Ben Kempinen

Clinical Professor Emeritus


B.A. 1972, University of Wisconsin
J.D. 1976, University of Wisconsin


A cum laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Ben Kempinen taught at the Law School from 1976 until his retirement in January of 2018. In addition to teaching the first-year criminal law curriculum and a number of related courses (Trial Advocacy, Professional Responsibilities, and Advanced Substantive Criminal Law), Prof. Kempinen was involved in several of the Law School's clinical programs, including serving as interim director of the Legal Defense Project; working as a supervising attorney in the Frank J. Remington Center's Legal Assistance to Institutionalized Persons Project (LAIP); and, from 1990 until his retirement, acting as director of the Remington Center's Prosecution Project.

Prof. Kempinen has also been involved in both trial and appellate litigation in the criminal law area, has taught at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, has participated in a variety of conferences and continuing legal education programs during the past two decades, served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court Ethics 2000 Committee, and most recently, was appointed to the State Bar Ethics Committee.

Scholarship & Publications


Law Repository


  • Ben Kempinen was recently appointed chair of the Wisconsin State Bar Professional Ethics Committee. This standing bar committee is charged with formulating opinions about recurring ethics issues in practice, recommending changes to the supreme court rules and participating in continuing legal activities in the area of professional responsibility.

  • Ben Kempinen is the author of “Criminal Justice Innovations in Wisconsin: Collaborative Decision Making,” published in The Justice System Journal (Volume 30, No. 3, 2009).

  • Ben Kempinen spoke at the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s panel discussion “Government Litigators: How Far Must They Go to Seek Justice?” on August 1, 2009, as part of the ABA Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

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