From left, Nicole Albers, a paralegal at Legal Aid of Nebraska; Michelle Lee, a paralegal student at Metro Community College and Dave Sommers, executive director of the Omaha Bar Association, share notes during the Lawyers in the City event.                                          
Legal Advice: Bringing It to the People
By Lorraine Boyd
& Carol Cleaver
The Daily Record

Omaha area lawyers and non-lawyers participated in the fourth “Lawyers in the City” event – a free, one-day, walk-in clinic coordinated by the Volunteer Lawyers Project in collaboration with Creighton Law School Milton Abrahams Legal Clinic, Immigrant Legal Center, Legal Aid of Nebraska, Midlands Bar Association, Omaha Bar Association, Women’s Center for Advancement and Metropolitan Community College Student Paralegal Association. 
Dave Sommers, executive director of the Omaha Bar Association and event volunteer, said, “We were able to give people some advice, but often, we were just there to listen. People sometimes need someone to listen to their story, then help them decide what to do. This is a perfect, non-threatening way to ask for help.”
Lawyers in the City, which made its inaugural launch in April 2016, brings teams of volunteer lawyers, law students, paralegals and paralegal students to communities where low-income residents work and live. Volunteer lawyers provide free, limited advice on consumer, family and immigration law issues.
Individuals who attended the event were provided self-help court forms, legal resources and information, and referrals to legal service providers. Visitors eligible for legal aid or legal services had the opportunity to apply for services onsite. The event was held at the Industrial Training Center at the Metropolitan Community College South Omaha Campus, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Ashley O’Neal is one of the few employees of SignIT who isn’t a family member, but says it feels like they’re all one family.

Chamber’s Small Business of the Month
If You Can Dream It, You Can SignIT

By Emily Kerr
The Daily Record
SignIT, a family-owned company, has been in the business of customer satisfaction for over twenty years. Established in May 1997 by Steve Roarty and his wife, Marianne, the business took off because of their genuine love of customer service and their work philosophy of abiding by the Golden Rule. Eventually, Steve and Marianne’s sons Scott and Matt, began working in the shop and would become integral parts of the business.
 In 2017, on their 20th anniversary, Steve and Marianne retired, leaving their sons officially in charge of SignIT. While Scott’s forte is graphic design, director of marketing Ashley O’Neal said, “Matt does the operations side and the sales.”
Having moved to their current location at 8318 F Street in July of 2014, the business continues to grow and thrive. However, Steve and Marianne still make their presence known by stopping by the office and pitching in whenever necessary.
Even Scott and Matt are “not like the typical business owners,” according to Ashley. “They’re here, they’re working just as much, if not more, than anyone else. They’re in production, they’re taking the trash out, they’re a presence here and I think that’s why we’re here. We work for a great family.”
Marketing Director Ashley O’Neal began working at the company more than two and a half years ago, starting in production and eventually graduating into the marketing sector of the business. With a degree in the marketing, she was glad to return to her niche.
Implementing a new website that is fully functional, SignIT now displays how the business is more than meets the eye. The company can produce a multitude of media including banners, trade show displays, event signage, digital printing, lettering and decals, retail and real estate, vehicle graphics, 3D lettering, window lettering and more. “Even something as simple as the picture frame signs that are huge right now that you see at graduation parties,” Ashley said. “Fun stuff like that – we can do so many fun things.

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Quinn Texmo gives a dynamic 10-minute TED Talk at this year’s Commercial Real Estate Summit.

Quinn Texmo Delivers Rapid-fire TED Talk
On Closing Gender Gap in Commercial Real Estate

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

When people hear or see her name, Quinn Texmo, emerging business group leader, JEO Consulting Group, people often assume she is male. “And when they think of a manager, they think male,” she said during a TED Talk at the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Summit on Friday, April 6, at the CenturyLink Center.     
Second grade teachers are often thought of as female; doctors as male, she said. “It’s an unconscious thing. We think that people in power are men. It’s what we see and what we know, but it sets up a barrier.”    
To demonstrate this, Texmo explained how one woman, Erin McKelvey, had sent her resume out to 34 tech companies after finishing college in the 1990s, and received zero responses. After talking to a friend, she decided to take a new approach, and “change” her name to Mack. She resent the resumes. This time her response rate was 70 percent.

