­– Photos by Lorraine Boyd
Magician Joe Brogie stumps OBA members  and guests (from left) Charlie Gotsch, Debra Nelson, Hon. Mike Nelson and Hon. Jim Gleason with his sleight-of-hand card tricks.

Pick a Card, Any Card
The Young Lawyers Division of the Omaha Bar Association threw a party in honor of their 2018 Champions of Law on February 8 and invited a magician along for the ride.
Joe Brogie, a Nebraska native now living and performing in Los Angeles, astounded the party-goers with his skill mixed with equal doses of charm and humor. The event was held in the Omar Building, which was once a bakery at 41st and Nicholas. Dinner was catered by Eddie’s Catering. The consensus was that there should be more events like this one, which featured a program few will forget.
For more photos, CLICK HERE.


– Photos by Lorraine Boyd
From left, Tyler and Elle Seals and her parents, Jane and Bart McLeay enjoy the ambiance of the OBA’s annual Wine Tasting at The Barn in Bennington, Neb.

There’s No Hay in this Loft
The Omaha Bar Association’s 18th annual Wine Tasting event last Friday night enjoyed a new setting this year – The Barn at the Ackerhurst Dairy Farm. Located in Bennington, the venue was spacious and just a little bit awe-inspiring. The two-story ceiling, sporting three magnificent chandeliers, soared above the rustic interior. OBA members and their guests mingled amid round and high top bar tables. This year’s theme was “A Tour Through Napa Valley,” and included a drawing for a real trip.
Wine was provided by the Omaha Wine Company, and the event, which attracted almost 300, was sponsored by The Daily Record.

For more photos click here.

Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. Shareholder Earns
Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy Designation

Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. shareholder, James Tews, has earned the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) designation from the Richard D. Irwin Graduate School of The American College. This unique year-long series provides advanced insight into the process of philanthropic planning and equips professional advisors with the knowledge and tools to help their clients achieve their charitable giving objectives while also helping them meet their estate planning and wealth management goals.
Program candidates are required to pass three graduate level classes. The curriculum addresses the advanced design, implementation and management of charitable gift techniques and strategies, as well as philanthropic tools including charitable trusts, private foundations, supporting organizations, donor-advised funds, pooled income funds and charitable gift annuities. Upon his completion of the program in 2018, Tews joins Koley Jessen shareholders, Brandon Hamm and Alex Wolf, as one of 1,300 individuals in the United States to have been awarded the CAP® designation.
As a member of Koley Jessen’s Estate and Business Succession Planning Practice Group, James works with families to both develop comprehensive estate plans and to execute the directions set forth in these plans at the appropriate time. General areas of focus include preparing estate plan documents, both routine and complex probate and trust administration, planning to minimize death taxes, establishing and administering guardianships and conservatorships, Medicaid planning and, when necessary, litigation necessary to accomplish client goals.
For more information regarding Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. please visit the firm’s website at

Bryan Slone Becomes President of
Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Bryan Slone, Of Counsel and Chair of the Tax Practice at Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O., has been selected as the next President of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry (“Chamber”).
Slone was selected by the Chamber Board after Barry Kennedy announced he would be retiring in June after 31 years at the Chamber, the last 19 as President. In his new role he will be responsible for planning, public policy leadership, membership and member relations, policy councils, chamber operations and financial management, as well as fostering relationships with public officials.
“While we will miss Bryan’s full-time presence in our office, we are excited to support him on his next journey as President of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” says Mike Hupp, President of Koley Jessen. “Bryan has a passion for public policy and this position will provide him with opportunities to do great things for the state of Nebraska.”
Slone will begin his new position with the Chamber on or before May 1, 2018.
 “It is extremely difficult for me to step away from private practice and client service, but I am able to do so with complete confidence in the talented team of tax attorneys I leave behind at Koley Jessen. My experience at the firm has been remarkable and I have the utmost appreciation and respect for my colleagues and friends at the firm who have and continue to support me,” says Slone. “As many people know, I have long had a passion for public policy matters, with a particular interest in economic development, regulatory reform and budget and tax policy. This new role with the Chamber will provide me this unique opportunity to work with Nebraska businesses in these increasingly important areas, and I couldn’t pass it up.”
 “Bryan’s extensive experience in tax, accounting, law and public affairs will be a great asset to the Chamber,” says Hupp. “Nebraska businesses are fortunate to have him as the next leader of this important organization.”
Slone joined Koley Jessen in 2014 after his candidacy in the 2013 Nebraska governor’s race. Prior to that he was the Managing Partner of Deloitte’s Omaha office where he was responsible for leading and managing all aspects of the firm.

