When I was growing up in Osseo, Wisconsin in the 1970s, I couldn’t wait to leave for college. (The world looks awfully big and exciting from Osseo.) Although I had designs on some California schools, my best friend, Mike O’Neill, somehow convinced me to attend Brigham Young University, even though I was not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During my first year, I watched Jim McMahon have one of the best individual college football seasons ever, and saw Danny Ainge win the John R. Wooden Award. I also read the
Book of Mormon for the first time, and nothing was ever the same for me after that. During my second year at BYU, I was baptized into the Church, and one year later I was called to serve in the Austria Vienna Mission, which no longer exists (sniff, sniff).
After returning from my mission, I met my wife, Sue Mumford, who served a mission in Sweden. We became friends by discussing our missions, and we hope to serve together someday. We have six children. The first was born on Mike’s birthday, so we named him Neill. Unfortunately, Neill was born with a rare neurological disorder called Werdnig-Hoffman disease, and he died after only three months.
Shortly thereafter, Sue and I left Utah with heavy hearts so that I could attend the University of Chicago Law School. Although our doctors had advised against having more children (fearing that others would have the same problem as Neill), we felt that the Lord wanted us to have a family. Our daughter Laura was born just before final exams in my first year of law school. Terrible timing, but she was healthy, and exams didn’t seem to matter very much.
After graduating from Chicago in 1990, I clerked in Louisiana for Judge W. Eugene Davis in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Our son Drew was born during our year there, but he still doesn’t like Cajun cuisine. Then came a stint in Delaware, practicing corporate law with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Despite the long hours, our family continued to grow. The neighbors called our daughter Eve the “immaculate conception” because I was so rarely at home.
I lasted three years (barely) at Skadden before entering academia. My first teaching position was at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. There our family received the surprise of a lifetime when Conrad and Christian were born. Actually, Conrad wasn’t a surprise because we knew that Sue was pregnant. We just didn’t know that Christian was there, too, until after Conrad was safely out!
In 2002, I finally returned to Wisconsin, this time to teach at the University of Wisconsin Law School. For more on that part of my life, take a look at my “official” biography. When I am not blogging at Times & Seasons, you may find me on Conglomerate, where I blog on law, entrepreneurship, cheese, and other things.