Balus is one of a relatively small number of attorneys nationwide who has tried several FLSA class actions.

Baird Holm’s Allison Balus:
Community Activist and Defender of Business

By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

It is easy to imagine Allison Balus sitting in her office at Baird Holm LLP and wondering how she is going to fit in everything she wants to do during the allotted hours of her week.
Dubbed a “Future Star” of the Nebraska Bar, she has made her mark from Wahoo to Washington while serving her clients in the courtroom, participating on multiple community boards, and being a wife and mother of four.
Oh, and she’s not yet 40 years old.
You could call her a defender of business.
“I primarily practice in employment litigation,” Balus said.

Her work involves representing employers in federal and state court lawsuits as well as arbitrations, involving claims such as age, race, gender and disability discrimination. She also works on whistleblower retaliation cases, wrongful termination in violation of public policy cases, lawsuits involving failure to provide reasonable accommodation, breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and harassment.  
Since 2014 she has been a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Executive Committee for Labor Relations and Employment Law Section. Balus is licensed in Nebraska, Iowa, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
“I have also had substantial experience defending employers in federal and state law wage and hour cases – class actions in particular,” she added.

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– Photos by Lorraine Boyd
In addition to enjoying delicious food truck fare, JFON patron party guests sampled the results of a dessert competition between students from the culinary schools at Iowa Western Community College and Metropolitan Community College.

Rain Couldn’t Dampen JFON-NE Fundraiser
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

It was a dark and stormy night … but Snoopy needn’t have worried. The second annual Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska’s (JFON-NE) Food Truck World Tour fundraiser went off without a hitch, and proved to be a big success despite rain, wind and a tornado watch.
Thursday, Oct. 6, supporters returned to downtown Omaha nightspot Slowdown to eat, drink, dance and support the local non-profit law firm specializing in immigration law.
The organization reported, “Our preliminary total raised is about $140,000 – more than we have ever raised before in a single event!”
Executive Director Emiliano Lerda said, “Our success is due to a strong team effort. Our honorary chairs, Polina and Bob Schlott, co-chaired the host committee with Todd and Betiana Simon. Their suggestions made a big difference. The host committee members raised funds as well. Thanks to their leadership, this year’s Food Truck World Tour is our most successful fundraising event ever.”
The event featured food from local Omaha food trucks Maria Bonita, Sweet Lime, Attitude on Food and Big Green Q – plus a booth with sandwiches from Omaha Steaks. Since they are trucks, they had to be accessed in the rain, though organizers provided as much cover as they could. The rain couldn’t discourage the hungry however and friendly staffers with umbrellas also helped keep partiers dry.

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John G. Liakos
Jan 1, 1940 - Sep 27, 2016
John Liakos, aka Greek, lived a very full life.
He was very excited to celebrate 50 years as a practicing lawyer this fall, his law partner John Matukewicz said. In fact, he spent the last day of his life at the office before going home and suffering an apparent heart attack.
“While he was a zealous advocate for his clients, he always maintained a good rapport with the other lawyers. And while he put the practice of law on a pedestal, he always put family first,” Matukewicz said.
He took his family, wife Elisabeth and sons Charles and Andrew and their spouses and seven children, on vacation to Snowbank Lake in Minnesota every summer. He coached his sons’ YMCA and Little League teams. He served on multiple PTA committees and boards.  
“If he had one regret, I think he’d say it was that he didn’t get to see all of this grandchildren grow up,” Matukewicz said.
He was proud of his Greek heritage and supported his fellow Greeks. In fact, Matukewicz said, one Greek man who said he didn’t even know John came to his wake, just because he was Greek. “I guess you’d call him a wake crasher.”
After graduating from law school at the University of Nebraska in 1967, he spent a few years working in New Orleans before returning to Nebraska (he was born in Bayard). In Omaha in 1973, he founded Liakos & Associates, now Liakos & Matukewicz, a full service firm that represents clients in the areas of real estate, employment, construction law, estate planning, probate, corporate, family, personal injury, and general civil litigation.  
He served on the board of the Kidney Foundation of Nebraska, leading to his co-founding of the Nebraska Organ Retrieval Systems, Inc. in 1977. The organization serves as the main point of contact in tissue, organ and eye donation services throughout Nebraska and a portion of Iowa.
When he wasn’t working, he poured his passion into cooking, perhaps influenced by his wife, who founded the local restaurant Market Basket. He also passed on his love of gardening to his sons.
One mourner on the Legacy website wrote: “We get the feeling that the life has gone out of the party but the party goes on. You are surrounded by friends and family and they will carry you.”
Paul Stormberg, who grew up with John’s son Charlie and was treated like another member of the family, recalled John’s “deep voice booming out ‘Yallo’ when he answered the phone.”
Memorials are suggested to Nebraska Organ Recovery System (N.O.R.S.), Fontenelle Forest, or Omaha Community Playhouse.
– By Lorraine Boyd