Croker, Huck, Kasher, DeWitt, Anderson &
Gonderinger, L.L.C. Welcomes New Attorney
Lindsey A. Schuler has recently joined the law firm of Croker, Huck, Kasher, DeWitt, Anderson & Gonderinger, L.L.C. as an associate attorney.  Lindsey practices in the areas of business and commercial law, civil litigation and real estate.  
Schuler graduated with her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kansas in 2010 and received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law in 2013.  She is a member of the Omaha and Nebraska State Bar Associations.
For more information regarding Croker, Huck, Kasher, DeWitt, Anderson & Gonderinger, L.L.C. please visit the firm’s website at

New Associate Joins
Erickson|Sederstrom, P.C., L.L.O.
Erickson | Sederstrom is proud to announce that Michelle J. Elkin, a 2017 graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law has joined the firm as an associate with a practice focus in estate and gift planning, trust administration, probate of client estates, and federal and state taxation plans.  
Elkin  is also a graduate of the University of South Dakota, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree, with honors, while also serving as captain of the Women’s Tennis Team.
For more information regarding Erickson | Sederstrom, P.C., L.L.O.  please visit the firm’s website at

Baird Holm LLP Welcomes New Attorney
Baird Holm LLP is pleased to welcome Aaron B. Johnson to the firm as a member of the Real Estate practice group.  
Most recently serving as General Counsel for a regional, full-service real estate development company, Johnson brings a broad understanding of corporate operations, finance and risk management processes and procedures.  As General Counsel, he was part of the company’s leadership team and led the negotiation of numerous development, construction management, financing, lease, purchase and sale and related agreements.  Prior to that, Johnson spent 11 years in private practice, most recently as Office Managing Partner for a regional law firm.
At Baird Holm, his practice will focus on real estate finance and development, commercial lending, corporate matters and mergers and acquisitions.
Johnson received his Juris Doctor, with high distinction, from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2002, where he was named Order of the Coif and served as the Research Editor of the Nebraska Law Review. He graduated from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, with a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, magna cum laude, in 1999.
“Aaron’s knowledge of real estate and corporate law perfectly complements the skillset of the strong practice group he joins; he has built an excellent reputation,” said Baird Holm Managing Partner, Richard E. Putnam. “Aaron has already worked with many of our attorneys, so I am confident he will transition into the firm seamlessly and provide value to our clients immediately. Baird Holm is stronger with Aaron aboard.”
For more information regarding Baird Holm LLP please visit the firm’s website at

Koley Jessen Promotes
Minja Herian to Shareholder
Koley Jessen announced the promotion of Minja Herian to Shareholder status effective January 1, 2018.  
Herian joined the firm in 2009 as a law clerk, and joined the Litigation Practice Group upon becoming licensed in 2011. She assists clients through all stages of the litigation process, from commencing the litigation and providing a defense, conducting discovery, participating in trial, and, if needed, engaging in the appellate process. She works closely with clients to develop early strategies to manage both business and litigation interests. Her practice focuses primarily on commercial litigation, both in state and federal court, and includes cases involving business torts, contract disputes, negligence actions, construction disputes, director and officer defense and trust and estate litigation.
“Minja is a tremendous asset to our Litigation team. Clients enjoy her responsiveness, organization and advocacy, which have resulted in great results for our clients. We are excited to promote her to Shareholder.” said Greg Scaglione, Chair of Koley Jessen’s Litigation Practice Group. “Minja is also the Vice-Chair of the firm’s Recruiting Committee and we appreciate her insight and dedication to continuing to serve clients and grow Koley Jessen.”
Herian received a B.A. from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2007 and her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2011, with distinction.
For more information regarding Koley Jessen please visit the firm’s website at

