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College of Law to Host NASA Research Conference

04 Apr 2019    

In September 2018, the University of Nebraska received a $250,000 NASA Space Law grant to create a nationwide network of students, faculty and practitioners interested in space law and policy. As part of that grant, this weekend April 6-7, Nebraska Law will host a student and new scholar space law workshop, focused on research, writing, and publication.

“The key objective of the Space Law Network is to implement a system to support, educate and provide opportunities to law students across the country interested in space law and policy.” said Elsbeth Magilton, executive director of the Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law program in the University of Nebraska College of Law. “We hope that every attendee walks away from the weekend with an idea and a research plan their work. Ultimately we hope to see a notable increase in new scholarship in space law in the coming years after the workshop.”

The workshop will feature a mix of sessions detailing the international and domestic foundations of space law, including multiple practice focus areas, while highlighting holes in current policy or scholarship ripe for discussion. The workshop will also include working sessions, dedicated to developing topics and outlines, and sessions on legal research and “how-to” publish in a variety of forums.

Professor John Lenich

2019 Edition of Lenich's Book Published

01 Apr 2019    

Thomson Reuters (West) published the 2019 edition of Professor John Lenich’s book, Nebraska Civil Procedure.  The book has nearly 1500 pages of text and provides an in-depth analysis of the procedural rules that govern the litigation of a civil action in Nebraska.  The 2019 edition includes six new chapters on the right to jury trial, trial procedure, new trial motions, default judgments, voluntary dismissals, and vacating judgments.  The existing chapters have also been updated to reflect statutory amendments and cases decided in 2018.  The exiting chapters discuss jurisdiction, venue, statutes of limitation, proper parties, joinder, interpleader, intervention, pleading, service, motions to dismiss, interlocutory injunctions, discovery, and an assortment of other topics.

Megan McDowell

McDowell, '15, Joins Cordell and Cordell

22 Mar 2019    

Cordell & Cordell, the nation’s largest domestic litigation firm focusing on representing men in family law cases, recently hired Litigation Attorney Megan E. McDowell, '15,  in its Lincoln office (233 S. 13th St., Suite 1100, Lincoln, NE 68501).

Ms. McDowell earned her Juris Doctor with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law.

Prior to joining Cordell & Cordell, Ms. McDowell practiced family law. She is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association.
Kimberly Barton

Barton Wins Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest

20 Mar 2019    

Kimberly Barton, ’20, is the winner of the 2019 American Bar Association (ABA) Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest.

 The contest encourages original and innovative research and writing in the area of legal malpractice law, professional liability insurance and loss prevention. The 2019 essay hypothetical involved issues of diminished mental capacity and permitted disclosures.

Barton, a native of Bakersfield, Calif., is in her second year at Nebraska College of Law. She is a member of the Allies & Advocates for LGBTQ Equality, Equal Justice Society, Multi-Cultural Legal Society, Student Bar Association and Women’s Law Caucus. In 2018, Barton was named a Summer Fellow in the Rural Summer Legal Corps.

As the winner of the Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest, Barton will receive a cash prize and a trip to the Spring 2019 National Legal Malpractice Conference in Miami Beach, Fla. in April. 

The Ed Mendrzycki Essay Contest is conducted by the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability and the San Francisco law firm of Long & Levit LLP. The 2019 contest was administered and judged by a subcommittee designated by the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability. The contest was open to Young Lawyers Division or Law Student Division members of the ABA.

Hilary Sayre

Sayre Selected for Summer Army JAG Internship Program

20 Mar 2019    

Hilary Sayre, ’20, has been selected for the Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps Summer Internship Program. Sayre will work at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

The Army JAG Corps hires approximately 70 second-year law students each summer to work in JAG Corps offices worldwide. JAG Corps interns serve as temporary civil service employees in a variety of legal areas, including criminal law, administrative law, national security law and legal assistance. Army Judge Advocates provide guidance and mentorship to JAG interns throughout the 60-day internship experience.

Sayre, a Texas native, is in her second year at Nebraska College of Law. She is currently completing an externship with the Air Force JAG Office at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha.

Sayre is the sixth Nebraska Law student to participate in the Army JAG Summer Internship Program since 2006.

