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Deena Keilany and Mara Wilson headshots

Keilany, Wilson Recognized as Outstanding Law Student Advocates by Nebraska State Bar Association

02 May 2022    

Deena Keilany, ’22, and Mara Wilson, ’22, were recognized by with the Nebraska State Bar Association (NSBA) Tenant Assistance Project Outstanding Law Student Advocate Award. This award recognizes law students each semester who have made a significant contribution to the Tenant Assistance Project (TAP) and exceed expectations in their effort to support the program and contribute to its success.

Deena Keilany has been a zealous advocate for tenants at the courthouse and in creating eviction defense packets (EDPs) this semester. She is extremely thoughtful and thorough in her case work and has successfully negotiated great outcomes for many clients. Her EDPs are solid, containing detailed information and all possible defenses. She does a fantastic job of monitoring her cases after the hearing date, and ensures the landlord attorney follows through with the agreement. Deena has proven herself capable of working in difficult situations and handling contested hearings.  

Mara Wilson has done great work at the courthouse, fighting hard for her clients in negotiating for favorable outcomes. She very often volunteers for additional shifts each week, including covering shifts in Douglas County. She conducts herself as a young lawyer, capable of handling matters at the courthouse with minimal mentorship and supervision. She stays on top of cases, calling tenants after their hearing to make sure they follow through with the agreement or to remind them of their upcoming hearing. Mara works closely with the rental assistance crew to ensure everything is square on that front, and consistently conducts herself in a professional manner when working with clients, opposing counsel and the court.   

Nebraska Law Competes in 2022 Manfred Lachs Moot Court Competition

28 Apr 2022    

Lauren Bydalek, ’22, Joshua Lee, ’22 and Amelia Ruffalo, ’23, represented Nebraska Law and the Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law program in the national 2022 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition. 

 The competition was based on a hypothetical space law dispute before the International Court of Justice. Participating teams were required to submit a formal written argument for both the Applicant State and the Respondent State on the legal issues of the hypothetical case and to argue each side of the case before panels of judges in their respective region.

 The team is coached by Elsbeth Magilton, executive director of the Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law Program and the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center, and Professor Frans von der Dunk, Harvey & Susan Perlman Alumni and Othmer Professor of Space Law. Nathan Johnson, ’15 LLM, is a Manfred Lachs competition regional organizer.

NGTC Hosts “State Level Issues in Technology, Regulation, and Economic Development Conference”

26 Apr 2022    

The Nebraska Governance and Technology Center hosted leading experts to discuss the role of states in regulating “Big Tech” and to speak on the evolution of public attitudes towards the technology sector, as well as the ways in which efforts to regulate Big Tech are likely to affect consumers at the state level. This was all part of the Center's State Level Issues in Technology, Regulation, and Economic Development. The conference was the first in a 2-year program hosted by the Center that will invite policymakers, enforcement officials, and academics to discuss changing attitudes toward Big Tech and technology regulation.

Over the past decade the technology industry — especially the part of it thought of as "Big Tech" — has gone from being widely viewed with favor to being a target for both the political right and left. At both the federal and state level legislators and regulators are trying to pass laws and use litigation to constrain Big Tech. This shift has been prompted by a range of concerns.

As demonstrated by these widespread efforts, most of the concerns about Big Tech are "national-scale." Many of the concerns, such as the potential for monopolization or the firms' data use practices have traditionally been thought of as best handled at the federal level. Even where the impacts may be felt in individual states, there is little difference on the ground in Arizona, Florida, or Nebraska between the potential impacts of Apple controlling its app store or how Google sells targeted advertising.

This conference explored the role of the states in these issues, considering:

  • What has driven the change in attitudes towards the technology sector over the past several years?
  • What do we know about consumer attitudes towards technology, including how those attitudes vary from state to state?
  • How are efforts to regulate Big Tech likely to affect consumers and industry at the state level?

Panels included conversations assessing consumer attitudes, changes in regulation, and a review of tech policy “then and now.” 

This spring’s conference was keynoted by two prominent experts in the evolving political landscape surrounding regulation of Big Tech.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson has supported strengthened legislation and enforcement in the areas of human trafficking, prosecution of child sexual assault and abuse, and consumer protection laws to safeguard Nebraskans.

Shannon McGregor is an assistant professor at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media and a senior researcher with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research addresses the role of social media and their data in political processes, with a focus on political communication, journalism, public opinion, and gender. Her published work examines how three groups – political actors, the press, and the public – use social media in regards to politics, how that social media use impacts their behavior, and how the policies and actions of social media companies in turn impacts political communication on their sites.