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            Dave Dannehl                                                Alan Emshoff
Nebraska Banking Association Says Industry
Is Strong, Due to Agriculture Economy

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

What were the most pressing issues as the Nebraska Bankers Association concluded its annual convention on Friday, May 4.
Dave Dannehl, president and CEO of First State Bank of Loomis in Loomis, Neb., who was selected as chairman of the NBA, and Alan Emshoff, president and CEO of Generations Bank in Exeter, Neb., who was selected as chairman-elect of the NBA, gave The Daily Record their perspectives.
Dannehl explained that one in four jobs in Nebraska is in the agricultural industry, which means that bankers must keep close watch on ag markets. The good news for Nebraskans is that soybeans and corn are now showing a small profit, and this means that money can be put back on the balance sheet.
“This quiet rally in corn and soybean markets has taken place in the last 60 days, so that’s encouraging to see,” he added. “There’s a considerable amount of optimism.”
There is however, some concern about the tariffs that the U.S. placed on exported goods to China. “There’s uncertainty,” he said. “We just don’t know what is pending. We could wake up one morning and those profits could be gone three days from now. People are nervous.”
[On Sunday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the trade war between the U.S. and China, is “on hold” after they agreed to drop their tariff threats while they worked on a wider trade agreement.]

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Baird Holm LLP
Only Nebraska Law Firm to Attain Highest Ranking
In All Five Main Chambers USA Categories
Since 2006, Baird Holm LLP is the only Nebraska law firm to be listed in Band 1 (the highest tier) in the five main categories used by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, a peer-review survey. The categories are Corporate/Commercial; Healthcare; Labor & Employment; Litigation; and Real Estate. Rankings are assessed on qualities such as technical legal ability, effectiveness, professional conduct, client service and diligence.
“Our continuing commitment to provide uncompromising quality and value to our clients has resulted once again in Baird Holm being the highest ranked law firm in Nebraska.  The rankings result from the sustained efforts of women and men who are devoted to maintaining excellence while practicing law with the passion and integrity clients deserve,” said Managing Partner, Richard E. Putnam.   
Law firms and individual lawyers are ranked in bands from 1-6, with 1 being the best. The qualities on which rankings are assessed include technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by the client.

Hon. Chad Brown addressed the crowd in the Legislative Chambers, including many fellow judges, after taking the oath of office.
– Photo by Corey Solotorovsky
Brown’s Investiture Brings Douglas County
Juvenile Court Judges Count to Six

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

Chad Brown has been sworn in as a judge of the Douglas County Separate Juvenile Court three times now, one for real, one for show, and one for the cameras. We’re sure at least one of them took hold.
The formal investiture of Chad Brown took place Friday, May 11, in the Legislative Chambers of the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center, in front of a multitude of family and friends.

Hon. Gary Randall (left) and Hon. Chad Brown recreate Brown’s swearing-in for the camera last Tuesday. He was already sworn in weeks ago privately and formally on Friday, May 11.

Judge Brown was sworn in by Hon. Gary B. Randall of the Douglas County District Court  (he is also judge of the Douglas County Adult Drug Court). Brown was appointed by Governor Pete Ricketts to fill the position left by retiring Judge Wadie Thomas.
Omaha City Prosecutor Matthew Kuhse, took care of the introductions. Brown’s fellow Juvenile Court judge, Matthew Kahler delivered remarks about his friend and colleague. Attorney Robert Williams also spoke.
Assisting Brown in the robing ceremony were his wife, Hope, and his four young children, Brody, 14; Rowan, 12; Callen, 8; and Beckett, 5. Father Tom Fangman gave the invocation.

