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Danielle Jefferis headshot

Jefferis to present at inaugural Philosophy and Legal Theory Collaborative Workshop

23 May 2024    

Professor Danielle Jefferis will present her paper, The Nomos of Force, at the inaugural Philosophy and Legal Theory Collaborative Workshop hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder Department of Philosophy. Workshop presentations will address philosophy of law and individual legal questions from all philosophical traditions as well as political philosophy, political theory, moral philosophy, social epistemology, social ontology, moral psychology, philosophy of action and decision theory on topics relevant to law or socio-legal topics.

The abstract for The Nomos of Force, is below.

The American Constitution purports to proscribe certain acts of state violence against individuals, including those who are incarcerated. The degree to which the law limits official acts of force, however, bears on the status of the target of the force. A free person stopped by a law enforcement officer on the street, for example, bears a Fourth Amendment right to be free from “objectively unreasonable” force. A person who is charged with a crime and detained before trial has a similar right, albeit under the Due Process Clause, to be free from objectively unreasonable force. A person who has been convicted of and sentenced for a criminal offense, on the other hand, has a right under the Eighth Amendment to be free only of official force applied “maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm.” The latter protection is hardly any protection at all, as I have demonstrated in other recent empirical work. In that recent work I explore what I call “the prison penalty” — a distinct handicap on sentenced prisoners’ individual right to be free from corporal state violence due solely to their status as a sentenced prisoner. This Article draws upon the theories of Robert M. Cover, Ronald Dworkin, and other critical legal scholars, to examine the philosophical underpinnings of the force doctrine and to place the excessive force doctrine within the nomos of constitutional force — i.e., the normative world in which some state actors’ violence is constitutional and others’ is not. Under the current constitutional regime, the American legal system condones progressively brutal violence on the part of state officials. This Article thus critically examines the individual-rights based model of regulating incarceration, which has implications for punishment systems around the world, as well as citizens’ understandings of the purpose and role of constitutional law as a force of restraint (or lack thereof) on state-inflicted violence.

Kristen Blankley hedashot

Blankley presents at Symposium on Informal Conflict Resolution

21 May 2024    

Professor Kristen Blankley and Professor Lisa PytlikZillig, research associate professor and senior research manager at the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, presented “The Ethics and Practice of Part-time Ombuds: Developing a Research Agenda,” at the Saint Paul Annual Symposium on Informal Conflict Resolution in Ottawa, Canada. This research regarding the ethics of ombuds practice also was completed with Professor Rodrigo Franco Cruz, professor of biomedical science at faculty ombuds for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Stefanie Pearlman headshot

Pearlman recognized by the Government Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries

21 May 2024    

Professor Stefanie Pearlman and her co-author Professor Melissa Serfass of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock were selected to receive the Dr. Joel Fishman Professional Publication Award for their publication, Animal Welfare Laws: A Legal Research Guide. The award selection committee for the Government Law Libraries Special Interest Section recognized the publication as a practical and valuable resource for an area of law that is not widely addressed. 

The legal research guide focuses on the growing body of animal welfare laws in the United States. It updates and incorporates material from the authors’ previous research guide, Animals Confined for Human Benefit: A Legal Research Guide and adds additional sections discussing animal welfare protections for other animals, including wildlife and companion animals.

Brett Stohs

Stohs presents at Transactional Clinical Conference

20 May 2024    

Professor Brett Stohs co-led a roundtable discussion at the 2024 Transactional Clinical Conference with Professor Victoria Phillips of American University. The discussion “Redefining Professional Communities Amidst Generational and Technological Change,” explored the evolving notions of community and communication in support of the need to connect with professional colleagues. 

More than 100 attendees, all of whom direct entrepreneurial, small business, community development or intellectual property clinics, attended this year’s conference.

Ann Reese headshot

Reese selected as recipient of inaugural Staff Senate Professional Development Award

20 May 2024    

Ann Reese, leadership team administrator and project manager, has been named the 2024 recipient of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Staff Senate Professional Development Award.

