All the Presidents’ Men (and Women)
Omaha Bar Association presidents, past and present, gathered for their annual holiday festivities Dec. 4. Also invited were all members of the current executive council. Here are some of the presidents, representing the years 1980-81 to present. Front row (from left): J. Terry Macnamara, Hon. Lyle E. Strom, Denise Hill and Michael Kinney. Second row: William Birkel, Stephen Bruckner, D.C. “Woody” Bradford III, Michael Mullin, current president Patrick Cooper, Gerald Friedrichsen, Wayne Mark, Thomas Grennan, Douglas Law, J. Scott Paul, Stuart Dornan and Craig Martin.
– Photo by Lorraine Boyd


Professor R. Collin Mangrum remains animated as the eight-hour seminar draws to a close on Nov. 29.
– Photo by Lorraine Boyd

R. Collin Mangrum:
The Expert on Expert Witnesses

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

Every year, Professor R. Collin Mangrum, a veteran teacher at Creighton’s School of Law, conducts a day-long Continuing Legal Education (CLE) opportunity on evidence.
This year’s topic: “Mangrum on Answers to Expert Evidentiary Questions” took place Nov. 29.
If anyone could give answers to the questions attorneys have, it would be the expert on expert witnesses. He has written more than 30 articles and three books, most of them on evidentiary issues.
His treatise, Mangrum on Nebraska Evidence (Thomsen Reuters, annual 2003-2013), serves as a primary source for practitioners and is frequently cited by the Nebraska courts on evidentiary issues.
Another treatise, Mangrum and Benson on Utah Evidence (Thomsen Reuters, annual 2004-2013), also serves as a primary source for Utah practitioners and is frequently cited by the courts in Utah.
This seminar, open to law students as well as attorneys, focused entirely on Article Seven of the Rules of Evidence: The Opinions of Lay and Expert Witnesses.
From a review of “Lay Opinions in both State and Federal Courts” to the answer to the 20th question, “What are the Ethical and Professional Issues Related to the Discovery of Expert Opinions inboth State and Federal Courts?” Mangrum examined the nuances of handling an expert witness before and during an appearance in the witness box.

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Judge Laurie Smith Camp’s office is decorated with many historic etchings of her aunt’s that she found when cleaning out her parents’ house. The picture above her is entitled: “The Justice of the King.” If you ever get the chance, ask her to tell you its story. (Photo by Lorraine Boyd)

A Look Back
Judge Laurie Smith Camp Takes Senior Status

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

After 41 years as a lawyer, 17 of those years as a federal judge and seven of those years as chief judge, Laurie Smith Camp will begin a new chapter in her career tomorrow.
On Friday, the Nebraska judge for the U.S. District Court will take senior status. She will continue on the bench, most likely working at the same pace she has always maintained. As testament to that, a glance at her imminent schedule shows only one clear calendar day – Friday.
She stepped down as chief judge Nov. 1, a seven-year administrative responsibility that she passed to Judge John Gerrard. Her taking senior status allows the court to nominate a new judge to fill her active role.

Judge James Masteller receives assistance in donning his robe from his three daughters, (from left) Justice, Gabrielle and Quintessa. (Photo by Lorraine Boyd)

Masteller Toasted, Roasted And Sworn In
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

It was hello and goodbye for James M. Masteller. He became the latest Douglas County District Court judge Nov. 16 when he was sworn in by Douglas County District Court Judge Horacio Wheelock.
There Masteller was praised by his former boss, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, for his appointment
and his future as a judge, while at the same time honoring him for his 17 years in the Douglas County Attorney’s office.
Kleine presented Masteller with a desk clock and a frame of a meaningful quote by Margaret Chase Smith that said: “Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation.”
It was surrounded by the signatures of all his co-workers and an extra-special touch. Kleine related that Masteller often signed his letters, memos and e-mails “Godspeed.”
“I looked it up,” Kleine said. “It is an old English term, kind of personal blessing, meaning have a prosperous journey, or be safe. Everyone signed Godspeed with their name.”
Rev. John Vakulskas Jr., in his invocation, explained the robbing ceremony.
“It is similar to the robes a priest wears at liturgical functions,” he said. “It covers all the clothes. It covers a rich man’s clothes or a poor man’s clothes as a symbol that everybody is equal in the eyes of God. Jim, may you have the Wisdom of Solomon. … As prosecutor, Jim worked to seek justice. Now as a judge, he’s working to see that justice is done.”
While all the speakers heaped praise on the new judge, occasionally the ceremony took on the characteristics of a good-natured roast.
Kleine reminisced about how Masteller talked about his days in high school as allegedly a star sprinter and was then challenged to a race by another lawyer in the office.