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Members of Nebraska’s Legal Community
Deserve a Hearty Round of Applause

CRE Real Estate Hall of Fame

Robert L. “Bob” Freeman, a partner at the law firm of  Fraser Stryker PC LLO, was one of five inductees into the Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame that were presented by Mayor Jean Stothert at the 29th Annual CRE Summit in April. The winners were recognized as individuals “who have contributed to advancing the status, honor and professionalism of the commercial real estate industry in the Midwest Region while demonstrating strong leadership skills.”
After graduating from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, Freeman began work in both California and Nebraska. He was involved in many large redevelopments, including Aksarben Village. Recently, he’s represented MECA in relation to the Capitol District development, as well as the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center and The West Farm development. Freeman received the Robert M. Spire Public Service Award from the Omaha Bar Association in 2015.
Each year, the Commercial Real Estate Summit Committee (composed of 45 professionals that make their living in commercial real estate, including lenders, brokers, attorneys, developers, title professionals, engineers and architects) recognizes deserving professionals.

Omaha Chamber of Commerce

Elder Law of Omaha, P.C., L.L.O., has been honored by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce as its 2017 Small Business of the Year. “We are looking forward to continuing to serve Omaha for many years to come!” Catherine Swiniarski, the firm’s managing attorney and owner, declared on Facebook, “We are so honored and humbled to be recognized.”
The firm’s latest honor was presented at the 2018 annual Business Excellence Awards luncheon. Elder Law of Omaha was chosen the Small Business of the Month in January of 2017 and was selected from the all of 2017’s winners as the Small Business of the Year.

State Chamber – Leadership Nebraska
The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced the members of its new Leadership Nebraska class.  This year’s class is the eleventh in the program’s history.
Participants were selected from different regions of the state and possess varied backgrounds and diverse talents.  All candidates have demonstrated an abiding interest in Nebraska and its future.
Among the 30 Nebraskans selected to participate are Anna Brewer of the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office and Ryan Sevcik of the law firm of Koley Jessen P.C., LLO .

Brewer, a retired FBI special agent, established the Omaha Child Exploitation Task Force in 2010. She later became a training consultant for the Women’s Fund of Omaha, which researched the issues causing human trafficking. One issue was a lack of awareness by the public about its presence, so officials began intensifying public education. She is a member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Nebraska and actively works to eradicate sex trafficking. Last year she was honored with the 2017 Mother of Achievement Award by the Nebraska Mother’s Association in conjunction with the National Association of the American Mothers, Inc.
She is now with the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office.

Sevcik is a lawyer with Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. and works primarily in the fields of employment and labor law, immigration, education law and business organization.
The firm says, “Ryan Sevcik’s professional focus is to provide sensible, business-s
avvy counsel to clients as they address workforce-related issues and considerations.”
He graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Law, with highest distinction, and while there was research editor of the Nebraska Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. He graduated from Missouri Western State University, summa cum laude.

Koley Jessen Expands Transaction Team
Koley Jessen is excited to announce that Eric Buske has joined the firm’s award-winning Mergers & Acquisitions Team.
Buske, an Omaha native, guides clients through mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, recapitalizations, restructurings and equity and debt financings. He began his career in Chicago as a corporate associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he primarily represented private equity sponsors and strategic acquirers in complex business transactions. Eric has worked with clients on matters ranging in size from less than $1 million to over $10 billion.
“Eric’s addition is exciting for our team,” says Mike Hupp, President of Koley Jessen and Chair of the Mergers & Acquisitions Practice. “His experience in complex transactions across a wide range of industries enhances our ability to continue expanding our work in the middle market.”
Buske also counsels clients on a range of commercial agreements and general corporate matters, including governance. Prior to joining Koley Jessen, Buske was the Assistant General Counsel for Athletico Physical Therapy, where he was responsible for transactional and corporate matters, including acquisitions, while gaining a valuable understanding of legal issues from a client’s perspective.
Buske also worked as an Associate General Counsel for the Governor of Illinois, where he oversaw large state procurements, among other transactional matters, and acted as a legal liaison for numerous state agencies including the Illinois Lottery, Illinois Gaming Board and Illinois Racing Board.
For more information regarding Koley Jessen, please visit the firm’s website at