Alan G. Stoler
September 10, 1953 – February 5, 2018
Stoler Lived to Serve Family, Law
Everyone at the Douglas County Courthouse and the Federal Courthouse recognized the energetic man with the white ponytail, hurrying down the hall to his next hearing.
Alan Stoler was well known, well respected and well liked by the Omaha legal community and his law students at his alma mater, the University of Nebraska College of Law, and well-loved by his family and many friends.
He lost his battle with pancreatic cancer 11 months after he was diagnosed. He got the news just three days after he won a precedent-setting argument before the United States Supreme Court.
The Omaha Bar Association, in its inaugural campaign to promote attorneys and the legal community as filled with champions the Omaha community should be proud of, named Stoler a “Champion of Law.” They said, “Alan has been a champion for many ‘underdog’ cases over the years, including an almost two-decade-long push against the 100-to-1 disparity in lengths of sentences for people convicted of dealing crack cocaine versus powder cocaine, eventually ending with Congress stripping the term ‘mandatory’ from federal sentencing guidelines.
“He took on a case of a young client who had received [what Stoler deemed] an improper and unnecessarily punitive extra three years on his sentence, arguing it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States … and won, getting the sentence [unanimously] overturned.” With that, he affected the future sentences of hundreds.
Alan opened the door for young women to compete in girls’ softball in schools around the state. He was also co-counsel with David Stickman for kidnapper and rapist Tony Zappa a/k/a Anthony Steven Wright, in a trial that garnered national attention and was the basis for a TV movie.
Bill Sweet, administrative officer for the Office of Federal Public Defender - District of Nebraska, recalled: “Last September, despite his illness, he presented at our annual criminal defense seminar on his experience winning in the U.S. Supreme Court. The standing ovation he received from all 125 of his colleagues in attendance tells you how much he was valued.”
Stoler practiced criminal law, litigation and appeals, and white-collar and drug crime defense along with his law partner Jerry M. Hug at Stoler Hug Law.
Hug said his law partner was “more like family.” He noted that their kids are very close in age. “What I’ll miss most is us talking about our kids. The most important part of Alan’s life was his family.”
As a professional, Hug said, “He had the insight and skill as a lawyer to find the legal issues that were important to his client. When I first worked with him as a new lawyer, he would give me cases and tell me to find a way to let him argue it. I learned a lot from him.”
Hug recalled, “He was persistent and constantly questioned the status quo. In the courtroom, he had a sense of the right outcome and he aimed for that. He was a good negotiator.”
There was a mutual respect between him and prosecutors, judges and defense lawyers alike, Hug said. He was collegial. “I am still receiving calls from former clients, some from 20 years ago, expressing their condolences.”
“He was a great lawyer and a great man,” Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, who sometimes opposed him in court, said. “Solid, through and through. He handled significant cases and you knew he’d do a great job. He was someone you could always count on. He will be very very much missed.”
On the other side of the courtroom, Douglas County Public Defender Tom Riley said, “His whole career was dedicated to helping people who couldn’t help themselves.
He was a rare breed: both a great trial attorney and a great appellate attorney. Lawyers who excel at both are few and far between.” He said he always thought Stoler was operating on a higher intellectual plane.
Although Stoler spent most of his time in federal court, he still took some cases in  Douglas County Court, Riley said. When he did, he would stop in to see Riley. “He was always willing to share his knowledge.”
Stoler fought in many “what I like to call severe uphill battles,” Riley said. “You have to have a mindset that you will not be judgmental. He did.”
Riley said his passing is “a loss for criminal justice.”
Stoler is survived by his wife, Kim, and children Madisen and twins Evan and Jordan.
Graveside services were held on Thursday, Feb. 8. Memorials are suggested to a charity of choice.
– By Lorraine Boyd

