Doug Law’s work with Black Hills Corporation’s energy affiliates spans several states, and there’s always room for expansion.
With a Name Like Law, Was Becoming  
A Lawyer a Foregone Conclusion?

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

What choice did he have? With a name like Doug Law, he had to become a lawyer, didn’t he?
Not exactly. Let him tell the story:
“I grew up in Williston, North Dakota, which was, and is, a hub for oil and natural gas development. If my grandparents had settled in northwestern North Dakota instead of the Sand Hills of Nebraska, I probably would be retired from the oil and gas royalties, like some of my friends from that area. But … I love Nebraska, and I’m glad to be a Nebraskan!   
“My parents met at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the early 1950s. They both taught high school in the Sand Hills. I was born in Mullen, Neb., but after getting jobs there, my parents moved our family to North Dakota where I was raised.  
“During summer college breaks, I worked at various heavy labor/blue collar jobs in the oil fields such as working on crews that constructed oil field tanks and other oil field roustabout jobs,” he said.

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While working in D.C. in 1987, Law was sworn into the State Bar Association of North Dakota by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The photo of this moment shows him with a bald pate, compliments of his chemo.
Coincidentally, the next Supreme Court Justice with whom he posed for photos was Samuel Alito in Omaha last August, who happens to occupy the same office as Justice O’Connor.

ACLU Sues Nebraska Officials After Prison Assault
Lincoln (AP) – The ACLU of Nebraska is suing state prison officials on behalf of an inmate who says he was repeatedly attacked by fellow inmates, including a member of a white supremacist gang.
The lawsuit alleges that prison officials knowingly allowed Joshua Franklin to be assaulted several times at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.
Franklin, a biracial man serving time for nonviolent crimes, says he was first attacked by the gang member in the Sarpy County Jail. He says he was assaulted three more times after being moved to the state prison. Those assaults led to an orbital fracture, a detached retina, a head injury, memory loss and vision problems.
The lawsuit names corrections director Michael Kenney, three wardens and an assistant warden as defendants. Prison officials have not yet responded.

Stu Dornan shares war stories of going to trial, kicking off the Bar’s second annual December CLE.
Like Speed Dating Only Everyone Goes Home Happy
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record
An Omaha Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service CLE (Continuing Legal Education) event – “Discovery, Defense, Divorce & Development: A CLE Mash-Up” – drew dozens of attorneys on December 5th. Stu Dornan of Dornan Lustgarten & Troia kicked off the afternoon with an examination of the “30,000 Foot View of Criminal Defense Practice in State and Federal Court.” It was an insightful look at the art of conducting a trial and set the bar high for the afternoon’s speakers. They needn’t have worried. From the “Discovery (‘e’ and otherwise) Strategies & Tips” by the panel of Matt Lathrop, Law Office of Matt Lathrop; Susan Foster, Jackson Lewis; and Sam DelSenno, D4 eDiscovery, to “Building a Business with Limited Scope Representation” by Tracy Hightower-Henne of Hightower Reff Law, the quick, concise and informative sessions rolled along in a flash. Then Jodie Haferbier McGill of McGill Law gave “A Primer on Collaborative Divorce,” sharing knowledge earned through much experience. Susan Koenig of Koenig Dunne wrapped up the fast-paced day with a lightning round of tips for “Balancing Solo: A New Look at Letting in Support.” She prompted the participants to pair off and share some thoughts on how to lessen stress and increase satisfaction in their jobs. And she managed to end at precisely 4:05 p.m., as advertised. It was a Mash-Up to remember. Lawyers earned 2.5 CLE hours and all proceeds went to the Lawyer Referral Service. A win-win for sure.   CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS

– Photo by
Daniel Lawse (left) and Craig Moody, co-founders of Verdis Group, celebrated the firm’s five-year anniversary in July.
Small Business of the Month
Verdis Group Aim: People, Planet, Profits

By Dan McCann
The Daily Record

The company is green and growing, a small business that is thriving by listening to the world’s needs.
Verdis Group, the only sustainability consultancy in the region, is being honored as the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Small Business of the Month for December.
“We’re honored, humbled and grateful for this award. Having a small business is not easy work, but we feel like we’re making a big impact. Our clients tell us that; we see it in the numbers,” said Daniel Lawse, the firm’s future-focused “chief century thinker.”

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– Photos by Lorraine Boyd
Omaha’s Duchesne Academy captures first place in the annual State High School Mock Trial competition, besting six-time winner Skutt Catholic High School, also of Omaha. The students, their teacher-coaches, lawyer-coaches and Judge Lyle Strom are pictured here.
Omaha’s Duchesne Academy Wins
State High School Mock Trial Championship

Representing the prosecution side of the case (selected by a coin-toss), State of Nebraska vs. Gayle Gardener, the Duchesne Academy Mock Trial team prevailed over the team from Omaha’s V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School to claim the 2014 Judge Lyle Strom High School Mock Trial Championship.
This is the first win for Duchesne Academy. They defeated the six-time winners of Skutt Catholic, breaking their five-year winning streak.
Judge Lyle E. Strom, Senior Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, presided over the trial. The two-day championship, involving 12 teams from mock trial regions around the state, took place at the Sarpy County Courthouse in Papillion.
Doris Huffman, executive director of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation, which sponsors the Mock Trial competition, noted that this year’s top two teams were incredibly close in the scoring – coming down to a one-point difference. She said that testified to the excellence of those teams, and of all the competitors.

