Friday, March 24, 2017 


Station Manager Paul M. Stebbins, who is blind, takes the helm at the console of Radio Talking Book Services.

Chamber Award Shouts Up
Radio Talking Book Service

By Dan McCann
The Daily Record

It is an others-focused and ever-evolving non-profit endeavor that touches everything from information to entertainment. Radio Talking Book Service (RTBS), the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Small Business of the Month for March, is Nebraska’s only radio reading service and one of the oldest services of its kind in the country.
“Initially, the focus of our service was for the blind and visually-impaired, but we have discovered our potential audience is much larger,” said Jane Nielsen, RTBS executive director. “Individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities that prevent them from reading also benefit from RTBS.”
With its staff of five and a corps of almost 100 volunteers, RTBS works to inform, entertain and enhance the lives of its listeners through two key programs: Radio Talking Book Network, a statewide radio reading service; and Listening Link, an educational reading program.

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Ari Shapiro addresses participants at the Chamber’s YP Summit. His career has taken him from reporting legal affairs and the White House to NPR’s All Things Considered.

All Things Considered Host Shares
How Powerful Stories Can Connect Us

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

As a journalist, Ari Shapiro has spent his career dealing in facts, and yet, his keynote speech last Thursday at the YP Summit was about “The Power of Stories.”
He explained to a captive audience of young professionals that he majored in English at Yale University, where he immersed himself in Chaucer, Milton and Shakespeare. “I wrote my thesis on the gothic novel,” he said. “Stories let me see the world through someone else’s eyes; they helped me make sense of the world.”
And in what seems to be a “divided America,” what could be more important than “finding ways to relate to each other?”

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Retired Supreme Court Justice William M. Connolly cherishes this painting from Finland. “It looks like the Court of Appeals with six judges, doesn’t it?” He acquired the painting after he and a partner sold a bank building they owned. It was hanging in his house, but “Betty thought it would be better down here.”

Retired Supreme Court Justice Returns
To Private Practice, But With a Twist

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

Bill Connolly played baseball (second base) in front of cheering fans, half of whom were pro scouts. Was he really that good? Well, Bob Gibson was on his team when he attended Creighton University. Draw your own conclusions.
“They weren’t scouting me at all. It was more like that Peter Paul and Mary song, ‘Right Field.’”
Right field, it’s easy, you know.
You can be awkward and you can be slow.
That’s why I’m here in right field
Just watching the dandelions grow.
We reminded him of the time, a few years ago, when he played in the Douglas County Attorneys v. Omaha Barristers softball tournament. He had an opportunity to slide into second base, and did. “That was stupid,” he laughed. No lasting repercussions fortunately.

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Baird Holm LLP’s Best Places to Work in Omaha® 2017 Winners
Best Places to Work in Omaha survey founder, Baird Holm LLP, along with program sponsor, the Greater Omaha Chamber, are announcing – and applauding – the two-tiered slate of 2017 winners.
Companies With 25 to 200 Employees:
1.  Prime Time Healthcare LLC
2.  RTG Medical
3.  OneStaff Medical, LLC
4.  Object Partners
5.  Lutz
Companies With More Than 200 Employees:
1.  Yahoo
2.  QLI
3.  Medical Solutions LLC
4.  C&A Industries, Inc.
5.  Thrasher, Inc.
This year there are also two Sustained Excellence Award winners –  LinkedIn and Fusion Medical Staffing. This award is given to organizations that have repeatedly been identified as one of the Best Places to Work in Omaha, specifically, those who participate in the survey for four consecutive years and rank first, second or third in three consecutive years.
Created in 2003 by Baird Holm LLP, the Best Places to Work in Omaha initiative “provides a way to publicly recognize and celebrate local employers who foster a stellar work environment and a culture that is committed to personal growth, based on the responses of their employees. While it’s one thing to claim to be a great place to work, it’s another to actually have the people who come to the office day-in and day-out testify to it,” said Scott S. Moore, partner at Baird Holm.
The competition measures levels of employee engagement through an online survey. The survey is administered and feedback is provided by Quantum Workplace.
“The Best Places to Work in Omaha initiative provides employers an opportunity to set and achieve measurable goals that focus on the best interests of their employees while still aligning to profitable business strategies. This initiative recognizes the organizations in Omaha that create an environment for more engaged and productive teams.”
The winners will be publicly recognized at an 11:45 a.m. luncheon event at the La Vista Conference Center on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Tickets are $40 per person, or $400 for a table of 10, and are available for purchase online at
“Engaged employees tend to stay with their employers longer, serve customers more effectively and otherwise make great companies. The Best Places to Work in Omaha initiative celebrates those organizations that have mastered the art of employee engagement, demonstrating what it takes to build and nurture successful teams. We appreciate everyone who participated in the process this year and look forward to applauding and learning from the list of winners,” said David G. Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber.