Richard Leiter

Leiter Receives the Roy M. Mersky Spirit of Law Library Librarianship Award

20 Mar 2019    

Richard Leiter, director of the Schmid Law Library and professor of law, was named the 2019 recipient of the Roy M. Mersky Spirit of Law Librarianship Award.

The Roy M. Mersky Spirit of Law Librarianship Award was established in 1992 and named posthumously in honor of its co-creator and co-founder, Roy Mersky. The award was created in order to give special recognition to individual law librarians engaged in significant acts of charitable work, community involvement or social service.

Leiter is the other co-creator and co-founder of the award. By honoring him as this year’s recipient, the selection committee recognizes Leiter’s behind the scenes efforts and undying support, which has insured that the award continues to prosper and maintains a level of respect enjoyed by few others. Because of this effort and dedication, award winners have received recognition and visibility in the field for work that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.

“We are thrilled that Rich is being honored by his peers,” said Richard Moberly, dean of the University of Nebraska College of Law. “He takes great pride in the profession and invests significant amounts of time towards projects benefitting the profession. This is a perfect example of this dedication.”

Leiter will receive the award at the 2019 AALL Annual Meeting held later this year in Washington, D.C.

College of Law

UCLA Law Professor to Deliver Pound Lecture

19 Mar 2019    

Stephen Bainbridge, William D. Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California Los Angeles will deliver the College of Law’s Pound Lecture at noon on March 27.

Professor Bainbridge’s lecture, Corporate Purpose in a Populist Era, focuses on the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and similar developments in parts of Europe. Commentators have widely acknowledged the rise of populist movements on both sides of the political spectrum indicating deep suspicion of big business. These developments could have important implications for the law and practice of corporate purpose.

Professor Bainbridge is a prolific scholar, whose work covers a variety of subjects, but with a strong emphasis on the law and economics of public corporations. He has written over 100 law review articles and 19 books. Professor Bainbridge has been a Salvatori Fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a member of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Corporate Laws, a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Markets and Morality, and Chair of the Executive Committee of the Federalist Society’s Corporations, Securities & Antitrust Practice Group.

Bainbridge’s presentation will be held in the Hamann Auditorium at the College of Law and is free and open to the public.

Professor John Lenich

Lenich Retirement Reception is April 2

18 Mar 2019    

A retirement reception for John P. Lenich, Earl Dunlap Distinguished Professor of Law, is 3:00 p.m. April 2 in the College of Law student lounge. The reception is open to the public.

Lenich joined the College of Law faculty in 1984 as an assistant professor of law. Since that time, his teaching and service have been recognized extensively. Lenich has been recognized as the First-Year Professor of the Year four times, has received the College Award for Distinguished Teaching twice, the Nebraska State Bar Foundation Award for Outstanding Legal Educator, the Nebraska State Bar Association Service Award of Special Merit and the College of Law Dean’s Advisory Board Distinguished Faculty Award.

From 1988-1990, Lenich served at the College’s Associate Dean. Lenich recently also served as special assistant to the interim vice chancellor for student affairs. He currently serves as a member of the Uniform Law Commission and the Nebraska Supreme Court Committee on Practice and Procedure.

Richard Moberly, Harvey Perlman, and Hon. Riko Bishop will deliver remarks. All faculty, staff, students, and alumni are welcome to attend and celebrate Lenich’s retirement.

Luciano Ramirez Guerra

Ramirez Guerra Awarded Peggy Browning Fellowship

14 Mar 2019    

The Peggy Browning Fund has awarded a 10-week summer fellowship to Luciano Ramirez Guerra, a first-year student at University of Nebraska College of Law. Luciano will spend the fellowship working at CASA in Hyattsville, MD. The application process is highly competitive, and the award is a tribute to his outstanding qualifications.

In 2019, 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 450 applicants competing for the honor this year. 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. Luciano Ramirez Guerra certainly fits this description.

Luciano credits his experiences growing up in central Nebraska for his passion for social and economic justice. The son of immigrant meat packers, he developed a firm interest in workers’ rights after listening to his parents and their co-workers discuss their unfair working conditions. As an undergraduate, Luciano became founder and President of his university’s chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America. He decided to attend law school to become an effective advocate for workers, labor unions, and the poor. Outside the classroom, Luciano works with the Democratic Socialists of America, his local tenant solidarity organization, and with Feed the People, an organization devoted towards providing free groceries to people in need.

