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Robert Henderson

Henderson, '78, Inducted into International Academy of Trial Lawyers

05 Jul 2017    

Robert Henderson, '78, Financial and Securities Litigation Practice Chair for Polsinelli, has been selected as an inductee into the prestigious organization, International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL). The IATL is considered to be one of the most recognized and elite group of U.S. and international trial lawyers in the world.

“Bob has earned a reputation for executing at the highest level of professionalism,” said Polsinelli Chairman and CEO Russ Welsh. “He is an exceptional trial attorney and is very deserving of this distinguished honor.”

Membership to the IATL is exclusive, by invitation-only, and is limited to 500 active trial lawyers from the United States. Inductees are selected through a comprehensive screening process that includes both peer and judicial review. Fellows of the IATL are also selected for their social attributes, including pro bono work, teaching trial techniques and contributing an abundance of time and resources to their communities.

“I consider it a tremendous honor to be inducted into the IATL, an organization with a membership that I hold in high esteem,” Henderson said. “I am humbled by this recognition, and have to share credit with my outstanding colleagues and the leadership team at Polsinelli who have contributed in ways large and small to the success of our commercial litigation practice.”

Henderson has been a trial attorney for 40 years, representing industry, government, national non-profits and individuals in cutting-edge litigation. He has represented Fortune 500 companies and has successfully tried jury cases across the country. Henderson has counseled clients in a variety of areas, such as the protection of intellectual property, regulatory affairs and risk management. He also has a national and international mediation and arbitration practice. 

Henderson’s induction into the IATL adds to his long list of achievements, including his previous induction into the American College of Trial Lawyers, being recognized by Best Lawyers® as one of the Best Lawyers in America® in four categories for more than 14 consecutive years, and "Best of the Bar" in Litigation by the Kansas City Business Journal, to name a few. 

Henderson is also a member of the Missouri Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel and is an American Bar Foundation Fellow, National Board Member for the American Board of Trial Advocates and was named Dean of the Trial Bar by the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (2016).

Professor Sandi Zellmer

Zellmer’s Article Published in Wake Forest Law Review

05 Jul 2017    

Professor Sandi Zellmer’s article, Takings, Torts, and Background Principles, was published in the Wake Forest Law Review. 

Perhaps more than any other type of temporary physical occupation, flood cases raise a slough of critical issues regarding the management of vulnerable floodplain and coastal properties and compensation for government actions that affect those properties. Unpacking these issues requires a deep assessment of the interrelated concepts of torts, takings, and property. The threshold inquiry is whether the claims should be characterized as torts, which warrant dismissal under sovereign immunity in most cases, or a taking. The federal courts have blurred the lines between the two types of claims such that they are almost indistinguishable. Determining which type is being invoked — common law tort or constitutional taking — may be clarified considerably, and the nature of government action may be illuminated, with a test that differentiates between purposeful appropriations for public benefit, undertaken with intent or substantial certainty of the consequence to the claimant’s property, and government actions involving some diffuse risk of impact. Then, if the claims are takings rather than torts, both the nature of the government action and the parameters of the claimant’s property interest will be at issue. The ability to develop vulnerable areas may be prohibited as an inherent restriction under background principles of property law such as public nuisance and public trust. In addition, when landowners have received extensive benefits through government flood control programs that, on balance, provide more benefits than losses, there can be no viable takings claim when the floodwaters exceed the capabilities of those projects. With these clarifications, officials at all institutional levels may be willing to make more proactive decisions to operate their flood control structures to better protect vulnerable areas and human and ecological communities and to mitigate the effects of unsustainable development.

Stephanie Taylor

Taylor, '02, Named to Leadership Music's Class of 2018

27 Jun 2017    

Leadership Music recently selected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Stephanie Taylor, '02, as one of 49 industry leaders to join the Class of 2018.  The annual program offers a forum for established music industry leaders to identify and explore various issues affecting the music industry and build lasting relationships with classmates and alumni.

Taylor is an entertainment and music industry attorney based in Stites & Harbison’s Nashville office.  Since graduating from law school, she has been involved extensively in both the creative and business side of the music industry.  Taylor spent nearly two decades performing as a professional violinist and fiddle player, all while building a vibrant entertainment law practice. 

As an attorney with Stites & Harbison, Taylor provides a broad range of legal services to clients involved in the creation, production and management of creative works.  She focuses on the special needs of the entertainment industry, including copyright law, music publishing, record labels, media, television, radio and general business matters. 

Leadership Music is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1989 whose mission is to cultivate a forward-thinking community of leaders who impact the creative industry.


