News Type:

Beard guest on National Security Law podcast

15 May 2020    

Professor Jack Beard appeared alongside Professor Dale Stephens of Adelaide University on episode 122 of the American Bar Association’s National Security Law Today podcast. The topic of that episode is "Law and Military Operations in Outer Space Space Law," with particular focus on the Woomera Manual - an international research project spearheaded by Beard and Stephens to develop a Manual that objectively articulates and clarifies existing international law applicable to military space operations. Listen here.

Online Commencement Ceremony Celebrates Class of 2020

12 May 2020    

On Saturday, May 9, the Class of 2020 along with faculty gathered via Zoom for an online commencement ceremony. Graduates were addressed by Dean Richard Moberly, class president Ashley Inbau, and Michael Heavican, ’75, chief justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court. Chancellor Ronnie Green attended the ceremony and conferred the degrees. Assistant Dean Marc Pearce then awarded the degrees. Families and friends were able to watch the livestream of the ceremony via Facebook live.

WLC Moves Charity Auction Online

08 May 2020    

When COVID19 forced the Women’s Law Caucus to cancel its in person Susan B. Anthony Charity Auction, the ability to hold this annual tradition at all became unlikely. The event raises funds to support the Nebraska Public Interest Law Fund, a fund that supports unpaid summer experiences for law students, as well as two other local nonprofits that support women and children. Given the important needs supported by funds raised, 3L and auction chair, Stewart Guderian, along with WLC leadership worked to hold both a silent auction and live auction. The live auction portion of the event was held on Friday, April 24th with approximately 50 students, faculty, and administrators in attendance. The effort resulted in more than $12,000 raised. “We are so grateful to the Women’s Law Caucus for their leadership,” said dean Richard Moberly. “This new environment in which we currently find ourselves requires creative thought and adaptability. It’s remarkable that this group of students was able to pivot so quickly. I am grateful for their commitment to this fundraiser."

College celebrating graduates with May 9th online commencement

05 May 2020    

The College of Law will celebrate the Class of 2020 with an Online Commencement Ceremony on May 9 beginning at 1:30 p.m. All are invited to watch the livestream here.

Thimmesch appointed reporter of ULC study committee

01 May 2020    

Professor Adam Thimmesch has been appointed as the reporter for the Uniform Law Commission’s Study Committee on state sales taxation post-Wayfair. That case greatly expanded state governments’ abilities to impose sales-tax collection obligations on remote sellers, and states have responded in a variety of ways. The study committee will evaluate whether a uniform law would be advisable and whether the ULC should take on that drafting project. The ULC has engaged in uniformity projects for nearly 130 years and is the body that drafted the Uniform Commercial Code and, in the state tax area, the Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act.

Duda, Ziegenbein co-recipients of Pro Bono Service Award

28 Apr 2020    

Brianna Duda, ’20, and Lauren Ziegenbein, ’20, are this year’s recipients of the Student Award for Outstanding Impact through Pro Bono Service. Each year, this award recognizes student commitment to pro bono service while at Nebraska Law. The impact may be measured by reviewing a single act or project, or multiple acts or projects performed by the student during his or her enrollment at the College of Law. The selection committee takes into consideration not only the total number of pro bono hours performed, but also the overall impact the pro bono work has had on the community and underserved populations.The impact Duda and Ziegenbein had during their three years at the College 

Potuto Discusses Roster Size, Scholarship Limits as a Result of Cancelled Seasons

24 Apr 2020    

Professor Jo Potuto was quoted in the Washington Post’s What would NCAA eligibility relief for spring sport athletes entail? Athletic directors explain.

Blankley Presents on Transitioning Mediation Online

21 Apr 2020    

Professor Kristen Blankley presented a free webinar on April 17, 2020 to mediators through the Nebraska Mediation Association on how to transition a mediation practice online. The webinar featured practical tips and covered ethical considerations of online practice.
Molly Brummond

Brummond Selected for Women Lawyers Journal Editorial Board

07 Apr 2020    

Assistant Dean Molly Brummond, ’03, has been selected to serve on the editorial board of the Women Lawyers Journal (WLJ), a quarterly publication of the National Association of Women Lawyers.