Baird Holm LLP Welcomes Kevin P. Tracy
Baird Holm LLP is pleased to welcome Kevin P. Tracy to the firm. Tracy’s practice focuses on corporate transactions and general commercial matters. He counsels business owners and executives at all stages of their business cycle, from matters related to initial entity formation and capitalization to the drafting and negotiation of agreements related to the acquisition, divestiture, and merger of businesses. Tracy also assists clients with board governance matters and negotiation of commercial procurement contracts, services contracts, commercial real estate purchase agreements and lease agreements.   
Tracy earned his law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School, cum laude. Prior to law school, Tracy obtained his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license and worked for a public accounting firm where he focused on serving clients in the financial services and private equity sectors. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame in 2007, where he majored in Accounting.
“Kevin’s background and experience provide immediate value to our clients,” said Baird Holm Managing Partner, Richard E. Putnam.  “We are very excited to have someone of his caliber join our Corporate team.”
For more information regarding Baird Holm LLP please visit the firm’s website at


Bryan Slone is a Nebraskan through and through, from his upbringing to his education to his unbridled support of his state. 
Will Speak in Ralston Today
Bryan Slone Takes Over Nebraska Chamber

By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

Bringing a high-powered resume, a passion for business and small-town common sense, Bryan Slone has assumed leadership of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry – the voice of Nebraska’s business community.
Armed with a degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law, Slone has been on the job a little more than a month and comes to the metro area to speak today at the Ralston Arena for the Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon.
Slone replaces Barry Kennedy who spent 32 years with the Nebraska Chamber, the last 19 as president.
“The State Chamber is an important voice for Nebraska businesses large and small and plays a key role in legislative policy and economic development matters that will have a significant effect on the growth of the State and economic opportunities for years to come,” Slone stated.
“In the past several years, I had worked with the State Chamber, as well as local chambers, on tax issues and was impressed with the positive impact they can have in Lincoln and Washington D.C.  
“It was an easy decision to become part of the State Chamber organization.”
Slone most recently worked as a tax attorney at Koley Jessen in Omaha, was a Republican candidate for governor in 2014, and previously was a managing partner for Deloitte’s Omaha office. He spent most of the 1980s in Washington, D.C., as a legal advisor to the IRS Commissioner and was a House Ways and Means Committee staff member under current NU Regent and former U.S. Rep. Hal Daub. 
In that job, Slone helped shape the 1986 federal tax law overhaul. A native Nebraskan, he was born in the Panhandle and has lived in several communities. Slone and his wife Leslie have two adult children who live and work in Omaha and Atlanta.
At A Crossroads
Slone feels Nebraska is, in many ways, at a crossroads. The state, he said, is positioned better than most to be highly competitive for the next decade or two.
“In an age where quality of life is becoming an important determining factor for younger generations, Nebraska is second to none in the potential to provide a high quality lifestyle at an affordable price,” Slone emphasized.  “From a business standpoint, our state has unique resources to support a wide variety of industries, not the least being the work ethic of our workforce and our water resources.”

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– Photos by Lorraine Boyd
Members of the Rose Theater cast join the judge and attorneys after the 2018 Mock Trial for a portrait after the successful (depending on who you were rooting for) conclusion of the Mock Trial of Humpty Dumpty v. King. From left are Jennifer Morrison, Kendra Ball as Dr. Orville Western, Kendra Gliem as Harry Hollywood/Trudy Putty, Tyrone Beasley as Sherman King, Magistrate Judge Michael Nelson, Kevin Ehrhart as Humpty Dumpty, Douglas County District Attorney Don Kleine, and Omaha attorney Joe Bradley.
Verdict Cushions Dumpty’s Fall
Annually, local members of the Omaha Bar Association enact a trial for 4th-graders as part of Law Day activities. This year, almost 100 students from Fire Ridge Elementary in Elkhorn participated, some of them as jurors. After careful deliberation, the jury found for the plaintiff, Humpty Dumpty, in his civil suit against King Automotive after he was injured falling off a wall during a publicity stunt. While not unanimous, the jury, aided by Douglas County attorney Ann Miller, found for Mr. Dumpty and awarded him $75,000. Dumpty and his attorney Don Kleine said they were delighted with the outcome.


Omaha attorney Jerome Ortman (right) shares a funny story with John Dean at the Nebraska State Bar Association’s CLE last month.

