David L. Herzog
July 31, 1937 – April 16, 2019
‘He Was Never Too Busy to Teach’
Omaha attorney David L. Herzog was a kind man who took the time to maintain relationships by writing notes, sharing articles and leaving a lasting impression on many in the local community.
As an attorney, Herzog was intense and didn’t like leaving anything to chance. He had an inquisitive mind and sought to understand the law, even when that meant pouring over the small nuisance of shades of meaning.
After a long battle with lung disease, Herzog died April 16 at age 81. He was practicing law up until the day of his death.
Herzog was a 1962 graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law. He began his career as a prosecutor with the Douglas County Attorney’s Office, and he then practiced at the firm of Fromkin, Herzog and Becker for 35 years. He then joined his wife, Julianne Dunn, to form the firm of Herzog & Herzog, where he practiced for 20 years.
“My husband was enormously patient,” said Dunn, who retired from the law in 2015. “He was patient with his clients. He was patient with judges. He was patient with the system. And he was patient with his family. He was patient with everyone.”
Herzog was a civil and criminal litigator, and his high-profile cases include State v. Copple, State v. Rice and Poindexter, State v. Ulysees Cribbs et al.
“He loved being a lawyer,” Dunn said. “People liked him, and he liked them. He was a good, good fit temperamentally.”
Herzog was a founding president of the Nebraska Criminal Defense Lawyers and worked to enhance learning opportunities for criminal defense attorneys.
Retired attorney Ed Fogarty said in a letter shared with The Daily Record that they met on opposite sides of a case involving a Vietnam War conscientious objector in 1969, which was abruptly halted when the circuit court handed down a slip opinion that opened the door to recognizing philosophical pacifists.
“Fifty years have passed,” Fogarty wrote in the letter. “Years of friendship, laughing, running, litigating, joy, sadness, and ... oh, the story telling ... stories told, retold, again and again, getting better in each retelling.”
Herzog served the Nebraska State Bar Association as a member of the House of Delegates, and he was named a fellow by the Nebraska State Bar Foundation. He also was elected to judicial selection committee for judges for county, state and juvenile courts.
In his personal life, Herzog was an active skier, golfer, runner and swimmer. He had a wide circle of friends, and he carried on pen pal relationships for years. He always sent cards to maintain friendships.
Vernon Daniels, a judge in the Douglas County Separate Juvenile Court, said he received a thank you card from Herzog after stopping to help him adjust his cap, scarf and oxygen tube when he saw him at a conference at Creighton University.
“David has always been supportive toward me and encouraged me in my career,” Daniels said. “He always had the time to talk about different career paths that I may want to think about.”
Daniels said Herzog regularly shared articles about the law with him and was an advocate for the juvenile court, even though that was not his main area of practice. He said Herzog had a strong sense of social justice and fairness, and he focused on benefitting others.
“He was never too busy to teach,” Daniels said. “He was not in any sense a person whose interests and focus were narrow.”
Herzog was also a second-generation, lifelong member of Beth El Synagogue. He taught comparative law at the synagogue’s high school, and he led weekly Saturday services at Rose Blumkin Jewish Home for the last decade of his mother’s life.
Herzog was buried privately at Beth El Cemetery in accordance with Jewish customs on April 18.
A memorial service for friends, colleagues and clients will be held Sunday, June 2, at Beth El Synagogue, 14506 California St., with a reception to follow.
Memorials may be made to Beth El Synagogue, Talmud Torah or any other charity of choice.
Herzog was preceded in death by parents Irving and Pearl Herzog; brother Michael Herzog; and sister-in-law Amy Ardell (Ian Herzog). He is survived by his wife Julianne Dunn; brother Ian “Buddy” Herzog of California; sister Barbara Greenwald of Omaha; children Michael Herzog of New Jersey, Claudia Herzog of Colorado and Erika Herzog of New York; four grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
– Scott Stewart