At Cordell & Cordell, Nancy Shannon Knows the Turf and Is Prepared to Fight 09/14/18 3:27:09 PM
At Cordell & Cordell, Nancy Shannon
Knows the Turf and Is Prepared to Fight
By Andy Roberts
The Daily Record
Divorce can be the worst experience in a person’s life. Anyone who’s experienced the ordeal knows that. Nancy Shannon is one of those people who knows firsthand.
And guess what? She works for Cordell & Cordell – the national firm known for helping men through divorce. That personal and professional experience helps her guide her clients through a process that often is long and painful.
Shannon said her experience allows her to know what her clients are going through and how they are forced to address many unknown situations that involve some of the most important parts of their life.
“I know what it’s like to sit on the other side of the desk,” she said.
Shannon advises her clients they should hope for the best but brace for the worst – and prepare for both. If her client and the opposing party can reach an agreement, Shannon is willing to assist them.
A member of the American and Nebraska State Bar Associations, and a past member of the American Inns of Court, Shannon also is a member of the Family Law division of the state bar. From 2016 to 2018 she was recognized as a Great Plains Rising Star in the family law practice area by Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters rating service for outstanding lawyers.
She is ready, Shannon pointed out, to aggressively go to trial if negotiations break down.
Shannon wasn’t looking to hit the “Easy Button” when she took the job.
“It can be very challenging dealing with clients who initially come to me in crisis mode,” she said. “They are scared and have no idea what is going to happen next.
“I have the opportunity to provide guidance and represent people in what is often their only experience with the court system.”
Her preparation started at Doane University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. Later, at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, she graduated with a law degree and was a finalist in a moot court competition. She also participated in client counseling activities there.
That wasn’t her original plan. Her path wasn’t a traditional one.
“I went to law school when I was 35 years old,” Shannon said. “At that point in my life, I was looking for a career change that would provide me with new challenges every day, with the ability to maintain contact with people and help them in a way that really matters to them.
“Family law certainly fulfills those goals,” she said.
Shannon graduated from law school in 2008 (she calls UNL a “fantastic experience”) and hung up her own shingle in Lincoln for around a year. During that time she “got experience in juvenile law and a little criminal law.”
Since 2010 she has been practicing out of the Cordell & Cordell office in Omaha.
While she’s a consummate professional, the law isn’t her whole life.
“I have a wonderful 22-year-old daughter, of whom I am so proud, and we share custody of a cat that I am less proud, but quite enamored, of,” she said. “My parents and sister all live in Nebraska, and I have lived in the state all my life.”
For a good time, she enjoys going back to her Sandhills roots to recharge.
“I’m very fortunate to have lots of witty friends who share my love for wine, movies, and exploring the local sites,” she said.
The recharging is needed when working in an arena like divorce court, which she loves as much for the challenges it presents as anything.
“There aren’t many more impactful ways to help people,” Shannon emphasized. “I get a great amount of satisfaction from this responsibility, and don’t take it lightly.”
She also doesn’t think of herself as “the woman” fighting for “the man” in court.
“When I go to work, I am an attorney doing the best I can for my clients who happen to be mostly men,” she said.
Shannon said every case is different with its specific set of facts, but when children are involved she takes a special angle. “Generally, in custody cases, I try to shine a spotlight on my client’s positives as a parent, and how those traits enhance the child’s best interests,” she said.
Because of the stress during a divorce, there often is a need for mental health counseling.
“The initial stress of a divorce often creates situational depression and anxiety,” Shannon said. “Many clients are afraid to get help because they think it will be used against them. I tell my clients that judges don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to handle your problems in an adult manner, and mental health care is a part of that.
“Also, the healthier a client is, the better parent they can be.”
The biggest mistake men make, she stated, is moving out of their house when they don’t need to.
“Stay in the house and be a full-time parent for as long as you can,” she said.
Shannon has become a force for men in divorce proceedings, and you can expect her to remain in this area of the law.
“For now,” she said, “I don’t see myself changing a thing."