For more information about panels, panelists and the conference in general, click here.

Professor Kristen Blankley headshot

Blankley Publishes Article in Akron Law Review

26 Apr 2022    

Professor Kristen Blankley published Standing on Its Own Shoulders: The Supreme Courts’ Statutory Interpretation of the Federal Arbitration Act in the Akron Law Review. This article provides an overall look at the trends of statutory interpretation used by the Supreme Court when interpreting the FAA over the course of the statute’s nearly 100-year history. The article compares how the Court interprets the FAA with other scholars’ research on how the Court utilizes tools of statutory interpretation. Blankley concludes that the FAA jurisprudence is noteworthy for its highly insular nature which ultimately allows the Court to expand the Act’s reach. 

Alan Dugger and Rachel Tomlinson Dick holding their awards

Dugger, '22, and Tomlinson Dick, '22, Named NSBA Rise Award Recipients

26 Apr 2022    

Alan Dugger, ’22, and Rachel Tomlinson Dick, ’22, have been named the Nebraska State Bar Association (NSBA) 2022 Rise Award Recipients. The Rise Award is given to a law student(s) from each of Nebraska’s law schools for the exemplary dedications to, and contributions in support of, programs sponsored by the Nebraska Lawyers Foundation throughout their law school career.

Dugger and Tomlinson Dick were both nominated by Professor Ryan Sullivan for their contributions to the Tenants Assistance Project (TAP).

Alan Dugger receiving an awardAlan Dugger has been an integral contributor to the TAP since its early stages in 2020 while completing his clerkship with the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights. During the 2020-21 school year, Alan covered eviction hearings and created eviction defense packets nearly every week, racking up hundreds of pro bono hours. In the summer of 2021, Alan took leave from his full-time clerkship several mornings per week in order to volunteer with TAP. He requested and obtained senior certification as soon as it was permissible so that he could contribute in a more advanced role at the courthouse. Recognizing these efforts, the NSBA Volunteer Lawyers Project awarded Alan with the Summer 2021 Outstanding Student Advocate Award. In the fall of 2021, Alan was one of the students to initiate the student chapter of the Tenant Assistance Project, where he helped to recruit other law students interested in volunteering with TAP and to coordinate presentations at the law school on topics related to housing justice. Within this organization, Alan served as TAP Courthouse Coordinator, training and mentoring new law student volunteers at the courthouse. Alan’s dedication and contributions to TAP culminated in his participation in the College of Law Civil Clinic, where he was selected to co-lead the Tenants’ Rights Project, a Clinic outreach project that supports numerous housing justice initiatives, including TAP.

Racehl Tomlinson Dick receiving an awardRachel Tomlinson Dick began working with the TAP as one of the first 2L volunteers recruited to assist with creating the eviction defense packets. Rachel also spent much of her holiday break in 2020 volunteering at the courthouse, and continued to volunteer at the courthouse whenever her class schedule permitted. Early in her TAP tenure she took on the role of recruiting, training, and mentoring other students to help with the creation of the packets, a position she still holds.  Through this role, she has created or reviewed eviction defense packets for no less than 500 cases. In fact, she handles the creation of the packets for every continued matter, sometimes up to 20 a week. Rachel was also a co-founder of the TAP Student Organization at the College of Law where her leadership has been invaluable.  In this role she helped to coordinate several TAP and housing justice presentations at the law school, and recruit over 20 first- and second-year law students to volunteer with TAP.  Last fall she continued her work with TAP by wearing many hats: as a student in the Civil Clinic, often covering multiple shifts a week at the courthouse; serving as the eviction defense packet coordinator for the TAP student organization; taking point in creating all of the weekly hearing lists, handling EDPs for all continued cases, and making eviction defense packet assignments; leading several presentations on TAP at the College of Law, at main campus for undergraduate students, and to the community; and conducting in-depth research into Nebraska’s housing laws and helping to draft proposals to improve them. Rachel was recognized for her efforts by the NSBA Volunteer Lawyers Project, who awarded her the Fall 2021 Outstanding Student Advocate Award.  This spring, Rachel was hired as a teaching assistant in the Civil Clinic where she leads the TAP component of the curriculum, training and mentoring her peers as they become acquainted with the TAP program, and coordinating eviction defense packets and courthouse assignments.   