WLJ provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information for NAWL members. The publication also serves as a catalyst for collaboration and coalition for women lawyers across the country and around the world. The editorial board is comprised of 13 women from around the country that represent law firms, businesses, government and academia.

As the assistant dean for external relations and strategic initiatives, Brummond oversees Nebraska Law’s admissions efforts, alumni relations, student organizations and professional skills development opportunities for both students and alumni. In early 2020, Brummond was honored with the Chancellor’s Outstanding Contribution to Women Award.

Professor Eric Berger

Berger’s Article Accepted for Publication in William & Mary Law Review

02 Apr 2020    

Professor Eric Berger has accepted an offer to publish his article Courts, Culture, and the Lethal Injection Stalemate with the William & Mary Law Review. The article will be published in Fall 2020.

 The article’s abstract appears below:

The Supreme Court’s 2019 decision in Bucklew v. Precy the reiterated the Court’s great deference to states in Eighth Amendment lethal injection cases.  The takeaway is that when it comes to execution protocols, states can do what they want.  Except they can’t.  Notwithstanding courts’ deference, executions have ground to a halt in numerous states, often due to lethal injection problems.  The Court’s conservative Justices have blamed this development on “anti-death penalty activists” waging “guerilla warfare” on capital punishment.  In reality, though, a variety of mostly uncoordinated actors motivated by a range of distinct norms has contributed to states’ lethal injection woes.  These actors, such as doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and institutional investors, follow their own professional incentives, usually unrelated to the morality of capital punishment.  

States’ recent execution difficulties raise important questions about the future of the Eighth Amendment and the American death penalty.  As certain lethal injection protocols and executions themselves become less common, future courts might reconsider their deference in this area.  The Eighth Amendment, after all, encompasses “evolving standards of decency,” which courts often measure with reference to changing state practices.  Though constitutional doctrine has played only a bit part in the execution decline, that decline could eventually reshape constitutional doctrine.                                                 

This story also complicates long-accepted constitutional theories.  While the traditional view is that federalism maximizes state policy choices so long as courts and Congress do not interfere, the lethal injection stalemate shows how non-governmental actors, even uncoordinated ones, can undermine state policies.  Courts and the political branches in some states stand united in support of capital punishment.  It is therefore noteworthy that unorganized actors pursuing their own institutional objectives have obstructed executions and even cast new long-term doubt on previously entrenched penological practices.

Professor Adam Thimmesch

Thimmesch's Article Published in Temple Law Review

17 Mar 2020    

Professor Adam Thimmesch’s recent article, The Unified Dormant Commerce Clause has been published in the Temple Law Review.

The article traces the history of the Supreme Court’s dormant Commerce Clause doctrine as it developed in tax and nontax matters. For decades, the Court has formally applied different tests for evaluating those different types of state laws, but the Court has never adequately explained or justified that bifurcated approach. The result has been a confused and shifting doctrine that creates significant uncertainty for states and taxpayers. The article explains how the Court’s recent decisions in a series of tax cases have eroded what little distinction existed between the Court’s disparate tests, with the result that the Court has effectively adopted a unified dormant Commerce Clause. The article argues that the Court should explicitly recognize a unified approach and explains the benefits that would flow to courts, states, and taxpayers. 

Professor Thimmesch’s research focuses on state and local tax matters, with a focus on the allocation of taxing power between the states and between the states and the federal government.

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot

Women Lead 2020 Draws Sell Out Crowd

16 Mar 2020    

“Know who you are. Know who you are not. Embrace both.”

Powerful words stated by Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, J.D., CEO of Feeding America, former executive vice president at Walmart and kickoff keynote at the Women Lead 2020 conference. A joint conference between the College of Business and College of Law at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln themed “Claim Your Power” brought a full house to Nebraska Innovation Campus Friday, March 6.