Luciano is the second Nebraska Law student to be awarded a Peggy Browning fellowship. In 2017, Christian Gobel, '18, spent the fellowship working for Service Employees Union International.

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 Julia Watkins, Program Coordinator, by phone at 267-273-7996 or by email at, or visit

Iraola with client

Iraola, '19, Represents Minor Client in Adams County Court

13 Mar 2019    

Nicole Iraola, '19, a third-year law student currently enrolled in the Immigration Clinic at the College of Law, conducted a guardianship hearing in the Adams County Court in Hastings on March 13.  The court appointed a guardian for Ms. Iraola's minor client, whose parents are both deceased, and made special findings that will allow the client to pursue Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Such status will ultimately result in the client obtaining permanent residency (i.e., getting her "green card").  Ms. Iraola is one of 10 third-year law students enrolled in the Immigration Clinic this year.  The faculty supervisor in the Clinic is Professor Kevin Ruser.

Jenny Zhang

Zhang, '15, Joins Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren S.C.

07 Mar 2019    

Jenny Zhang, '15, and two Milwaukee-based attorneys have have joined Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. (Reinhart), expanding the firm’s Litigation, Tax and Employee Benefits practices.

Jenny Zhang (Minneapolis) is an attorney in Reinhart’s Employee Benefits Practice and Taft-Hartley Group. Zhang advises multiemployer funds and plan administrators on a wide variety of matters. During law school, she served as executive editor of the Nebraska Law Review and as a senior member on the Nebraska Moot Court Board. Zhang earned her J.D., High Distinction, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law.


Reinhart is a full-service, business-oriented law firm with offices in MilwaukeeMadison and Waukesha, Wisconsin; Chicago and Rockford, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; and Phoenix, Arizona. With more than 200 lawyers, the firm serves clients throughout the United States and internationally with a combination of legal advice, industry understanding and superior client service.

Community Legal Education Project

Nebraska Law Students Teach Elementary Students Through Community Legal Education Project

05 Mar 2019    

The Community Legal Education Project (CLEP) provides law students with the opportunity to teach elementary students about the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and other legal issues.

Starting early during the spring semester, law students go into local elementary classrooms once a week to teach prepared lessons. The students engage in a discussion-based series of activities and games through which they explore the history and implications of the Constitution, the Bill or Rights, and specifically the way they structure the government, allocate rights, and provide for our various liberties.

“My classroom did a fantastic job of engaging in deep discussions about rights, the separation of powers, the intricacies of passing equitable legislation, and the implications of federalism,” said Carey Collingham, ’20. “The activities tied into their classroom curriculum very well, and seemed to enhance their comprehension of the subject matter. Despite having several years of experience working with 5th graders, I am always surprised how thoughtful and intuitive the students are when it comes to contemplating complex social matters.”

CLEP volunteers spend an hour every week over a five-week period in a 5th grade classroom at one of Lincoln’s Title I schools working with their students. Activities include: mock elections, drafting a classroom Constitution, drafting a bill and voting it into classroom law, checks and balances activities, and Constitution Jeopardy.

“To at least a small extent, I’d like to think that the program inspired a classroom of students who will enter the community soon as more thoughtful, objective, and considerate adults.” 

CLEP also organizes an annual Constitution day program in which law students lead local 8th graders through Constitution-based activities.

Students involved in this year’s spring program were: Claire Allen, Logen Bartz, Madi Barbee, Amanda Berman, Carey Collingham, Katie Curtiss, Julia Dohan, Jim Glover, David Gottschalk, Stewart Guderian, Dee Hobbs, Dana Jurgensmeier, Bobby Larsen, Aaron Macchietto, Aja Martin, Mauricio Murga Rios, Shannon Seim, Matt Soltys, Josh Waltjer, and Jared West

Professor Brian Lepard

Lepard Publishes Article on Customary Law and Human Rights on International Law Blog

05 Mar 2019    

Professor Brian Lepard has published an article entitled “Why Customary International Law Matters in Protecting Human Rights” on the international law blog, Volkerrechtsblog. The article serves as the introduction to a symposium on customary international law and human rights appearing on the blog in the next week. Other contributors are Alan Franklin, Managing Director of Global Business Risk Management and Faculty, Athabasca University and Diplo Foundation; Dr. Dana Schmalz, Visiting Scholar at the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School; and Mark Janis, William F. Starr Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut.