– Photo by Lorraine Boyd
Nebraska Adds to Its Citizenry
Thirty-seven Omahans were sworn in as United States citizens last week in the Roman L. Hruska Federal Courthouse by Magistrate Judge Thomas Thalken. Above are just a portion of those taking the oath – the jury box couldn’t accommodate all of the new Americans, so the rest spilled over into the first row in the courtroom. They represented 10 countries of origin. All beamed proudly as their family members looked on. League of Women Voters representatives were there to register them to vote, a privilege they are now accorded. The judge addressed them, challenging them to become active in the democratic process and a video greeting by the president congratulated them. The National Anthem was sung by the Omaha Prime barbershop quartet. Another ceremony is scheduled for today.
Koley Jessen
New Associate Joins Litigation Group

Matthew Gillespie has joined Koley Jessen’s litigation group and will specialize in helping clients as they navigate through the litigation process in both state and federal courts. He works with their team to prosecute and defend clients’ interests through aggressive and cost-efficient advocacy at both trial and the appellate levels.  
“We are so excited to have Matthew join us,” said Greg Scaglione, Chair of Koley Jessen’s litigation group. “Based on his outstanding clerkship with our firm, we know that Matthew is a great fit for our responsive, client-focused trial team.”
Matthew graduated with a B.A. from Creighton University (magna cum laude) and a J.D. from Washington University School of Law (cum laude).
For more information regarding the firm of Koley Jessen, please go to:

Koenig | Dunne Divorce Law
Among First Annual Law Firm 500 Honorees

The Law Firm 500 Award team recently announced the list of 2016 Honorees, ranking Koenig | Dunne Divorce Law No. 57 on its Annual Law Firm 500 Honorees List. The published list recognizes law firms that have achieved significant growth. Each nominee was evaluated by an outside accounting firm, and subjected to an identical review process. The award honorees are a beacon of light for the legal industry demonstrating innovation, operational excellence, and a commitment to client service.
“This award is an acknowledgment of the years of dedication we have made to changing the experience of divorce. Not only for our clients, but for the entire legal community. It is an honor to have our commitment to innovation and excellence be acknowledged,” said Managing Partner Angela Dunne.
The full list of Law Firm 500 Award Honorees can be found at: For more information regarding the law firm of Koenig | Dunne Divorce Law, please go to:
OHDBS Law Hires Lyons as Associate Attorney
The law firm of O’Neill, Heinrich, Damkroger, Bergmeyer & Shultz, P.C., L.L.O. recently announced the hiring of Kramer Lyons as an associate. OHDBS provides legal services in the areas of business law, estate planning, real estate, banking, government, labor, employment and commercial litigation.
Kramer is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law, graduating with distinction. Kramer earned his B.A. in economics from Hastings College and is a native of Hastings, Nebraska.
For more information regarding the law firm of O’Neill, Heinrich, Damkroger, Bergmeyer & Shultz, P.C., L.L.O., please visit the firm’s website at:

Fraser Stryker Welcomes Two New Attorneys
Fraser Stryker recently announced that Steven Hogan and Ryan Ricke have joined the firm as associates.

Hogan received his Bachelor of Arts from Creighton University and his law degree from Creighton University School of Law. He focuses his practice on litigation, providing services to the firm’s clients in federal litigation, appellate practice, insurance defense and self-insured litigation, and commercial litigation.
Ricke received his Bachelor of Arts from Creighton University and his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. His practice focuses on business and corporate law and he provides services to the firm’s clients in the areas of estate planning and probate, real estate law, nonprofit and charitable organizations, and employee benefits and ERISA.
For more information regarding the law firm of Fraser Stryker, PC, LLO, please go to the firm’s website at:

Koley Jessen Expands Estate Planning and Business Succession Practice
Elisa Born has joined Koley Jessen as an associate in the Estate and Business Succession Planning Practice Group. Born’s practice involves working with clients on designing and executing comprehensive estate plans that are implemented through wills, trust agreements, durable powers of attorney, and advance directives. Additionally, Born’s provides assistance in the implementation of wealth transfer techniques in an effort to minimize the impact of gift, estate and generation-skipping taxes.
“Elisa is a great addition to our growing practice group,” said Kurt Tjaden, chair of the Koley Jessen Estate and Business Succession Practice. “Having clerked with Koley Jessen previously, she has hit the ground running and had opportunity to work with all six of our Estate and Business Succession Planning shareholders on a wide variety of projects.”
Born clerked with Koley Jessen prior to starting with the firm full-time. She received her B.A. in international studies and French from the University of Nebraska-Omaha (magna cum laude) and recently earned her J.D. from Creighton University School of Law (cum laude).
For more information regarding Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O,

U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Gilg, District of Nebraska, pauses for a moment with Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson at the multidisciplinary conference held in an effort to see the current opioid abuse epidemic as not only a crime issue, but as a public health issue.