John Dean: From Nixon to Trump –
A Unique Look at Executive Power

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

What could possibly be relevant about political events that happened more than 40 years ago in the Oval Office?
To hear John Dean and James David Robenalt tell it, everything.
Yes, that John Dean. The White House Counsel for President Richard Nixon from 1970 to 1973, beginning just five years after his graduation from Georgetown Law School, when he was barely in his 30s.
The John Dean that ended up being taken down along with his boss and many others, serving a lighter sentence (four months) since he was the whistle blower. He was also disbarred.
The impact of Watergate was the creation of the Kutak Commission (yes, Omaha’s Bob Kutak) which created the Model Rules.
 John W. Dean III was White House counsel for 1,000 days. Long enough, certainly, to examine and understand the ethical considerations of not only his actions, but those of so many others. Before he became White House counsel, he was chief minority counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, the associate director of a law reform commission, and associate deputy attorney general of the United States.
He worked to thwart investigators after the clumsy break-in at Democratic Party headquarters, then flipped and helped sink Nixon by revealing the president’s involvement in the cover-up.

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Chaplain Morris Jackson, speaking here at the Omaha Bar Association’s Law Day luncheon, has been serving inmates for 26 years.

Prison Chaplain Born to Save Lives
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

He walks the halls with a freedom most of those he serves have lost and may never regain. There is the added perk of an office, something he uses in his service.
He delivered the invocation and the benediction at this year’s Law Day luncheon. There probably wasn’t a better choice to be made in the city for these duties.
Chaplain Morris Jackson is a Man of God who knows the inside of a church, a boxing ring and a jail. His calling is to change the lives of those who have, in most cases, much less freedom at the Douglas County Jail while performing good deeds for the Good News Jail & Prison Ministry.
These days Chaplin Jackson is a born-again Christian and International Assemblies of God minister, but it has been a journey. An extremely long journey that started in Greenville, Texas, where he was born. A journey filled with twists and turns and emotional turbulence.
It didn’t take long for the first twist to happen.
“I was two weeks old when my father was killed,” Jackson recalled. That happened in Arizona. “I never saw my real dad.

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Dianne Lozier has been active in supporting women and girls throughout her career.

With Dianne’s Selection, Lozier Family
Boasts Two Members in Hall of Fame

By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

Now you can call them a Hall of Fame couple.
Dianne Seeman Lozier, corporate counsel for the Lozier Corporation and vice chair of The Lozier Foundation, recently joined her husband, Allan Lozier, in the Omaha Chamber’s  Business Hall of Fame.
Those things don’t happen by accident. She would tell you she grew up learning the value of integrity and hard work from her parents. Her teachers also provided great inspiration and instilled a desire to pursue as much education as she could.
It all started a bit north of her current home, Omaha, in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, in a rather traditional setting.
“I grew up in the Twin Cities with my parents, two brothers and two sisters,” Lozier recalled. She became the first in her family to attend college. She started at St. Cloud State University, but it didn’t stop there.
Her studies continued at William Mitchell College of Law, now Mitchell Hamline in St. Paul. She later earned her MBA at UNO.

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James Blackledge, CEO of Mutual of Omaha and David Brown, president of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, discuss the metro area now and in 2040.

Commercial Real Estate Is Key to the
Successful Growth of Future Metro Area

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

First thing on April 6, the CRE Summit gave attendees a snapshot of the elements that have contributed to the city’s success and what needs to happen in the future to keep us in the game.
David Brown, president of the Greater Omaha Chamber, moderated a panel that included James Blackledge, CEO of Mutual of Omaha; Dana Bradford, CEO of Waitt Brands; and Tim Burke, CEO of the Omaha Public Power District.
Burke explained that for its OPPD customers, “rates, reliability and relationships” are important.
“We are two years into a no-rate increase, and we have the highest reliability across the U.S.,” he said. “We also get rated relatively high on our relationships.” He added that when it comes to energy, we are in a changing landscape, with a shift from fossil fuels to renewables.

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Calvin Jones (left) and Joseph Hodges Jr. are in the business of helping people “prepare for the worst.”

