At the Forum on Mass Incarceration, six panelists explain the complex issues that must be addressed to uphold sentencing standards while alleviating the impact on those left behond.
The Unintended Consequences of Parental Incarceration
Prison Doesn’t Just Punish the Guilty
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

On Christmas Day, as many as 4,500 Nebraska families spent the day without one of their parents. That’s because their dad, or mom, was in prison.
However heinous their crimes were, innocent families are paying the price as well. It’s all part of the unintended consequences of parental incarceration. And that phenomenon not only negatively impacts the families, but also is likely to continue influencing the futures of all family members.
Nebraska is trying to do something about that.
The problems and some solutions were spelled out by the American Bar Foundation (ABF), the Nebraska Bar Foundation (NBF), and Nebraska judicial and legislative leaders at a special forum held in conjunction with the State Bar Association’s annual meeting in October.
Headlining t
he meeting was ABF prize-winning researcher Professor John Hagan, Ph.D., a professor of sociology and law at Northwestern University.
As ABF Vice-president David S. Houghton said, “If we know we’re going to put dad or mom in jail, we have an idea what’s going to happen to the family. Should we put something in place to try to mitigate those effects? Should the bar and the judiciary think about that?”
The statistics are sobering. For example, “If a parent goes to prison, the percentage of kids graduating from college goes way down. Is there something we can put in place so that doesn’t happen? Is there a way NOT to punish the family?” Houghton asked.
Houghton and Burke J. Harr, his colleague at Houghton Bradford Whitted, who is also a Nebraska State Senator, discussed it and became convinced that the Nebraska judicial system needs to look at the unintended consequence of incarceration.
Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael G. Heavican concurred and made it the centerpiece of the judges’ annual meeting in October.

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From left, Scott Meyers, Rick Turner, and Gary Bren celebrated Turner Technology’s 25th anniversary with an open house in Omaha in November.

Turner Technology
‘We Put People Ahead of Technology’

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

Gary Bren and Rick Turner had been working together in IT at the same company, and had become increasingly frustrated by their experience. Turner left that company, and in January 1991, started what became Turner & Associates.
By the fo
llowing January, Bren had become his business partner and, by June, Scott Meyers had also joined the company as a partner. Twenty-five years later, the full-service IT provider has expanded significantly, from four employees and eight clients to 24 full-time employees and between 160 to 180 active clients. And the changes keep coming.
Over the years, the firm hadn’t focused much on sales or on building its brand. Then two years ago they decided, as part of long-term succession planning, that they wanted a name that reflected what they did, and a space that was more inviting for their team.
They changed their name to Turner Technology, and a few months ago finished a full-scale remodel of their West Omaha office near 132nd & West Center Road. The project included a complete restructuring of the first and second floors.

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Jenni Shukert loves the small, family atmosphere of her employer, AO, an architectural firm, where she gets to be “part of the conversation.”              Photos Courtesy of AO

Shukert’s Creative Journey Has Taken
Many Forms, Most Recently Marketing

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

Jenni Shukert comes from a “pretty creative family.” Before starting his company, Shukert Construction, her father, Jamie, studied graphic design and her uncle, Marty, is a principal at RDG Planning & Design and before that was Omaha’s city planner.
“Growing up I always loved art,” she said. “My mom always said ‘you have such an eye for color.’”
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Jenni Shukert (second from left) likes the “open office” feel of AO, where everyone feels “like a tight-knit family.”

Freeman Named Partner at Woods & Aitken LLP
Woods & Aitken recently announced that Monica L. Freeman has been named a partner in the firm.  
Freeman concentrates her practice in the areas of construction law and commercial litigation. She advises and represents owners, contractors, subcontractors, and design professionals on construction and commercial disputes, contract formation, and negotiations. She is an active member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Construction Law, as well as the Omaha Bar Association, where she serves on the Executive Council. Freeman received her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law.
The firm’s website is

Vandenack Weaver Adds Rainville as Associate
The law firm of Vandenack Weaver LLC recently announced the addition of Alex B. Rainville as an attorney for the firm.
Rainville assists clients with Business Transactions, Real Estate, Business Services, Business Succession Planning, and Health Care Law.  He guides companies through debt and equity capital raises, entity restructuring, business unit divestitures, acquisitions, day to day business agreements, complex and unique business agreements, corporate governance, strategic planning, and all aspects of running, managing and growing a business.
Rainville received his Juris Doctorate from Creighton University School of Law, cum laude.
For more information regarding the law firm of Vandenack Weaver LLC, please go to:  

Fraser Stryker PC LLO Announces Two New Partners
Fraser Stryker is pleased to announce that attorneys Nicole R. Konen and Mark R. O’Siochain have become shareholders and partners of the firm as of January 1, 2017.
Nicole Konen received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, highest distinction, and her law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law, highest distinction. Konen joined Fraser Stryker in 2009 and her practice focuses primarily on business and corporate law.
Mark O’Siochain received his law degree from the University College Dublin, Ireland, BBLS. O’Siochain focuses his practice on domestic and international corporate and commercial transactions for clients ranging from multinational corporations to small businesses.
For more information regarding the law firm of Fraser Stryker, PC, LLO, please go to the firm’s website at:

Allison Hardy Elected Partner at
Stinson Leonard Street LLP

Stinson Leonard Street LLP is proud to announce that Allison Hardy has been elected partner, effective Jan. 1, 2017. Hardy practices in the firm’s Omaha office.
Allison Hardy practices in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, securities and general business law. She represents publicly- and privately-held companies and private equity and venture capital funds with respect to issuance of securities, mergers, acquisitions, joint venture and financing transactions. She also has experience in the areas of executive employment arrangements and general corporate, contracting work, periodic reporting and securities law compliance. Hardy is a member of the Junior League of Omaha. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from Creighton University.
For more information regarding Stinson Leonard Street, please go to the firm’s website at:
– Photo by Lorraine Boyd
From left, Jamie Hermanson Applegarth, Angela Lennon and Jessica Adler enjoy the latest Omaha Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division outing.
Lawyers Judge Pizza
Last Thursday, dozens of members and guests gathered at Beercade in Benson to pick a “best pizza” and sample a cold keg brew. An added perk: free arcade games for three hours! And like clockwork, at 9 p.m. the blinking lights and cacophony of sound went dark and silent as the plug was pulled. Voters (everyone there) also gave feedback on what pizzas they wanted to sample next. It was a great way to spend a frigid night forging warm friendships! All OBA members are welcome at all YLD events.
Coming up for the OBA are the first two “Just the Basics” CLE Series offerings: Expert Witnesses on January 18 and Estate Planning & Tax Law on February 7; the 17th Annual Wine and Beer Tasting (with a new location to be announced); and YLD’s Board Game “Throw Down” on February 23.


Douglas County Court Judges Craig McDermott and Jeff Marcuzzo on Susan Bazis’s right, and Stephanie Hansen and Marcela Keim on her left, were just a few of the well-wishers who came to Bazis’s farewell reception on Friday, Dec. 30.                              – Photo by Lorraine Boyd

Bazis Steps Down, Then Up
Susan Bazis stepped down as a county court judge Friday and took up her responsibilities at her new job as a federal magistrate judge in the federal courthouse on Sunday, filling the position left by retiring Judge Thomas Thalken.
“I told them I awasn’t really retiring, but the judges wanted to put this together,” Bazis said. “I will miss everyone here in the courthouse, but I’ll only be a block away. It is good to have the opportunity to say goodbye to my friends here, though.”
She’s been trained on some of her new duties by U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Zwart and others, she said. Magistrate judges handle both civil and criminal cases, rotating among them. She will begin with civil cases in January. “I’m somewhat familiar with the federal court, since I practiced there as a public defender. Nothing’s really changed, they tell me. In any case, I have my ‘cheat sheet’ to guide me.”
She served on the Douglas County Court bench for 10 years and was presiding judge for four of them. Nebraska has three U.S. magistrate judges. They are independent judicial officers serving 8-year terms with potential for renewal.

President-elect Donald Trump explains his immigration policy to crowds on the campaign trail.

Local Immigration Attorneys Weigh In
Trump’s Mixed Messages on Immigration
Policy Heighten Uncertainty, Anxiety

By Dennis Friend
The Daily Record

The Trump Administration and a GOP legislative majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives could mean more restrictive immigration policies.
Or not.
The consensus of a number of immigration attorneys in Omaha is that uncertainty prevails as Donald Trump’s inauguration approaches.
His campaign promised to take actions such as building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, rounding up and deporting all illegal immigrants and either banning Muslim immigration or demanding Muslims register with the government.
“Seems he’s changing his mind every day,” Mark Curley, immigration attorney at Curley Immigration Law, said.
Although the incoming President has backed away from some anti-immigration promises, Curley said the prominence of Kris Kobach in the Trump inner circle is a reason for concern. Kobach was under consideration for Secretary of Homeland Security and may still be named as an Under Secretary or Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.
Kobach’s immigration stance is well known. The Kansas Secretary of State has been a consistent supporter of a hard-line immigration stance. Kobach is a member of Trump’s transition team, advising on immigration policy. As Curley pointed out, Kobach had a hand in Arizona’s controversial SB1070 legislation and wrote Fremont, Nebraska’s restrictive illegal immigration ordinance. Curley said these are reasons for increasing concern among immigrants “and we can’t give them answers” at this juncture.

Charles Shane Ellison, legal director of Justice For Our Neighbors – Nebraska (JFON – NE), also has noted that “in the weeks following the election there has been a lot of shock among immigrants and their allies. They are frightened by what this means.”
Ross Pesek of Pesek Law, LLC said many anti-immigration pledges made during the campaign would in reality be difficult to fulfill, constrained by such things as finances, time and the Constitution.

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Elder Law’s team of professionals often goes “above and beyond” for their clients. Firm founder Catherine Swiniarski also cultivates a “family-centered work environment.”

