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LL.M. Student and Alumni Present at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

07 Nov 2014    

Current 2015 LL.M. canidate Nathan Johnson and 2013 LL.M. alumni George A. Long both participated in panels at the 1st Annual Space Traffic Management (STM) Conference hosted by the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Commercial Space Operations degree program at the Daytona Beach campus.

The November 5th & 6th, 2014 STM conference offered academia and leaders of government and industry a forum for discussing the complex, diverse, and timely issues of aviation and space traffic coordination, space launch, space weather, and space debris. The conference’s plenary sessions brought together for discourse multiple disciplines and different aspects of the space traffic management world. 

The conference agenda is available on the Embry-Riddle website.

Thimmesch has tax discrimination essay published

06 Nov 2014    

Professor Adam Thimmesch's essay, "Comptroller v. Wynne and the Futile Search for Non-Discriminatory State Taxation," was just published as part of a roundtable put together by the Vanderbilt Law Review En Banc. The essay analyzes the meaning of tax discrimination under the dormant Commerce Clause and cautions the Court against adopting an overbroad standard that would conflict with states' historic taxing autonomy.

The piece can be found at​

Medill elected a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel

27 Oct 2014    

Colleen Medill has been elected a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel in recognition of her sustained outstanding performance in the law profession. She is the first fellow from Nebraska and was inducted during the counsel's 15th annual dinner and ceremony Oct. 25 in Washington, D.C.

The ACEBC was established in 2000 to recognize the nation’s leading experts in the field of employee benefits law. Election as a fellow is the highest form of professional recognition in the employee benefits law field. Selection is based on proof of a sustained commitment to the development and pursuit of public awareness and understanding of the law of employee benefits through such activities as writing, speaking, participating in public policy analysis, public education or public service for at least twenty years.

At UNL, Medill teacher an employee benefits law course using her textbook, "Introduction to Employee Benefits Law: Policy and Practice," (West Academic, fourth edition, 2014). The textbook is being used in more than 40 law schools in the United States.

Medill is the author of numerous law school articles on employee benefits topics and is a frequent speaker at national conferences on current trends in employee benefits law.

Moberly Re-Appointed to OSHA Committee

23 Oct 2014    

Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, re-appointed Professor Richard Moberly to a two-year term on the OSHA Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee. The Committee advises, consults with and makes recommendations to the secretary of labor and the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health on ways to improve the fairness, efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's whistleblower protection programs.

Faculty Elected to International Institute of Space Law Board

22 Oct 2014    

The International Institute of Space Law (IISL) Board of Directors was voted upon by Institute members in early September 2014. Advisory Board member and Adjunct Professor Dennis Burrnett was elected IISL Treasurer and Professor Frans von der Dunk was elected to an IISL Director position.

According to their purpose statement, "the purposes and objectives of the Institute include the cooperation with appropriate international organizations and national institutions in the field of space law and the carrying out of tasks for fostering the development of space law. It also includes the studies of legal and social science aspects of the exploration and use of outer space and the holding of meetings, colloquia and competitions on juridical and social science aspects of space activities."

The General Meeting of Members convenes once a year during the Colloquium.

Shoemaker has book review published

20 Oct 2014    

Professor Jessica Shoemaker’s recent book review was published in the latest volume of Great Plains Research. The piece discusses Judge Warren K. Urbom’s memoir, Called to Justice: The Life of a Federal Trial Judge. Judge Urbom is a well-known Nebraska federal court judge.
John Zimmer and Daniel Gutman

Gutman, Zimmer Win 2014 Grether Moot Court Competition

13 Oct 2014    

The final round of the 2014 Grether Moot Court Competition was held Friday, October 10, 2014 before the Nebraska Court of Appeals. Judges Bishop, Inbody and Pirtle presided over the competition. After oral arguments, Daniel Gutman, 2L, and John Zimmer, 2L, were declared the winners over finalists Kiersten Haugen, 2L, and Sara Rips, 2L. Gutman was also declared the best Oral Advocate for his passionate and emotionally evocative style in addition to his solid understanding of the law. 

The 2014 competition saw above-average participation, with a total of 18 teams taking part. Bill Straus, 3L, and Titus Hattan, 3L, served at the Grether Competition Coordinators, and Jordan Holst, 3L, served as this year's problem writer.

Boal and Odle Appear Before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

09 Oct 2014    

Micheal Boal and Adam Odle appeared before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 9, 2014. The 3L students worked with civil clinic professors Kevin Ruser and Ryan Sullivan, and other members of the Lincoln legal community to prepare their argument for the bankruptcy case.  

Their argument can be downloaded on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals website. 