Professor Anthony Schutz headshot

Schutz and Longo, ’82, Publish Article in Natural Resources Journal

26 Apr 2022    

Professor Anthony Schutz, along with Peter Longo, ’82, and James Scott, has published Borders and Water Conflicts: Mitigating Conflicts with Love and Cooperation in the Natural Resources Journal. 

The abstract for the article is below:

Borders are political constructs, not constructs derived from laws of nature. Borders carry more potential for conflict than any other matter in political relations. In international relations, wars have been fought over borders and territory. But, territory does not necessarily entail a dispute about the geographic location of a border. Trans-boundary natural resources disputes emerge because the laws of nature do not bend to this peculiar human construct. As much can be seen in international and intra-state water conflicts, where political boundaries provide individuals with a tribal identity that eclipses the power of natural resources to tie people together in basins. Nevertheless, despite the tribal power of these divisive disputes, cooperative approaches emerge. Water users from competing political jurisdictions – within and between states – greatly benefit from cooperative water policies and practices based on philia, brotherly love. But the conditions under which such mutual concern emerges are not universal. Law can bring them to bear, and it should. Once it does so, the philia-driven commitments are often drawn up in compacts or agreements that will bind the parties in a long-term relationship that is more or less reflective of their original philia. In this paper we analyze water disputes between Kansas-Nebraska, Texas-New Mexico, and Egypt-Ethiopia-Sudan, and evaluate how cooperative models, consistent with philia, are employed to mitigate water fights.

Emma Franklin and Kate Larsen headshots

Immigration Clinic Students Hold Third Annual Naturalization Clinic

12 Apr 2022    

On Saturday, March 26, 2022, the University of Nebraska College of Law’s Immigration Clinic spearheaded its third annual Naturalization Clinic. Emma Franklin, ’22, and Kate Larsen, ’22, led this year’s planning efforts. Student and attorney volunteers successfully assisted 20 community members with their naturalization application forms.

Planning efforts began in late January, when organizers reached out to more than 50 non-profit organizations, posted flyers in high-traffic areas in Lincoln and Omaha and advertised digitally through social media. The Immigrant Legal Center and other non-profit organizations helped to refer potential clients to the Naturalization Clinic.  

To guarantee that prospective applicants would be good naturalization candidates, Immigration Clinic students, along with several law student volunteers, pre-screened the applicants to flag any issues that could complicate their ability to naturalize. Initially, 47 individuals expressed interest in the Clinic; 36 completed the screening process; and the Clinic ultimately accepted and invited 25 to participate in the naturalization event.

The packets that participants were given at the conclusion of their meetings included completed forms, a set of “next step” instructions about what to expect and how to submit the naturalization application, and information about citizenship and naturalization classes.

The participants were overwhelmingly pleased with the event, and many rated the Clinic a 10/10 on the participant surveys. One participant exclaimed, “If not for the volunteers, the form [N-400] would have taken me days to complete!”

This year’s Naturalization Clinic sponsors include the Iowa/Nebraska Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Cline Williams law firm. The Clinic thanks the sponsors for their generous contributions and support of the community.

Immigration Clinic students who participated this year include:
Alejandra Ayotitla
Sammy Conners
Emma Franklin (naturalization clinic organizer)
Lane Haskell
Kate Larsen (naturalization clinic organizer)
Natasha Naseem
Max Tierney
Helen Winston

Additional student volunteers:
Peter Biedenweg
Anthony Budell
Lionel Dalmeida
Tiffany Dennis
Shana Dregenberg
Mason Ellis
Maddie Eppler
Courtney Faller
Ashly Helfrich
Katie Hoatson
Jose Jaimes
Philip Jeffry Abraham
Aurora Kenworthy
Morgan Kneip
Shannon Konkol
Emma Lentsch
Emma Lindemeier
César Magaña Linares (Creighton Law student)
Tavia McAlister
Elsa Menjivar Valverde
Tyler Mitchell
Laurel Nitzel
Abbey Penton
Christopher Schmidt
Lou Traore
Audrey Wagoner

Local immigration attorneys plus the director of the Immigration Clinic, Kevin Ruser, helped oversee the legal review component of the event:

Jodi Garrelts, ’15
Deanna Piña, ’19
Dan Oldenburg

Murphy Cavanaugh headshot

Cavanaugh, '24, Honored as Women of Courage, Character and Commitment

08 Apr 2022    

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Women’s Center has selected six student winners, including Murphy Cavanaugh, '24, for its 2022 Women of Courage, Character and Commitment Award.