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Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine presents Jim Masteller with a very special gift for his years in the County Attorney’s Office. Each signatory wishes him “Godspeed.”

A family portrait was called for on this auspicious occasion. Jim Masteller beams over his daughters and wife: From left, Justice, Gabrielle, Quintessa and Tanya. (Photos by Lorraine Boyd)

– Photo by Lorraine Boyd

Top: Jeremy Wilhelm visits with Jack Atkins Jr. about the photographs in the book “Cigars and Wires.” Above: John Atkins (left) and Lou Greenberg of the Manhattan Brewing Company meet for a drink at the Rio Cabana nightclub in Chicago in 1945. Greenberg was a close associate of Al Capone and of Frank “the Enforcer” Nitti, Capone’s successor.

Cigars and Wires
Bootleggers, Bookies, Brewers:
Omaha’s Sometimes Sordid Past Remembered

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

Cigar smoke and fascinating stories of the early Omaha underworld filled the air last Wednesday night at the Omaha Bar Association’s special event “Cigars, Cocktails and Counselors: An Evening Looking Back at Omaha’s Early Underworld.”
“Best OBA event I’ve ever been to,” attorney Tom White said.
He wasn’t the only one. The buzz was generated by historian John Atkins Jr. and Jon L. Blecha, author and former Omaha police officer, who wrote a book titled “Cigars and Wires: The Omaha Underworld’s Early Years.”
It’s 466 pages tell the stories of the seamy side of Omaha history, from 1911 to the late 1970s. Many of the memories came from someone who witnessed it at the knee of his father. Atkins’ father, John Atkins, was one of Omaha’s most successful bootleggers in the 1920s and 1930s.
Guests lounged in leather chairs as they sipped their (licit) beverages and smoked their Padrones, filling the air with a haze at the Safari Cigar & Lounge in West Omaha. They snacked on Italian appetizers from the restaurant next door, Lombardo’s.

The warm-up before the talk gave attendees a chance to mingle and catch up. – Photo by Lorraine Boyd

The crowd was decidedly eclectic.
Many faces had not been seen often at OBA events, while some were perennials. Veteran lawyers mingled with members of the Young Lawyers Division. But all listened attentively and had plenty of questions after the hour-long presentation.
As Atkins Jr. talked, spinning one tale after another, a series of pictures flashed on the screen behind him. Sitting in front of him were dozens of clippings and old photographs of many of the mobsters and racketeers who were involved in the Omaha underworld.
He took listeners back to the era of Tom Dennison, Omaha’s mob boss and his cohort, Mayor Jim Dahlman. Bootleg booze, along with illegal gambling, took place in “cigar stores” and pool halls. Brothels were plenty and payoffs were common to police and judges. The “independents” were the ones usually found murdered.
One intriguing tidbit from Atkins Jr. included information on a photo he flashed on the screen of a man’s shoe that looked like it was fitted with lifts.

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Editor’s Note: To buy a copy of “Cigars and Wires: The Omaha Underworld’s Early Years.” ($26), call John Atkins Jr. at 402-502-0514. He will hand deliver it in Omaha.

Baird Holm LLP Hires Director of Human
Resources and Administration
Baird Holm LLP is pleased to welcome Leneé Petri as Director of Human Resources and Administration. Petri manages all aspects of the firm’s Human Resources and employee benefits needs. She also oversees other administrative staff including the legal assistant and hospitality teams. In addition to her more than 20 years of progressive responsibility in all facets of Human Resources, she has a passion for employee engagement and relations, process improvement, and creative problem solving.
“We are excited to welcome Leneé to the firm,” said Baird Holm LLP Executive Director, Karen L. Smith. “She brings great experience and a fresh look on how best to support our firm. She has already demonstrated great insight and contributed relevant input on many matters.”
For more information about Baird Holm LLP please visist their website at