LEO A DALY Omaha Announces Staff Appointments
International architecture and engineering firm LEO A DALY recently announced employee appointments to senior associate and associate.

Ryan B. Curtis, PE, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C, a licensed structural project engineer with more than 12 years of experience, has been named senior associate. He received a Master of Architectural Engineering degree in Structural Engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He holds an evidence-based design accreditation and certification (EDAC) from the Center for Health Design and is a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction. Curtis is extensively involved with various community engagement and mentorship efforts, sits on the Omaha by Design Technical Advisory Committee and is a Leadership Omaha Class 35 graduate. Curtis has been with LEO A DALY for ten years.
Erin P. Froschheiser, RA, NCARB, LEED AP, a registered architect and project manager with more than 13 years of experience, has been named associate. She is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and is a LEED Accredited Professional. She holds a Master of Architecture degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Froschheiser has been with LEO A DALY for more than four years.
Abby M. Goranson, PE, a licensed senior structural project engineer with more than 16 years of experience, has been named associate. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, with an emphasis in Structural Engineering from Santa Clara University.  Goranson has been with LEO A DALY for more than a year.
Stephanie J. Rief, the Corporate Director of Enterprise Applications for LEO A DALY, has been named associate. She has 22 years of experience in software development and is responsible for the design and development of business intelligence solutions for the firm. She also manages the software development staff. Rief holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in Programming from Thomas Nelson Community College at Newport News. Rief has been with LEO A DALY for more than 11 years.
Katie A. Whittaker, CPA, a Senior Accountant with LEO A DALY Corporate Accounting, has been named associate. She is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Master of Professional Accountancy degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Whittaker has been with LEO A DALY for more than one year.
For more information regarding Leo A Daly, please go to:


Names Submitted for County Judge in the Fourth Judicial District and District Judge in the Third Judicial District
William J. Acosta-­Trejo, Beau G. Finley, John J. Kohl, Jeffrey T. Palzer, Stephanie S. Shearer, and Steven J. Twohig, all of Omaha, have submitted applications for appointment as County Judge in the 4th Judicial District (Douglas County). The primary place of office for the judicial vacancy is Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska. The vacancy is due to the resignation of Judge Susan M. Bazis.
The public hearing of the Judicial Nominating Commission will be held in District Courtroom No. 412, Douglas County Courthouse, Hall of Justice, 1701 Farnam Street, Omaha, Nebraska, beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 23, 2017. The Commission will review all applicants for the office at that time.
Steven M. Delaney, Bellevue; PaTricia A. Freeman, Papillion; and Stefanie A. Martinez, Papillion, have submitted applications for appointment as District Judge in the 2nd Judicial District consisting of Cass, Otoe, and Sarpy counties. The primary place of office for the judicial vacancy is Papillion, Sarpy County, Nebraska. The vacancy is due to the appointment of Judge David K. Arterburn to the Nebraska Court of Appeals bench.
The public hearing of the Judicial Nominating Commission will be held at the Sarpy County Courthouse, 1210 Golden Gate Drive, Courtroom #7, in Papillion, Nebraska, beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 23, 2017. The Commission will review all applicants for the office at that time.
The public is welcome to attend the hearings and present information concerning candidates for the judicial openings.

The Nebraska Lawyers Trust Account Foundation (NLTAF) awarded a grant of $22,000 to Legal Aid of Nebraska. The Foundation administers the Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Program for Nebraska and it is through participation in this program that legal representation is made available to low-income citizens of Nebraska.
NLTAF has provided a total of $5,786,000 to date in funds. This year’s 62nd grant is presented to Legal Aid of Nebraska, which is a statewide organization, will help numerous indigent individuals. In 2010, there were 283,027 or 16.2% of Nebraska’s population living at or below the poverty level.
The Foundation’s work results from the voluntary cooperation of over 2,800 Nebraska lawyers and 260 banks across the state.  Foundation President and Norfolk attorney Tracey L. Buettner said: “This semi-annual disbursement to Legal Aid of Nebraska is critical for Legal Aid to continue representing Nebraskans who meet the federal poverty guidelines. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a family of four earning $27,563 annually meets the 125% poverty guideline. This grant assists Legal Aid in helping indigent Nebraskans.”
President Buettner added: “Legal assistance for low-income Nebraskans is the result of the strong partnership of the legal and banking communities. The Foundation’s Board of Directors salutes the voluntary participation of the many Nebraska lawyers and banks that aid other Nebraskans through the IOLTA Program.”