The award recognizes students, staff and faculty who have made positive impacts through personal, professional, mentoring or peer relationships. The winners were recognized and presented with the award during the Women’s History Month Celebration on March 24.

“A consistent theme in the nominations for these recipients was their advocacy, caring and work for inclusive excellence,” Pat Tetreault, director of the Women’s Center, said. “It is important for us to celebrate those who demonstrate their courage, character and commitment to help make the world a better place.”


Murphy Cavanaugh serves as 1L class president of the Student Bar Association at Nebraska, where she connects students to resources that help them succeed in academic, personal and professional pursuits. She advocates for marginalized groups in the college and goes out of her way to make all students feel comfortable and accepted.

Full story from University Communication. 

Rachel Tomlinson Dick with her award

Tomlinson Dick, '22, Honored with Student Luminary Award

04 Apr 2022    

Ten University of Nebraska-Lincoln students, including Nebraska Law student Rachel Tomlinson Dick, '22, were awarded Student Luminary Awards to recognize their exceptional leadership and commitment to improving the campus and community.

The awards were announced during a reception at Howard L. Hawks Hall April 1. Those selected create a positive campus environment, advocate for change, demonstrate a significant and active commitment to inclusion and model academic excellence inside and outside the classroom.

Each student was nominated by a faculty or staff member on campus and received $1,000.


Rachel Tomlinson Dick, a law student from Omaha, was honored as a Student Luminary for her devotion to advocacy and initiating positive change. She served as the president of Nebraska OUTLaw and helped organized programming for fellow law students in her role through the Nebraska Chapter of the American Constitution Society. All the while, she has given back to the community through the Tenant Assistance Project.

“Rachel’s dedication to pro bono and public interest work was recognized nationally,” Richard Moberly, nominator, said. “[She] and her clinic partner Jayden argued a case before the Nebraska Supreme Court – a rare opportunity for law students and practicing attorneys.”

Learn more about all of the Student Luminary recipients. Original story provided by Student Affairs.

Profesor Colleen Medill headshot

Medill Publishes Acing Property, 3rd Edition

29 Mar 2022    

Professor Colleen Medill has published Acing Property, 3rd Edition with West Academic.

The study aid features an innovative method of content organization, using outline-like checklists designed to lead students through the analytical steps necessary to evaluate and resolve property issues. Each chapter begins with a review and explanation of the important rules, concepts and principles that govern a particular area of property law. The review material is then synthesized into a checklist. Each chapter concludes with practice problems and solutions that illustrate how students can use the checklist to analyze property issues when writing their exams.

Medill is nationally recognized as a scholar of Employee Benefits Law and as a teacher of Property and Legal Skills Development. In the fields of Property and Legal Skills Development, Professor Medill has been at the forefront of the movement in legal education to integrate the teaching of doctrinal theory, legal skills, and the ethical responsibilities of lawyers.

Becky Gould headshot

Gould Honored as 2022 Law Alumni Master

23 Mar 2022    

The Nebraska Alumni Association has introduced its 2022 class of Alumni Masters and alumni award winners. This year, the College of Law's Alumni Master is Rebecca L. Gould, '01.

Two other Nebraska Law alumni will also be honored: the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is honoring Alumni Master Michelle Weber, '08, and Sen. Matt Hansen, '13, will receive the Public Service Award. 

The Alumni Masters and award winners will be recognized on campus March 30 to April 1, ending with the Nebraska Medallion Dinner on April 1.

Rebecca L. Gould, J.D. (’98, ’01) College of Law
Since 2001, Rebecca Gould has worked at Nebraska Appleseed, a nonprofit law and policy advocacy organization. Since 2007, she has lead the organization as Executive Director. During her time with Appleseed, she has successfully litigated cases in state and federal court and engaged in policy advocacy at the state and federal levels on issues ranging from economic justice and child welfare to health care and immigration.

In addition to her work at Appleseed, Gould is the past president of the Robert Van Pelt Inn of Court and serves on several Board of Directors, including the Food Bank of Lincoln. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History with High Distinction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Juris Doctor degree with Distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law.