Baird Holm LLP Welcomes Five
New Associates to the Firm
Baird Holm LLP is pleased to welcome Sarah J. Applegate, Austin S. Graves, Patrick M. Kennedy, Spencer R. Murphy and Susan K. Tvrdy to the firm.
Applegate concentrates her practice on creditors’ rights, bankruptcy and commercial litigation. She received her Juris Doctor, with highest distinction, from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2018. While in law school, she was a member of the Nebraska Law Review and earned the CALI Excellence
for the Future Awards for Contracts, Criminal Law, Copyright Law, Insurance Law and Mediation.
Graves’ practice focuses on various aspects of corporate
law. He graduated from Creighton University School of Law in 2018, summa cum laude. While in law school, he earned the CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in Securities Regulation, Bankruptcy I and II, Federal Income Taxation, Trusts and Estates I, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Finance, Civil Procedure I, Legal Research and Writing II and III, Evidence and Contracts II.
Kennedy’s practice focuses on intellectual property
and technology, with an emphasis on patent law. He earned his Juris Doctor, with distinction, from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2018. While in law school, he earned the CALI Excellence
for the Future Awards in the Copyright Law Seminar and the Entrepreneurship Clinic. He was elected Student Bar Association Class President by his classmates, and also served as a senior member of the Nebraska Moot Court Board.
Murphy represents individuals, partnerships and corporations in complex commercial and contractual disputes. He received his Juris Doctor from Creighton University School of Law in 2016, cum laude, where he served as Editor in Chief of the Creighton Law Review. At graduation, Spencer was honored with the ALI CLE Scholarship & Leadership Award.
Tvrdy focuses her practice on all areas of employment
litigation. She received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2014, where she was granted a Dillard Fellowship in legal research and writing. Prior to law school, she served as a legislative aide to two U.S. Senators, providing policy advice on health, labor, employment and education matters.
“We are thrilled to welcome these five, talented attorneys to the firm,” said Baird Holm LLP Managing Partner, Richard E. Putnam. “Each of them brings skills that will provide immediate value to the practice groups they join, and to the clients Baird Holm serves.”
For more information about Baird Holm LLP please visist their website at


Koley Jessen Named “Law Firm of the Year”
at the 17th Annual M&A Advisor Awards
For the second year in a row, Koley Jessen has been named “Law Firm of the Year” by the M&A Advisor. Finalists in the category included AmLaw 100 firms, Alston & Bird LLP, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Linklaters LLP, Ropes & Gray LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC.
“We are thrilled to be recognized again in 2018, by the M&A Advisor, for the transaction work we are doing for our clients,” said Mike Hupp, President of Koley Jessen and Chair of the Mergers & Acquisitions Practice. “The continued growth of our M&A practice is a testament to our focus on client service and continuous improvement.”
“Our team has closed nearly 70 deals so far in 2018, with an aggregate deal value over $2.3 billion” said Eric Oxley, Vice-Chair of the Mergers and Acquisitions Practice. “Middle-market M&A activity, along with valuations,
continue to remain strong and we are experiencing a 30 percent increase in our closed deal volume, compared to 5 year averages. We are very appreciative of the great opportunities our clients provide us to handle transactions locally and across the country.”
“Since 2002, we have been honoring the leading M&A transactions, companies and dealmakers. Koley Jessen was chosen from over 600 participating companies to receive the award. It gives us great pleasure to recognize Koley Jessen and bestow upon them our highest honor for M&A firms and professionals,” said Roger Aguinaldo, Founder, The M&A Advisor. Koley Jessen represents the best of the M&A industry in 2018 and earned these honors by standing out in a group of very impressive candidates.”
Transactions in which the firm was involved were also finalists in their categories. The sale of Nebraska-based Tecumseh Poultry dba Smart Chicken to Tyson Foods, Inc. was a finalist in “Consumer Staples Deal of the Year (Over $100MM)” and “Corporate/Strategic Deal of the Year ($250MM–$500MM)” categories. The sale of WESTliving’s nine senior living communities to MBK Senior Living was a finalist in the “Healthcare and Life Sciences Deal of the Year $100MM-1B)” category. Both the WESTliving deal and the Smart Chicken transactions were also finalists for “M&A Deal of the Year ($250MM-$500MM).”
Koley Jessen is a strategically growing law firm serving the needs of middle market clients locally and nationally. For business owners, strategic acquirers and private equity firms, they are active partners, who provide multi-discipline counsel and get deals done. Koley Jessen provides clients with Wall Street level service and leverages their Midwestern sensibility to excel in the middle market. For more information about Koley Jessen please visit their website at
The M&A Advisor was founded in 1998 to offer insights and intelligence on M&A activities. Over the past twenty years they have established the premier global network of M&A, Turnaround and Finance professionals. Today, they have the privilege of presenting, recognizing the achievements of and facilitating connections between the industry’s top performers throughout the world, with a comprehensive range of services. To learn more visit

