Marquette Law School to host U.S. Court of Appeals judge for annual Hallows Lecture, March 7

March 2, 2023

Hon. Gerald LynchMILWAUKEE — Hon. Gerard E. Lynch, a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, will present “In Praise of Complexity and Contradiction in American Law” for Marquette University Law School’s E. Harold Hallows Lecture on Tuesday, March 7, at 4:30 p.m. in the Lubar Center at Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St.

Lynch will use, as a point of departure, Ronald Dworkin’s theory of law, which maintains that the ideal judge should decide cases by finding the resolution best fitting with the overall structure of the law. Lynch disagrees. His critique is not that this is an impractical assignment—a task at which even Dworkin’s “Hercules” of a judge would fail. Rather, it is a categorically impossible assignment: There is no such structure, as American law is inherently the product of multiple forces interacting through widely diverse decisionmakers, who themselves are the products of different eras, regions, and philosophies. This is a good thing, in Lynch’s estimation: Judges should be cautious about trying to enforce unitary methodologies or a singular theory of legal decision-making on what is, beneath the level of the Supreme Court, a politically diverse judiciary.

Online registration is available for this free, public event. Media wishing to attend should contact Kevin Conway at

Lynch serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, after previously serving as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He is the Paul J. Kellner Professor Emeritus of Law at Columbia University, where he joined the faculty in 1977 and has continued regularly to teach since taking the bench. His legal career began as a law clerk to Judge Wilfred Feinberg of the Second Circuit and to Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a lifelong New Yorker, graduating from Columbia Law School, Columbia College, and Regis High School, first in his class in each instance.

This annual lecture remembers E. Harold Hallows, a graduate of Marquette University, who was a practicing lawyer in Milwaukee and a faculty member at Marquette Law School from 1930 to 1958. He then served as a justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1958 to 1974 and was the court’s chief justice for the last six of those years.

Through public programming such as the Marquette Law School Poll, “On the Issues” conversations with newsmakers, public lectures by leading scholars, conferences on issues of public significance, and the work of its Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education, Marquette Law School seeks to advance civil discourse about law and public policy matters.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or