The Staff Senate Professional Development Award is an honor recognizing an individual staff member who prioritizes and is committed to professional development.

During her time at the College of Law, Ann has worked with Assistant Dean Molly Brummond to offer monthly staff development opportunities, faculty and staff community events, and two College of Law all-staff retreats. In addition to her focus on the professional development of others at the College of Law, Ann also mentors other administrative professionals at UNL and at other law schools.

Aurora Garcia and Hannah Middleton headshots

Garcia and Middleton awarded Peggy Browning Fellowships

20 May 2024    

The Peggy Browning Fund has awarded summer fellowships to Aurora Garcia, ’25, and Hannah Middleton, ’26. Garcia, a returning Peggy Browning Fellow, will deepen her understanding of legal advocacy and learn more about the workers’ rights movement through her summer work with Legal Aid at Work in San Francisco. Middleton will work at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) where she will be advocating for policy change that affects workers across the nation.

This year, the Peggy Browning Fund accepted 117 law students into the nationwide fellowship program, the largest cohort in the organization’s history. Securing a Peggy Browning Fellowship is a challenging process, with over 3,950 applications for the 2024 program. As the country continues to face unprecedented challenges to workers’ rights, the fight for workplace justice has never been more pressing. This year’s Fellows are distinguished students who have not only excelled in law school but who have also demonstrated their commitment to workers’ rights through their previous educational, organizing, work, volunteer, and personal experiences.

Raised in the Midwest and a proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, Garcia’s interest in labor and employment law—particularly in workers’ rights—developed from her personal experiences. Through her lifelong experiences interpreting for her family, Garcia learned of the unfair discrimination and exploitation that her family and the members of her working-class immigrant community faced at work. After graduating from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Garcia worked for various law firms in Chicago before starting law school. During law school, she has served as a student interpreter for the University of Nebraska College of Law’s Immigration Clinic. She is a member of the Multicultural Legal Society, the Hispanic Law Student Association, and the Equal Justice Society.

Middleton is a first-year student at Nebraska Law, where she is pursuing a concentration in Labor and Employment Litigation. After spending a year with the Nebraska State Employees Union, Middleton decided to pursue her J.D. to further advance worker’s rights. During her time at the State Employees’ Union, she gained meaningful insight into the issues that impact workers daily and found her passion in resolving these issues and making strides to prevent them.

The Peggy Browning Fund is a not for-profit organization established in memory of Margaret A. Browning, a prominent union-side attorney who was a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from 1994 until 1997. Peggy Browning Fellowships provide law students with unique, diverse and challenging work experiences fighting for social and economic justice. These experiences encourage and inspire students to pursue careers in public interest labor law.

Bear Eagle, Thomas, Blackman, and Puhl headshots

Alumni News | May 2024

16 May 2024    

Every month, we bring you the latest updates from our alumni near and far.

ALUM NOTES

Jennifer Bear Eagle, ’08, has joined Cedar Tree Native Law in Omaha.

Christopher Thomas, ’95, recently accepted the position of Director of Legal Strategy for Education Policy at the Barry Goldwater Institute for Public Policy in Phoenix.

Zachary L. Blackman, ’12, has been appointed District Court Judge for Nebraska's Sixth Judicial District.

ALUM IN THE NEWS

Brynne Holsten Puhl, ’08, has been appointed to Nebraska's Worker's Compensation Court, filling the vacancy left by the retirement of Judge James R. Coe.

Jill Stohs headshot

Stohs named recipient of 2024 Student Affairs Collaborate Award

16 May 2024    

Jill Stohs, academic advisor, has been named a recipient of the 2024 Student Affairs Collaborate Award.

The Collaborate Award recognizes outstanding campus partners who embody the university’s educational mission and Student Affairs’ mission of cultivating student success.

During her time at the College of Law, Jill has connected the College of Law to campus partners and resources and has improved the services that the College is able to provide to students.