Olivera, '07, Named Partner at Schwartzkopf Schroff & Tricker

27 Jun 2017    

Kimberly Olivera, '07, was named partner in the Lincoln law firm of Schwartzkopf Schroff & Tricker. Kimberly's primary areas of practice include estate planning, estate and trust administration, business transactions, and real estate.

Jeff Kadavy

Kadavy, '02, establishes Trail Ridge Wealth Management

27 Jun 2017    

Jeff Kadavy, '02, founded Trail Ridge Wealth Management (, which provides financial planning, investment management, and trust, estate, and other fiduciary services for individuals and families.  Owned entirely by its officers, the firm has offices in Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Jeff serves as President & Chief Executive Officer.

Christian Gobel

Gobel Awarded Peggy Browning Fellowship

15 Jun 2017    

The Peggy Browning Fund has awarded a 10-week summer fellowship to Christian Gobel, a second-year student at University of Nebraska College of Law. Christian will spend the fellowship working at Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Washington, DC. The application process is highly competitive, and the award is a tribute to his outstanding qualifications.

In 2017, the Peggy Browning Fund will support over 80 public interest labor law fellowships nationwide. Securing a Peggy Browning Fellowship is not an easy task, with nearly 400 applicants this year competing for the honor. Peggy Browning 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, work, volunteer and personal experiences. Christian certainly fits this description.

Growing up with union family members in the Nebraska State Education Association and the Ironworkers Local 21, Christian was raised with the value that organized labor ensures workplace fairness. Working side by side with union organizers on Democratic political campaigns furthered his interest in pursuing a career in helping working people. His first clerkship upon completion of his 1L year was at Nebraska Appleseed in the Immigrants & Communities Program. His time there was focused on researching litigation techniques and legal theories to alleviate deplorable working conditions and hostile work environments faced by immigrant workers in the meatpacking and poultry plant industries. During his most recent semester, Christian clerked at Norby & Wade, a firm that serves as legal counsel to the Nebraska State Education Association.

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. 

To learn more about the Peggy Browning Fund, contact Mary Anne Moffa, Executive Director, by phone at 267-273-2992 or by email at, or visit

Michelle Paxton

New law clinic at Nebraska will advocate for state's children

06 Jun 2017    

The University of Nebraska College of Law is adding a fifth legal clinic: The Children's Justice Clinic.

Third-year law students in the clinic will have the opportunity to serve as a guardian ad litem for children in the child welfare system. The newest of Nebraska Law’s clinics results from a partnership between the college and the university's Center on Children, Families and the Law.

The inaugural Children’s Justice Clinic course will have eight students at the start of the fall semester and will be located in the college’s recently opened Marvin and Virginia Schmid Clinic Building.

“We are thrilled to add the Children’s Justice Clinic to our clinical offering,” said Richard Moberly, dean of Nebraska Law. “The work that our students will do in the clinic will affect generations of Nebraskans and ensure that the state’s youngest residents receive high quality representation in the juvenile court system.”

In addition to providing practical skills training to law students, the clinic will help address the state's need for qualified guardians ad litem, or GALs. A 2009 study by the National Association of Counsel for Children found numerous gaps in the representation of children in the state, concluding that though GALs in Nebraska may have competent skills in court, they would be well-served by additional training in child development, family dynamics and dysfunction, and the utilization of multidisciplinary experts for consultation to provide effective service for children they represent.

The new clinic will provide that wide-ranging, cross-disciplinary training through working closely with experts at the Center on Children, Families and the Law.

“The GAL is critical in a juvenile court case. In Lancaster County, we need more attorneys not only willing to serve as a GAL, but able to implement best practices to effectively advocate for children," said Judge Roger Heideman, presiding juvenile court judge for the Separate Juvenile Court of Lancaster County. "Advocating for very young children presents a unique challenge that requires a special skill set."

Foundational training for Children’s Justice Clinic students will focus on courtroom skills, federal and state child welfare laws, the child welfare process, child development and trauma in young children. Students also will train in areas such as drug and substance abuse and mental health.

Michelle Paxton, director of legal training at the university's Center for Children, Families and the Law, will be an adjunct law professor and supervise Children’s Justice Clinic students. A multidisciplinary team of psychologists, child welfare practitioners from the Center on Children, Families and the Law, social workers and mental health practitioners also will help students on clinic cases.

The initial funding for the Children’s Justice Clinic came from private donations, and additional permanent funds are still being raised through the University of Nebraska Foundation. It joins the Civil Clinic, Criminal Clinic, Immigration Clinic and Weibling Entrepreneurship Clinic at Nebraska Law in giving students hands-on experience serving real-world clients.