Michelle Weber (’05, ’08) College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources 

Michelle Weber is a lawyer and co-founder of Zulkoski Weber, a client-focused lobbying and government relations law firm in Lincoln. Raised on a family farm near Blue Hill, Neb., she took her passion for agriculture to Washington D.C., where she worked as an aide in the U.S. Congress for more than six years, including service to two Nebraska U.S. Senators and the House Committee on Agriculture. She returned to Nebraska in 2015 and now advocates for policies to grow and improve the state to the Nebraska Legislature and state agencies.

As a CASNR student, Weber participated in Nebraska Human Resources Institute Leadership Mentoring, Mortar Board, the Honors Program and New Student Enrollment. She received her Juris Doctor degree with high distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law, where she was Student Bar Association President and an executive editor of the Nebraska Law Review.

State Sen. Matt Hansen (’10, ’13) Public Service Award
Sen. Matt Hansen has represented District 26 (northeast Lincoln) in the Nebraska Legislature since 2015. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science in 2010 and graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2013.

In the Legislature, Sen. Hansen serves on the Urban Affairs Committee, the Business and Labor Committee and is the vice-chairperson of the Government, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. In his time in the legislature, he has worked on a number of issues including supporting housing, helping grow our economy and workforce, and improving outcomes in our criminal justice system. Sen. Hansen also is an adjunct professor at Bellevue University and Nebraska Wesleyan University, where he teaches classes in American politics.

ABA Pro Bono leader logo

Nebraska Law Named American Bar Association Pro Bono Leader

11 Mar 2022    

The University of Nebraska College of Law was recognized as a 2021 Pro Bono Leader for its dedication to pro bono work and participation in the American Bar Association’s Free Legal Answers Program. Nebraska Law is the only law school that has received this recognition for four consecutive years.

The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents annual recognition to individual attorneys, law firms and law departments that have provided extraordinary pro bono services through the ABA Free Legal Answers program.

As part of this virtual advice clinic, users post their civil legal questions to their state’s website. Attorney volunteers who are authorized to provide pro bono assistance select questions to answer and provide legal information and advice. 

“The Free Legal Answers Program allows our faculty and students to provide legal advice to a broader population,” said Dean Richard Moberly. “I am extremely proud of Nebraska Law’s continued participation in a program that supports the low-income and rural populations that lack access to justice in our state.”

The Pro Bono Leader distinction recognizes organizations that have collectively answered 75 or more questions during the calendar year, and individuals who answered 50 or more questions.

College of Law students and faculty answered 89 total questions last year.

Professor Sullivan also received individual recognition as a Pro Bono Leader. In addition to dedicating his own time to answering questions, Professor Sullivan supervised law students participating in this program.

Professor Jack Beard headshot

Beard provides expertise on wartime use of commercial satellites

10 Mar 2022    

Jack Beard was interviewed for a March 10 Washington Post article on commercial satellite images being used in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The article mentioned that at least five satellite companies are sharing their images with Ukraine and that Russia has been trying to jam the signals and block coverage of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite system.

Beard, a co-director of the Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law Program at Nebraska and an expert on the wartime use of commercial satellites, told the Post that jamming generally is not considered “a use of force.” But he said it remains unclear what the United States’ or other nations’ response would be if a commercial satellite were attacked.

“It is untested whether hitting a commercial satellite rises to the level to justify an armed attack response,” said Beard, editor in chief of the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations. “It’s easy to say that a lot of these things are unsettled, because they are. But they’re becoming more and more relevant.”

The article noted that space has always involved military activities, but Beard said commercial space flight adds a new wrinkle.

“There’s no reference guide to turn to,” he said. “There’s no comprehensive discussion of military activities in space. And yet, space has always had an awful lot of military activities.”

Situated within the College of Law, the Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law Program has bridged law, technology and global security for more than a decade. Students develop the skills they will need to solve problems now and in the future by exploring the laws and regulations that impact every satellite, phone call and online interaction.

Orignial story from University Communication.

headshots of Jonah Clark, Jeanne Kelley, Kathryn Zieno and Halle Hayhurst

Nebraska Law Team Wins Regional Patent Application Drafting Competition

09 Mar 2022    

The 3L team of Jonah Clark, Jeanne Kelley, Kathryn Zieno and Halle Hayhurst, won the Rocky Mountain Regional of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) National Patent Application Drafting Competition. The team, coached by attorney Matt Poulsen, ’10, will advance to the national competition in April.

Teams were required to analyze the invention statement, perform a patentability search, draft a set of patent claims and a patent specification, and then present and defend the application to a set of judges made up of patent experts. The hypothetical invention was a multi-function dog vest equipped with various electronic and mechanical features.

