Gun Ownership for Self Defense? Is It the Right Thing to Do?

Hot Topics: Cool Talk for Lyris

Featuring School of Law Professors Julie Jonas and Greg Sisk

Date & Time:

Wednesday, November 15, 2023
12:30 PM - 1:25 PM


MSL 235 

CLE Credit

1.0 CLE credit approved

Event code 94701

On-demand code 496700




Part of the "Hot Topics: Cool Talk" series, this program features School of Law Professors Julie Jonas and Greg Sisk presenting their contrasting views on the merits of gun ownership for self-defense in a spirited yet civil conversation. The discussion is moderated by University of St. Thomas President Rob Vischer.


Professor Julie Jonas joined the St. Thomas Law faculty in 2022. Her scholarship focuses on wrongful convictions, specifically the fallibility of juries and the use of experts in cases involving contested forensic science.

Jonas has been a law professor at Minnesota law schools for many years. Her focus has been the prevention of wrongful convictions and working with clinical students to screen and investigate cases of potential innocence. Jonas completed her undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Minnesota. Immediately after law school, she practiced with the Ramsey County Public Defender's Office in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Jonas is currently on the Boards of the Conviction Review Unit at the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General and also the Minnesota Trauma Recovery Institute. She recently served on the task force that developed the Golden Valley PEACE Commission for police accountability and community engagement. She was also a founding board member for the Criminal Justice Institute at Hamline University.


Professor Gregory Sisk is a nationally-recognized scholar on the subjects of civil litigation with the federal government and empirical (statistical) analysis of judicial decision making; he also writes about federal courts, legal ethics, and constitutional law. He is the author of the casebook, "Litigation With the Federal Government," which is published by Foundation Press, and a treatise by the same name, which is published by ALI-ABA. Sisk's empirical work on court decisions was honored with the Article Prize from the Law and Society Association in 1999.

After law school, Gregory Sisk entered into public service, serving in all three branches of the federal government: legislative assistant to a United States Senator, law clerk to a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and appellate specialist with the United States Department of Justice. Subsequent to government service, he was the head of the appellate department for a Seattle law firm. As an appellate attorney, Sisk has handled appeals cases before ten of the thirteen federal courts of appeals and several state appellate courts. Sisk joined the faculty of the Drake University Law School in 1991, where he was appointed the Richard M. & Anita Calkins Distinguished Professor.

He has remained an active member of the practicing bar, primarily in appellate litigation and as an expert witness or consultant on legal ethics. In recent years, he has briefed cases before the U.S. Supreme Court on civil suits against the federal government and jurisdiction in the Court of Federal Claims. He served as reporter for the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct Drafting Committee appointed by the Iowa Supreme Court to draft the new set of ethics rules to govern lawyers in Iowa. Sisk also is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

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