“Claire’s words will be with me forever. The whole event was the perfect combination of connecting with new and old friends, learning and inspiration,” said attendee Karen Helmberger, client executive at Fiserv.

That was exactly the effect the two event organizers – Molly Brummond, ’00 and ’03, assistant dean for external relations and strategic initiatives for the College of Law, and Sheri Irwin-Gish, ’03, executive director of communications, marketing and external relations at the College of Business – hoped Women Lead 2020 would have on attendees.

"Many women haven't had a lot of role models who look like themselves to experience how they navigate the profession. When you get into a profession and you are the only woman in the room you start to think, ‘Maybe I don't belong here,’ and you start believing that lie you tell yourself," Brummond said.

Speakers who shared their experiences included Nebraska Supreme Court Judge Hon. Stephanie Stacy, J.D., Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Katie Zulkoski, J.D., ‘05, attorney/lobbyist at Zulkoski Weber. Due to travel concerns surrounding COVID-19, former Washington Governor Hon. Christine Gregoire, J.D., and Microsoft executive DeLee Shoemaker presented their session through Zoom videochat with former U.S. Attorney for Nebraska Deb Gilg, J.D., ’74 & ’77, serving as moderator. 

Michele Coleman Mayes, J.D., vice president, general counsel and secretary of the New York Public Library presented the closing keynote, "You Can’t Change What You Can’t See: Interrupting Bias." The former general counsel for Allstate Insurance and Colgate-Palmolive shared both her own experiences and the findings of a study she worked on, which surveyed lawyers at major firms. When considering compensation, hiring and promotions, the study found women experience adverse effects of bias in the workplace. Coleman Mays shared that everyone has biases that vary and the only way to overcome them is for all people involved to have a positive mindset.

“Every story I heard, whether from a presenter or colleague, reminded me that women are so uniquely adaptable,” said Erin Schroeder, associate attorney at Smith Johnson Allen Connick & Hansen. “They all led inspiring conversations about making our way in a male-dominated industry, by working alongside and not against, our colleagues in camaraderie. It’s obvious to me there is power in diversity and inclusion.”

The conference brought more than 320 women together at Nebraska Innovation Campus to empower women in the workplace.

Brummond said the colleges plan to host another event in two years and she is excited to see how it grows in the future.

Irwin-Gish added, “Our plan was to fill Innovation Campus with those who support the advancement of women and bring together a diverse group of speakers who would help empower them. By those measurements, the conference was a success. The speakers were off the charts and we are thankful for our generous donors who helped make the event possible and the vendors who participated. We hope everyone who attended woke up Monday morning ready to claim their power in more defined, purposeful ways.”

Attendees Respond to Women Lead 2020

The conference inspired me to embrace my weaknesses as well as my strengths. Leadership isn't just about what you do well, but how you encourage others to do well and how you're able to bring diverse groups together to the benefit of everyone.

   - Katie Tyler, senior accountant, Garner Industries

The strategic and supportive intentionality behind this conference, especially in creating an opportunity today for people to gain, grow and apply their confidence for their future and OUR futures is what will help us advance women in leadership. YES! Thank you. Throughout the weekend, I found myself ruminating, referencing and recommending this conference in various situations. I’m already looking forward to the next one and hope to bring more of my team. 

   - Michaella Kumke, '03, community engagement director, Food Bank of Lincoln

It has provided validation to my efforts to be a mentor to younger professional and high school women, and reinvigorated my efforts to be a better manager at my company. 

   - Ann Diers, vice president and associate general counsel, Ameritas

It inspired me by outlining concrete actions I can start taking today to claim my power for a rewarding and successful career. 

   - Paige Gade, '18, attorney, Rembolt Kudtke LLP 

The conference has impacted me in teaching me ways to overcome some of my fears and be a more effective leader. 