A Dose of Reality
Nebraska Officials Address Opioid Crisis at Conference,
Emphasize Collaborative, Comprehensive Approach

Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

Opioid abuse is a public health concern; it’s a national epidemic, and everyone has been touched by it, said Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, Chancellor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, during his opening remarks last Friday at the conference, “Charting the Road to Recovery: Nebraska’s Response to Opioid Abuse.” The daylong event was held in the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education on the UNMC campus.
Although Nebraska hasn’t experienced the same level of devastation, as has Ohio, Delaware, Indiana, or even Wisconsin, we have seen a “dramatic increase” in opioid-related problems. Legislative Bill 471, which was introduced by Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha, will take effect next year to close the loopholes in the state’s prescription drug monitoring program. With that, it’s clear the legal community, law enforcement, and the medical community are being proactive by coming together and looking for solutions.
“This is unprecedented,” said Deborah R. Gilg, U.S. Attorney, District of Nebraska. “We’ve never had such a gathering of law enforcement and the medical community. This was the missing piece needed for battling drug abuse. We need to become educated. More Americans die from drug overdose than from car accidents, and three out of five of these are opioid-related. This touches all of us. We want to get more people into treatment than into jail.”
Fifteen years ago, Gilg said that she believed the answer was to incarcerate; today, she has a very different view. “Once they are released, they come back to our communities. It affects not just individuals but their families. This isn’t just a law enforcement problem, but also one for the community. We have to join forces. I’m encouraged by this conference. We need to have a comprehensive plan.”

Brad Schimel
Wisconsin Attorn U.S. Attorney

Deborah R. Gilg, District of Nebraska, pauses for a moment with Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson at the multidisciplinary conference held in an effort to see the current opioid abuse epidemic as not only a crime issue, but as a public health issue. ey General
Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, State of Nebraska, agreed. “As we strengthen our prescription drug monitoring program, more people will have to go to the streets to get high. We are in a unique position to work together to stem the increase. I want to look back in five, 10, or 15 years, and say we got ahead of this,” he said.

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                John Kellogg                                   David Daleiden                         Archbishop George Lucas   

Kellogg to Be Given ‘Defender of Life’
Award by Thomas More Society – Omaha

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

John Kellogg is a well-known, longtime Omaha attorney. He has long espoused causes that support the defense of life. One of his passions is the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm that raises awareness of the integrity of family and religious liberty. He currently serves as the Omaha chapter’s vice president.
This Saturday, he will be honored with the Defender of Life Award at the St. Thomas More-Omaha annual banquet.
John Kellogg, 78, has practiced law for over 50 years. He is founder and partner of Kellogg and Palzer, P.C. He earned both his bachelor’s of science and law degrees from Creighton University.
John has an extensive record of pro-life advocacy, including representation of sidewalk counselors. He petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari (denied) in (Mary) Lyons v. (Hon. Warren K.) Urbom, seeking, in litigation, guardians for the unborn.
John’s pro-life involvement includes Business and Professional People for Life (President), Essential Pregnancy Services, Nebraska Coalition for Ethical Research, and Nebraskans United For Life. He has helped draft statutes to limit abortions and he is a pro-life public speaker.

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Legal Community Invokes Holy Spirit
The annual Red Mass, held October 4 at St. John’s Catholic Church on Creighton University’s campus, is offered to pray that God “imbues all members of the legal community with the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit – wisdom, understanding, counsel and fortitude – for the right and just administration of their respective office. It offers judges, attorneys, law school professors, law enforcement and governmental agencies to reflect on the God-given power attached to their office.”
The Mass also commences the fall Court term. It was derived from the 13th century European tradition opening the Ecclesiastical Courts, with its name drawn from the red vestments worn by the priests to signify the fire of the Holy Spirit and the scarlet robes worn then by judges and doctors of law.
A Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible pictured above, currently on loan to Creighton University, is a full-size reproduction of the St. John’s Bible, handwritten and hand-illuminated. One of the seven volumes was used for the liturgy during Red Mass.

