes former Supreme Court Justice Butler

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler - the first African American to sit on the state's highest court - will begin teaching at the UW-Madison Law School this fall, university officials announced yesterday. 


Butler, a UW-Law School alumnus will spend two years between the walls of the Law School as a Justice in Residence. He finished his four-year appointment with the Supreme Court in early 2008. 


Kenneth Davis, dean of the UW-Madison Law School, said he offered Butler the position after discussions with members of the campus and law school administration. 


He has had experience as both a public defender, and as a judge at the trial level and at the appellate level,"" Davis said. ""That's a real breadth of experience which will translate into value in the classroom."" 


According to Law School officials, Butler will teach courses in criminal law, appellate advocacy and legal process as well as work in extra-curricular areas with students and faculty. Davis said administrators are also discussing implementing an undergraduate legal studies class taught by Butler.  


""He has a lot to say for the students not just in the law school but students across campus,"" Davis said. 


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Gunercindo Antoneo Espinoza, a second year law student concentrating in racial justice issues, said he is happy Butler is coming to the school because he will contribute to the school's commitment to diversity.  


First year law student Ellen Krahn said she looks favorably on Butler's appointment.  


""I would definitely be interested in taking a class with him,"" Krahn said. ""Working in a clinical program would be really interesting.""  


Davis said he is optimistic about the faculty-student relationships the former justice will build.  


""I'm confident he will be the kind of faculty member who students will see not only as a great classroom presence, but also as someone who they are quite comfortable visiting in his office,"" Davis said. 

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