Gotsdiner Honored by State Bar Foundation 3/14/19 03/14/19 11:29:50 AM
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Gary Gotsdiner of Omaha, right, receives the Nebraska State Bar Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award from John Kotouc of Omaha. (Photo courtesy of Nebraska State Bar Foundation)
Gotsdiner Honored by State Bar Foundation
Omaha attorney Gary Gotsdiner was among three long-time members of the legal profession
honored Saturday night in Omaha at the 31st annual Fellows Dinner of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation.
Gotsdiner is chairman, shareholderand director of McGill, Gotsdiner, Workman & Lepp of Omaha. He received the Bar Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his impressive background in law and his community support. He is a 1978 graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law.
“I am excited, honored and grateful to receive this award,” Gotsdiner said. “The Nebraska State Bar Foundation does extraordinary work promoting law-related education in the State of Nebraska.”
Others honored were retired District Court Judge Mary Gilbride, who received the Bar Foundation’s Legal Pioneer Award, and retired Administrative Judge and former Lancaster County Attorney Ron Lahners, who received the Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award.
In addition, 30 Nebraska lawyers and judges were inducted as Bar Foundation Fellows, joining 761 colleagues who have been chosen for the honor over the past five decades. Lawyers are invited to become Fellows based on their integrity and character, their distinction in the profession or in the community, their contributions to the profession or the community, and their contributions to the Bar Foundation.
Gotsdiner’s primary practice areas include mergers, divestitures, acquisitions, financeand banking. In his work, he has helped many start-up businesses achieve success and transition to the next generation. He has earned the Chartered Advisory in Philanthropy profession designation.
In the community, he and his wife, Lisa, are members of the Community Cabinet of Project Harmony, whose mission is to protect and support children and end child abuse. Other community activities he supports include the Omaha Ballet, the Omaha Children’s Museum and Attorneys and Accountants for the Arts.
In presenting the award, John Kotouc, Executive Co-chairman of American National Corporation, said, “At American National Bank, we have worked with Gary for many years and value his opinion, both personally and professionally. We believe he brings honor to the legal profession.”
Steve Guenzel of Lincoln, president of the Bar Foundation, was master of ceremonies for the event at the Holland Center. The Bar Foundation’s Law-Related Education theme for 2018-2019 is “Championing Civility.”
“At a time of great political and public discord, the Nebraska State Bar Foundation offers resources and programs to help educators and others teach and model ways to explore and discuss controversial topics in a rational and respectful manner,” Guenzel said.
The Bar Foundation offers Law-Related Education programs for Nebraska teachers and students and manages the Roman L. Hruska Institute for the Administration of Justice, the Standing Bear Scholarship Fund and the Dan Jewell Trial Institute, Guenzel said.
Headquartered in Lincoln, the Bar Foundation is dedicated to serving the citizens of Nebraska and the legal profession through the administration and funding of innovative programs directed at the improvement of the administration of justice and the fulfillment of the American vision of equal justice for all.
Judge Gilbride received the Bar Foundation’s Legal Pioneer Award, presented to a lawyer who has made innovative contributions to the improvement of justice. She said she was surprised to receive the award, thinking she had been working hidden and unknown in courthouses in Wahoo and David City.
Judge Gilbride said she was honored to follow in the footsteps of a previous award recipient, the late Supreme Court Justice Leslie Boslaugh, whom she clerked for early in her career. He taught her to accept the inevitable criticism that comes with public service with grace, she said.
Retired United States Attorney for Nebraska Deborah Gilg called Judge Gilbride “a true pioneer and innovator – the first woman in Nebraska to serve both as a county court judge and a district court judge.”
Judge Gilbride was appointed to the 5th Judicial County Court Bench in 1992 and the 5th Judicial District Court Bench in 1998. A graduate of Creighton University Law School, she retired in 2018.
“Judge Gilbride has served as a remarkable role model and mentor for many young lawyers both male and female. She possesses a quick Irish wit with an even temperament that served her well in presiding over the wide range of civil and criminal cases on her docket,” Gilg said.
Judge Lahners received the Bar Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his outstanding service to the legal profession. A former Lancaster County Attorney, he also was United States District Attorney for the District of Nebraska and taught business law at the University of Nebraska College of Law for more than 50 years. He retired after 22 years an Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration.
Lahners said he has been honored to have devoted his professional life to serving the people of Nebraska and the government of the United States. He acknowledged Chief Justice Mike Heavican and the late District Court Judge Bernie McGinn, who both worked for him in the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office. “With guys like that working for you, they made me look pretty good,” he said.
“It has been a wonderful career, and it’s not quite over yet. I have a ways to go,” Lahners said.
Retired Administrative Law Judge Rod Anderson, in presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award, praised his colleague’s commitment to public service. “Judge Lahners hired, encouraged and mentored many lawyers who went on to be judges, practicing attorneys, scholarsand teachers,”
Anderson said. Among the lawyers who one time worked for Lahners in addition to Chief Justice Heavican is Joe Kelly, now U.S. Attorney for Nebraska.
“Judge Lahners is described by one of his proteges as ‘a fair, calm, analytical lawyer whose interest is the public good,’’’ Anderson said. The protege went on to compliment Judge Lahners for his humility, talentand friendship. Lahners is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law.
The Bar Foundation’s new Class of Fellows is listed below:
• Jeffrey Blumel, Omaha
• Max Burbach, Omaha
• Ronald Comes, Omaha
• Patrick Cooper, Omaha
• M. Douglas Deitchler, Lincoln
• Robert Gonderinger, Omaha
• Michael Huffer, Omaha
• Jeffrey Jarecki, Albion
• Bradley Kalkwarf, Wilber
• Jennifer Kulwicki, Lincoln
• Hon. John Marsh, Kearney
• Michael Matukewicz, Omaha
• Richard Moberly, Lincoln
• Edward Morse, Omaha
• Denise Myers, Cairo
• Hon. Michael Nelson, Omaha
• Justice Jonathan Papik, Lincoln
• Hon. Holly J. Parsley, Lincoln
• Hon. Michael Piccolo, North Platte
• Todd Richardson, Omaha
• Hon. Rick Schreiner, Beatrice
• Lawrence Sheehan, Omaha
• Hon. Julie Smith, Tecumseh
• Hon. Michael Smith, Plattsmouth
• Cathy Trent-Vilim, Omaha
• Janine Ucchino, Omaha
• Kelly Werts, Humboldt
• Hon. Paul Wess, Alliance
• Hon. Horacio Wheelock, Omaha
• Melanie Whittamore-Mantzios, Lincoln
Above: Retired District Court Judge Mary Gilbride, left, receives the Nebraska State Bar Foundation Legal Pioneer Award from Retired United States Attorney Deborah Gilg.
Below: Retired Administrative Judge Ron Lahners, left, receives the Nebraska State Bar Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award from Retired Administrative Judge Rod Anderson.
(Photos courtesy of Nebraska State Bar Foundation)