New Chief Probation Officer Named for District 4A Probation
Tim Sprakel, District 4A Probation, has begun his service as Chief Probation Officer in Omaha. His appointment became effective March 1, 2017. The Chief Probation Officer for District 4A manages a staff of 110 employees, which includes 65 Probation Officers at four office locations in Omaha.
Sprakel began his career with probation in June of 2000 as an Intensive Supervision Probation Officer. In 2005 he was promoted to Intensive Supervision Probation Supervisor and in 2006 was promoted to Intensive Supervision Probation Coordinator. Sprakel was promoted to Chief Deputy Probation Officer in 2007.
Upon the retirement of former Chief Probation Officer Ron Broich, Sprakel was appointed Acting Chief in October of 2016.
Sprakel graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

Six Submit their Names for District Judge in the 1st Judicial District
Nathan B. Cox, Plattsmouth; Erin Ebeler Rolf, Eagle; Louie M. Ligouri, Auburn; David J. Partsch, Nebraska City; Paul A. Payne, Dodge; and Julie D. Smith, Cook, have submitted applications for appointment as District Judge in the 1st Judicial District consisting of Clay, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Johnson, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Pawnee, Richardson, Saline, and Thayer counties.  The primary place of office for the judicial vacancy is Auburn, Nemaha County, Nebraska, or another site within the district to be determined by the appointed judge. The vacancy is due to the retirement of Judge Daniel E. Bryan, Jr.
The public hearing of the Judicial Nominating Commission will be held in the District Court Courtroom at the Gage County Courthouse in Beatrice, Nebraska, beginning at 2 p.m. on April 4, 2017. The Commission will review all applicants for the office at that time.  The public is welcome to attend the hearing and present information concerning candidates for the judicial opening.
A listing of the members of the Judicial Nominating Commission can be found on the Nebraska Judicial Branch Web site at
For special accommodations relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act, please call (402) 471-3730.  For persons with hearing impairments, please call the Nebraska Relay System, 7-1-1. AA/EOE.

Cline Williams Announces Sapp Induction into the
American College of Trial Lawyers

Susan K. Sapp was inducted as a Fellow into The American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) at its March meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.  
Sapp is a senior partner in the firm of Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather, L.L.P., and with her induction, joins James M. Bausch and Mark A. Christensen of the firm as Fellows in the ACTL. Fredric H. Kauffman (1939-2016) and Kevin Colleran (1941-2006) were also Fellows of ACTL.
Founded in 1950, the ACTL is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the ACTL is extended by invitation only, and after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, integrity and collegiality.
Membership in the ACTL cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province. The ACTL strives to improve and elevate the standards of trial practice, the administration of justice and the ethics of the trial profession. Qualified lawyers are called to Fellowship from all branches of trial practice.
Sapp’s legal practice, which has spanned 28 years, is primarily focused in civil litigation, which includes representing employers, physicians, hospitals, lawyers and educational institutions in labor and employment matters, medical and legal malpractice defense, and all aspects of education law. She also represents parties in adoption matters and related litigation. Sapp is a Member of the Litigation Counsel of America, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. She is also a past president and current member of the Nebraska Council of School Attorneys.  Sapp is a Lincoln native and graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (B.S., 1986) and the University of Nebraska College of Law (J.D., with high distinction, 1989).
For more information regarding Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather, L.L.P., please visit the firm’s website at:

Koenig | Dunne Welcomes Fowler to the Firm
Koenig¦Dunne recently announced that attorney Brandie M. Fowler joined the firm in their divorce and family law practice area. Fowler joins the firm with expansive experience in the area of family law; including divorce, custody, child support, guardian ad litem work, mediation and estate planning.
Fowler earned a Martindale-Hubbell Preeminent AV attorney rating – recognizing her as being at the highest level of professional excellence. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Creighton University and continued on to Creighton University School of Law earning her Juris Doctor, cum laude, in 2002, with a concentration in dispute resolution.
Among Fowler’s many leadership roles have been serving as president of the Omaha Barristers, as a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association House of Delegates and on the Omaha Bar Association Executive Committee. She received the Omaha Bar Association Public Service Award for her contributions as host of the “Ask a Lawyer” radio program. Fowler is a long-time CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, serving as a voice for the most vulnerable children in the legal system.
“When the opportunity arose to add [Fowler] to our team, we did not hesitate. Her reputation and expansive experience will be an outstanding contribution to our clients and our growing firm,” said Angela Dunne, managing partner of the firm.
For more information regarding the law firm of Koenig | Dunne,  please visit the firm’s website:

New Chief Probation Officers Named
For Districts 5 and 6

Acting Chief Probation Officer Carrie Rodriguez, District 5 Probation, has been selected as chief probation officer for the district.  Probation’s District 5 includes Boone, Butler, Colfax, Hamilton, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Polk, Saunders, Seward and York Counties.
Rodriguez began her career with probation in May 2010 and was appointed as chief deputy in 2011.  She is a state trainer for the probation system and co-chaired the October 2016 Statewide Probation Officers’ Conference.
In 2013, she was a member of the team that received the Supreme Court’s Outstanding Team Award and received the Above and Beyond Exemplary Leadership Award in 2014. In 2015, she was given the Supreme Court’s Innovation Award.
Prior to coming to probation, Rodriguez worked in human resources and management positions in the private sector.
Rodriguez has a Master’s Degree in business management from Wayne State College and a Bachelor’s Degree in business management/marketing from Mount Mercy College.  She became a Certified Public Manager through the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2015.
Patty Lyon, problem-solving court coordinator for Probation District 6 in Fremont, has been selected as chief probation officer for the district which includes Burt, Cedar, Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Thurston and Washington Counties.  Lyon also began her position as Chief yesterday.
Lyon has been with the Nebraska probation system for over 16 years. She worked as a probation officer with both juveniles and adults until her promotion to drug court coordinator in July 2008.
Lyon is a state trainer for the probation system and was the 2012 recipient of the Nebraska State Probation Supervisor of the Year award.
Lyon possesses a Master’s Degree in organizational management from Chadron State College and a Bachelor’s Degree in criminal justice from Bellevue University.

Rosemarie Bucchino Lee
Nov. 4, 1957 - March 13, 2017

‘Always Smiling, Positive’
Born into a family dedicated to public service, Rosemarie Lee was a natural to become a public servant herself. Following in the footsteps of her father Gary Bucchino, who was Omaha’s city prosecutor from 1971 to 1994, she became an Omaha deputy city attorney nearly 20 years ago.
Her son Patrick followed in their footsteps and is now an assistant prosecutor in the Buffalo County Attorney’s Office in Kearney.
Lee died unexpectedly at home on March 13.
Her son said Lee was looking forward to retirement in the near future, with more time for her grandchildren and her sewing and crafting when she died at 59.
Her friends and coworkers all described her as a cheerful and positive person who earned the love of all who crossed her path. Judy Weis wrote online, “Rosemarie, you will be missed by so many. Your smile and positive attitude would light up a room.”
Another wrote, “She was such a patient and positive individual … she will be missed.”
Omaha City Attorney Paul Kratz, who started his job about a year after Lee, said, “Rosemarie was a very nice person with an uplifting personality. She was always smiling and always found a way to handle anything that came her way. She dealt with the public, no matter how upset they might be, with a relaxed, even keel. We will miss her and all her experience. It will take some time to fill her shoes.”
Lee earned her undergraduate and law degrees at Creighton University. Before her career at the City Attorney’s Office, she was in private practice with her father. He died in 2002 and was best known by the nickname “Mr. Clean,” for his efforts to route out shops that sold X-rated materials. It was somewhat controversial, but he prevailed.
Lee herself earned a nickname at City Hall: the “Pothole Queen.” For the past decade she handled legal claims against the city, including claims submitted for pothole-damaged cars.
Her funeral Mass was held last Thursday at Christ the King Catholic Church.
In addition to her son and five grandchildren, Lee is survived by her mother, Marie Bucchino of Omaha; daughters Katie Longanecker of New Prague, Minn., and Maggie Lee of Omaha; sister Therese Henry of Maricopa, Ariz; and brothers Michael Bucchino of St. Louis and Tony Bucchino of Omaha.       
 – By Lorraine Boyd



H. Dan Smith, along with four other recipients will be inducted into the Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame.

