The recorded memories of 5 UW Law scholars, at times deeply personal, provide a fuller picture of our institutional history, our impact on our state, and our global influence on legal education and research.
Daniel O. Bernstine (1947-2016) was a former Hastie Fellow and the Law School's first African American dean, serving from 1990 through 1997. A highly effective and celebrated leader in legal education, he went on to become president of Portland State University, and most recently, president of the Law School Admission Council.
Carin Clauss is the Nathan P. Feinsinger Professor in Labor Law emerita. She specializes in labor and employment law, administrative law and civil procedure. Clauss was the first woman to serve as U.S. Solicitor of Labor, a position she held from 1977 to 1981. In that role, she was responsible for enforcing the nation's labor laws.
J. Willard Hurst (1910-1997) is considered the founder of modern American legal history. His work linked law and social history, and he rejected the view that legal doctrine is a self-contained, timeless body of ideas and principles. He wrote over a dozen books, among them ''Law and Economic Growth,'' in which he focused on Wisconsin's lumber industry.
Stewart Macaulay is internationally recognized as a leader of the law-in-action approach to contracts. He pioneered the study of business practices and the work of lawyers related to the questions of contract law. Macaulay also helped found the modern law and society movement.
Marygold (Margo) Shire Melli (1926-2018) was UW Law School's first female tenure-track professor. She taught in the areas of family law, juvenile law and criminal law--the people-handling parts of the law, as she called it--and she helped reform Wisconsin’s child support system.
"When Congress was considering amending one of the labor laws, I went up to Congress, even though I was maybe only three years out of law school. If I was the expert on this section of the law, I went up to Congress."Carin Clauss
"I used to help my father clean up this lawyer's office, and I'd be cleaning up and see the stuff sitting around. I'd look at the stuff, and it looked kind of interesting. I said, 'Hey, I could do this.'"Daniel Bernstine
"I have a friend who ... was bemoaning that she's so busy, she doesn't have time to ride her horses. She told the horse farm to use her horse in whatever way they could. They took the youngest quarter horse and made her a teacher for the disabled children. Jane was saying, 'Oh, I feel so sad that Solo can't gallop through the fields.' The instructor looked at her and said, 'Is there any nobler profession than teaching?' I thought, 'Hey, it's right for the horse, it was right for me.' There no nobler profession."Carin Clauss
"Basically, I kind of see myself in some ways as kind of having grown up here. I've always felt like I've had general support from everybody. I've been here almost in every capacity--as a student, as a staff member, as a faculty member, and now as kind of the ultimate demotion as the dean."Daniel Bernstine
"When we put [the Law & Society course] together here we were one of two or three that were even trying this, and I think it's fair to say that Wisconsin's model is at least let's say one-third the influence that today has spawned a course like this in almost every law school in the country."J. Willard Hurst
“I think it's fair to say that at that stage I was inventing the field of legal history, legal social history. Nobody had any articulated set of concepts as to what the subject matter of legal history ought to be. It had been sort of taken for granted that the natural subject matter of legal history was to tell the story of successive appellate court opinions, and explain how the judges rationalized what they did. When you did that with one opinion then you moved on to the next one and that was legal history. What I was trying to do, again following the Roscoe Pound idea of a sociological jurisprudence, was to try to organize the history of law in terms of social structure and process, how society hangs together and works and what is the place of legal process in making it hang together and work.”J. Willard Hurst