Yvonne Sosa is receiving an award for her exemplary commitment to improving the Omaha community.
South Omaha Proud
Public Defender Yvonne Sosa
To Receive TOYO Award Tonight

By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

The daughter of a Mexican-born father and a mother whose parents came from Mexico, Yvonne Sosa remembers well the time when she decided a career in law was what she wanted.
She had suspected that she wanted to be an attorney, but in high school an effort was being made to introduce her to another career.
“I was a student at South High School,” she recalled “I was going through the Academy of Finance.”  That involved internships at banks, which did not excite her, so she approached the instructor to see if a legal internship was possible.

Click here for full story
Click here for TOYO awardees


Mark Weber, the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Counsel for Discipline presents a detailed report to the Nebraska State Bar members each year at their annual meeting.

While Pace of Legal Profession
Has Presented Heightened Pressure
For Lawyers, There Is Help

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

Lawyers are in the business of helping people. That’s one of the oft-cited reasons for becoming a lawyer. They are good at it. What they are not so good at is helping themselves.
“They are under so many pressures and when it gets to be too much, they need to ask for help. It’s there. They just need to ask.”
That’s the message that Mark Weber, the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Counsel for Discipline, wants to convey to the thousands of lawyers licensed by the state.
Weber is sometimes the first stop for a lawyer who is struggling.
“I get calls from colleagues and judges about lawyers,” he said. That’s in addition to those referrals from the Supreme Court when they get a complaint about a lawyer.
But he emphasizes that he is dedicated to helping people solve their problems without resorting to harsher professional penalties.
Weber said the pressures lawyers are under today present a daunting challenge, even though some of them are self-imposed.
“Society is moving so fast now, social media is instantaneous, with the heightened pace of the legal profession and the demand for services – some of them unrealistic, especially in domestic relations cases, … it all takes a toll.
“Then young lawyers sometimes take cases that they shouldn’t, just because they need to pay down the incredible student loans.
“Part of what I’m seeing is non-participation, in the Omaha Bar for example. There has been a decline in numbers, but it is still a wonderful organization to be a part of.  You get so much more back than what you put into it.



 The U.S. District Court of Nebraska is accepting applications for the following positions:
· Probation Officer
· Technical Writer
· Budget and Financial Administrator
For more information go to The Court is an Equal Opportunity Employer with a commitment to achieving diversity among staff. Under-represented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

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Kate Putnam and Adam Astley have opened a new law firm, with offices in a beautifully renovated space just a block from the Old Market. Steep stairs lead to the offices. Astley joked that those over 40 complained about the stairs and those under 40 commented on the beauty of the office.

Willing to Be the ‘Thought Leader’

By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

Sometimes you just want to try things in a new way, so about seven months ago, Adam Astley and Kate Putnam struck out on their own, leaving one law firm where they worked together to start their own operation at Astley Putnam, P.C., L.L.O.
It began in July at their offices just west of the Old Market on Howard Street. Their practice focuses on family law with a special emphasis on how they handle divorce cases – “Divorce, Differently,” as their website states.  Just talking to them for a profile, one gets the feeling of comfortable, caring professionalism.