Real Estate Summit Recognizes Those
Who Helped to Make Omaha Great

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

During the CRE Summit luncheon on March 24, five professionals will be inducted into the Hall of Fame – H. Daniel Smith, Timothy F. Holland, J. Keith Basham, Dennis P. Hogan, III and Ellen Albrecht – and awards will be given for Deal of the Year and Development of the Year. The inaugural Summit Award will also be given.
H. Daniel Smith
Smith, a partner at Smith Slusky Law, concentrates his practice on commercial real estate and commercial real estate financing; representing lenders, borrowers, landlords, tenants, developers, and investors in all areas and stages of commercial real estate and development and financing. He represents clients in more than $500,000.000 in real estate transactions per year.

“I was thrilled and genuinely surprised to receive this honor,” he said. “I do hundreds of millions in lending deals every year across the U.S., but I don’t build these projects, I just help get them going. It’s actually fun to be a small part of building a great city like Omaha. At this point, having done so many Omaha projects; it’s hard for any Omahan to go a week or even a day without going into some building or retail center I did the financing on or represented the owner or developer. Kind of cool for a ‘dirt’ lawyer.”
Smith said he credits his success to his wife, Paula, his children Dan and Jane, his parents (now deceased), his “wonderful assistant,” Lisa Gonzalez, the team at his firm, his clients, and all the “great CRE people who keep the engine going.”
Timothy F. Holland
Holland is a registered professional architect and founding principal of Holland Basham Architects. His expertise lies in the planning and design of many market sectors, including corporate office and higher education spaces, as well as student housing and hospitality. During his 30-plus years in architecture, he has worked with Mutual of Omaha, Noddle Companies, Omaha Public Schools, Creighton University, the University of Nebraska system and many more.
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The 2017 CRE Summit will be at CenturyLink Center on Friday, March 24. For information about registration, go to

Pictured from left are H. Daniel Smith, who will be inducted into the CRE Summit Hall of Fame; and Jerry M. Slusky and Thomas H. McLeay, who are both 2017 CRE Summit Planning Committee members.

Location, Location, Location: Just One of the Many Pieces to a Successful Commercial Plan
By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

This year’s Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Summit promises to offer the most, across the board, educational topics ever, said Jerry Slusky, founder and chair of the annual event. “If you attend, you will come away with something that will help you in your profession.”
Now in its 28th year, the CRE Summit is an opportunity for professionals to earn continuing education credits and to network. The wide range of topics to be covered includes Omaha’s changing landscape, pre-construction costs and challenges, and the shift in retail, Slusky said.
When asked to give a rundown of this year’s Summit, he was quick to respond.
First up, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. is the leadership panel called “Cultivating Growth Within Our Already Growing Community.” For that, said Slusky, “our more than 35-member committee and I reached out to our prominent community leaders – people in high places like Terry Kroeger, publisher at the Omaha World-Herald; Leslie Anderson, president of [Bank of Bennington]; and Jim Krieger, vice chairman and CFO of Gallup – and we asked them to tell us what they saw as new opportunities for growth in Omaha, and how the real estate industry can fit in.”

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John S. Berry Jr. (left) and his father, John Stevens Berry Sr., both served in the U.S. military and now both serve their fellow veterans.

Berry Law and Disability Benefits:

Iraq, Afghanistan ‘Changed Everything’
By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record
Many service members get out of the military and just want to move on with their lives as quickly as possible. John Stevens Berry Sr., founding partner at the Berry Law Firm, knows that firsthand. After his military service in Vietnam, he said, “I didn’t want to stick around; I just wanted to get to Hawaii.”
That means that injuries sustained during active duty aren’t reported, so when health issues flare up years later, and a veteran files a claim, the government might contest it asking, “How do we know when that injury occurred? How do we know it was related to your military service?”
That’s where the Berry Law Firm comes in. Their attorneys help veterans appeal disability claims. “Often veterans need our assistance to put together a legal argument for them,” John S. Berry Jr. said. “It’s one of their biggest hurdles.”