Update (via Bloomberg): 

A divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit drew a road map to show creditors of consumer bankrupts how to avoid preference judgments (Pierce v. Collection Assocs. (In re Pierce), 8th Cir., No. 14-1365, 3/9/15). The case before the St. Louis-based court involved a creditor with a judgment who garnished a man's wages. In the preference period, the employer sent about $850 in garnished wages to the state court. The court had sent about $550 to the judgment creditor before bankruptcy. When the bankrupt notified the court that he had filed for bankruptcy, the court sent some $300 back to him. The bankrupt sued for a preference, seeking to “avoid” the entire $850 garnishment. The complaint only sought return of $550. Citing Section 547(c)(8) of the Bankruptcy Code, the bankruptcy court dismissed the suit. That section of the law provides a defense in a suit regarding a consumer bankrupt barring a preference judgment when the transfer is less than $600. The decision was upheld by the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. In a 2-1 decision, the Eighth Circuit reached the same conclusion.

Writing for the majority, U.S. Circuit Judge Bobby E. Shepherd upheld the dismissal. Although he acknowledged that garnished wages are transferred to the creditor “when earned,” the judge said he couldn't overlook the fact that the suit only sought return of $550. U.S. Circuit Judge Steven M. Colloton dissented. He said Nebraska law provides that wages are earned when services are performed, not when paid. The creditor gained ownership of the wages when earned, he said. Colloton focused on how the complaint sought to avoid the entire $850. He said the complaint “merely reflects the fact” that $300 was already returned. The bankrupt was represented in the circuit court by the Clinical Law Program at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Professor Kevin Ruser, who was the supervising faculty on the brief, said in a phone interview that they are “evaluating” whether to request rehearing before all active judges on the Eighth Circuit. Where courts follow the Eighth Circuit majority, a creditor of a consumer bankrupt could return enough money after bankruptcy to reduce the net to less than $600, thereby avoiding a preference judgment for what it kept.

Burkstrand-Reid appointed to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Advisory Committee

06 Oct 2014    

Professor Beth Burkstrand-Reid was appointed by the United States Commission on Civil Rights to the Nebraska Advisory Committee. The Commission is a bipartisan agency of the federal government charged with conducting factfinding activities pertaining to discrimination or denial of equal protection laws based on race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or in the administration of justice. The Nebraska Advisory Committee is composed of citizens familiar with local and state civil rights issues who assist the Commission with its factfinding, investigative, and information dissemination functions. 

Gradwohl receives Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award

06 Oct 2014    

Jan Gradwohl, ’54, received the Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award at the Nebraska Appleseed Good Apple Awards on October 2. 

The Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award recognizes a Nebraskan who has made significant contributions to justice for all throughout his or  her career. It is given in the spirit of the late Jim Wolf, a founding Appleseed board member who possessed a lifelong dedication to promoting the common good. The award is given to an individual who is committed to public service without regard to his or her own economic or political gain.

Jan Gradwohl has dedicated her entire career to the principle of equal justice and fairness before the law after seeing how our systems of power kept long-standing barriers in place for many.

Jan began her career as an attorney, but quickly rose to become the first female appointed judge in Lancaster County. She worked to ensure fairness and equity in our legal system. For her work, she has been honored with both state and national level distinguished service awards.

Jan has also had a significant impact on the College of Law. She served as a professor and mentor to many of our law students, alongside her late husband, John, and continues to be involved in various capacities today.

Space Law Program Announces Conference in Washington, D.C.

03 Oct 2014    

University of Nebraska
7th Annual Washington, D.C. Space Law Conference
On-Orbit Jurisdication: Challenges and Opportunities
Monday, November 3, 2014
National Press Club


Currently, the FAA only has express regulatory authority to license launches and re-entries but not on-orbit or in-space activities. While some have argued FAA or other federal agencies have implied or inherent authority to so regulate, agencies are unlikely to act based on these types or arguments, rather awaiting express authority from Congress. Many new space activities are on the near horizon, including commercial human space flight, asteroid mining, lunar and orbital private research labs and hotels, and on-orbit servicing of satellites. Private investors are seeking certainty for their investments, including private property rights, as well as safety from interference in their activities by others. However, the US commercial space sector is also concerned that heavy-handed regulation in the early stages of such activities could inhibit the activity or drive investment abroad, and thus seek to limit any on-orbit regulatory authority to be “lite” in nature. The US government is anxious to ensure compliance with treaty obligations requiring it to authorize and continually supervise its commercial actors’ space activities to ensure compliance with treaty obligations. Foreign country reaction to US commercial activities in space may also depend on whether the US has sufficient regulatory regime in place, one that for example, would prevent contamination of Earth or celestial bodies in the case of mining, or risk to neighboring satellites during on-orbit servicing. Panel I will discuss government and industry views on the issue of on-orbit jurisdiction (or in-space regulatory authority) and Panel II will delve deeper into specific views of two sub-sectors of the US commercial space industry, those concerned with property rights and the sub-orbital marketplace.

