Friday, April 28, 2017


– Photos by Lorraine Boyd
Members of the Nebraska State Bar Association celebrated the wearin’ of the green on March 18 with their annual Barristers’ Ball at the Embassy Suites La Vista Hotel and Conference Center. A fundraiser for the the Nebraska Lawyers Foundation, which supports programs dedicated to the improvement of the legal profession and the administration of justice and includes the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), the Nebraska Lawyers Assistance Program (NLAP), the LSAT Prep Scholarship Program, and the Rural Practice Initiative (RPI), the event is in its 13th year. Thousands of dollars were raised and heroes were honored amid a lot of fun, food and frolicking (to the tunes of Pam and the Pearls) was had by all 450+ attendees.

Photos by Lorraine Boyd
Loving v. Virginia: A Catalyst
Mat Johnson (above), author of the acclaimed novel “Loving Day,” spoke at a free event the night preceding a Creighton University School of Law and Werner Institute symposium, then joined the participants throughout the day.  

This year marks a milestone in the landmark civil rights Supreme Court decision in the case of Loving v. Virginia. The Werner Institute and the 2040 Initiative at the Creighton University School of Law partnered with Kutak Rock LLP to hold a symposium in March called “50 Years of Loving: Seeking Justice Through Love and Relationships.”
The event explored how the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia has influenced society institutionally, demographically and relationally. This symposium moved from diversity awareness to actions that create inclusion. Recognizing and building on the effects that Loving v. Virginia has had on our society, participants developed skills to create an inclusive environment through their interactions with others.
Mat Johnson, author of the acclaimed novel “Loving Day,” spoke at a free event the night preceding the symposium. His parents’ journey and those of his book characters closely mimic the real life people of Loving v. Virginia. He is the son of an African American mother and an Irish Catholic father. Johnson stayed for the symposium and participated in the activities. An especially interesting exercise had participants pair off and share something about their lives that the other might be able to relate to, bridging any race or cultural barriers.

The moderators – Werner Institute Director Jacqueline N. Font-Guzmán and Law Professor Palma J. Strand – kicked it off by sharing some funny stories with the audience.

Hon. Richard J. Spethman
 June 6, 1932 - March 23, 2017
Judge’s Humor Remembered
Marie Spethman raised three fine sons, all of whom became accomplished professionals: Gerald (Jerry), Edward (Ed) and Richard (Dick). Gerald was a medical doctor, Edward an educator, and Richard an attorney and judge. They were thick as thieves and credited their mother, who raised them single-handedly, for their success.
Jerry and Ed both died in the last few years. Now all three sons have been reunited upon the death of the Hon. Richard Spethman on March 23, 2017.
A retired Douglas County District Court Judge, Dick had returned to private practice in Omaha with his daughter Kathleen Pallesen. Two days before his death, at the age of 84, he had suffered a stroke.
Dick Spethman was a well-known figure at the Douglas County Courthouse and at Omaha Bar Association functions, especially the annual Field Day. He was an avid golfer but even more important to him was the camaraderie of local attorneys. (His son Rich said he often remarked that he had one good day on the golf course – the day he got a hole-in-one on July 31, 1993.)
Retired Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Mike McCormack can attest to that. Their friendship went back “many, many years.”
He said he saw Dick an average of twice a week, probably because “he was funny at all times. He had a phenomenal sense of humor.”
– By Lorraine Boyd


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.

