OBA Gets Close-up Look at Bench Protocol 8/30/18 08/29/18 9:43:10 PM
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OBA Executive Director Dave Sommers, left, listens as Nebraska judges take their turn with the microphone. From left are the Honorables Doug Johnson, Stephanie Martinez, James Gleason, Francie Riedmann, Marcela Keim and Michael Nelson. (Photo by Lorraine Boyd)
Omaha Bar Association Gets Close-up Look at Bench Protocol
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record
The Omaha Bar Association rebooted their Bench Bar event last Friday afternoon, and the result was an unqualified success.
But it wasn’t without its challenges.
The AIM Exchange Building’s seventh floor Trading Floor Conference Space suffered the effects of a leaky roof, so a last-minute change to the second floor was in order. While the room was large enough, the layout was a bit unconventional. No matter; the two-hour 2018 Bench Bar Briefing kicked off right on time.
Every Nebraska court, except the Supreme Court, was represented.
Each of the six judges made a 15-minute presentation on best practices in their respective courts, followed by a question and answer session.
The presenting judges were: Hon. Marcela Keim, Douglas County Court; Hon. James Gleason, Douglas County District Court; Hon. Francie Riedmann, Nebraska Court of Appeals; Hon. Michael Nelson, U.S. Magistrate Court; Hon. Stefanie Martinez, Sarpy County District Court (formerly of Sarpy County Court); and Hon. Doug Johnson, Douglas County Separate Juvenile Court.
OBA President Patrick Cooper and OBA Executive Director Dave Sommers moderated the event.
In addition to learning the particular practices of an individual judge, participants were brought up to speed on the latest changes imposed by new laws and rules. They learned that each judge had some specific dos and don’ts, while sharing some common requests such as: Be prepared; Dress appropriately; and Remember that there’s a reason it’s called a “brief.”
The presentations were both informative and humorous and the time sped by. Sommers said the event sought to “improve the quality of legal advocacy provided by local counsel and to foster an open and constructive dialogue between members of the judiciary and practicing bar of attorneys in the Omaha area.” The judges all urged the attorneys, especially newer ones, to ask questions – of judges and attorneys alike.
The OBA plans to make this event an annual one. The last one, held in 2014, was a all-day workshop, with simultaneous multiple sessions. Feedback from that event led to a complete restructuring.
Attorneys who couldn’t attend the event were given an online viewing option as well. Participants of the event, which was free for OBA members, earned two hours of CLE credit.
Representatives of AON Risk Solutions – Pat Bourne and Michaela Valentin – spent a few minutes updating attorneys on the Nebraska State Bar Association’s new health insurance option for members, the NSBA Health Insurance Consortium.