Lion’s Gate Security: Omaha’s Finest
By Emily Kerr
The Daily Record

What would you do if an armed gunman came into your school or place of business? At Lion’s Gate Security, owners Joseph Hodges Jr. and Calvin Jones are determined to help people prepare for the worst.
Serving 20 years together in the gang unit of the Omaha Police Department, Hodges and Jones were often partners. Eventually, Hodges joined the military as a nuclear missiles technician, completing two tours of duty in the Middle East. In 2007, towards the end of Hodges’ military career, both he and Jones retired on the same exact day and during a two-year hiatus, they decided to bring their longstanding idea of starting a security company to life. After attending several networking events through the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Lion’s Gate Security was up and running.
Now the Chamber has repaid the favor, and has chosen Lion’s Gate Security as their May Small Business of the Month.
Comprised of over 100 employees, Lion’s Gate Security primarily hires former law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs to fill out their diverse force. However, Hodges and Jones pride themselves in also hiring those with little to no experience, because they tend to stay on and learn everything in security from A-Z.
Hodges stresses, “the problem with other security companies is that they do have a high turnover rate, so we get to really train our guys.”
With a group of trained EMTs headed by former fire captain Marvin Ervin, Lion’s Gate provides emergency services during Storm Chasers games as well as at performances at the Orpheum and the Holland Center. They are all equipped with CPR and AED training.
It is their shooter preparedness program, however, that is beginning to take notice in the community.

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United States Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, left, swears in Jonathan Papik, center, as Rachel Papik stands by her husband's side Monday, May 7, 2018, in the Warner Legislative Chamber at the State Capitol in Lincoln. Justice Gorsuch administered the oath to Papik, the newest member of the Nebraska Supreme Court. 
(Kayla Wolf/Lincoln Star via AP)

Nebraska Supreme Court Officially Adds New Justice
By Tess Williams
Lincoln (AP) — Omaha attorney Jonathan Papik was sworn in to the Nebraska Supreme Court on Monday by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Papik served as Gorsuch's law clerk, and the justice said Papik has a natural judicial temperament.
"Where character is concerned, Jonathan Papik arrived in my chambers fully formed," Gorsuch said, describing his former clerk as a hard-worker who was "precise in his reasons, confident, but never brash."
Gorsuch was appointed to the Supreme Court last year by President Donald Trump to replace Antonin Scalia.
Papik was nominated by Gov. Pete Ricketts to replace Justice Max Kelch, who resigned after less than two years on the bench following an ethics complaint filed against him. Papik is Ricketts' third nomination to the state Supreme Court.
Ricketts said Papik has a sharp mind, the respect of his colleagues and is dedicated to understanding the constitution how it was written.
Papik also clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman in the U.S. Court of Appeals after graduating with honors from Harvard Law School. He has practiced law as a partner at Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather for nearly eight years.
Papik, who was born in Stromsburg, said he feels blessed for the opportunity to serve as a judge.
"As a judge, there's not a lot I can say about how I will do my job," he said. "It's improper to say that I would rule this way or rule that way on a particular issue or particular case, but I can commit before everyone here today that I will do my absolute best to apply the law faithfully and impartially."
The 36-year-old Papik is the youngest judge to serve on the high court. His wife and three young children placed his judicial robe on him during Monday's official ceremony.
Papik will represent the 4th Judicial District, which includes portions of Douglas and Sarpy counties.

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Face painting – just one of the many fun activities.
– Photos courtesy of The Douglas County Separate Juvenile Court

Families Celebrate Their Togetherness
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

More than 100 moms, dads, kids and siblings – along with attorneys, judges and other professionals – flocked to the 9th Annual Summer Family Picnic on June 2 at the Omaha Children’s Museum. They were celebrating the reunification of families through the efforts of the juvenile justice system in Douglas County. Similar events are held nationwide.

The Rutherfords – Rick and Kathleen and their daughter Elena – celebrated as a family.

The event is the celebration of the success stories of The Separate Juvenile Court for Douglas County, Nebraska. When juvenile court has to intervene in the lives of families, its goal is to protect children and preserve and reunify families where abuse or neglect has occurred. Each year that goal is accomplished in Douglas County for hundreds of families.
This is the ninth year holding a local celebration for Douglas County in conjunction with the nationwide effort to commend the work of families, social workers, court personnel, mental health experts and others involved in bringing children and parents back together.