   - Stephany Pleasant-Manes, '17, staff attorney, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

No one gets to a place of success professionally without a supportive network. It’s so important to work on fostering relationships before you really need to lean on those relationships. The conference was also a good reminder to be thoughtful about your personal brand and how others perceive you. We all have a brand whether it is intentional or unintentional. Be purposeful. 

  - Stephanie Dinger, '03, vice president of small business, Union Bank & Trust

Women Lead 2020 was a partnership between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business and the College of Law.

Brummond Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Women

13 Mar 2020    

Molly Brummond, '03, has worn many hats over the course of her ten-year career at the University of Nebraska College of Law.

Communicator. Events organizer. Student life and alumni relations extraordinaire.

Closest to her heart, though, are the roles she’s played in the education and development of women lawyers like herself.

“One of my great passions is the advancement of women in their careers — the law particularly, because I am a lawyer, and I’ve experienced the profession,” said Brummond, who currently serves as the school’s assistant dean for external relations and strategic initiatives. “It’s a profession that was built for men. Obviously there has been a lot of change in that, but there’s still a long way to go.”

On March 12, Brummond was named the 2020 recipient of the Chancellor’s Outstanding Contribution to Women Award. The annual honor recognizes a campus community member who has created a climate that encourages women to succeed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“I’m just so thrilled by it,” Brummond said. “I feel super lucky that I get to work on something that I love so much and then be recognized for it. It’s just sort of icing on the cake.”

A 2003 alumna of Nebraska Law, Brummond has firsthand experience with the uphill battle women lawyers can face in their careers.

“What’s happening is that women go into the practice of law at the same rate as men, generally — but if you look at how their careers progress, a lot of them opt out of the profession. A lot of that has to do with how demanding it is,” Brummond said.

“I opted out when I had my first baby, because I just didn’t want to live in a perpetual state of guilt. Guilt because I was working too much and not spending time with my baby, or guilt that I was spending too much time with my baby and not billing enough time. I don’t think I’m alone in that. There are really fabulous women lawyers who navigate it and they make it work and they do it, but it’s important to me that we figure out how to help more women stay in the profession.”

With that understanding in mind, Brummond has made female empowerment in the law one of her central focuses at Nebraska — starting with the Women Leading in Law, Business and Philanthropy conference she organized in 2017.

“It was just a day of magic, and before that day was even over, people were coming up to me and saying, ‘So what’s next?’ They just really loved it,” Brummond said. “That conference served as my jumping off point and helped me start to think about what the college could do to support women lawyers. That’s kind of how it all began.”

This year, Brummond was the organizer of Women Lead 2020 — a conference on Nebraska Innovation Campus hosted in partnership with the College of Business. The interdisciplinary event, which encouraged women to “Claim Your Power,” gathered a sold-out crowd of 325 participants.

“What we wanted to do is bring together women in law, business and philanthropy so that they meet each other that they know each other they can refer business to each other. That partnership with the College of Business is super important, because we really want to help women grow their professional networks,” Brummond said.

Brummond has also started three new programs to support female lawyers in varying stages of their careers.

“After that conference where people were asking me ‘What's next?’, I developed a program for women at different stages of their career called New, Now, Next,” Brummond said. “The New Associate Acceleration Academy is an academy that I run for new associates in their first couple of years of practice. It’s designed to help women leaders who are really early in their careers succeed in the practice of law.”

“The Now Leadership Cohort is for women who are mid-career, and they're beginning to really take on leadership roles. We talk a lot about leadership principles and how to navigate leadership situations. The Next Lunch Series is really more informal lunches that are addressed at women who are more advanced in their careers and are looking to make a change.”

Reflecting back on her career at the university, Brummond is grateful for the opportunities she’s been given to expand programming and make a difference.

“Not everybody gets to work on something that they are truly so passionate about,” Brummond said.

Story from University Communication.