Click here for full story

The whole LoTemp crew – both family and office family – got together for a fun outdoor “family” photo. John Hillebrandt is on the left in the front row.                                                          – Photo Courtesy LoTemp Equipment

Baby, It’s Cold Inside!
LoTemp Equipment Turns Fervid into Frigid
By Emily Kerr
The Daily Record

During a cold winter, it seems ironic to need help with refrigeration, but LoTemp Equipment Company is accustomed to building and servicing industrial storage since 1979.
Founded by his father, Bob Hillebrandt, John Hillebrandt, along with his sister Nicky Rainbolt and cousin Patrick Hillebrandt, are now operating the family owned company. Once a practicing attorney, John saw a gap in the business that needed filling, relieving his sister of the burden of day-to-day operations so that she could focus on her strengths as an engineer.
Recognizing their attention to customers’ needs, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce has chosen LoTemp as their February Small Business of the Year.
Composed of twelve engineers, mechanics and technicians, they have over 150 years of combined practical experience in industrial refrigeration to bring to their customers.

Click here for full story

State Librarian Retires
After 28 Years of Service to the Judicial Branch
Marie Wiechman, State Librarian, will retire January 31, 2018, after over 28 years of service with the State Library.
She joined the Judicial Branch on November 1, 1989, following 10 years with the University of Nebraska Law Library as Circulation Supervisor. Before her work at the Law College she worked three years at the Love Library on UNL’s main campus.
According to Chief Justice Mike Heavican, “Wiechman has accomplished a great deal during her time with the Judicial Branch - her greatest accomplishment being that of automating the Library’s collection by making the card catalog available through the internet.”
Weichman’s additional accomplishments include preserving the history of the library, hosting several national and local events, providing automated legal research on publicly accessible library computers and overseeing the transition of the Supreme Court Publications Office to the State Library.


From left, members of the staff Irene Jasper, Jackie Castro and Craig Buford confer with Mary Buford Wilson in the conference room in her office nestled in the far north end of Omaha near the Mormon Bridge.

Elders Have No Better Friend
In Court Than Mary Wilson

By Elizabeth A. Elliott
The Daily Record

Aging baby boomers are seeking assistance for health care issues, paying for health care, consumer issues, fraud and financial exploitation by friends and family, among other issues.
Mary Wilson has advice for aging baby boomers: Plan ahead.
“Plan for your future financial needs, as well as for unforeseeable events like disability,” she said.

Wilson, sole practitioner at Buford Law Office, is an elder law attorney.
She and her brother were the youngest of eight grandchildren in their family and she has had many opportunities to use her knowledge with family and friends. Her brother now works with her in her office in far north Omaha.
“Everyone was over 65 when we came along,” she said. “I think being in a family with so much longevity, I had spent a lot of time with older persons even before going to law school.”

Click here for full story

Longtime civil rights attorney Rev. Fred Gray brings history to life as he recounts his experiences in the deep south at the beginning of the civil rights movement at the 2018 Lane Lecture: “Civil Rights Then and Now: A Conversation with the Rev. Fred Gray.”

Fred Gray: A Pioneer in Civil Rights Defense
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

We all know about the woman who refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Ala. We all know about the struggles of Dr. Martin Luther King to bring about racial equality. Many of us probably don’t know the full story of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
One person who knows firsthand all of these important issues is Rev. Fred Gray. He stood side by side with Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin, Dr. King and the victims of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. The young lawyer defended them in court, often all the way to the Supreme Court.

Click here for full story
Click here for more photos

Meetings & Seminars
For the Legal Community
FEBRUARY 26, 2018
Omaha Bar Association
28th Annual "Lunch with Fenner"

MARCH 13, 2018
Omaha Bar Association
Medical Legal Dinner

APRIL 13, 2018
Creighton University School of Law ¦ OBA
12th Annual Seminar on Ethics & Professionalism
MAY 1, 2018
Omaha  Bar Association
Law Day Lunch

MARCH 17, 2018
Nebraska Legal Professionals Association
NLAP Spring Seminar
8:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 27, 2018 through APRIL 29, 2018
Nebraska Legal Professionals Association
NLAP Annual Seminar
For More Information:
MAY 10, 2018 through MAY 11, 2018
Nebraska State Bar Association
UNL: 2018 John M. Gradwohl Estate & Business Planning Program
UNL College of Law
1875 N. 42nd St., Lincoln
For More Information:

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