Nebraska Alumni Association Executive Director Shelley Zaborowsk, Patty Pansing Brooks and Chancellor Rodney Bennett

Generations of Law graduates recognized with Nebraska Alumni Association Family Tree Award

13 May 2024    

The Emerson, Pansing, Guenzel, Plummer, Johnson, Woolf and Pansing Brooks family was recognized with the award at the Nebraska Alumni Association’s Medallion Dinner on Friday, April 5, 2024.

Patty Pansing Brooks, ’84, and Loel P. Brooks, ’77, are among the latest generation of the Emerson family to send their children to the University of Nebraska College of Law. Their family’s commitment to the University of Nebraska, going back generations, was recognized with the Family Tree Award presented by the Nebraska Alumni Association.

Established in 1995, the Family Tree Award honors one family consisting of at least three generations of University of Nebraska graduates, with at least two family members having a record of outstanding service to the university, the alumni association, their community and/or their profession.

“I’ve known this family for years, and even taught some of them as students. They are wonderful people and leaders. We are honored that Nebraska Law is where they chose to pursue their law degrees,” said Dean Richard Moberly. “As we put together the nomination for the Family Tree Award, I was amazed, but not surprised, by the number of Nebraska graduates, and also by all their accomplishments.”

The dedication of the Emerson, Pansing, Guenzel, Plummer, Johnson, Woolf and Pansing Brooks families to the University of Nebraska is thriving today, because of the values that were established years ago by Dr. Clarence Emerson and Dora Dean Emerson, who both attended the University in the early 1900s.


Now, more than a century later, nearly 50 family members from the extended family call the University of Nebraska their alma mater with graduates following paths in engineering, education, medicine, business, and 14 in law, including:

  • Thomas R. Pansing, Sr., '41
  • Robert C. Guenzel Sr., ’48
  • Thomas R. Pansing Jr., ’69
  • Kile W. Johnson, ’69
  • James E. Pansing, ’73 
  • Loel P. Brooks, '77
  • Steve E. Guenzel,’78 
  • Patty Pansing Brooks, '84
  • Virginia G. Johnson, ’85
  • Paige J. Roberts, ’96
  • Jais M. Woolf, ’07
  • Cameron E. Guenzel, ’10
  • Taylor P. Brooks, '15
  • Graham P. Brooks, '16

Dozens of members of the Emerson Family

A note from Patty Pansing Brooks:

We are all very grateful to Nebraska Law Dean, Richard Moberly, for his kind idea to nominate our family for this meaningful award. Fourteen of us, over 3 generations, have graduated from Nebraska Law alone—which leads some observers to question the existence of a genetic defect in the family!

Our legacy with the University reaches back to our grandmother and grandfather, Dora & Clarence Emerson, who started this epic educational journey for our family in 1902, at the University of Nebraska system. Our grandfather rode a bicycle from Tamora, NE, to Lincoln, NE and slept and worked in a mortuary. He also had a paper route and worked at night as a streetlamp lighter. Dr. Emerson became Lincoln’s first surgeon and was Chief of Surgery for decades at St. Elizabeth Hospital. His life was a historical wonder, as his autobiography reveals. Dora was a masterful pianist and honed her musical skills in the early 1900s with a degree in music from the University.

Our grandparents and parents instilled in each of us the determination to support and improve the communities in which we live. After WWII, brothers-in-law, Thomas Pansing, Sr., and Robert Guenzel, Sr., started a law firm in Lincoln. One of their main decisions in formation of the firm, included an anti-nepotism rule. Such a rule was probably a good idea because 14 of their children, grandchildren and their in-laws became Nebraska Law graduates.

Among the 5 generations of 45+ family members who attended various schools within the University of Nebraska system, 14 of us felt that the surest path to giving back was through law school. Our grandparents’ legacy has been perpetuated and bolstered from our experiences at the University. Of the 14 Nebraska Law graduates, we each would say that we learned to understand and embrace our U.S. Constitution as well as the freedoms in our country for which our fathers literally and historically fought in WWII, with the sole goal of sustaining and protecting our precious democratic Republic. 