The 2L team of DeLaney Brink, Brady Stuhmer and Jinah Shin also made it to the final round of their regional competition.

Lennox Hinds headshot

International human rights lawyer to deliver law lecture

09 Mar 2022    

International human rights lawyer Lennox Hinds will give a virtual presentation at noon March 11 in the College of Law’s Hamann Auditorium.

During his presentation, “George Floyd: The Legacy of Scott v. Sandford,” Hinds will discuss the legacy of the Dred Scott decision, the continued systemic police violence in the United States, and the findings and recommendations of the International Commission’s report which was filed with the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights. 

Hinds is a professor emeritus of law and former chair of the Administration of Justice Program at Rutgers University. He has lectured extensively in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America on international human rights issues and on the impact of racism on the operation of law, particularly the criminal justice systems of the United States.

Hinds is internationally recognized for his work. He was Nelson Mandela’s attorney in the U.S. and U.S. counsel for the South African government, the African National Congress of South Africa and the South West Africa People’s Organisation of Namibia. He is the permanent representative to the United Nations for the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. In 1998, Hinds was appointed by the UN as lead counsel to represent the interest of defendants accused by the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda of genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. He is one of the few U.S. attorneys appointed to the panel of defense lawyers by the United Nations. 

Hinds’ presentation is free and open to the public and also available online via Zoom . The talk has been approved for 1.0 hour of professionalism and ethics CLE credit in Nebraska. Those wishing to receive credit should register through the UNL Marketplace.

2010 Alum and OTI Director Sarah Morris to Join NTIA as Senior Advisor

02 Mar 2022    

The Biden Administration has tapped veteran public interest advocate and 2010 UNL Space Cyber Telecom Alum, Sarah Morris, ’09, ’10 LL.M., to be the senior advisor at the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), the President's top communications policy arm.

 In her new role, Morris, who has been director of New America's Open Technology Institute (OTI), will advise former NTIA head, Assistant Commerce Secretary Alan Davidson. Morris’ transition comes at a time when the NTIA is undertaking the historic opportunity to invest in bridging the digital divide.  

 For nearly 11 years, Morris worked on broadband access and adoption issues at OTI, including a landmark series of Cost of Connectivity studies. She led this work for several years before becoming director in 2019, and she now oversees the organization’s full portfolio of policy advocacy, research, and technical analysis.

Hurwitz Joins Silicon Flatirons “Fireside Chat” Panel Discussion, Addressing Current Topics in Communications Policy

17 Feb 2022    

NGTC Director Gus Hurwitz recently joined a panel discussion hosted by Silicon Flatirons, a research center at the University of Colorado Law School that is a recognized leader in interdisciplinary events and programs related to technology and innovation. The panel discussion built on a “Fireside Chat” between Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Hurwitz was joined on the panel by a number of other leaders in technology law and policy, including Blake E. Reide, a Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado Law School and the Director of the Telecom and Platforms Initiative at Silicon Flatirons; Ernesto Falcon, Senior Legislative Counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation; Nilay Patel, Editor-in-Chief at The Verge; and Jennifer Tatel, a Partner at Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer LLP, whose work focuses on the communications and information technology industries. 

Silicon Flatirons is a center dedicated to addressing many of the same concerns that animate the work of the NGTC; the need to break down traditional academic silos to foster collaborations between academics and industry stakeholders from a variety of fields. The primary purpose of Silicon Flatirons is “to convene multi-stakeholder discussions, support innovation, and develop the next generation of technology lawyers, policy experts, and entrepreneurs. More information on Silicon Flatirons history and purpose can be found here.

Jayden Barth and Racehl Tomlinson Dick pictured in the Nebraska Supreme Court chambers following their hearing

Students get rare opportunity with state supreme court

04 Feb 2022    

Jayden Barth and Rachel Tomlinson Dick got an opportunity that few practicing attorneys ever have — arguing before the Nebraska Supreme Court — and they’re just beginning their careers.

Barth and Dick, both third-year law students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Law, have been preparing since December, and presented during hearings Feb. 4.

“When we got the email, I looked at my clinic partner, and said ‘wow,’” said Barth, who will practice family law after graduation in May. “This is a great opportunity, and a little scary, but there’s not many law students who can say they’ve argued in front of a supreme court by the time they graduate. Most attorneys go their entire career without being in front of the Nebraska Supreme Court, so this was just really incredible.”

