Civil Rights

Professor Danielle Jefferis

Danielle C. Jefferis Assistant Professor of Law

Professor Jefferis’s research focuses on theories of punishment and the law and policy governing prison and detention, with an emphasis on the for-profit prison industry and immigration-related confinement. She takes both critical and comparative approaches to her work, looking at carceral systems, practices, and theories around the world. Professor Jefferis has presented her research at Harvard Law School, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Denver College of Law, Loyola University School of Law, Louisiana State University Law, the Australian National University, London University, Amsterdam Law School, the University of Lisbon, and Leiden University, among others. She has provided expert commentary on prison and detention issues for national and international media outlets, including VICE, Mother Jones, and NowThis, and has been solicited as an amicus curiae for cases involving prison law and prisoners’ rights in courts around the country.

Professor Jefferis’s scholarship is informed by her unique teaching and practice experience, which lie at the intersection of constitutional law and prisoners’ rights, immigration law, and federal courts. She has extensive civil rights litigation experience and has represented plaintiffs in federal courts across the country, including in the United States Supreme Court. She has taken several cases to trial and successfully litigated numerous appeals. In 2018, she was a member of a team of clinic faculty and student attorneys that successfully challenged the constitutionality of a federal prisoner’s convictions, resulting in his release from prison. One of her most memorable moments as an attorney and teacher was witnessing her client reunite with his family after being separated from them for more than a decade. 

Prior to joining the Nebraska Law faculty, Professor Jefferis taught at California Western School of Law in San Diego and in the Civil Rights Clinic at the University of Denver College of Law. Before entering academia, she was the Nadine Strossen Fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project in New York and an associate attorney with a boutique civil rights firm in Colorado. Professor Jefferis also clerked for the now-retired Honorable Gale T. Miller of the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Read more about Danielle C. Jefferis

Professor Roger Kirst

Roger W. Kirst Henry M. Grether Professor of Law Emeritus

Professor Kirst joined the faculty in 1974 and is a Professor of Law. In 1970 he received his J.D. degree from Stanford Law School where he served as a member of the Stanford Law Review. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1971 and the Nebraska Bar in 1974. He was employed as an associate by a New York City law firm from 1970-71 and served in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps from 1971-74. Professor Kirst teaches Civil Procedure, Evidence and Civil Rights Litigation. He is the Reporter for the Nebraska Supreme Court Committee on Practice and Procedure and a member of the Federal Practice Committee for the District of Nebraska.

Read more about Roger W. Kirst

Professor Brian Lepard

Brian D. Lepard Harold W. Conroy Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of LL.M. Program in Global Legal Practice

Professor Lepard is a leading expert in the fields of international law, human rights law, comparative law, and tax law.  He joined the faculty in 1995. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1983. At Princeton, he was named a Scholar of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and concentrated on the study of international law and organization, receiving a prize from the Woodrow Wilson School for his thesis on the development of the idea of the League of Nations in France during the First World War. Following his graduation from Princeton, he worked for three years as an international human rights law specialist at the United Nations Office of the Baha'i International Community, a non-governmental organization. In 1989, he received his J.D. degree from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Journal of International Law.  From 1989 until 1995 he practiced tax law as an associate with the Philadelphia-based law firm of Dechert Price & Rhoads, with a special focus on international tax law as well as exempt organizations law.

Professor Lepard has multidisciplinary scholarly and teaching interests in the fields of international human rights law; humanitarian intervention; international legal theory; comparative law, including comparative religious law; ethics; and tax and business law, including international tax law. He is the author of eight books and numerous articles relating to these diverse subject areas. Professor Lepard has spoken on the subjects of international law, human rights, and comparative law at conferences and other gatherings around the world, including in Albania, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, France, French Polynesia, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Professor Lepard holds the Harold W. Conroy Distinguished Professor of Law chair at the College of Law.  He also serves as Academic Director of the Law College’s LL.M. in Global Legal Practice Program.  He is the faculty adviser for the Law College’s program of concentrated study on international human rights law.  He is a member of the editorial review boards of a number of academic journals, including The Journal of Human Rights, Religion and Human Rights:  An International Journal, and The Journal of Baha'i Studies. He currently serves as chair of the Committee on the Formation of Customary International Law of the American Branch of the International Law Association and has served as chair of the International Legal Theory Interest Group of the American Society of International Law.  He is a member of the International Board of Consultants of the Global Ethics and Religion Forum and of the Board of Advisors of Genocide Watch.  He has also served as faculty adviser to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bahá'í Association.

During the 2019-2020 academic year, Professor Lepard is teaching International Human Rights Law Seminar, Comparative Law: World Legal Systems and Their Relevance to U.S. Law and Practice, International Perspectives in the U.S. Legal System: Practicing Law in a Global Legal Environment, and Business Planning.

Professor Lepard is admitted to practice in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and before the U.S. Tax Court.  He is fluent in French and proficient in Portuguese. 

Read more about Brian D. Lepard

Professor Ryan SUllivan

Ryan Sullivan Clinical Associate Professor of Law

Professor Sullivan joined the Law College faculty in August, 2013, as a supervising attorney in the Civil Clinical Law Program. He received his B.A. from Colorado State University-Pueblo while completing his enlistment in the U.S. Army, majoring in business administration. Thereafter he attended California University of Pennsylvania where he obtained his Master’s in Health Sciences. After a career in the fitness industry, he enrolled at UNL College of Law where he served as an editor of the Nebraska Law Review, the Chair of the Moot Court Board, and a member of the National Trial Team. Following graduation, Professor Sullivan joined the law firm of Kinsey, Rowe, Becker and Kistler where he practiced in the area of general civil litigation.

As the Director of the Civil Clinic, Professor Sullivan supervises student attorneys providing legal services to veterans and underserved populations in the areas of tenant rights, debt collection defense, criminal record rehabilitation, estate planning, family law, and other civil matters.   Professor Sullivan also manages the Advance Directive Clinic (ADC) Project, wherein Civil Clinic students provide basic estate planning services to senior citizens in rural and semi-rural Communities around the State of Nebraska.  Professor Sullivan also supervises several outreach projects within the Civil Clinic, including the Clean Slate Project, the Veterans Advocacy Project, the Tenants’ Rights Project and the Family Law Project. 

He is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Clinical Section of the Association of American Law Schools, and the Clinical Legal Education Association.

A Nebraska native, Professor Sullivan is an avid Husker fan, and enjoys cycling, woodworking and furniture restoration.

Read more about Ryan Sullivan