American Bankruptcy Institute Honors Koenig
American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) announced that Brian Koenig, Shareholder at Koley Jessen, has been selected as one of its emerging leaders and honorees for its “40 Under 40” Initiative, which identifies 40 top industry professionals under
the age of 40, for his excellence in corporate bankruptcy and bankruptcy-related litigation.
The “40 Under 40” winners, distinguished by professional achievements and service, were selected by experienced professionals from ABI’s leadership. The winners were chosen from diverse practice areas such as law, finance, consulting, academia, government and more. More than 300 nominations were received.
“The 2018 ABI ‘40 Under 40’ Class is already advancing the bankruptcy profession forward,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “Each of these remarkable young men and women are attaining achievements not just in their professional careers, but also as leaders in their communities.”
In Koenig’s commercial bankruptcy and financially-distressed transactions practice, he counsels a variety of clients including creditors, debtors, bankruptcy trustees, creditor committees and post-bankruptcy investors, to help them evaluate risks, minimize their exposure, maximize their recoveries, structure transactions and cost-effectively resolve issues. Koenig also maintains a wide-ranging litigation practice focusing on high-stakes disputes.
“Brian is simply outstanding, and clients love working with him,” says Greg Scaglione, Chair of the Litigation Practice Group at Koley Jessen. “This national recognition of Brian is well-deserved.”
Founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues, the ABI membership includes nearly 11,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals. It is the largest multidisciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on insolvency-related matters.
For additional information on ABI, visit

Judge Laurie Smith Camp helps Nick Batter unveil the portrait of Judge Joseph William Woodrough, the longest serving federal judge in history. (Photo by Lorraine Boyd)
A History of Three Judges
Portraits Discovered, Unveiled at Courthouse

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

The Roman L. Hruska United States Courthouse was the setting for one of the more unusual continuing legal education programs in recent memory.
The two-hour event Nov. 30 presented “A History of the Federal District Court” for the first hour, with a surprise “field trip” in the middle. The second hour offered “Lessons Learned from Practicing before the Honorable Laurie Smith Camp.” She took senior status that day and the Honorable John Gerrard took over as Chief Judge.
The first hour explored the development of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska from its inception in 1867 through 1933, the year marking the end of Prohibition.
Co-authors of the book Echo of Its Time, Professor Emeritus of History John R. Wunder, Ph.D., University of Nebraska – Lincoln; and Dr. Mark Scherer, Ph.D., J.D., University of Nebraska at Omaha history professor; and attorney/historian Nick Batter discussed the social and political context of the most notable cases of the era. Not coincidentally, their remarks introduced three titans of the bench – Judge Joseph William Woodrough, Justice Samuel Freeman Miller, and Judge Elmer S. Dundy.
Judge Smith Camp had come across three large professional portraits of those three men languishing in storage at the Nebraska State Historical Society. She thought they might be appropriate to hang in the federal courthouse, if they could be restored.
Enter Kenneth Bé, paintings conservator at the Ford Conservation Center. He undertook the task and restored the portraits to their original glory, even patching a hole in the face of one of the judges. Each of these judges was examined by the presenters then, at the end of their remarks, the entire courthouse spilled out and descended to the third floor where the paintings were hanging. Each was unveiled with a flourish, as befitting these influential jurists.
Editor’s note: The book Echo of Its Time by Dr. Wunder and Dr. Scherer will be available for purchase in February 2019.

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Rachel Nagunst, front left, leads her Anytime Tees team to success as evidenced
by their Small Business of the Month award.  (Photo by Emily Kerr)

Small Business of the Month
Get a Tee Nearly Anytime at Anytime Tees

By Emily Kerr
The Daily Record

If you’re facing down a fashion emergency on game day, the team at Anytime Tees is ready to help.
Winner of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s December Small Business of the Month Award, Anytime Tees is a comprehensive customization business that caters to any occasion.
The business was nominated directly through the Chamber of Commerce, owner Rachel Nagunst said.
“I take it to mean that we are doing a good job, to be nominated by our own contact,” she said. “Everybody (at the Chamber) is super helpful. Anytime that we’ve needed help with something, they’ve always been there.”
Having been a Chamber member from the start of her business, Nagunst saw the value immediately during orientation.