Topics covered in Professor Lepard’s article, and the symposium in general, include the impact of customary human rights law on businesses; whether new standards regarding the sharing of responsibility among nations for receiving refugees and asylum-seekers are now part of customary human rights law; and the role of customary international law in protecting religious freedom, particularly the religious liberty of members of minority religions.

The symposium was inspired by a panel at International Law Weekend in New York on October 20, 2018. International Law Weekend is an annual conference organized by the American Branch of the International Law Association. The panel was sponsored by the American Branch’s Committee on the Formation of Customary International Law, of which Professor Lepard serves as chair.

Professor Lepard is the Harold W. Conroy Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law and a recognized expert on international law and human rights. His most recent book is Reexamining Customary International Law, which he edited and to which he contributed several chapters. The book was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.


College of Law to Host Agricultural and Water Law Seminar

28 Feb 2019    

The University of Nebraska College of Law will host the 2019 Agricultural and Water Law Seminar on March 21.

The day-long seminar will cover current topics in agricultural law and water law. The morning sessions will be devoted to water law, and the afternoon sessions to agricultural law. Registration options are available for full-day or half-day sessions.

Presenters include Dave Bargen, ’04, Don Blankenau, ’87, Christin Lovegrove, ’09, Kennon Meyer, ’17, Adam Pavelka, ’05, Jessica Piskorski, ’09, Jesse Richardson, Vanessa Silke, ’12, Garret Graff, and Professor Anthony Schutz, ’03

The program is approved for 9 CLE credits, including one hour of ethics. See for additional information, and to register.  Admission is free for University faculty, staff, and students.

Nebraska College of Law

Nebraska Law's Pro Bono Work Earns National Honors

27 Feb 2019    

The University of Nebraska College of Law was recognized as a Pro Bono Leader for its dedication to pro bono work and participation in the American Bar Association’s Free Legal Answers program.

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 135 total questions last year and is the only law school to receive this recognition. 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 of Professor Sullivan for helping to lead this effort.”

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.

Professor Ryan Sullivan

Sullivan, ’10, Recognized for Service to Veterans

26 Feb 2019    

Professor Ryan Sullivan, ’10, was recognized for his work with our Veterans Coffee & Counsel Program and his own pro bono work representing Veteran clients.

Scott Smith, a former client, organized the celebration, “I want to show Professor Sullivan how important his work is, not only for me but for Veterans across our state. 

As part of the celebration, Professor Sullivan was presented with an American flag that was flown over the Nebraska State Capitol in his honor.

Professor Sullivan with Special Guests

Some of the special guests at this event were Ken Colson, Veterans Outreach Specialist at the Lincoln Vet Center; Michelle Waite, Assistant to the Chancellor for Government and Military Relations; Senator Tom Brewer; Scott Smith, former client; and Joe Brownell, Director of the Military and Veteran Success Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Professor Kevin Ruser

Ruser, Alumni Named to Civil Justice Reform Committee

19 Feb 2019    

The Nebraska Supreme Court has formed a Civil Justice Reform Committee with Justice Jonathan Papik serving as chairperson. The committee, which is housed within the Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, will analyze the civil justice system in Nebraska and consider methods for improvement.  In particular, the committee will consider recommendations made by the national Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators to make state justice systems more innovative and cost-effective.

“Many state court systems all around the country are taking a hard look at their civil justice systems and considering whether the system can be made to run more efficiently, both in terms of cost and time,” stated Justice Papik. “I am looking forward to working with this committee to do the same in Nebraska.”