Nebraska Law Students Study at Xi'an Jiaotong University in China

01 Jun 2017    

Eleven University of Nebraska College of Law students recently returned from a study abroad trip at Xi’an Jiaotong University in Xi’an, China. Professor Harvey Perlman coordinated the trip with support from Hanban, the Chinese agency that sponsors Confucius Institutes around the world including at UNL.

The for-credit course occurred during the summer pre-session so that students were able to participate in the trip and return to the United States for other summer work experiences. 

“…the timing was perfect because it gave me something to do that was far away that would take my mind off thinking about finals and potential grades,” said Dylan Bakken, Nebraska Law 2L. “And it allowed me to come back and start work right away.”

The course in Comparative Chinese Law included daily lecturers from Xi’an Jiaotong law professors and Professor Perlman. Students also attended lectures on Chinese economics and culture.  They were given a special tour of the Intermediate People’s Court. Judges from the Court led the tour and spent time with the students discussing the differences in Chinese and American legal processes. 

People's Court China

 In Beijing they visited the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission which provides arbitration services similar to the American Arbitration Association.

“This trip was a great extension of our International Perspectives course and gave me the benefit of seeing a civil code jurisdiction up close,” said Bakken. “This experience has widened my view of the pros and cons to legal systems outside the U.S.”

Anthony Aerts

Aerts Awarded Koley Jessen Entrepreneurship Award

26 May 2017    

The Weibling Entrepreneurship Clinic has selected Anthony Aerts as the 2017 Koley Jessen Entrepreneurship Award recipient.

Aerts graduated in May with the Class of 2017. During his time at Nebraska Law, Aerts was a member of the Environmental and Agricultural Law Society; a member of the Student Bar Association; and spent the fall semester as a student attorney in the Weibling Entrepreneurship Clinic.

The Koley Jessen Entrepreneurship Award was established to recognize Weibling Entrepreneurship Clinic students who have demonstrated exceptional legal skills, provided outstanding service to clients and furthered the mission of the Clinic. The firm was founded in 1988 with a vision of creating an environment that would foster trust and teamwork. Through the years, their guiding principles of integrity, client focus, and integrity have created the environment they envisioned years ago. Don Swanson, a partner in that firm, was instrumental in creating the endowed fund for this award. 

Professors Pearlman and Ruser

Pearlman and Ruser Appointed to Access to Justice Commission

24 May 2017    

Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican has appointed Professors Stefanie Pearlman and Kevin Ruser as members of the newly created Access to Justice Commission.  The purpose of the Commission is to “promote the Nebraska Supreme Court’s goal of providing equal access to swift, fair justice for all Nebraskans regardless of income, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, age or language.”

The 24-member Nebraska Access to Justice Commission brings together representatives from all three branches of government, as well as community members, attorneys and legal organizations, educators, and representatives from organizations serving low-income Nebraskans and those with disabilities.  

The Co-chairs of the Commission will be Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Stephanie Stacy, '91, and Nebraska State Bar Association Executive Director Liz Neeley.  The Commission is in the process of scheduling its first meeting, and will report regularly to the Nebraska Supreme Court.   

Jose Soto

Soto, '84, Named to Access to Justice Commission

24 May 2017    

Jose Soto, '84, has been appointed by Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Heavican as a member of the newly created Access to Justice Commission. The purpose of the commission is to “ensure every person access to justice as guaranteed by the Nebraska Constitution.”

Soto is vice president for Access/Equity/Diversity at Southeast Community College. He holds a law degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been working at SCC for more than 25 years.

The 24-member Commission is comprised of representatives from all three branches of government, as well as community volunteers, attorneys, educators, and representatives serving low-income Nebraskans and those with disabilities. Appointments to the Commission expire in two years.

“I am honored to have been selected,” Soto said. “I see this as yet another opportunity to associate SCC and my office with the principles of access, equity and fairness.”

Co-chairs of the Commission are Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Stephanie Stacy and Nebraska State Bar Association Executive Director Liz Neeley. The Commission will report to the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Professor Denicola

Denicola Publishes Updated Casebook

19 May 2017    

Copyright, Unfair Competition, and Related Topics Bearing on the Protection of Works of Authorship, Twelfth Edition, co-authored by Ralph S. Brown and Robert C. Denicola, has been released.