– Photo by Lorraine Boyd
Young Lawyers Pack 10,000 Meals
In February, the Omaha Bar Association Young Lawyers Division sought to have members commit to 1,000 hours of volunteer service this year – “The Year of the Volunteer.” Last Friday was an opportunity to fulfill some of that promise. About 50 people showed up to create and package 10,000 meals to be sent to families and children in need around the world. The event is part of the worldwide effort by Stop Hunger Now, which to date has supplied 282,578,395 meals in 74 countries (not counting the 10,000 from Friday!). The OBA volunteers Friday accomplished their goal in just 90 minutes.
The Nebraska State Bar Association will hold another such event at the annual meeting in October.Interested organizations looking for a service project should contact for more information.
Obviously, those participating had a lot of fun and, just as obviously, the hairnets were the great equalizer! Job well done!

Judge Hoffert Elected NWCC Presiding Judge
Judge John R. Hoffert has been elected as presiding judge of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court for a term beginning October 3, 2016 and ending June 30, 2017.
The election was made at a meeting of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court judges on October 3, 2016. The Nebraska Supreme Court approved the appointment on October 4, 2016. Judge Hoffert will fill the unexpired term of Judge Laureen K. Van Norman, who will be retiring on January 5, 2017.
The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court is composed of seven judges who are initially appointed by the governor and who then remain on the bench for successive six-year terms upon approval of the electorate. Every two years one of the judges is elected as presiding judge by the judges of the court, subject to approval of the Nebraska Supreme Court.
For more information regarding workers’ compensation in Nebraska, please visit the court’s website at:, or call the court’s information line at 1-800-599-5155 or 402-471-6468.


Stalnaker, Becker & Buresh, P.C. seeks an associate with at least 3-5 years experience in civil and commerical litigation. Knowledge and experience in corporate and real estate law preferred. Qualified candidates may send resumes to:


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From left, panelists are Rama Kolli, Tim Horton, Steven Chabinsky and Amy Roland, with McGrath North Chairman and President Roger Wells.   
The Evolving Security Paradigm: Protecting Your Business
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

At McGrath North’s 2016 ethics seminar held recently, keynote speaker Steven Chabinsky, general counsel and chief risk officer for CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity technology firm – and who served 15 years in the FBI’s Cyber Division – painted a sobering picture of the ethical issues of cyber threats for attorneys. It quickly became clear that the responsibilities are broad and complex and the stakes are very high. “We are all targets because we are lawyers.” In a hub and spoke world, we are the hub, he said. Law firms must protect not only themselves but their clients’ information. His company’s motto: “We Stop Breaches.” He spoke of the IoE (Internet of Everything) that describes a new reality in which everything is networked and connected. Tesla, for instance, was able to fix a brake recall remotely. “What would prevent the bad guys from remotely accessing your brakes?”
Chabinsky also noted that the biggest cyber-security threat today is ransomware. He said hackers are able to break into nearly everything today, hence the need for redundancy of backup (hackers can even delete backups). The harms to your data include loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability. Encryption is great, but what if they just delete everything?
Rama Kolli, vice president, Information Services and Chief Information Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, warned that the way the human mind works “The more restrictive your security, the more creative they get!”
Tim Horton, vice president of Security and Fraud Product Management at First Data, advised: “Protect the data, the crown jewels of the company. PII data is six times more valuable than card data. Build a culture in the organization. Get rid of unneeded data.”
Amy Roland, McGrath North shareholder who leads the firm’s Intellectual Property and Technology Group, warned, “It’s not if, but when. Be prepared; it’s everyone’s responsibility.”


Miriam Zeidman, ADL’s Midwest civil rights counsel (left), was hosted by Mary-Beth Muskin during ADL-CRC training events recently.
Anti-Defamation League Is in the Capable
Hands of Director Mary-Beth Muskin

By Julien R. Fielding  
The Daily Record      
Mary-Beth Muskin was born in a different era, so when it came to choosing her career path, the regional director of the Plains States Region of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL-CRC) felt that she only had a few options. She could become a nurse, a secretary, or a teacher.
She eliminated the first two pretty easily. “I get sick at the sight of blood, and I couldn’t sit still long enough to type,” she said. “I love kids though and, for me, that was a good fit. I’ve enjoyed every one of them. The only person in my family who worked in education was my Aunt Ann, who was “loved, independent, and respected. She made the decision to become an educator an easy one.”    
After high school, the Omaha native attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, earning a bachelor’s of science in elementary/pre-school education. “I actually did my senior year at the University of Pennsylvania, and substitute-taught in the Philadelphia Public Schools,” she said. “It really was an amazing opportunity. My first teaching job was in Baltimore at an inner city school. I wasn’t much taller than my students. I grew up really fast.”              
For her master’s, she went to Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a degree in counseling and for her Ph.D., which is in adult/continuing education, she returned to UNL. Throughout her career, she has “spent a lot of time with underserved populations.” Before retiring in 2014, she had worked as director of guidance at Omaha South High Magnet School for nearly six years. In addition, she held positions at Creighton University – first as adjunct and then as faculty in the education department.  