United States District Court for the District of Nebraska Announces Merit Selection Panel for Judge Cheryl Zwart
The current term of United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl R. Zwart of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, will expire on January 14, 2018. Magistrate Judge Zwart has decided to stand for reappointment for another eight-year term. The United States District Court for the District of Nebraska is required by law to establish a panel of citizens to consider the reappointment of the magistrate judge to a new eight-year term.
The duties of the magistrate judge position include the following:
(1) Conduct of most preliminary proceedings in criminal cases;
(2) Trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases;
(3) Conduct of various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceed    ings on delegation fr
om the judges of the district court; and
(4) Trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants.
As required by law, Chief United States District Judge Laurie Smith Camp has appointed a merit selection panel to consider the reappointment of Magistrate Judge Zwart. The merit selection panel includes Chairperson Steven J. Schmidt,  David R. Stickman, Lisa M. Gotsdiner, Renee Ann Eveland, Richard Herink, Steven A. Russell, Dean Paul E. McGreal and Monte L. Neilan.
“The members of this merit panel represent outstanding citizens from the legal, academic and business communities of our state. I am confident they will provide the court with the information it needs to make a decision concerning Judge Zwart’s reappointment,” said Chief Judge Smith Camp.
Chief Judge Smith Camp also noted, “The process of obtaining feedback from the public concerning a magistrate judge’s performance is vital to the court’s continued effort to provide the highest quality service to lawyers, litigants and the public.” To that end, the merit selection panel welcomes comments from the bar and the public on Magistrate Judge Zwart’s reappointment. Comments must be received by May 10, 2017, and should be directed to:
Susie Cordero, Administrative Specialist
United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
Roman L. Hruska U.S. Courthouse
Office of the Clerk of the District Court
111 South 18th Plaza, Suite 1152
Omaha, NE 68102-1322


Hundreds of OBA members (and non-members) filled the seats at the Hixson-Lied Auditorium, and excess numbers spilled over to line the walls in the back of the room. Participants earned two CLE credits.

Ethics Takes Center Stage
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record
The 11th annual Seminar on Ethics & Professionalism attracted a standing-room-only crowd on April 7 at Creighton University. It is a joint venture of the Omaha Bar Association and the Creighton School of Law.
Topics bring participants up-to-date on new or amended Nebraska Rules of Professional Conduct. Hon. Laurie Smith Camp took the audience on a virtual tour of the Roman L. Hruska Federal Courthouse, stopping at the historic pictures in the lobby and in her office to illustrate the history of the law in Omaha. As always, Judge Smith Camp’s words were not only filled with fascinating facts about such colorful figures as Chief Standing Bear and early 20th century political boss Tom Dennison, but also with humor and insight.
Professor Sieberson took an informal poll, asking how many would welcome an amended rule that required them to complete one hour of ethics training on a technology topic annually. The audience was split, which he said he would report to the committee considering the change.
Ethics questions are rarely black and white, so when Sieberson’s co-presenter, Rick Hoffman, a VP at UnitedLex, a provider of cyber security solutions for lawyers and law firms, offered another view, they agreed to disagree. Attorney J. Scott Paul’s wrap-up on the year’s transgressions and their outcomes was laced with humor as usual.

OBA President Judge Douglas F. Johnson, J. Scott Paul of McGrath North and Creighton University School of Law Professor Stephen Sieberson were the forces behind the seminar. Paul and Sieberson both make presentations each year along with other invited speakers.

Hon. Laurie Smith Camp

Lancaster County Veterans Treatment Court Opening Ceremony
The Inaugural Ceremony for Nebraska’s newest problem solving court, the Lancaster County Veterans Treatment Court, will take place on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in the City-­County Chambers Room 112 in the City-­County Building, 555 S. 10th Street, Lincoln.
Actress Melissa Fitzgerald, who presently serves as the national Director of Justice for Vets, will be a keynote speaker at the event.
The mission of the Lancaster County Veterans Treatment Court is to honor the service of justice-­system involved veterans by providing a rehabilitative program combining intensive judicial supervision and treatment services while enhancing public safety. The goal is to return law-­abiding and productive citizens to the community.
A veterans treatment court operates very similar to a drug court. The program in the District Court for Lancaster County will be available to some veterans or active military members who are charged with a felony and who are assessed with a trauma spectrum disorder incurred in combat zone during any U.S. combat conflict.
Participants will remain in the program for up to two years. Intensive judicial supervision, any needed drug/alcohol testing and treatment, mental health counseling and various programs tailored to the specific participant will all be a part of the program.
The Lancaster County Veterans Treatment Court Team consists of Judge John A. Colborn, Presiding Judge; Judge Robert R. Otte, Second Presiding Judge; Joseph P. Kelly, Lancaster County Attorney; Joseph D. Nigro, Lancaster County Public Defender; Sandra Miller, Veteran Justice Outreach; Robert Hurley, Lincoln Police Department; Tony Conell, Veteran Court Coordinator; and Jeff Hamilton, Veteran Court Supervising Officer,
In addition to those mentioned above, additional Veterans Court Committee members are Landon Parks, Adult Drug Court Coordinator; Jeff Curry, Chief Probation officer; Kerry Miller-­Loos, Veterans Administration; Kim Etherton, Community Corrections; James A. Cada, attorney; Adam Jorgensen, State Problem-­Solving Court Coordinator; Nicholas E. Freeman, Lancaster County County Attorney’s Office; and Webb E. Bancroft, Lancaster County Public Defender’s office.
For additional information regarding the Lancaster County Veterans Treatment Court, contact Veteran Court Coordinator Tony Conell at 402.441.6909.