This year’s celebration featured the usual fan favorites: food, games and fun. It brought together families, court personnel, lawyers, social workers, community service providers and other interested people in the community.
Partners for the local event included the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Nebraska Families Collaborative (now PromiseShip), Foster Care Review Board, Voices for Children,  Girls and Boys Town, ConAgra, Lueder Construction and a host of local attorneys who work in Douglas County Juvenile Court.
Organizations involved in National Reunification Day on the national level include the American Bar Association National Project to Improve Representation for Parents Involved in the Child Welfare System, the ABA Center on Children and the Law, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs, the National Association of Counsel for Children, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National Foster Care Coalition and the National Quality Improvement Center on Non-Resident Fathers and the Child Welfare System.

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Phil Hansen is known not only for his dynamic artwork, but for his dynamic presentations as well. Here he gives the CRE Summit audience a lot to think about.

Phil Hansen Challenges Audience
Instead of Seize the Day, Seize the Limitation

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

Turning your limitations into innovations … that was the topic of internationally known artist, author and innovator Phil Hansen’s keynote address at the CRE Summit on April 6.
“Limitations are the beginnings of our potential creativity,” he said, and he should know. The self-taught artist explained that in middle school, he was introduced to pointillism and quickly became enamored with it. Unfortunately, it takes a very steady hand to achieve the perfectly placed series of dots – think Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte – and doing this took a toll on the nerves in his right hand.
“You have to hold the pen very tightly, and that caused my hand to start shaking,” he said. “It was an issue.” Soon his hand was shaking constantly. “I dropped out of art school and took time away for a few years.” A friend suggested that he visit a neurologist, who told him that he had permanent nerve damage.
But instead of packing in his career in art, Hansen decided to “embrace the shake”, and begin experimenting within the field. “I put paper on the wall and made scribble pictures. I still liked fragmentation, the fragmentation of pointillism, but I had to do it on a larger scale, because my hand wouldn’t work. It increased my creativity.”

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– Photo by Lorraine Boyd
Denisse Navarro-Perez and Carolina Lopez (front row from left) are congratulated by Kathryn Dittrick and Stephen Bruckner of the Fraser Stryker Diversity Scholarship Committee.

Pursuing the Law
For the 12th consecutive year, the law firm of Fraser Stryker awarded diversity scholarships to deserving high school graduates.  
This year Denisse Navarro-Perez, a Brownell Talbot graduate; and Carolina Lopez, a Ralston High School graduate, were presented with college scholarships at a luncheon in their honor. Each scholarship is worth $2,500 a year for tuition, books, fees, etc. and is renewable each academic year. Students of African-American, Asian, Latino and Native-American origins are considered for the awards. The students must demonstrate financial need and express an interest in a career in the field of law. The students also have the opportunity to learn more about the practice of law through a summer paid internship at the firm.
Navarro-Perez, who is a member of the National Honor Society and served as a school ambassador, as well as volunteering at the Omaha Public Library and Sarpy County Teen Court, will attend Creighton University. Lopez, also a National Honor Society scholar and a “Rambassador,” also volunteers at the South Omaha Public Library and her church. She plans to attend the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Omaha Law League Hits the Jackpot

Those who attended the Omaha Law League’s fundraiser Casino Night had a ball bidding on an array of treats, noshing on hors d’oevores and betting – with play money of course — on everything from craps to roulette.
For more photos, click here.

– Photos by Lorraine Boyd
From left, Law Day Co-chair Doug Law, OBA President Anne Marie O’Brien, Hon. William J. Riley and Co-chair John Menicucci Jr. presided over a highly successful Law Day celebration.