Dick, Barth’s clinic partner, concurred, adding that it took her some time to fully process what the opportunity meant.

“I felt incredibly honored, and that feeling was very quickly followed by sheer panic,” Dick said. “It is an amazing opportunity, and it took me a few days to sort through my feelings about it. I knew it was going to take a lot of preparation, and I wanted to be sure I had the capacity to do it successfully.”

The case they argued involves a set-aside petition for a conviction from the 1980s. The petition was initially denied by a district court judge, despite agreement from both sides that the petition should be granted.

“We lost at trial and immediately filed an appeal to the Court of Appeals, and the attorney general filed a motion to bypass, which allowed the case to bypass the court of appeals and go directly to the supreme court,” said Ryan Sullivan, clinical associate professor of law and director of the Civil Clinic. “They did that because this is an issue of first impression, or an issue that the supreme court has never ruled on before.”

Barth and Dick estimated they spent more than 200 hours collectively in preparation for the hearings on the case. Preparation included drafting and redrafting their arguments many times and practicing the argument and rebuttal with law professors, law school alumni and student attorneys, who asked hundreds of follow-up questions, simulating what could happen in court.

Aside from what it offered the client, the case could possibly impact Nebraskans in the future.

“It may create precedent in Nebraska law to promote greater access to fair outcomes for people who are seeking to rehabilitate past criminal records,” Dick said. “It is a commonly sought type of relief for people who really have worked to rehabilitate themselves. I think it’s important that Nebraska offers that kind of relief to people and that they have meaningful access to fair review for that relief. There’s so much stigma and so many collateral consequences to any criminal convictions, even from a very, very long time ago.”

The case is part of the Civil Clinic’s Clean Slate Project, and about 10 Nebraska law students have helped move the case through the courts to get it to this point, Sullivan said. Barth and Dick were chosen to argue the case because of their previous litigation experience within the clinic, including with the Tenant Assistance Project and the Veterans Advocacy Project.

The Civil Clinic works with low-income clients in a variety of civil and administrative cases, and its Clean Slate Project assists Nebraskans seeking a fresh start in clearing criminal records to improve employment opportunities and give the citizen a second chance. Barth and Dick have been serving as teaching assistants for the Civil Clinic this semester, under the guidance of Sullivan. They previously worked as student attorneys for the Civil Clinic during the fall 2021 semester.

Now, they wait for the court’s decision, which could take weeks or months to hear.

“We are hoping that the supreme court will offer guidance on these types of cases that we’re working on moving forward,” Barth said.

Dick, who hopes to engage in appellate work and impact litigation after graduation in May, is thankful for this experience and all that Nebraska Law has afforded her.

“This is a hands-on opportunity to engage in appellate practice, which, as a student, is very uncommon. I’m very honored and humbled by this opportunity,” Dick said. “I certainly could not have imagined being able to do something like this when I started law school. I’m very grateful for the mentorship that I’ve gotten at Nebraska Law and I feel like I’ve grown immensely here with their support.”

Orignial story from University Communication. 

Beard Shares Expertise On Outer Space Treaty for Inverse.Com

02 Feb 2022    

Professor Jack Beard was featured in Inverse, sharing his thoughts on the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, better known as the Outer Space Treaty signed 55-years-ago in 1967. The treaty, which was drafted during the cold war is largely an arms control treaty governing that space should only be used for peaceful purposes by all nations party to the treaty. It also discusses bans, and sovereign claims to territory in outer space an assures spacefaring nations that their astronauts will be well treated when they return to Earth.

“There’s always someone saying, ‘Is outer space a lawless void’”? Beard tells inverse. “No – No, it’s not.”

But with increased activity from both NASA and the Chinese Space Agency, along with plans to send humans back to the Moon, and with private space ventures from Space X, Virgin galactic and Blue Origin, the opportunities for disputes and conflicts increases. The Outer Space Treaty was ahead of its time, but the time to which it looked ahead to may be right now. 

“It’s interesting how often a question about space does have an answer that you find in the Outer Space Treaty. It doesn’t answer all the questions, but it is the place to begin,” Beard says. “It should be studied more, and it should be understood better, not relegated to the dustbin, because the basic rules that are set out there have, in some ways, been neglected for the past 55 years.”

You can read the full story from Inverse here

Professor Beard is a Co-Director of the Space, Cyber and Telecom Law Program, teaching courses in International Cyber Security and National Security Space Law. He also teaches courses in National Security Law, Arms Control, and Human Rights & International Criminal Law. His primary research interests focus on public international law and national security law, with a particular emphasis upon space law, cyber capabilities, arms control, the law of armed conflict, and the international legal implications of modern military technologies. 