Certified Court Interpreter Adriana Hinojosa (seated in front) listens to Chief Justice Mike Heavican (center) then quickly translates his words into Spanish during a demonstration for the audience.

The Court Is in Session
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

The Nebraska Supreme Court brought their business to Omaha South High School in Omaha last week. They first made their annual visit to Creighton School of Law, hearing oral arguments all morning. Then in the afternoon they declared court in session in the school’s theater.
About 250 students from South watched the court scene unfold, including students in junior ROTC, National Honor Society, business law and law and government classes. ROTC students provided some of the security for the judges.

Carol Cleaver, the Nebraska Bar Association’s director/managing attorney of the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Douglas County Court Judge Lawrence Barrett were two of nearly a dozen alums who addressed the crowd.                

Students were given a demonstration of how court interpreters translate complicated legal concepts for non-English-speaking defendants or plaintiffs. They also heard from South alumni who now work in the criminal justice field. The alums included the U.S. Marshal for the District of Nebraska, Omaha Police Department officers and administrators, attorneys and a gang specialist, who talked to the students about how important South was to fulfilling their career goals. The message they all sent: make the most of all that school offers, because “You can do it! You can be anything you want to be.”



The U.S. District Court of Nebraska is accepting applications for the follow-ing position:  
Law Clerk 
For more information go to The Court is an Equal Opportunity Employer with a commitment to achieving diversity among staff. Under-represented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Deputy General Counsel
The University of Nebraska office of the VP and General Counsel, in Lincoln, NE, is searching for an experienced full-time staff attorney for the position of Deputy General Counsel. Full position announcement available at: Applications accepted at:



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William G. Stockdale
July 18, 1952 – March 27, 2017
William “Bill” G. Stockdale had a successful vocation as an attorney, but he had a passion for his avocation: trapshooting. Each year, the Omaha Bar Association holds its annual Field Day, held in recent years at Champions Run. The vast majority of members choose to golf 18 holes, then regroup at the country club for dinner and prizes. A dozen or so chose to play tennis at the club.
Stockdale and a small but stalwart group chose trapshooting. They trekked way out west, shot clay pigeons, then drove in for dinner. He loved the sport so much that he coached the teams at Creighton Prep and Marian High Schools for nearly 15 years.
He served on the board of the Eastern Cornhusker Trap Shooting Conference. He even coached national championship trapshooting. He also gave his time mentoring young people through Boy Scouts of America. He modestly demurred when this paper repeatedly asked for an interview on his career and pastime. That’s just the way he was, flying under the radar.
Stockdale graduated from Creighton University College of Business and Creighton University School of Law and earned an LLM in Taxation from Denver University. He practiced law in Omaha for 39 years. 
Let’s let some of the tributes tell more about him:
“He was indeed an enthusiastic and friendly face at many trapshooting events.” – Dave and Vicky Amen
“We will certainly miss him around the lake. I am sure he is hunting and chasing big fish in the sky! Our thoughts and prayers go out to you all.” – Tuttle family
“Bill was one of the best probate lawyers to ever come into my courtroom. He knew the law, and was also totally ethical, compassionate and wonderful! I will miss him so much!” – Retired Douglas County Court Judge Jane Prochaska
Survivors include his wife, Marilyn; father, Marvin; children: Michael (Lindsey), David (Amanda), Kara, Katie, and Mark; and four grandchildren. A vigil service was held at St. John’s Catholic Church on Creighton’s campus on March 31 and a funeral mass at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church on April 1.  Memorials to be directed by the family.
– By Lorraine Boyd
Gov. Ricketts Names Two To Area Judgeships
LINCOLN –  Governor Pete Ricketts announced his appointment of Stefanie A. Martinez to the Second Judicial District Court of Nebraska.
Martinez, 46, serves as a judge of the County Court for the 2nd Judicial District.  In her 17 years of practicing law in Nebraska, she has also served as the Senior Deputy County Attorney in the Sarpy County Attorney’s Office and as an Administrative Hearing Officer with the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles.
Martinez earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Spanish from Boston College, her Juris Doctor from News York Law School, and is currently working on her Masters at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The Second Judicial District for the District Court consists of Cass, Otoe, and Sarpy Counties.  The primary place of office for the judicial vacancy is Papillion, Nebraska.
The vacancy is due to the appointment of Judge David K. Arterburn to the Court of Appeals bench.

Governor Pete Ricketts also announced his appointment of Stephanie S. Shearer to the Fourth Judicial County Court of Nebraska.
Shearer, 44, is an associate at Reagan, Melton & Delaney, L.L.P.  In her 16 years of practicing law in Nebraska, she has also worked as the Deputy County Attorney in the Douglas County Attorney’s Office. During law school, Shearer interned for the Honorable Thomas M. Shanahan of the 8th Circuit Federal Court.
Shearer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Iowa and a Juris Doctor from Creighton University School of Law.
The 4th Judicial District consists of Douglas County. The primary place of office for the judicial vacancy is Omaha, Nebraska.
The vacancy in the County Court in the 4th Judicial District is due to the resignation of Judge Susan M. Bazis effective January 1, 2017.


From left: Speakers Denny Sciscoe, Brett Bosworth, Jon Meyers, Andrew Rainbolt, Jonathan Rudersdorf (obscured) and moderators Alex Epstein and Kevin Stratman presented a wealth of information about “Surge or Hype.”

‘Warehouses Support the Population’
Lessons Learned at the CRE Breakout Session
‘Industrial Sector: Surge or Hype?’

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

Is the industrial market as “hot” as everyone says it is? At the CRE Summit on March 24 in Omaha, a group of industry leaders came together to answer that question and more at the breakout session titled “Industrial Sector: Surge or Hype?”
Before giving the floor to his panel, moderator Alex Epstein painted a picture of the current state of the industrial market: There’s a lot going on right now, but because of the low vacancy rates, it’s a “challenge.”
Addressing the national market, Jonathan Rudersdorf, vice president of Prologis, explained that Amazon, which is his company’s largest customer (about 3 percent of its portfolio), builds big, specialized facilities. “They aren’t typical – one to two mezzanine levels – and they require heavy infrastructure,” he said. “Expansion is key.”

Click here for full story

– Photo by Lorraine Boyd
Young Lawyers’ CLE Talks Damages
On March 22, the third in the Omaha Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division’s “Just the Basics” CLE Series covered the topic of personal injury law. Attorneys Jeremiah D. Elliott of Hauptman O’Brien Wolf & Lathrop and Julie D. Pham (Tabor) of Sibbernsen Strigenz & Sibbernsen presented. At times, the topic turned into a debate among the participants and the presenters, making for a lively and informative session. Next up: Employment law presented by Kenneth M. Wentz III on May 17. The CLEs are $10 per member and $25 per non-member and is open to all. Visit the OBA website for more information.


Meetings & Seminars
For the Legal Community
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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