Alumni National Awards


GonringMichael J. Gonring, Jour ’69, Law ’82
Whitefish Bay, Wis.

As a former partner at Quarles & Brady LLP and Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee, who has served the Milwaukee and Wisconsin legal communities for 40 years, Mike Gonring is unfailingly humble, reluctant to accept recognition for a lifetime spent in service to others. He has been a leader not only in direct pro bono work but also in inspiring fellow lawyers. He does, however, credit Marquette with preparing him to practice law and instilling in him the notion that serving others is an integral part of the work of a lawyer.

Though retired from the firm, Mike continues to provide pro bono legal services each Wednesday night to clients at one of the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics that he helped establish. In addition, he is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, through a hotline offered by Sojourner Family Peace Center, which provides legal advice to domestic abuse victims before their injunction hearings. Through this hotline alone, an average of 20 clients each month are referred to him.

Mike exemplifies the Jesuit concept of servant-leadership. He says, “Poor people suffer daily assaults on their dignity. Providing legal assistance on issues that are so important to their daily existence acknowledges their dignity. That is important work.”

He has personally represented pro bono clients in the areas of domestic abuse, housing disputes, consumer rights, immigration, custody and child support, termination of parental rights, Hague Convention child abduction, prisoner rights, criminal appeals, and the death penalty.

Mike’s legacy extends from his legal career to his family’s Marquette legacy, which includes his parents, a sister, his wife, a daughter who is a Marquette 2L student, and a granddaughter who is a sophomore.

Name someone (past or present) you’d like to have dinner with.
My parents. We have a lot of catching up to do.

Is there a Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you?
Carolyn Edwards taught me to think as a lawyer; Janine Geske helped me understand that the license to practice law is a privilege to be used to help others.

Leave a congratulatory message for Mike!