The book emphasizes the fundamentals of copyright law while also providing comprehensive coverage of major contemporary issues such as digital dissemination, fair use, and service provider liability. Extensive coverage of areas related to copyright such as moral rights, unfair competition, and publicity rights distinguishes the book from other casebooks on copyright law. Traditional case and statutory analysis is supplemented by a rich collection of background materials that offer practical and policy perspectives on established doctrines and emerging issues. The book is manageable in size and organized to accommodate either a two-credit or three-credit course in copyright law. The new Twelfth Edition has been thoroughly updated and includes major Supreme Court decisions on patent protection for software-related inventions, the parameters of the public performance right, and the scope of copyright in useful articles, along with new court of appeals opinions on the scope of copyright protection for software, mass digitization, and fair use in education. New notes and background materials provide perspectives on the emerging visions for a new copyright statute.

This release marks the ninth edition that Professor Denicola has authored.

Professor Jack Beard

Beard's Article Published by University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law

15 May 2017    

Professor Jack Beard's recent article, Soft Law’s Failure on the Horizon: The International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, has been published by the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Affairs. 

This article examines efforts initiated by the European Union to address key gaps in the legal regime governing outer space through a proposed “International Code of Conduct for Activities in Outer Space.” The draft Code, which continues to debated by the international community, is an example of a legally non-binding "soft law" instrument which also contains broad, indeterminate statements of principles. While soft law has made important contributions to the legal and administrative framework that governs space, the Code does not hold such promise. Instead, this article argues that the Code is a case study in the limitations of soft law, particularly when employed as a mechanism to regulate military activities and weapons in a highly insecure and contested environment like outer space. Moreover, it is notably ill-suited in this context and in its design to successfully address the critical problem of orbital space debris. As a soft law instrument with both soft law’s general limitations and its own particular shortcomings, the Code is an ineffective measure that distracts attention from more meaningful initiatives to reduce orbital debris while at the same time risking increasing tensions in space, diminishing the existing legal framework governing space activities, and negatively affecting the future development of space law.

Nebraska Law ACS

Nebraska Law ACS Chapter Featured as Chapter of the Week

15 May 2017    

The University of Nebraska College of Law Chapter of the American Constitution Society was featured as the national organization’s Student Chapter of the Week for the week of May 8, 2017. 

The Chapter was recognized, in part, for the impressive number and quality of events that were held at the College during the spring semester. These included:

  • The author of Failure of Justice: A Brutal Murder, An Obsessed Cop, Six Wrongful ConvictionsJohn Ferak, to talk about the wrongful conviction of six Nebraskans in the 1980s.
  • A panel discussion on First Amendment issues in Nebraska featuring Danielle Conrad and Amy Miller from the ACLU of Nebraska, and Professors Eric Berger, Richard Duncan, and Gus Hurwitz.
  • A discussion on Nebraska’s death penalty repeal referendum featuring State Senator Colby Coash, Professor Ari Kohen, Former Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood, and Lincoln attorney Bob Evnen.
  •  A judiciary panel consisting of Judge Joseph F. Bataillon of the District Court for the District of Nebraska, Judge Riko E. Bishop of the Nebraska Court of Appeals, and Judge Linda S. Porter of the Lancaster County Juvenile Court to offer perspectives on politics and the judiciary, the gavel gap, and judicial elections.
  • Facilitated roundtable discussions including:
    •  “A Post–Election Reconstruction” with Professor Eric Berger.
    •  A legislative update featuring ACLU of Nebraska’s Executive Director Danielle Conrad.
    • “The Constitutionality of President Trump’s Executive Orders” featuring Professors Eric Berger and Matthew Schaefer.
    •  “Planned Parenthood and the Attacks on Reproductive Freedom” with Meg Mikolajczyk, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
Professor Brian Lepard

Lepard Publishes New Book on Customary International Law

24 Apr 2017    

Professor Brian Lepard has published a new book entitled Reexamining Customary International Law with Cambridge University Press.  The book, which Professor Lepard edited, takes on the complex issues and controversies surrounding the history, theory, and practice of customary international law.  It reexamines customary law’s increasingly important role in world affairs through contributions by leading scholars in the field. The book is part of the American Society of International Law Studies in International Legal Theory book series.

Professor Lepard authored three chapters in the book, including one on customary international human rights law.  The book also includes a chapter by Nebraska College of Law Professor Anna Shavers on the protection of women’s rights under customary international law, and a chapter by Nebraska College of Law Professor Frans von der Dunk on the customary international law of outer space.

Other contributors to the book are Michael Wood, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations International Law Commission on the Identification of Customary International Law, who wrote the Foreword for the book; J. Patrick Kelly; Fernando R. Tesón; Niels Petersen; Thomas Kleinlein; Jean-Marie Henckaerts; Els Debuf; Noora Arajärvi; and Sofia Michaelides-Mateou.