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Sikh men are known for their religious practice of wearing turbans.
– Photos by Scott Kurz, Anti-Defamation League of Omaha
Forum Seeks to Further Understanding,
Acceptance, Among Those of Different Faiths

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

“Our country is at its best when it is diverse,” said Deborah Gilg, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska. “We are a country of immigrants. … We will pull together. We will unify just like when a mosque in Texas was burned to the ground, and a local rabbi went to the imam, and handed him the keys to the synagogue. This is the true spirit of what we are about. But right now, fear is our common denominator...”
And nowhere has this fear been felt more than by those in certain religious communities. That’s why the Anti-Defamation League Plains States Region (ADL-CRC), the U.S. Department of Justice, and the City of Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department presented “Protecting Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian Communities” to over 110 attendees on February 10 at the Boy’s Town Conference Center in Omaha.

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Even after 50 years of practicing law, local attorney Jerry Strasheim says “there’s a lot to learn and a lot of things you might miss” in the legal profession.

Living Legend Jerry Strasheim
‘Better than Ever’ After 50-plus Years

By Dennis Friend
The Daily Record

You won’t find Jerrold L. Strasheim in a multi-story steel and glass west Omaha structure, working in a spacious office behind a door with a sign that strings several attorneys’ names together.
Instead, this longtime attorney’s hard at work in a modest, unspectacular, utilitarian one-story structure on Dodge Street, a structure resembling a small mini-mall, across the street and down a block from the Mutual of Omaha building in the city’s midtown area. He has an office there at 3610 Dodge St., in Suite 212, sharing the building with firms like Sandhills Heating and Cooling, H&R Block and Omaha Communications.

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Nebraska State Bar Association
Four New Practice Manuals Available

Thanks to the generous efforts of many of Nebraska’s best lawyers, the NSBA has produced four new practice manuals in recent months.  They include updated versions of the Nebraska Appellate Practice Handbook, the Nebraska Civil Practice and Procedure Manual, and the Understanding Adoption Procedures in Nebraska Manual.  A new manual is also in the lineup:  Planning for Your Unexpected Absence, Disability or Death.
Dozens of Nebraska lawyers pitched in to update the contents, and review the updated contents, of the appellate practice handbook and civil practice and procedure manual.  Both manuals go in-depth on the process steps required for effective practice, and include practice tips and lots of sample forms.  
The Nebraska Civil Practice and Procedure Manual begins with case analysis and screening and goes through enforcement of judgments and collections, with chapters on every step in between, including pleadings, motions, discovery, pretrial, trial, and more. 

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– Photos by Lorraine Boyd
OBA President Hon. Doug Johnson (left) and MOMS President David Watts, MD (right), welcome Annual Medical Legal Dinner speaker Michael Kelly, Omaha World Herald columnist.

Wit and Wisdom Dispensed
Michael Kelly is an Irishman, which may explain not only his writing prowess but his gift of gab. Kelly shared a number of his experiences as a longtime newspaper columnist and reporter with a large crowd of doctors, lawyers and guests on March 14. He closed with a personal story that chronicled his daughter Bridget’s ordeal in 2002 that left her near death after a brutal attack. She survived and thrived and speaks out against sexual violence. She and her father credit law enforcement, the courts and the medical professions for her nearly-miraculous recovery and the apprehension and punishment of her attacker.
The members of the Omaha Bar Association and the Metro Omaha Medical Society come together every year at a joint dinner. The two professions often intersect and the dinner is meant to keep lines of communication open and to encourage collegiality.


Overcoming Stereotypes, Finding Justice
By Milo Mumgaard
Legal Aid of Nebraska

Last month in this column, we described how it’s a very good time for new heroes in our legal profession.  It’s also a great time to recognize Legal Aid’s clients, who each day heroically seek a little bit more justice in their own lives.
It’s fair to admit there are many stereotypes about the people who benefit from Legal Aid’s free services.  It’s also true these are usually the same stereotypes shared about low-income people generally – among them, being lazy, irresponsible, shiftless.  After all, living in poverty, struggling to find a good job or home, and suffering from violence – to be in the predicament they’re in, it must be the result of poor life choices foolishly repeated.  Check out some of this stuff on the internet to get a taste, if you weren’t already aware.
The nice thing to know, though, is the truth about Legal Aid’s clients is far less dramatic.  It turns out our clients are – spoiler alert – just about like everybody else.  They do have their personal shortcomings, and some are a little on the unpleasant side.  But mostly, they are simply preoccupied by the daily struggles we all experience – kids to school, mouths to feed, clothes to clean, jobs to do.  
The challenge of dealing with these needs, however, is profoundly more difficult when income is low and options are few.  And the experiences they have with the legal system are often far different, and significantly more negative.