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Omaha’s Skutt Catholic is the runner up in the annual State High School Mock Trial competition, defeated by first-time winner Duchesne Academy, also of Omaha. The students, their teacher-coach, lawyer-coaches and Judge Lyle Strom are pictured here.

Doris Huffman leads the Foundation’s sponsorship of the Mock Trial event, named for Judge Lyle Strom (above).
Newly-elected Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson will be sworn in on January 8, 2015, at 2 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers at the State Capitol Building.

Doug Peterson Lines Up
Targets for Action
When He Takes
Office as Attorney General

By Jack Martin
The Daily Record

When Nebraska’s newly-elected attorney general, Doug Peterson, was campaigning, he frequently heard the same thing from voters:
“The primary message I got was: Please just do your job,” the Lincoln attorney said. “Their concern, of course, stems from frustration over the failure of national leaders to do their jobs.”

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From left, Doug’s family: Eldest son Clay Peterson and fiancee Shanna Waggoner; younger son Grant Peterson; wife Sandi; Doug; daughter Kylie Heflin, her husband Noah and their daughter Avri.

Last Christmas season, team members from Business Ethics Alliance, together with a Canvas and Cabernet artist (left), created a rolling set of canvases depicting circles to hang in their offices. Lori Benton of BEA (fourth from left) said the “ugly Christmas sweaters” they wore were thankfully covered by aprons and canvases.
Village Canvas and Cabernet Offers
Team-building With an Artistic Twist

By Dan McCann
The Daily Record

With a brushstroke here and a bit of instruction there, the creatives at Omaha’s Village Canvas and Cabernet are elevating the concept of team-building – and bonding – to an art form.
“Art activities engage imagination (right brain) with analysis (left brain) and increase capacity for creative insights that contribute to organizational success,” said Kathy Byrnes, the owner and CEO of Village Canvas and Cabernet in Aksarben Village.

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ADR Adds Blecha to Neutral Roster
Affirmative Dispute Resolution recently added attorney Kirk Blecha to its ADR neutral roster to assist with arbitration in Nebraska. Blecha has nearly 40 years of experience as a commercial litigator. His law practice has included the litigation, mediation and arbitration of commercial and employment cases as well as complex civil litigation.
As a commercial arbitrator, Blecha is available to assist with arbitrating a variety of disputes throughout Nebraska, including employment, business, contract, insurance, real estate, construction and other matters.
For more information regarding Affirmative Dispute Resolution, please go to the firm’s website at

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James Boesen is currently on the Young Lawyers Division board, serving as chairman of the Outreach/Communications Committee.
‘Rising Star’
Boesen Relishes Challenges,
Leads by Example

By Dennis Friend & Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

James Boesen has committed himself to helping his fellow young lawyers get the most out of their bar association, ever since the idea was floated to create a division devoted to the needs and interests of young attorneys.
The Omaha Bar Association’s Executive Director Dave Som-mers said, “In the past two years, James has been integral to the successful establishment and growth of the OBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD). He’s shown time and time again that he’s willing to step up and lead by example.

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Woods & Aitken Welcomes Wood to Firm
Woods & Aitken LLP recently announced that attorney Nancy A. Wood has joined the firm’s labor and employment practice group.  
Wood has successfully represented employers for over 19 years in labor and employment matters.  She has effectively defended employers in front of numerous federal and state agencies, including  the Department of Labor, the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission, and the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. She has litigated labor and employment cases on behalf of employers in courts in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, California, Maryland, Florida, Arizona and Colorado.

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Woods & Aitken Welcomes Carnahan to Firm
Woods & Aitken LLP recently announced that attorney Daniel R. Carnahan has joined the firm’s Omaha office.  
Carnahan focuses his practice on estate planning and administration, real estate matters, and business transactions.  His practice includes developing and implementing estate plans for a broad range of estate sizes, probate and trust administration, and business succession planning.

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Fraser Stryker Welcomes Welch as Attorney to Firm
Fraser Stryker PC LLO recently announced that Katherine “Katie” Welch has joined the firm’s Employee Benefits & ERISA practice group.
Welch received her bachelor of science in business administration, magna cum laude, from Creighton University and her law degree, cum laude, from Creighton University School of Law.  Her practice focuses on employee benefits and taxation.

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Matt Speiker loves practicing business law at Koley Jessen, but at home he’s a supportive husband, dad, coach, and when time permits, outdoorsman.
Matt Speiker
Pull to Return Home Is Omaha’s Gain

By Dennis Friend
The Daily Record

Matthew Speiker is an attorney, a coach, an outdoorsman a
nd a family man.  
He’s also someone who believes in service to the community. He offers a simple reason: “My father instilled in me the idea of helping others every day and in all facets of our lives.”
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Johnathan Farrell is excited to receive his button declaring he was “adopted today” from Judge Elizabeth Crnkovich, as his parents Mike Farrell and Susan Reff, and big sister Casey cheer him on. Johnathan was also happy to share his freshly painted alien face with all.
Families Grow By Leaps and Bounds
At 15th Annual National Adoption Day

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

On this Thanksgiving Day we voice our gratitude for our many blessings, not the least of which are our families.
But right now, there are nearly 300 children in Nebraska alone who have no real family to call their own. They are waiting to be adopted by loving parents so they too can be thankful for family. Adoptions are indeed something to celebrate.

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This Day In History
December 19, 1910
1st city ordinace requiring white & black residential areas (Balt)

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