Lepard Book SigningProfessor Lepard and some of the other contributors participated in a book signing at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington, DC on April 13, 2017. More information about the book can be found at

Professor Lepard has previously published a number of books related to international law, including Customary International Law: A New Theory with Practical Applications, published by Cambridge University Press in 2010, and Rethinking Humanitarian Intervention: A Fresh Legal Approach Based on Fundamental Ethical Principles in International Law and World Religions.

Danny Reynaga

Reynaga Wins UNL Spirit of Service Award

20 Apr 2017    

Adolfo (Danny) Reynaga, 3L, received the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Spirit of Service Student Award presented by the UNL Center for Civic Engagement.  The award recognizes self-less service, for the good of others, and for the betterment of the community.

Danny was nominated for the award by Professor Adam Thimmesch. Professor Thimmesch wrote, “[Danny] learned the power of helping others and how to leverage his passion into greater participation than he could provide on his own. His selfless dedication to this program is truly remarkable. From the technical skills that he learned, to the ability to work directly with clients, and understanding the impact of service more generally, Danny should walk away from this as a better lawyer, community member, and all around person.”

Danny has coordinated the College of Law’s participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) clinic for the last two years. He dedicated 18 hours to working with clients in addition to attending training courses and meeting with law students to encourage participation. In 2017, 21 law students contributed over 400 hours of pro bono tax service.  Additionally, Danny served as the VITA Chair for the 8th Circuit of the law students division of the American Bar Association. 

Dean Richard Moberly

Moberly’s Updated Workbook Released

19 Apr 2017    

Evidence in Context: A Trial Evidence Workbook, Fifth Edition, co-authored by Robert P. Burns, Steven Lubet and Richard Moberly, has been released.

Evidence in Context is designed to create a fully contextual understanding of the law of evidence. It contains two relatively detailed case files, quite similar to the material a trial lawyer may have as he or she approaches trial. The first file is a murder case where the issue is the identity of the killer and the defendant is the estranged husband of the victim. The second file is a civil action for defamation brought by a former employee against her very wealthy employer. The cases raise realistic and challenging issues in the law of evidence and allow for critical assessment of that law. They are followed by over three hundred problems for class analysis and discussion. These problems address the full range of evidentiary issues.

In addition, Moberly and co-authors Burns and Lubet released Problems and Materials in Evidence and Trial Advocacy, to be used in combined courses teaching both evidence and trial advocacy. The two volume work contains the material from Evidence in Context as well as over sixty exercises in trial advocacy based on the case files.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Nebraska Law Students Participate in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

17 Apr 2017    

Twenty-one Nebraska Law students volunteered as part of the Lincoln Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Coalition. Together, these law students contributed 400 hours of pro bono work since January – that’s the equivalent of nearly 18 straight days of pro bono work.

The VITA program offers free tax help to qualifying taxpayers. The work done this tax season helped 100's of families in the Lincoln community receive poverty-fighting tax credits.

Nebraska Law students who volunteered as part of the VITA program:

  • Sydney Aase
  • Audrey Bellew
  • Sarah Burghaus
  • Eric Dworak
  • Liz Flynn
  • Taylor Fritsch
  • Chris Giitter
  • Damon Hudson
  • Lyndsay Hurilla
  • Margaret Jackson
  • Jared Koch
  • Jennifer Leffler
  • Amara Meyer
  • Nick Meysenburg
  • Travis Phelps
  • Danny Reynaga
  • Max Rodenburg
  • Christine Seck
  • Emily Sisco
  • Julie Wertheimer
  • Elizabeth Workentine
Professor Adam Thimmesch

Thimmesch’s Article Accepted By Temple Law Review

10 Apr 2017    

Professor Adam Thimmesch recently had an article accepted for publication in the Temple Law Review. The article, Tax Privacy?, evaluates the meaning of tax privacy in the context of several modern-day expansions of the Tax Code, the IRS’ enforcement of the tax laws, and the challenges that the modern world has brought for tax-data security. It draws upon privacy scholarship to explore and help define the meaning of tax privacy and to build an approach to better accounting for privacy interests in our modern tax system. 

Professor Jessica Shoemaker

Shoemaker's Article Published by Michigan Law Review

10 Apr 2017    

Professor Jessica Shoemaker's recent article, Complexity's Shadow: American Indian Property, Sovereignty, and the Future, has been published by the Michigan Law Review. The article offers a comprehensive approach to analyzing the modern American Indian land tenure system and explores particularly how the recent pattern of hyper-categorizing property and sovereignty interests into ever-more granular and interacting jurisdictional variables has exacerbated development and self-governance challenges in Indian Country.