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– Photos by Lorraine Boyd
Alana Schriver (left) and Elizabeth Ajongo give a primer on immigrants and refugees at the Youth Impact! of Douglas County’s quarterly Brown Bagger meeting on March 2 at the Civic Center.

Attendees Lunch on Facts
Brown Baggers have been going on for more than two decades as a means of sharing information with “anyone with a stake in positive outcomes for children and families in Douglas County.” All are invited to attend, free of charge. Some may even earn CLEs.
Alana Schriver, MPH, Refugee Specialist at Omaha Public Schools and Elizabeth Ajongo, Refugee Juvenile Advocate Program Coordinator at Heartland Family Services shared information on how OPS and the juvenile justice system accommodate the challenges and needs of youth with immigrant and refugee status.
They defined the difference between a refugee and an immigrant and noted that those populations comprise 5.5 percent of the Omaha population. They noted that refugees are subject to exhaustive vetting. “The vast majority of them do very well here.” But life can be hard. They often need to learn the language, the culture and the laws, get a job and a place to live, and pay back the airfare lent to them to get here by the government. People from Burma are the No. 1 population being resettled here right now. Immigrants speak more than 120 primary languages, so the need for translators is enormous. The speakers described the many services and programs available to these people, especially for parents and children, in particular those in the juvenile justice system.
The next three Brown Baggers are set for June 1, September 7 and November 30. Visit for more information.

Attorneys Johnson and Pekny Expand
Services Across Traditional and
Non-Traditional Family Boundaries

Recognizing a growing need to protect children, property and individuals across a broad range of traditional and non-traditional family types, Gerald D. Johnson and Darren J. Pekny have ramped up their family law practice to support Nebraska families.
According to a recent comprehensive survey by Pew Research1, less than half of families with children are traditional two-parent households in their first marriage. The addition of previous relationships or a complicated relationship status can add to the complexity of family law cases, but it does not change the need for the fair and aggressive legal representation of the rights and responsibilities of those involved.
“No matter how families came together, they have the same legal needs when it comes to protecting children, securing assets and making sure everyone is treated fairly during all phases of the relationship,” said Johnson & Pekny, LLC managing partner, Gerald D. Johnson. “We have prepared our law practice to make sure that we’re ready when they need us.”
Family law has always been complex. But the demographic shifts detailed in the Pew Research report show that couples today are dealing with previous relationships – including marriages. And these previous relationships often involve children and property. The resulting complexity can sometimes be used unfairly to derive advantages during a break-up or divorce when it comes to child support, property, debt allocation and visitation.
“The path our clients took into the relationship shouldn’t matter. There is always a right and a fair resolution,” Johnson continued. “It’s our job to cut through the complexity and aggressively represent our clients to make sure their rights are protected.”

1 “Parenting in America,” a comprehensive survey covering forty years of demographic trends, published December 17, 2015.

– Photo by Lorraine Boyd
Members of the Omaha Bar Association and their guests had their choice of games to play at the latest Young Lawyer’s Division event.

Lawyers and their guests, young and not-so-young, braved the sleet and snow to spend an evening at the Spielbound Cafe in Midtown Omaha on February 23, playing board games old and new. Whether the games required knowledge, skill or just plain luck, they all delivered fun and laughter. Here’s hoping a rematch is scheduled soon. While the division seeks to provide a variety of experiences for newer members of the association, all lawyers are always welcome at their events.

Meetings & Seminars
For the Legal Community
MARCH 23, 2017 through MARCH 24, 2017
Creighton University and Kutak Rock LLP
50 Years of Loving: Seeking Justice Through Love and Relationships
Creighton University
2500 California Plaza, Omaha
Scholarship Deadline: February 15, 2017
Scholarship Contact:
For More Information:

MARCH 24, 2017
Nebraska State Bar Association
2017 Annual Estate Planning & Probate Institute Focus on Probate & Trust Administration
Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center
2021 Transformation Dr., Lincoln
8:00 a.m. – 4:35 p.m.
For More Information:
MARCH 24, 2017
Commercial Real Estate Summit
CenturyLink Center
455 N. 10th St., Omaha
For More Information:
MARCH 29, 2017
Nebraska State Bar Association
UNL:The Limits of Executive Power: The Obama-Trump Transition
UNL College of Law
1875 N. 42nd St., Lincoln
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 4, 2017
Heartland Juvenile Services Association
2017 Pre-Conference
Omaha Hilton
1001 Cass St., Omaha
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 4, 2017
BBB Foundation
Fraud 2017: Defending Your Business from Phishing and Whaling Attacks!
Ralston Arena
7300 Q St., Ralston
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 4, 2017
Business Ethics Alliance
Spring Dialogue: Ethics & Technology Across Industries
Temple Israel
13111 Sterling Ridge Dr., Omaha
7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 6, 2017
Heartland Juvenile Services Association
2017 Conference
Omaha Hilton
1001 Cass St., Omaha
8:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 7, 2017
Omaha Law League
Casino Night
Livestock Exchange Ballroom
4920 S. 30th St., Omaha
6:00 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 7, 2017
Heartland Juvenile Services Association
2017 Conference: Technology and Child Exploitation
Omaha Hilton
1001 Cass St., Omaha
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 7, 2017
Creighton University School of Law
OBA 11th Annual Seminar on Ethics & Professionalism
Hixson-Lied Auditorium
Creighton University Harper Center
2500 California Plaza, Omaha
2:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 7, 2017
Nebraska State Bar Association
Lexington Ethics Seminar
Central Community College
1501 Plum Creek Pkwy., Lexington
12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 11, 2017
Nebraska Attorney General’s Office
2017 Attorney General’s Youth Conference
Nebraska State Capitol
2115 State Capitol, Lincoln
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Student Applications Due: January 31, 2017
For More Information:
APRIL 17, 2017
Omaha Law League
Annual Spring Fundraiser: Casino Night
Livestock Exchange Ballroom
4920 S. 30th St., Omaha
6:00 p.m.
For More Information: Contact Anna Nubel at 402.344.4037 or
APRIL 18, 2017
Omaha Bar Association
5th Annual YLD Baseball Game Watch
TD Ameritrade Ballpark, Omaha
Reception: 5:00 p.m.
Game: 6:30 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 18, 2017
Nebraska State Bar Association
Securities Law Seminar
Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O.
1125 S. 103rd St., #800, Omaha
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 20, 2017
Business Ethics Alliance
Ethics on Trial: The Boardroom Edition – Automation of the
American Workforce
Scottish Rite
202 S. 20th St., Omaha
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
For More Information:
APRIL 21, 2017
Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys
“Workers’ Compensation”
Doubletree by Hilton Southwest
3650 S. 72nd St., Omaha
For More Information:
APRIL 28, 2017
The 9th Yale Richards Professional Education Seminar
Boys Town Conference Center
14100 Crawford St., Boys Town
8:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
APRIL 28, 2017 through APRIL 30, 2017
Nebraska Legal Professionals Association
NLPA 20th Anniversary Convention
Lincoln, NE
For More Information:
MAY 2, 2017
Omaha Bar Association
Law Day Lunch
Omaha Marriott
10220 Regency Cr., Omaha
11:45 a.m. 1:00 p.m.
For More Information:
MAY 11 through MAY 12, 2017
Nebraska State Bar Association
UNL: 2017 John M. Gradwohl Estate & Business Planning Program
UNL College of Law
1875 N. 42nd St., Lincoln
For More Information:
MAY 12, 2017
Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys
NATA and NATA PAC Long Range/Strategic Planning Meeting
Scott Conference Center
6450 Pine St., Omaha
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
For More Information:
MAY 17, 2017
Omaha Bar Association
Just the Basics CLE Series – Employment Law
Corkscrew Wine & Cheese at Blackstone District
3908 Farnam St., Omaha
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
For More Information:
MAY 18, 2017
Nebraska State Bar Association
Family Law Section Seminar
Embassy Suites
12520 Westport Pkwy., La Vista
For More Information:
MAY 19, 2017
Omaha Bar Association
Memorial Service
Legislative Chambers of the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center
1819 Farnam St., Omaha
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
For More Information:
MAY 25, 2017
The Greater Omaha Chamber
Baird Holm LLP Best Places to Work in Omaha
La Vista Conference Center
12520 Westport Pkwy., La Vista
11:45 a.m.
For More Information:

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