Our collective experience at Nebraska Law has been a springboard for each of us into our life’s journeys and work. We each have had our favorite professors, our own funny moments in law school, many of which could not be repeated here, and friendships which have lasted a lifetime. I know I can speak for each of us when I say that we are committed to supporting the future success and growth of the Nebraska University system and, especially, Nebraska Law. We all agree that the University is essential to the economic, cultural and intellectual success of our state and it requires our constant attention, nurturing and support. 

Again, our entire family is VERY honored and grateful to be given the NU Family Tree Award and we hope to continue our legacy with our beloved University and our wonderful College of Law for at least another 5 generations!

Corrie Day headshot

Day, ’24, recognized for American Indian Law article

08 May 2024    

Corrie Day, ’24, received second place in the American Indian Law Review writing competition for her article, A Balancing Act: Addressing the History and Examining the Changes of NAGPRA and Its Regulations. The article discusses the significance of the 2023 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) regulation change and what it means for Native American, anthropological, scientific, and museum communities. The article introduces these regulations, discuss them in light of past failures and the purposes of NAGPRA, and offers both optimism and caution about the path forward.

Tavia Bruxellas McAlister headshot

Bruxellas McAlister, ’24, named Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Clinic Student

30 Apr 2024    

Tavia Bruxellas McAlister, ’24, has been selected to receive the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Award for Outstanding Clinic Student.

The award recognizes excellence in the field work component of a clinical course determined by the quality of the student’s performance in assisting or representing individual or organizational clients or in undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects; excellence in the seminar component of a clinical course determined by the students’ thoughtfulness and self-reflection; and the nature and extent of the student’s contribution to the clinical community at the law school.

Bruxellas McAllister was nominated for her hard work, devotion, diligence, and the remarkable impact she had on the program and her clients during her time in the Immigration Clinic.  

Beach, Foxall, Anderson, and Vogel headshots.

Alumni News | April 2024

29 Apr 2024    

Every month, we bring you the latest updates from our alumni near and far.

ALUM NOTES

Kylee M. Beach, ’09, was selected as Legal Officer of the Year for Orion Advisor Solutions, where she serves as general counsel.

Mark J. Foxall, ’18, has joined the Omaha firm of Voegele Anson Law.

Troy P. Anderson, ’20, has been named shareholder of the firm Suiter Swantz IP.

ALUM IN THE NEWS

Katie S. Vogel, ’08, was named Senior Advisor of the Donor Services team at the Omaha Community Foundation. Vogel has extensive experience in estate and gift planning, trust administration, and probate and estates. In her new role, she will work with fundholders and financial advisors to implement charitable giving plans. 

Professor Colleen Medill headshot

Medill to serve as expert reviewer for the National Conference of Bar Examiners

24 Apr 2024    

Professor Colleen Medill has accepted an invitation by the National Conference of Bar Examiners to serve as an expert reviewer for Property Law for the Multistate Essay Exam. As an expert reviewer, Medill will review the question and the suggested answer and the scoring system for essay answers. She will provide her independent expert analysis of the clarity, level of difficulty, and weighting of the legal issues indicated by the question. Medill also will provide her expert opinion of the fairness of the question with regard to potential bias or prejudice to test-takers based on personal characteristics such as race, gender, socioeconomic status or religion.

Medill is a leading national expert on the development of lawyering skills by Property Law students. Her online supplemental book, Medill's Developing Professional Skills: Property (Interactive Lessons), platformed and published by West Academic, presents six interactive modules that Property Law professors can adopt and use to introduce skills training within the context of a traditional doctrinal Property course.

Sean Harrison headshot

Harrison, '24, recognized for Labor and Employment Law article

22 Apr 2024    

Sean Harrison, ’24, received second place in the 2023-34 Louis Jackson Memorial Student Writing Competition in Labor and Employment Law for his article Protecting the Blind Side of Title VII from the Blitz of TextualismThe competition, sponsored by national labor and employment law firm Jackson Lewis is administered by IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law's Mahlin Institute of Law and the Workplace.

Harrison’s article has been published by the Nebraska Law Review Bulletin.