The New Year Brings a New Honor
To Chamber Member Elder Law of Omaha

By Dan McCann
The Daily Record

The oldest of the nation’s more than 75 million baby boomers turned 70 in 2016.
Omaha, with its low cost of living and “health care in abundance,” was named a top city for baby boomers to live out their retirement years, according to a 2014 Milken Institute report.
Against that backdrop, it is not hard to build a case that Elder Law of Omaha, the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Small Business of the Month for January, is operating at the right time – in the right place. Managing attorney and owner Catherine Swiniarski can thank her grandmother for that.

Catherine Swiniarski
A 1986 graduate of Creighton University School of Law, Swiniarski practiced in a variety of settings – from corporate to private practice – until 2005, the year she entered the relatively new field of elder law.
“At the time, my grandmother was living in a senior care center and having trouble dealing with some Medicare issues. She asked me for help and after I was able to assist her, she started offering my services to the other residents…. for free,” Swiniarski recalled. 

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Chair, Vice-chair of Douglas County
Board of Commissioners Elected

Last Tuesday, Mary Ann Borgeson was elected Chair of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners for 2017. Chris Rodgers was elected Vice-Chair.
The terms each last one year, and Rodgers will act as Chair in Borgeson’s absence.
Borgeson was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1994. She said one of her goals for 2017 is to ensure a smooth implementation of the Public Safety Bond. She also plans to focus on Juvenile Justice Reform, mental health and jails and updating the County Board’s strategic plan.
Rodgers, who was first elected in 2004, wants to see the Board work with the Chief Justice to strengthen the country’s pretrial program. He also plans to work on Juvenile Justice Reform and work with the Douglas County Health Department and community partners to set the framework for an accountable health community.


Julie Smith is organizing others to make a better society and a better Omaha.

Julie Smith Is One With ONE Omaha
By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

From a young age, Julie Smith felt “compelled to better society.”
“I was always eager and focused on helping the community and taking responsibility for making the society we live in better,” she said. “From elementary to high school, I went to Brownell Talbot. They expose you to different community service opportunities. I was also on student council and the National Honor Society.”
After high school, she went to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, to earn her B.G.S. in Non-Profit/Public/Organizational Management. Immediately afterward, she earned her Master of Science in Urban Studies from UNO.
While working on her university degrees, she was the Service Day Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator at UNO and in this position she trained and developed volunteer staff, helped students to find a good nonprofit fit, produced promotional materials, gathered data and developed and managed grants.
It was starting to look like organizing was in her blood.

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J. Terry Macnamara is delighted to be surrounded by some of Omaha’s finest. He is one of the Omaha Bar’s past presidents, but does not lay claim to serving as the Barristers president as so many others in attendance do. He says someone has to be available to defend them!
– Photos by Lorraine Boyd
Barristers Kick Off the Holiday Season
Like clockwork, the Omaha Barristers pulled out all the stops at their annual Christmas Party and Show on December 15 at Scoular Ballroom. Mustering their energy and courage with a cocktail party and dinner, the Barristers took the stage to roast all manner of lawyers, judges and innocent bystanders.
Some of Omaha’s most prestigious law firms were lampooned, notably in a skit about new lawyers interviewing for jobs. Barristers President and East Coast transplant Patrick McNamara delivered the traditional monologue with gusto. In a skit that may have been penned by ghostwriters at dinner, Sarpy County Public Defender Tom Strigenz was pulled from his seat in the audience onto a hot seat on the stage where he was roasted by some veteran Barristers. Santa made his annual appearance, hearing various lawyers’ requests, but granting few. And in a feminist twist, the news desk was taken over by “Kate and Jordan” (Katherine Doering and Jordan Holst), who lent suitable gravity to the task. All in all, a typical evening of silliness.

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Meetings & Seminars
For the Legal Community
JANUARY 31 through MAY 23, 2017
Transcending Your Transition: An Empowerment Series for Women
Presented by Koenig | Dunne
The Thompson Center
University of Nebraska at Omaha
6705 Dodge St., Omaha
Registration Deadline: January 6, 2017
Tuesday Nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
 For More Information:
JANUARY 18, 2017
Omaha Bar Association
Just the Basics CLE Series – Expert Witnesses
Corkscrew Wine & Cheese at Blackstone District
3908 Farnam St., Omaha
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
For More Information:
JANUARY 27, 2017
Omaha Bar Association
17th Annual Wine Tasting
Brix at Village Pointe
225 N. 170th St., Ste. 101, Omaha
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
For More Information:
FEBRUARY 7, 2017
Omaha Bar Association
Just the Basics CLE Series – Estate Planning & Tax Law
Corkscrew Wine & Cheese at Blackstone District
3908 Farnam St., Omaha
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
For More Information:
FEBRUARY 23, 2017
Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys
Board Meeting
Quarry Oaks Clubhouse
16600 Quarry Oaks Drive, Ashland
For More Information:
FEBRUARY 24, 2017
Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys Seminar
“Lien Law”
Scott Conference Center
6450 Pine St., Omaha
For More Information:
MARCH 1, 2017
Omaha Bar Association
22nd Annual Lunch with Fenner
Creighton University
Harper Center Ballroom
2500 California Plaza, Omaha
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 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, 2nd Floor
2500 California Plaza, Omaha
2:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
For More Information:

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This Day In History
January 22, 1689
Prince Willem III calls English parliament together

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