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Douglas County District Court Establishes
First Veterans Treatment Court
The Douglas County District Court has announced the establishment of the first Veterans Treatment Court in the State of Nebraska.
A formal ceremony will take place on Friday, November 4, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. in the Legislative Chamber of the Omaha/Douglas Civic Center, 1819 Farnam Street, Omaha, Nebraska. The Honorable W. Mark Ashford will preside.
The Veterans Treatment Court is a judicially supervised court designed to hold responsible and address the unique needs of military veterans who have been charged with various felony crimes in Douglas County, Nebraska.


Steve Gordon, the latest Chamber Small Business of the Month awardee, considers himself a “solver of equations.”

Large-scale Projects, Chamber Award
Validation for One-man Operation

By Dan McCann
The Daily Record

Steve Gordon is in a good place: a creative oasis of his own design that is populated by impactful projects and fresh validation of a decision he made more than ten years ago.
“It’s been a long road. It’s defied so many odds,” Gordon said. “Being named the Chamber’s Small Business of the Month is absolutely validation for why I did what I did the way I did it.”
The kinetic force behind RDQLUS CREATIVE, Gordon – a problem solver, deep thinker and brand architect – launched his company in 2006. He and RDQLUS (the two are “a bit inseparable”) guide clients to better understand, develop, design and grow their brands, providing “solutions through the art of storytelling.”

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Meetings & Seminars
For the Legal Community

UNL: 2016 Nebraska Water Law Conference
Nebraska Innovation Campus
2021 Transformation Dr., Lincoln
7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
For More Information:
Complex Issues in Juvenile Court Practice IX
Creighton University School of Law
2500 California Plaza, Omaha
8:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Financial Exploitation of the Vulnerable: Beyond the Direct Impact
Creighton University School of Law
2133 Cass St., Rm. 124, Omaha
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
For More Information: Contact Madhavi Bhadbhade
by calling 402-471-2309 or

The Unintended Consequences of Incarceration:
A Special Meeting Free and Open to All
Nebraska County, District and Appeal Judges, Nebraska Defense Attorneys,
Nebraska Legislators, Policymakers and All Interested Individuals
Embassy Suites La Vista
12520 Westport Pkwy, La Vista
12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
OBA YLD Dinner Event:
Managing Education Debt & Achieving Financial Goals
Hosted by the Metro Omaha Medical Society Early Career Physicians
and the Omaha Bar Association Young Lawyers Division
CRAVE at Midtown Crossing
200 S. 31st Ave., #4103, Omaha
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
For More Information:
OCTOBER 26 – 28
2016 NSBA Annual Meeting: New Perspectives
Embassy Suites La Vista
12520 Westport Pkwy, La Vista
7:00 a.m. Wednesday – 4:15 p.m. Friday
For More Information:
Omaha Bar Association’s Young Lawyers’ Division Presents
“Employment Law 101” CLE
At the NSBA’s 2016 Annual Meeting
Embassy Suites La Vista
12520 Westport Pkwy, La Vista
10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
For More Information:
NSBA Indian Law Section Book Series –
Legal Codes and Talking Trees: Indigenous Women’s Sovereignty
Indigo Bridge Books
701 P St., #102, Lincoln
7:00 p.m.
 For More Information:

Douglas County Veterans Treatment Court Inaugural Ceremony
Omaha/Douglas Civic Center, in the Legislative Chamber
1819 Farnam St., Omaha
10:30 a.m.
 For More Information:
Contact Bob Blanchard,
Douglas County Veterans Treatment Court Coordinator,
by phone at: 402-444-4210 or by email at:
2016 Employment Law Seminar Presented by Kutak Rock LLP
Solving the Employment Law Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together
Douglas County Courthouse
6450 Pine St., Omaha
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
 For More Information:
Walk Through the Courts
Douglas County Courthouse
1701 Farnam St., Omaha
11:30 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
 For More Information:
November Dinner Welcoming New Attorneys
Champions Run
13800 Eagle Run Drive, Omaha
5:30 a.m. – 7:45 p.m.
 For More Information:


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This Day In History
October 23, 1946
UN General Assembly 2nd session convenes (1st NYC-Flushing Meadows)

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