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Juvenile Court Judge Doug Johnson (left) is thrilled to receive backpacks from Paul Blazek of the Estate Planning Law Group of Blazek and Gregg. The court’s dog, Finnegan, supervises. (Photo by Lorraine Boyd)

They’ve Got Your Back(packs)
Backpacks threatened to take over the courtroom of Judge Doug Johnson last week as he accepted dozens from Paul Blazek. The attorney said his firm noticed that children in foster care often have nothing but a garbage bag to hold their possessions. As they posted online: “We would like to provide the Juvenile Court authorities with backpacks and athletic/duffel bags that these children can use for their personal articles. If you would like to help us help those kids, please drop off your good (new or) used backpacks and athletic/duffel bags to our office, or call us (and we’ll pick them up).” They continued collecting them at their estate planning events, Blazek said. “Actually, I have to credit my sister, Molly, with the idea. She is also a lawyer and has her own firm, Blazek Law Group, LLC.”
This is just the beginning, Blazek noted. “We will continue to collect backpacks and periodically replenish the court’s supply when they run low. No kids should have to carry their belongings in a garbage bag.” Judge Johnson noted that sometimes adults in his courtroom need them too. “I’m so grateful to Paul and his firm for seeing a need and working to address it. It is so much appreciated.”


Joe Kelly grew up in Lexington, Nebraska, and worked his way all the way to the United States Attorney’s office in Omaha. (Photo by Antone Oseka)

Nebraska Roots Serve Kelly Well
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

You can almost feel the warmth in his heart when Joe Kelly talks about growing up in Lexington, Nebraska, a place about as centered in the American Heartland as any you can find.
“It was a great experience,” he said.
Life in Lexington included grandparents and extended family from both sides of his family tree. The family didn’t farm; his maternal grandfather owned and ran the local newspaper – The Lexington Clipper – and Kelly’s father took over the daily operations of the paper after World War II.
A typical Midwestern boy growing up, Joe Kelly played football and golf in high school. He went on from high school to attend the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and graduated in 1978 with his bachelor’s degree in political science. From there it was straight into law school.
“I think the thought of doing trial work was the most prominent among the reasons,” he said when asked what drew him to the practice of law and his role as a prosecutor. “The excitement and fast pace of trial work as compared to other types of law.”

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Sean Summers welcomes JaceyAuna (on the right) as an official member of the Summers family, which includes her two biological sisters (left) and a half-sister. The decree was issued by new Juvenile Court Judge Chad Brown, whose first time at the event found him impressed with the joyful proceedings.
(Photo by Lorraine Boyd)

And JaceyAuna Makes Four
Young Father Celebrates Adoption Saturday

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

Thirty-eight children who had been in foster care became official members of their adoptive families on Adoption Saturday in Omaha November 17.
This is the 19th consecutive year that the national event has been celebrated in Omaha. This is, however, the first year that Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge Wadie Thomas, who retired earlier this year, did not preside over the event that he founded.
This year, Juvenile Court Judge Elizabeth Crnkovich presided, but she said it would be a rotating position
in the future.
Nonetheless, Judge Thomas couldn’t stay away; he showed up and visited with the families, lawyers and guardians ad litem, rejoicing with them on this special day.
Summers Family Thankful
Also rejoicing was single dad Sean Summers, who adopted the sibling of two of his daughters, JaceyAuna, 4. He also has another daughter who is 6.
Summers, when asked about his journey up to this day, shook his head and said, “It was a long journey. I had to adopt her; I wanted to keep her with her sisters.”

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Ron Murtaugh, judicial administrator for Douglas County Court, shows off a temporary structure to be used by cashiers and clerks during Douglas County Courthouse renovations on Oct. 18, 2018.      (Photo by Scott Stewart)

Murtaugh’s Move Works for DC Court
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

It’s just a 15-minute drive from the Ralston Police Station to the Douglas County Hall of Justice, but Ron Murtaugh made it look even easier than usual.
Murtaugh, the Lincoln-born former police chief of Ralston, has smoothly transitioned from law enforcement
to the legal community.
It’s been close to two years since the 30-year law enforcement veteran, who spent a quarter century in our nation’s military, became judicial administrator of Douglas County Court.
Murtaugh, who has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration, said the similarities between law enforcement and the courts made the move a good fit. After all, he worked with several of the judges while wearing a badge.
“In addition, I was aware of the state’s pursuit of technology in the courts,” he said. “Recognizing the huge importance of technology and how it can increase efficiency and access to the courts, this was an extremely
intriguing part of this position that elevated my interest.”

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Presenter Anna Berman, an associate in the Kansas City office, conducts a lively interactive session. Photos by Lorraine Boyd

Kutak Rock Employment Seminar Examines
Wide Range of Topics

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

More than 200 people attended Kutak Rock’s 11th annual Employment Law Seminar Nov. 8 at the Scott Conference Room on the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s south campus.
The all-day seminar grows every year, Kutak Rock partner Marcia Washkuhn said, with this year’s attendance being the largest to date. The CLE seminar targets in-house counsel and human resources professionals.
This year’s seminar was entitled “Canvassing Employment Law: A Midterm Review.”
The seminar focused on developments and updates from the past two years, including practical advice on issues related to new trends, immigration law, wage and hour law, arbitration agreements, the #MeToo movement, anti-poaching laws, the Defend Trade Secrets Act, benefits and ethics.