Abbey Lanzarin headshot

Lanzarin, ’24, named Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student

19 Apr 2024    

Abbey Lanzarin, ’24, has been selected to receive the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Award for Outstanding Student in the Nebraska Law Externship Program.

The award recognizes excellence in the field work component of the externship course determined by the quality of the student’s performance in assisting or representing individual or organizational clients or in undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects; excellence in the seminar component of the externship determined by the student’s thoughtfulness and self-reflection; and the nature and extent of the student’s contribution to community at the law school, legal community, or broader community. 

Lanzarin was nominated by Director of Externships Elsbeth Magilton in recognition of her genuine engagement in the educational process.

Professor Jessica Shoemaker headshot

Shoemaker presents at food law and policy conference

18 Apr 2024    

Professor Jessica Shoemaker is an invited panelist on the “A Reflective Look at the Intersections of Ownership, Control, and Environmental Protection in Rural Environments” panel at the Resnick Center and Academy for Food Law and Policy conference hosted at UCLA Law.

The conference on the past, present, and future of the field of food law and policy is being held in celebration of the Resnick Center for Food Law & Policy’s 10-year anniversary.

Shoemaker will present her work on changing land ownership patterns across the American countryside and related issues of economic and environmental justice, which was completed as part of her Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.

Professor Kristen Blankley headshot

Blankley elected AALS Chair of the Section on Alternative Dispute Resolution

16 Apr 2024    

Professor Kristen Blankley has been elevated from Chair-Elect to Chair of the Section on Alternative Dispute Resolution for the Association of American Law Schools. In her role as Chair, she will oversee the Section’s Works-in-Progress Conference, two section awards, and a new mentorship program.

The AALS Section on Alternative Dispute Resolution promotes members’ interests, activities, and communication of ideas, and provides a forum for discussion of matters of interest in the teaching, research, and improvement of the law and practice relating to Alternative Dispute Resolution, including negotiation, arbitration, mediation, and other dispute resolution processes.

Professor Jack Beard standing in front of a projection screen showing the Pentagon

Renamed Space, Cyber, and National Security Law Program Celebrates 15 years

05 Apr 2024    

In celebration of 15 years of legal education and highlighting its globally recognized expertise in national security, the Nebraska Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law Program is changing its name to the Nebraska Space, Cyber and National Security Law Program.

First launched in 2008, a defining feature of the program has been its longstanding relationship with the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense. This is showcased by the more than 50 U.S. Judge Advocate General’s Corps officers who have completed the program — including JAG officers in the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Graduates also include civilians working in numerous U.S. government agencies and departments, including the CIA, National Security Agency and Coast Guard.

Jack Beard, director of the program, who previously served as the associate deputy general counsel (international affairs) in the Department of Defense and is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army JAG Corps (retired), brings his years of experience to the program’s leadership. The creation of the U.S. Space Force and the continuing focus of the U.S. Space Command and U.S. Cyber Command has made attorneys and policymakers with specializations in the space and cyber fields pivotal to U.S. national security.

The program is available to Nebraska Law’s traditional juris doctor students, who may concentrate their studies in the area, and via online and on campus Master of Law options. Courses focus on space law; cyber law; the law of armed conflict; intelligence law; and other laws, regulations and policies related to security issues and relevant fields of study. Students focused in this area also benefit from the program’s relationship with the Department of Defense and the commercial sector through internships, conferences and research opportunities.

Students in the program are involved in research and cutting-edge scholarship in space law, particularly through Nebraska’s leadership of a major international project, the “Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Activities and Operations,” set to be released this year by Oxford University Publishing. The University of Nebraska College of Law is one of four founding universities of this project, which is led by Beard as editor in chief.

The program has a rich history steeped in the intersections of security, space and technology. In August 2008, the Space and Telecommunications Law degree program was announced. Several Nebraska Law alumni — including Fred Campbell, former Wireless Bureau chief of the Federal Communications Commission, and June Edwards, former associate general counsel for NASA — attended the ceremony in support of the new program. The program amended its name for the first time in 2010, adding the phrase “cyber” to recognize Nebraska’s world-class curriculum in the area, formally renaming itself the “Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law” program.