Committee members include:

Justice Johnathan Papik, Chairperson
Judge Ryan Carson, District Court
Judge James Doyle, '81, District Court
Timothy Engler, '79, Attorney
Renee Eveland, '05, Attorney
Judge Thomas Harmon, County Court 
Troy Hawk, '09, Clerk of the District Court
Senator Mike Hilgers
Judge Darla Ideus, '92, District Court
Amie Martinez, '94 Attorney
Jane Martin-Hoffman, Mediator
Carole McMahon-Boies, '82, Attorney Services Division
Milo Mumgaard, Legal Aid of Nebraska  
Ron Murtaugh, Judicial Administrator
Prof. Kevin Ruser, '79, Nebraska College of Law
Andrew Sibbernsen, Attorney
Corey Steel, Nebraska State Court Administrator
Judge Derek Vaughn, '99, County Court
James Welsh, Attorney
Judge Horacio Wheelock, District Court

Ella Newell and Andrew Wurdeman

Newell, Wurdeman Win Regional Client Counseling Competition and Advance to National Competition

18 Feb 2019    

The team of Ella Newell and Andrew Wurdeman, both 2L students, won the American Bar Association's 2019 Region 8 Client Counseling Competition. This marks Nebraska's 18th regional win. They will move on to represent Nebraska Law and Region 8 at the 2019 ABA National Client Counseling Competition in Waco, Texas in March. There they will face the winning teams from each of the ABA's other 11 regional competitions. 

Katie Van Balen, 3L, and Noah Rasmussen, 2L, also competed in the Region 8 competition and finished in second place. The teams are coached by professors Alan Frank, Craig Lawson, and Brett Stohs, and adjunct professor Audrey Polt, '12.

The 2018-2019 topic is Professional Responsibility of Legal Professionals.

Professor Brian Lepard

Lepard Gives Human Rights Talk in Brazil

18 Feb 2019    

In late November 2018 Professor Brian Lepard gave a talk at a major international conference on human rights held at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (“PUCRS”) in Porto Alegre, Brazil.  The conference was organized by PUCRS law professor Prof. Dr. Ingo Wolfgang Sarlet, a renowned expert on human rights law.

The conference was held to commemorate both the seventieth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948, and the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of Brazil’s 1988 Federal Constitution, which provides guarantees of fundamental rights.  The conference included many high-level judges, lawyers, and law professors from Brazil as well as other countries, among them Prof. Dr. Luis Roberto Barroso of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil, Brazil’s highest court dealing with constitutional issues. 

In his remarks, Professor Lepard reflected on the legal status of the Universal Declaration, including its role as evidence of customary international law.  He is now working on a paper based on his talk that will be published in proceedings of the conference.

Professor Lepard’s participation in the conference was an outgrowth of an ongoing partnership between the College of Law and the PUCRS law school.  Earlier in November, Dr. Arthur Neto of PUCRS spoke at the College of Law on “The Current Debate on Brazilian Tax Reform and the Brazil Constitution:  A Comparison with International and U.S. Approaches.” 

Professor Lepard is the Harold W. Conroy Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law and a recognized expert on international law.  His most recent book is Reexamining Customary International Law, which he edited and to which he contributed several chapters.  The book was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.

Professor Lepard in Brazil
Dr. Arthur Neto of PUCRS, Professor Brian Lepard, and Prof. Dr. Luis Roberto Barroso, a member of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil, at the human rights conference at PUCRS.

Professor Lepard in Brazil

Professor Brian Lepard (left) giving a talk on human rights at PUCRS in Porto Alegre, Brazil. 


Iraola, ’19, Named Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation 2019 Justice for All Fellow

14 Feb 2019    

Nicole Iraola, ’19, has been named a member of the 2019 class of Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation Justice for All Fellows. Through the fellowship program, new attorneys focus on urgent legal issues facing Ohioans in two-year fellowships beginning in September 2019.

Since 1999, the Foundation has sponsored fellows, who work on a variety of legal challenges for Ohioans struggling to make ends meet. More than 80 percent of the fellows funded by the Foundation remain in public service today, working in the nonprofit sector, for the government, and for legal aids around the state.

“Our organization is committed to the proposition of justice for all,” said Angie Lloyd, executive director of the Foundation. “Justice for All Fellows help ensure that equal justice under the law is a right, not a privilege.”

Iraola will work with immigrant communities in Ohio to both educate and provide legal help to immigrants. A bilingual Latina, Iraola will regularly visit detention centers and conduct “Know Your Rights” presentations to detainees.

 "I am very excited to begin the next chapter of my life and to fulfill my dream of becoming an immigration attorney,”said Iraola. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have gained from my education at the University of Nebraska College of Law.