We asked Nadelle Grossman, Associate Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School, what has inspired and motivated her throughout her career. This author spotlight gives a glimpse into her passions and what brought her to where she is today.
What or who motivated you to study law?
[NG] While part of me thinks that I was motivated to study law in response to the injustice of two police officers harassing me for hours while they falsely accused me of doing “doughnuts” in the high school parking lot, I think the real reason is that I have always viewed one of my primary roles in life as advancing the rights of others.
Did you have a favorite professor in law school? If so, who was the person and what made them stand out?
[NG] My favorite professor in law school was Professor André (who, sadly, lost his battle to cancer after I graduated). He taught Business Associations and Mergers and Acquisitions by discussing the doctrinal material through the lens of current events. The material really came to life through that approach.
What law school course did you enjoy the most?
[NG] Mergers and Acquisition.
What are your primary areas of writing and teaching? What fascinates you about these areas of law?
[NG] I write in the areas of contracts, corporate and securities laws, and corporate governance.
Do (or did) you have a mentor or someone that has inspired or encouraged you in your writing or teaching?
[NG] One of my best friends and colleagues, Kali Murray, has always been my scholarly sounding board and has encouraged me to look at corporate and securities law issues from new perspectives.
What motivated you to write a casebook?
[NG] As a former transactional lawyer, I regularly used contracts to help clients achieve their business goals. In fact, contracts are the primary tool used in a transactional practice. However, as a law professor, I was surprised not to see this transactional perspective reflected in Contracts casebooks. Writing this book has allowed me to fix that disconnect. Thus, in the book, students can experience what it is that transactional lawyers do and how they use contracts and contract terms to further clients’ goals, while also developing important transactional skills like planning and problem solving.
What has been the most influential or pivotal moment in your career?
[NG] While I do not have a single “pivotal” moment in my career, I did come to an important realization during my years of practice: I realized how much I liked my clients, and how close I had become to them. I realized this as I performed legal tasks for those clients not because I wanted to bill hours, but because I wanted to help those clients advance their businesses. In fact, I remain friends with many of my former clients today because of the bonds we built through work. This, in turn, made me realize how important it is to build relationships as part of a legal practice—doing so not only makes a lawyer personally invested in a client’s success, but also makes a lawyer feel professionally fulfilled.
What changes in legal education excite you?
[NG] I am excited by the increasing value being placed on (1) innovative pedagogies such as team-based learning and collaboration, and (2) the development of professional skills in the classroom.
What advice do you have for today’s law students?
[NG] While knowing the substantive law is important, to succeed in a workplace, you will need to be collaborative, hard-working, and helpful. Also, do not underestimate the value of an in-person conversation or phone call to build a rapport with clients and other attorneys.
How do you hope to be remembered by your students or law school?
[NG] I want to be remembered by my students as the professor who (1) students never felt intimated or embarrassed to talk to about either class-related questions or life challenges, (2) was demanding but fair, (3) made learning collaborative and fun, and (4) helped students learn how to take a transactional perspective to the law.
What are your interests outside of law?
[NG] Spending time with my family (I have twin boys, a daughter, a fabulous husband and a slightly grouchy older dog), exercising (formerly triathlons, currently boxing), and reading (time permitting—which it often does not these days).
Nadelle Grossman ia an Associate Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School and is the author of the brand new textbook, Contracts in Context: from Transaction to Litigation.