Professor John Lenich

Lenich Honored for Work with Students

11 Mar 2020    

Student Affairs has named John Lenich, Earl Dunlap Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, one of two recipients of the James V. Griesen Exemplary Service to Students Award.

Lenich will be honored during the Student Luminary Awards on March 13. The annual honor was established in 1986 as the Chancellor’s Exemplary Service to Students award and recognizes extraordinary and sustained performance by individuals serving Nebraska students. It was renamed in 2006 to honor Griesen, who retired as vice chancellor for student affairs that same year. He continued to work as a professor in educational administration and is now an emeritus professor.

Lenich earned the award for his enthusiasm and commitment to students through revisions to the Student Code of Conduct and the university’s approved student housing agreement. He earned praise for his abilities to listen to students' needs and concerns, and help advocate on their behalf. ASUN student government passed a resolution thanking and commending Lenich for his work on the Student Code of Conduct in 2018.

“John always made me feel that the student voice mattered, and to him it did,” said Jackson Grasz, former Interfraternity Council president. “I really appreciated his willingness to listen to members’ concerns and do his best to make sure they were heard with all stakeholders involved.”

Full story from University Communication:

Client and Students at Citizenship Clinic

Immigration Clinic Students Host Citizenship/Naturalization Clinic

10 Mar 2020    

On Feb. 29, students from the College of Law’s Immigration Clinic conducted a Citizenship Clinic to assist individuals interested in self-filing applications to become citizens of the United States.

In total, 17 individuals were seen and assisted by volunteers during the clinic. In addition to Immigration Clinic students, 19 other law students assisted those applying to become citizens, as well as Professor Sara Houston and three students from Doane University’s Law, Politics and Society program. 

In preparation for the clinic, students created a publicity plan, created packets of materials for use at the event, recruited and trained volunteers, pre-screened applicants and orchestrated the process from start to finish. During the event, volunteers assisted applicants in filling out the appropriate forms, ran background checks to make certain there were no un-identified issues that might bear on an applicant’s ability to naturalize, and gave them a “next steps” checklist to use when submitting their naturalization applications.

This is the first time the Immigration Clinic has hosted such an event. It was included in the College of Law "One Vital Topic: Immigration - One Nebraska Law" programming for the year. Plans to regularly sponsor or host similar events are underway.

Immigration Clinic students: Josh Baue, Sam Hawley, Sydney Hayes, Brig Jensen, Samantha Lowery, and Ella Newell.

Participating law students: Alejandra Ayotitla, Jayden Barth, Logen Bartz, Jena Black, Carly Burkhardt, Hannah Cook, Eric Davis, Alan Dugger, Nick Grandgenett, Lane Haskell, Wil Hupp, Emma Lindemeier, Natasha Naseem, Erin Olsen, Sarah O’Neill, Jordan Pitcher, Mauricio Murga Rios, Caroline Sojka, and Sara Tonjes. 

Participating Doane University students: Kathleen Espenhover, Bailee Foster, and Jaden Hilkemann.

Deanna Lubken, Office Manager and Legal Assistant in the Clinical programs; Sydnee Schuyler, Legal Assistant and Immigration Clinic support; and Professor Kevin Ruser were also participated in the event.

Professor Ryan Sullivan

Sullivan's Article Published in Iowa Law Review

10 Mar 2020    

Professor Ryan Sullivan’s article, Revitalizing Fourth Amendment Protections: A True Totality of the Circumstances Test in § 1983 Probable Cause Determinations, has been published in the Iowa Law Review.

The article analyzes claims of police misconduct and false arrest, specifically addressing the issue of whether a police officer may ignore evidence of an affirmative defense, such as self-defense, when determining probable cause for an arrest. The inquiry most often arises in § 1983 civil claims for false arrest where the officer was aware of some evidence a crime had been committed, but was also aware of facts indicating the suspect had an affirmative defense to the crime observed. In extreme cases, the affirmative defense at issue is actually self-defense in response to the officer’s own unlawful conduct. As police brutality and false arrest claims rise, so too will the prevalence of this issue.

