Law Prof Takes Sabbatical as Unpaid Rookie Prosecutor

When Patricia Bradford went to law school, she thought she might be headed to a job as a prosecutor. And she was right, as it turns out, except that it took her just a bit longer to land the job than she expected—more than three decades after her 1981 graduation.

A member of the Marquette University Law School faculty since 1983, the 57-year-old Bradford decided to see whether she could get an unpaid position with the Sheboygan County District Attorney’s office, about 40 minutes from her home in Mequon, Wis., the Journal-Sentinel recounts.

Ordinarily, the office hires law students for several-month stints, but DA Joe DeCecco was enthusiastic about having a law prof. In her first 10 days at work in his office, Bradford has drafted a criminal complaint and made multiple court appearances. Before her sabbatical is over, she hopes to have handled a case from start to finish.

“Doing this work helps me touch base with what my law students need to learn in order to effectively practice law when they graduate,” she told the newspaper. “It also allows me to make firsthand observations relative to tax policies and public funding of government agencies for issues regarding state budgeting concerns.”

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