Matthew Schaefer, founding director and professor, led the efforts to secure a $1.71 million NASA grant to establish the program. Schaefer and Elsbeth Magilton, executive director, also co-administered a $250,000 NASA grant in 2018 to strengthen and diversify the nationwide space law network.

“The best thing about our program is the people — from the students, to our faculty, to the many people in government and industry who are involved in our conferences and research projects,” Schaefer said.

The program remains successful because of the distinguished faculty that lead the way. These internationally renowned scholars consult with international governments, private sector businesses and military actors, in addition to being consulted by national and international media on space, national security and cyber law issues.

Beard, Schaefer and Frans von der Dunk, Perlman Alumni and Othmer Professor of Space Law, provide instruction in the program’s core courses. In addition, the full list of courses in the program’s curriculum spans a broader group of faculty at the College of Law, including Magilton, Kyle Langvardt, Justin Firestone, Christal Sheppard and Elana Zeide and distinguished lecturers Dennis Burnett, Ruth Pritchard-Kelley, Lt. Col. Seth Dilworth and Christian Ohanian.

“Nowhere else in the world does the possibility exist at this level to study those domains of law that are of critical importance to humankind’s future,” von der Dunk said.

Outside of the curriculum, the program presents conferences across the United States, building an international reputation for its largest annual event, the Washington, D.C., Space Law Conference. In addition to leading many of these efforts, Magilton led the expansion of industry-focused events, including multiple events hosted in coordination with U.S. Strategic Command and other components of the Department of Defense. 

“What makes the Space, Cyber and National Security Law Program so special is our community of forward-thinking students and professionals excited about the future,” Magilton said. “Spending time with our students and our government and industry partners — from career counseling to conferences to teaching — is the most rewarding part of my career.”

Today the program enjoys additional leadership from Lauren Bydalek, alumna and associate director, who brings a fresh perspective, focusing on student development.

“New and emerging technologies challenge lawyers in every field,” Beard said. “The Nebraska Space, Cyber and National Security Law Program offers students a unique opportunity to study legal issues in critical areas of technology in a truly engaging and innovative learning environment. Space and cyber issues also present enormously important issues for U.S. national security. We are proud Nebraska can help address these challenges by exploring the intersection of law, technology and international affairs.”

Professor Danielle Jefferis headshot

Jefferis named recipient of equality and justice award

29 Mar 2024    

Professor Danielle Jefferis has been named the 2024 recipient of the Rev. Dr. Michael W. Combs Memorial Fund for Scholars of Equality and Justice Award for Faculty, presented by the Institute for Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Combs Award for Faculty recognizes faculty members whose teaching on issues pertaining to ethnicity, race, class, and nationality are innovative yet grounded. The recipient demonstrates disciplinary rigor and awareness of the need for methodologies and perspectives that challenge institutional problems on behalf of communities that are historically impacted.

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. In 2023, she was part of a Nebraska research team awarded a $1M grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their work to launch a research and collaboration hub focused on the relationship between U.S. law and race in American History.

Professor Jessica Shoemaker headshot

Shoemaker presents at Land, Climate, and Justice Conference

28 Mar 2024    

Professor Jessica Shoemaker was an invited panelist at the Land, Climate and Justice Conference presented by the University of Virginia School of Law Program in Law, Communities and the Environment. Shoemaker presented a work-in-progress project, “Privatizing the Countryside.”

The conference provides a setting for interdisciplinary conversations about a range of topics, including property rights, land-use regulation, housing, sustainability, environmental justice, segregation, metropolitan inequality, cities, rural communities and federal-state-local relations.

At Nebraska Law, Shoemaker is the Steinhart Foundation Distinguished Professor of Law and co- directs The Rural Reconciliation Project. She has been recognized for her work on adaptive change in pluralistic land-tenure systems, as well as property law’s power to shape the contours of human communities and natural environments.