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Hildegard, 2, plays a memory game on a giant touchscreen while her father Stephen Tefft watches during an open house at Do Space last Thursday. (Photo by Scott Stewart)

Do Space Provides Technology Access to Community
By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

Omaha’s free community technology library and workspace marked its third anniversary with an open house last Thursday, inviting the public to explore its slate of high-tech offerings.
Do Space opened its doors in 2015 to welcome makers, hackers, creatives and the general public to provide access and education to modern technology, such as large 3-D printers, expensive design software and brand-new virtual reality equipment.

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Above left: Henry Baldwin of Omaha uses a virtual reality system at Do Space.
Above right: Vince Mancuso of La Vista discusses projects he made with the laser cutter to Julie Jarek of Bellevue during an open house at Do Space. (Photos by Scott Stewart)

Probation Report Released on
Adult Community Corrections Programs

The Administrative Office of Probation has publically released their 2017-2018 Report on Adult Community Corrections Programs, Facilities, Tools, Services and Supervision.   The report, based on fiscal year numbers, is submitted to the Nebraska Crime Commission on an annual basis.
As outlined throughout the report, the positive impact Probation made on community safety continued to be apparent during FY 2018. Now that Probation’s efforts in adult Justice Reinvestment (JRI) efforts have begun to take hold, there is demonstrative evidence that Probation is a cost-effective means of accomplishing
community safety. Community corrections, at its very core, provides for safer, healthier communities.
In short, during Fiscal Year 2018 the Administrative Office of Probation:
• Completed 10,132 presentence investigations (PSIs), and 763 post-release supervision plans. Both numbers represent an increase over the previous fiscal year (10,098 PSIs, 443 PRS plans)
• Provided case management for 8,731 new, high-risk individuals in their communities.
• Supervised 1,040 individuals under post-release supervision.
• Continued to experience a rise in the overall risk-level of the population served.
• Observed a significant reduction in the overall risk-level of high-risk individuals in both probationers and problem solving court participants upon successful completion of supervision.
• Collected a total of 477,512 chemical tests, compared with 427,976 the previous year.
• Positively impacted the number of individuals revoked to a state correctional facility. The number of individuals being revoked off of probation to a state prison for a new law violation dropped 5 percent, (57 to 52), while those revoked to prison for technical violations dropped 16 percentage points from 45 to 29.
• Experienced a dramatic increase in the utilization of administrative and custodial sanctions as a means to avoid revocation proceedings. Administrative sanctions rose to 16,432 in FY 2018, while 1,759 custodial sanctions were deployed during the fiscal year.
The complete report can be found on the State of Nebraska Judicial Board website.

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U.S. Marshal Scott Kracl poses for a photograph in front of the Marshal’s seal in his office. Kracl took over the position earlier this year. (Photo by Antone Oseka)

Scott Kracl – U.S. Marshal for Nebraska, Hometown Boy
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record

Scott Kracl wasn’t on the new job long before he was reminded why he opted for a career in law enforcement.
Walking into the federal courthouse in Lincoln, the new U.S. Marshal was welcomed by a familiar face who told him to have a good day.
It was “Mr. Hanson,” a Nebraska State Trooper who often came to the courthouse in Schuyler for court. The older man gave the young Kracl advice about making good decisions and staying out of trouble if he wanted to be a state trooper, advice he valued and took to heart.
It also connected him to the strong Nebraska roots the Omaha native counts on in his new assignment.
Kracl grew up in the metro area near 40th and Chandler, where he attended Gilder School and Omaha Bryan High. In 1981, his family moved to Schuyler as Kracl’s father took over the family farm.
“A little bit of culture shock,” he said. At the time of the move he wondered, “Why?” but that’s where he met Susan, his wife of 31 years. The couple have two adult children in their late 20s and an eight-month-old granddaughter.
“I just love it,” he said of being a grandfather.
The new job as U.S. Marshal also meets with his favor. Founded by George Washington, the Marshal’s service is celebrating 228 years of operation. The main job is to make sure the federal judiciary and all who participate in the justice system can work in safety. In a word, or two, providing security.