Professor Beard is the Chairman of the Committee on the Use of Force of the American Branch of the International Law Association and serves as one of the U.S. representatives on the London-based International Law Association’s Committee on the Use of Force. He is a member of the International Institute of Space Law and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations (forthcoming 2022). 

Rachel Tomlinson Dick being interviewed by media with cameras

White House, Attorney General recognize Nebraska Law’s Tenant Assistance Project

29 Jan 2022    

The University of Nebraska College of Law’s Tenant Assistance Project was one of a few anti-eviction programs highlighted by the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice during a nationwide Jan. 28 webinar.

The webinar featured appearances by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and several top officials from the White House and the Department of Justice.

In August, after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling lifted a federal pandemic-based eviction moratorium, Garland issued a call to action for the legal community to help Americans who would be facing eviction.

“Law students and lawyers from across the country stepped up to take on cases and assisted their clients and communities at a time when our country needed it the most,” Garland said. “Today, our work is far from over, and making real the promise of equal justice under law remains our urgent and unfinished business.”

Nebraska Law was among 99 law schools in 35 states and Puerto Rico that immediately committed their law schools to the effort.

Third-year Nebraska Law student Rachel Tomlinson Dick joined the webinar to describe Nebraska’s Tenant Assistance Project, which grew significantly after the Attorney General’s Call to Action. In the last five months, law students have assisted more than 400 households and helped 98% of represented tenants avoid immediate orders of eviction.

The program has helped facilitate the distribution of nearly $9 million in federal rental assistance funds, she added. The State of Nebraska has been allotted $158 million in emergency rental assistance funds to assist low-income households that are unable to pay rent and utilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tenant Assistance Program benefits both renters and landlords by connecting tenants with the funds they need to cover unpaid rent.

“The Tenant Assistance Project, a partnership between the Law School and over 20 organizations, including the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyer Project and Legal Aid of Nebraska, expanded from a small group of dedicated volunteers to a community of students engaged with a statewide effort to prevent mass evictions in our state,” Tomlinson Dick said. “Law students are taking a multi-prong strategy that includes conducting file review to identify at-risk tenants; making direct contact with every household with a pending eviction hearing to offer them emergency rental assistance and legal representation; preparing eviction defense packets for pro bono attorneys in every case, and in engaging in courthouse advocacy on the day of hearings.”

Other law schools recognized for their eviction prevention efforts included Rutgers University School of Law; New York University School of Law, in partnership with Fordham University School of Law; Wayne State University School of Law; Atlanta-area law schools; Wake Forest University School of Law; Washington, D.C.-area law schools led by Georgetown University School of Law; Duke Law School; and Boston University School of Law.

In all, more than 2,100 students dedicated more than 81,000 hours, serving 10,000 households, according to a tracking survey by Georgetown University Law Center Dean William Treanor and New York University School of Law Dean Trevor Morrison.

Earlier this year, the Association of American Law Schools recognized Nebraska Law Professor Ryan Sullivan with the 2022 Access to Justice award for his work with the Tenant Assistance Project, launched in April 2020 as the state’s first moratorium on evictions was set to expire.

A planned pilot project — in the works for the previous three years — had been set to launch that spring but had been put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic forced law classes to go remote. Sullivan checked the eviction docket one morning, went to the courthouse and offered to represent any tenant who appeared for an eviction hearing. He and alumna Mindy Rush Chapman began making regular appearances on behalf of tenants facing eviction. They enlisted the help of law students and local attorney volunteers to coordinate the effort. A student organization was formed to support the project.

In August 2021, after a year of success in Lancaster County, the project was expanded to include Douglas County. More than 100 Nebraska Law students, undergraduate students, Creighton University law students and attorneys have volunteered.

According to Sullivan, the program has helped keep more than 1,000 families in their homes and helped avert a spike in eviction filings seen in other locations. Even in cases where families were evicted, lawyers and law students were able to negotiate enough time for the tenants to find a new place to live.

“The impact that Professor Sullivan, our law students and everyone involved with the Tenant Assistance Project have had on our community is incredible,” said Richard Moberly, dean of Nebraska Law. “They are providing legal access to a group that would otherwise go without, and in the process they are improving the way eviction proceedings are handled in our state.”

Original story from University Communication.