As the Director of the Civil Clinic, Sullivan supervises student attorneys providing legal services to veterans and underserved populations in the areas of tenant rights, debt collection defense, criminal record rehabilitation, estate planning, family law, and other civil matters. 

Professor Jessica Shoemaker

Shoemaker’s Article Published in the Journal of Law, Property, and Society

25 Feb 2020    

Professor Jessica Shoemaker’s article, An Introduction to American Indian Land Tenure: Mapping the Legal Landscape, has been published in the Journal of Law, Property, and Society.

The article provides an introduction to land-related legal issues facing tribal governments and Indigenous peoples in the United States and is intended to encourage deeper and more widespread engagement on these important topics. Forced property law reforms have been used throughout history as this country’s primary tool for implementing its colonial objectives, and today unique property rules continue to apply in Indian country with complex effects—and, often without significant public or scholarly attention. The article seeks to help close this attention gap by providing an accessible introduction to important American Indian land tenure topics, including both the lessons of historic uses of property law in federal Indian policy and more modern reservation land tenure dynamics.

Shoemaker’s research focuses at the intersection of property, law and community economic development, with particular attention to land use challenges on modern rural landscapes and Native American reservations in the United States. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Shoemaker served as the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Legal and Resources Rights at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in Edmonton, Canada.

Professor Rich Leiter

Leiter to Serve as Judge for We the People National Finals

25 Feb 2020    

Professor Richard Leiter has been selected as one of 72 judges for the 33rd Annual We the People National Finals, conducted by the Center for Civic Education, on April 24-27, 2020.

The National Finals competition, in the format of a simulated congressional hearing, involves high school classes from throughout the nation addressing historical, political, and constitutional issues before a panel of three judges acting as a congressional committee. 

Leiter has served as a judge for the Nebraska competition for over a decade, however, 2020 will mark his first time as a national competition judge.

Leiter has been the director of the Schmid Law Library and Professor of Law at Nebraska since 2000. Leiter has written widely on law library, legal research, and legal information technology issues. His most recent book, National Survey of State Laws, is in its seventh edition.

Anthony Young

Young, ’90, Named to Arizona Commission on Access to Justice

19 Feb 2020    

Anthony Young, ’90, has been reappointed by Justice Robert Brutinel to serve on the Arizona Commission on Access to Justice.

The purpose of the Commission is to study and make recommendations on innovative ways of promoting access to justice for individuals who cannot afford legal counsel or who choose to represent themselves in civil cases. The Commission shall evaluate best practices within Arizona and other states, identifying possible changes in court rules or practice to reduce barriers to access, identify and encourage the adoption of best practices among legal service providers, and consider potential long-term funding options. 

Young is the executive director of Southern Arizona Legal Aid.

2019 Pro Bono Leader Badge

Nebraska Law's Pro Bono Work Earns National Honors

14 Feb 2020    

The University of Nebraska College of Law was recognized as a 2019 Pro Bono Leader for its dedication to pro bono work and participation in the American Bar Association’s Free Legal Answers program.  This marks the second time Nebraska Law has received this recognition; the College was also recognized as a 2018 Pro Bono Leader.

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. This program aims to ensure that individuals with low incomes receive the legal help they need. 

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 Pro Bono Leader distinction recognizes organizations that have collectively answered 75 or more questions during the calendar year.

The Nebraska College of Law answered 122 total questions last year. Professors Kristen Blankley, Kevin Ruser and Ryan Sullivan each participated in this initiative, as did a number of Nebraska Law students.

“Our students and faculty have demonstrated a dedication to our community through their participation in this program,” said Dean Richard Moberly. “I am extremely proud that so many at the College of Law have chosen to humbly serve our state with integrity.”

Professor Ryan Sullivan also received individual recognition as a Pro Bono Leader, by answering over 50 questions last year. In addition to dedicating his own time to answering questions, Professor Sullivan also supervised law students participating in this program.