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Jerrold L. “Jerry” Strasheim
September 25, 1931 – November 30, 2018

Life-Long Love of the Law
Longtime Omaha attorney Jerrold L. “Jerry” Strasheim died November 30 in Omaha. He was 87.
For more than 60 years, Jerry practiced business and bankruptcy law in Nebraska and Iowa. He was a cum laude graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1957, after earning his B.S. at UNL. As a 3L student, he and two colleagues, representing the school, wrote the winning brief of the Seventh Annual National Moot Court Competition.
In 1959-60 he served as minority counsel to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee for Improvements in Judicial Machinery. In 1962 he was listed in the ABA Journal as the new Chairman of the Nebraska Junior Bar, a section of the Nebraska State Bar Association.
A bankruptcy referee from 1962 to 1973, he also taught Creditor’s Rights at Creighton from 1966 to 1976. He wrote several articles on bankruptcy for the Nebraska Law Review and the Journal of the National Association of Referees in Bankruptcy. He was elected president of the Legal Aid Society in 1975.
Jerry was a partner in the law firm of Baird, Holm, McEachen, Pedersen, Hamann & Strasheim, specializing in bankruptcy law. He was still practicing law in a solo practice when he died.
Jerry and his wife, Mary Ann, were featured in the Omaha World-Herald’s Goodfellows story just four days before his death. They were looking forward to their 50th wedding anniversary this month. Last year they donated to Goodfellows in honor of their 49th anniversary when they had to cancel a holiday cruise because a fall put Jerry in rehab.
His first wife, Bernadette, died of a brain aneurism when she was only 32. They had been married six years and had two children. He is also preceded in death by his parents, Alexander and Marie (Hahler) Strasheim; and sister Lorraine. He is survived by wife Mary Ann; daughters Sharon Frey (Mark) and Elise Aust; sons Alexander Strasheim, John F. Hanson, and Frederick Strasheim (Maureen); brother Rollie; twelve grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, after a graveside service with military honors at 9 a.m. at Omaha National Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the Salvation Army, Open Door Mission, Hospice House and Opera Omaha.
– By Lorraine Boyd


UNL College of Law Dean Richard Moberly talks to law students March 8, 2017. The Law School was recently named the nation’s best value by National Jurist Magazine. (Courtesy Craig Chandler/University Communications)

UNL College of Law Among Nation’s Best Values
Value is one of the chief values of the Nebraska College of Law.
The law school housed at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln was ranked the nation’s No. 1 best value by National Jurist Magazine in recent years, and it ranked third from the lowest in terms of student debt in a 2018 review by U.S. News and World Report.
But for Richard Moberly, the college’s dean, value isn’t just about dollars and cents. It’s about the sense soon-to-be-attorneys have that they’re prepared to enter the legal profession.
“We think it is no longer enough for a law school to teach students to think like a lawyer,” Moberly said. “We’re trying to get our students opportunities where they can learn practical and professional skills that they will need from the moment they graduate.”

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In Their Words

Melani Hagge: “I went on a couple of tours at the law school. I just noticed the culture there (at Nebraska) was different from other law schools in terms of the camaraderie between the students. … You’re all part of a team working toward this goal of graduation and becoming an attorney. … I also noted how they talked about their professors. They talked a lot about the approachability of their professors and that they would really bring the material in the class down to earth. … There is an element in each class that I have had where it is practice-oriented.”
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Brian Barks, president and CEO of Food Bank for the Heartland, stands by food ready to be loaded onto a truck in the loading dock of the Food Bank’s Omaha warehouse on Nov. 6, 2018. (Photos by Scott Stewart)

More Than Cans of Corn and Green Beans
Tariff Assistance Yields Extra Donations to Area Food Pantries

By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

Political setbacks can translate into lost income – and even existential threats – for Nebraska and Iowa farmers. Strangely, though, it also means more food on the table for some local families who aren’t sure where they’ll come up with their next meal.
While the U.S.-China trade war continues to wage, it provides uncertainty for agriculture producers in the Midwest. In addition, an overhaul of NAFTA could face a political hurdle in a divided Congress and agricultural policies remain in limbo as lawmakers seek consensus on the farm bill during the lame duck session.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a package of relief programs for producers in August that were intended to soften the blow from steel and aluminum tariffs, which prompted retaliatory tariffs from Mexico and China. One of those programs authorized the purchase of up to $1.2 billion in commodities distributed to food banks and child nutrition programs across the country.
For Omaha-area residents, this means more milk and pork products are available to help feed hungry families throughout the winter months.

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The Food Bank for the Heartland purchases bulk produce that volunteers repackage for distribution to food pantries across Nebraska and Western Iowa. (Photo by Scott Stewart)


The Food Bank for the Heartland has a West Omaha warehouse of food product stored until it can be distributed to local food pantries across Nebraska and Western Iowa.

