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Home / 2018 Leaders in the Law / Barkan stays on the move, even into retirement

Barkan stays on the move, even into retirement

(Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Steven Barkan – UW Law School (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Throughout his career Steven Barkan has been dedicated to the educational side of law.

Barkan started his legal career as a lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, before completing his graduate degree in library science and beginning to work in law libraries in places such as California, Washington, D.C., and Texas.

Although he has worked across the nation, Wisconsin has been his true home. He is now capping his illustrious career as the director of the law library at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

In 1987, he started work as the law-library director and an assistant professor of law at Marquette University. He went on to serve as associate dean for the Marquette Law School before accepting, in 1995, his current role as director of the law library at the UW Law School. He also serves as the UW Law School’s Voss Bascom Professor of Law, teaching Torts I and Torts II.

“He is a great manager of people and resources, and is flexible, responsive and eager to hear from stakeholders about how his library can better serve its community,” said UW Law School Dean Margaret Raymond.

Outside the law school, Barkan is the chairman of the Board of Bar Examiners of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, and he has been a grader for the Wisconsin Bar Exam since 1989. And while Barkan may have worn many hats as an administrator, a professor and the leader of the Board of Bar Examiners, education has been the common theme for all his work.

“Running the library is all about education,” Barkan said. “It’s all about providing a resource that supports learning and scholarship. So everything I’ve done for the past 30-some years has been about legal education.”

As chairmain of the school’s Accreditation Self-Study Committee, Barkan has guided UW Law School through reaccreditation.

“Thousands of Wisconsin lawyers have been educated by his teaching and enriched by the services of the library he directs,” Raymond said.

Barkan plans to retire at the end of the academic year and says he feels grateful for the experiences he’s had at the UW Law School.

“I don’t have a specific agenda for retirement, but I don’t anticipate having any problem filling my calendar,” Barkan said.


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