Separation of Powers
Here’s what you missed if you didn’t attend this year’s Law Day luncheon on May 1. A room filled to capacity with attorneys from all disciplines, lots and lots of federal, district, state and county judges, paralegals, honorees and guests. They were there to celebrate the Rule of Law. This year’s theme was the Separation of Powers, a topic with great meaning in the political climate today. As Omaha Bar President Anne Marie O’Brien pointed out, the Omaha bar and its affiliates (the Nebraska Paralegals Association and the Omaha Legal Professionals Association)  do far more than their counterparts across the country to observe Law Day. They conduct poster and essay contests for elementary and middle school students, present a mock trial, send lawyers out to classrooms across the metro to talk to fourth and fifth graders about the law.
The Omaha Law League conducts tours of the Douglas County Courthouse for area fourth graders. And they choose honorees who exemplify the ideals of the profession with the Non-attorney Public Service Award and the Robert M. Spire Public Service Award. And they recognize local lawyers who have participated in the Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service for 10 years or more with the Alfred G. Ellick Award.
Most of all, keynote luncheon speaker Hon. William J. Riley, Eighth Circuit Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, (ret), gave a master class in government that left all with words to ponder and action to take. Memorable outtake: “We don’t have a democracy, we have a republic.” Definition of Republic: a form of government in which power is explicitly vested in the people, who in turn exercise their power through elected representatives.

These three men – Bill Erickson (left), son of the late founder Don Erickson, with founder Chuck Sederstrom and Virgil Johnson – represent the beginnings of the successful law firm of Erickson | Sederstrom.
– Photos by Lorraine Boyd

Law Firm Keeps on Ticking After 50 Years
Erickson | Sederstrom P.C., L.L.O. celebrated a significant milestone this month: 50 years of providing legal services to clients near and far. They operate primarily in Nebraska and Iowa, but represent many others nationwide. That the firm achieved its Golden Jubilee can be attributed to the astute and compassionate leadership of its founders. The firm has more than two dozen attorneys with staffs in two locations: Omaha and Lincoln. It evens boasts a retired Nebraska Supreme Court justice among its attorneys. Charles (Chuck) Sederstrom serves as chairman and Virgil Johnson as president of the firm. It you see any of the firms lawyers about town, be sure to wish them congratulations on their anniversary.

Ambitious Project Seeks to Provide Housing,
Education and Wellness Opportunities

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

 Cydney Franklin, senior project manager, Seventy-Five North, delivered a TED Talk at the CRE Summit on April 6.
During her 45 minutes, she talked about the developments that were taking place on the 40-acre “footprint” in the Highland neighborhood. The goal of the non-profit is three-fold: to “break the cycle of poverty and community deterioration by facilitating the creation of a healthy, sustainable, mixed-income community complete with high-quality housing; [to be] a thriving space for education; and to offer health and wellness to the community.”
A variety of educational opportunities are already being offered in the 65,000-square-foot Accelerator building, including partnerships with Creighton University, and Metropolitan Community College.

Click here for full story

Seventy Five North to Hold
First Highlander Marketplace

Beginning in June, the Highlander neighborhood will host an event for shopping, relaxation and entertainment. The first event of its kind in the neighborhood – Highlander Marketplace, an outdoor neighborhood market – will be held every Thursday beginning June 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot of The Accelerator, 2112 N. 30th Street. The event is being organized by Seventy-Five North Revitalization Corp., a non-profit working towards revitalizing the Highlander community. 
The Highlander Marketplace will host a variety of events and activities that include shopping from over 20 vendors, food trucks and live entertainment. Vendors at the marketplace will serve baked goods, healthy dog treats, hair care products, teas and more. Through this initiative, Seventy Five North will support entrepreneurship by exposing local vendors to new customers while continuing to build on the sense of community beginning to re-emerge in Highlander.  
The dates of Highlander Marketplace are June 7, June 14, June 21 and June 28 and will run from 5 to 7 p.m


Meetings & Seminars
For the Legal Community
JUNE 21, 2018
National Seminars Training
HR Law
Comfort Inn & Suites
7007 Grover Street, Omaha
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
For More Information:
JUNE 29, 2018
Nebraska State Bar Association
Making Your Case When the Earth is Flat: The Science Behind
“Shaken Baby Syndrome”
Scott Conference Center
6450 Pine St., Omaha
For More Information:
JULY 23, 2018
Omaha Bar Association
OBA Field Day
Champions Run
For More Information:
AUGUST 28, 2018
Nebraska State Bar Association
2018 Annual Appellate Practice Seminar
Capital Law Library
Lincoln, NE
For More Information:

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