Nonprofits Work to Reach All Food Insecure Families Across Metro Area, Greater Region
By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

More than 100,000 people in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area don’t consistently know where they will get their next meal.
In some parts of the metro area, nearly half of the residents are food insecure, according to research funded by the United Way of the Midlands and the Iowa West Foundation. The problem is even more prevalent among families with children.
“All of us need access to healthy, nutritious, affordable food,” said Nancy Williams, president and CEO of the grassroots Omaha nonprofit No More Empty Pots, in a news release. “We know that when we consume more healthy food, it can lead us to live better lives.”

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Omaha Bar Association President Dave Sommers (right) interviews Patrick McNamara, founder and managing attorney at McNamara Law Firm, during a recent podcast recording.      
(Photo courtesy of Omaha Bar Association)

Belly Up to the ‘Bar Talk’ with Sommers, OBA
By Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

Dave Sommers laughs when he’s asked if he runs a media outlet.
Yet Sommers, the 34-year-old executive director of the Omaha Bar Association, spends time going
out and conducting interviews, moderating panel discussions, organizing events and relaying news to the association’s more than 1,500 members.
“I see my job as connecting people and informing them,” Sommers said.
One of the main ways the Omaha Bar Association is reaching out to its younger members is a podcast, which Sommers launched in September 2017. He said the idea grew out of his own consumption of podcasts and realized there’s quite a few that have a legal bend.

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Creighton Moot Court Finals
Earn Compliments From Judges

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

Each year, second-year law students at Creighton University engage in a Moot Court competition, culminating
with the final teams competing last Thursday afternoon at the law school’s Gross Appellate Courtroom. The large lecture room was filled with students and faculty.

The final teams’ members were Maggie Brokaw and Montana Crow for the appellant and Julia Hartnett and Christopher McMahon for the appellee.
The judicial panel consisted of the Hon. L. Steven Grasz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit; the Hon. Robert Rossiter Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska and Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Stephanie Stacy.
After the judges’ deliberations, they declared Brokaw the event’s outstanding oralist. They awarded the appellee team the victory in the overall competition.
Justice Stacy lauded the participants for their preparation, poise and professionalism.
“You could go toe-to-toe with any of the lawyers whose arguments we have heard recently,” she said. “You are to be commended.”

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Meetings & Seminars
For the Legal Community
DECEMBER 13, 2018
Omaha Barristers' Club Holiday Show
5 PM Cocktails 7 PM Dinner Show following
Scoular Ballroom, Omaha
For more information/tickets:

DECEMBER 14, 2018
Nebraska State Bar Association
Gain the Edge! Negotiation Strategies for Lawyers
9:00 AM until 4:30 PM
Embassy Suites, La Vista, NE
For More Information:

DECEMBER 18, 2018
Nebraska State Bar Association
Legal Ethics Issues for Compliance Officers
10:00 AM until 12:10 PM
Kutak Rock LLP, Omaha, NE
For More Information:

DECEMBER 19, 2018
Nebraska State Bar Association
Criminal Law
1:00 PM until 4:30 PM
UNL College of Law, Lincoln, NE
For More Information:


DECEMBER 20, 2018
Final CASA Cocktails of 2018
5:00-7:00 pm

Culprit Cafe - Midtown Crossing
This informal happy hour is an opportunity to connect with CASA volunteers and staff, and to learn how to get engaged in CASA's mission.
DECEMBER 20, 2018
Nebraska State Bar Association
Law, Literature, Legal Ethics & Professionalism – Omaha
9:00 AM until 12:15 PM or 1:00 PM until 4:15 PM
Thompson Alumni Center, Omaha, NE
For More Information:

DECEMBER 21, 2018
Nebraska State Bar Association
Law, Literature, Legal Ethics & Professionalism – Lincoln
9:00 AM until 12:15 PM
Hruska Law Center, Lincoln, NE
For More Information:

DECEMBER 27, 2018
Nebraska State Bar Association
De-briefing the Law 2018:
A Comedic Review of the Supreme Court, Legal Ethics and Headline Cases
8:50 AM until 4:00 PM
Scott Conference Center, Omaha, NE
For More Information:

JANUARY 19, 2019
Nebraska Legal Professionals Association
NLPA Winter Board Meeting
Lincoln, Ne
For more Information:

JANUARY 25, 2019
Omaha Bar Association
Annual OBA Wine Tasting
Bennington, Ne
For More Information:

FEBRUARY 20, 2019
Omaha Bar Association
29th Annual “Lunch with Fenner”
11:45AM until 1:00PM
Omaha, NE
For More Information:


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