11:30-12:40AM Public Panel I – “On-Orbit Jurisdiction: Government and Industry Views”

  • Laura Montgomery – Manager, Space Law Branch, FAA (confirmed)
  • Karl Kensinger – Deputy Division Chief, Satellite Division, FCC (confirmed)
  • Glenn Talia – Section Chief, Weather, Satellites, and Research Section, NOAA (confirmed)
  • Brian Israel – Attorney-Advisor, US Dept. of State (confirmed)
  • Caryn Schenewerk  - Counsel & Director of Government Affairs, SpaceX (confirmed)
  • Russ McMurry – Senior Counsel, Boeing Network & Space Systems (invited)
  • Franceska Schroeder – Principal, Fish & Richardson (confirmed)

Moderators:  Professor Frans von der Dunk –Nebraska Law & Dennis Burnett – Vice-President, Kymeta

12:40-1:30PM Networking Lunch

1:30-2:30PM  “On-Orbit Jurisdiction -  Perspectives from Different Elements of Space Sector - Views from Property Rights Interests and Sub-Orbital Activities”

  • Mike Gold – Chair, COMSTAC (confirmed)
  • Peter Marquez – VP for Global Engagement, Planetary Resources (confirmed)
  • Marc Holzapfel – Senior VP & General Counsel, Virgin Galactic (confirmed)
  • Patti Grace Smith – Principal, PGS Consulting (confirmed)
  • Jim Muncy – Principal, PoliSpace Consulting (confirmed)

 Moderators:  Professor Matthew Schaefer- Nebraska Law & Dennis Burnett – Vice-President, Kymeta

Join the conversation and see conference updates before and during the panels on Twitter @spacecyberlaw and #DCspacecyberlaw

If you have any questions or concerns please contact:

Elsbeth J. Magilton 
Space, Cyber & Telecommunications Law Program Executive Director | 402-472-1662 | 

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. Video Available Online

03 Oct 2014    

Watch the conversation between Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Chief Judge William Riley here.

Client Counseling Competition Named in Honor of Professors Frank, Lawson

02 Oct 2014    

On the occasion of Professor Alan Frank’s retirement, the Nebraska Law faculty decided to honor him and Professor Craig Lawson by naming the Law College’s Client Counseling Competition the Alan Frank and Craig Lawson Client Counseling Competition. Frank began the College’s participation in the ABA-sponsored national Client Counseling Competition in the spring semester of 1975 and has been involved in the competition ever since. Lawson joined him four years later.

Over those years, Frank and Lawson-coached teams have assembled an enviable record. In 40 years, the College’s Client Counseling Competition teams have won 14 regional championships, 11 of which have occurred in the past 19 years; five national championships, four of which have occurred in the past 11 years and three of which took place in the past six years; and one international championship. The College’s teams have also finished second in the national competition twice and third twice. Its 2014 team finished second in the international competition. 

“Craig and I are deeply honored to have the College’s Client Counseling Competition named after us. I can think of no retirement gift that would mean as much to me,” said Frank. “It has been a pleasure to be involved in the competition and to work with the skilled and hard-working students that made the College’s success in the competition over the years possible.”

The naming became official at a lunch held at the Law College on September 27 during Alumni Weekend. Members of several of the previous competition winners were in attendance.  

Faculty Speak Across the Country in July, August and September

30 Sep 2014    

Several professors from the University of Nebraska College of Law spoke across the country in the late summer months of 2014. Professors Berger, Duncan, Moberly, Schaefer, Shavers and Thimmesch each presented topics specific to their respective areas of expertise.  

Eric Berger
Professor Eric Berger presented his paper “Lethal Injection Secrecy and Eighth Amendment Due Process” to the faculty at Drake University Law School on September 8. The paper argues that inmates challenging the constitutionality of the execution procedure by which they will be executed should have a due process right to information about the procedure. While there, Berger also gave a talk to the students, faculty, and local bar about recent developments in lethal injection litigation. 

Richard Duncan
Professor Rick Duncan took his religious liberty insights across America in September 2014, from the East Coast to the West Coast. He spoke on the Supreme Court's recent decision in the Hobby Lobby case at University of Pittsburgh School of Law on September 16, Duquesne University School of Law on September 17, UC Davis School of Law on September 23, and BYU Law on September 29.


Richard Moberly
Professor Richard Moberly served as a panelist on the National Security Whistleblowing for a Workshop on National Security Law, at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference in Amelia Island, Florida on August 5. 

Matthew Schaefer
Professor Matthew Schaefer moderated the only legal panel at Newspace 2014 on July 25, 2014 in the heart of Silicon Valley. The panel focused on property rights issues, in particular the recent bill introduced by Rep. Posey called the ASTEROIDS Act, how property rights are linked to the issue of on-orbit jurisdiction, and the consistency of proposed US legislation with US international obligations.

Professor Schaefer also presented a paper arguing that space act agreements for space debris remediation technology companies should be explored by NASA in the future at the AIAA Space 2014 in San Diego on August 6.

Anna Shavers
Professor Shavers spoke on the topic "Negotiating the Power of Words: Creating Space for Human Trafficking in Management Discourse Space for Human Trafficking" at the 74th annual conference in Philadelphia, PA.

Adam Thimmesch
Professor Adam Thimmesch presented his paper “Testing the Models of Tax Compliance: The Use-Tax Experiment” at the Oklahoma University Junior Scholars Conference in July and at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting in August.

Professor Thimmesch also presented his paper “Taxing Honesty” at the at the Big Ten Junior Scholars Conference, also held in August.

Sheppard’s Article to Appear in Popular Patent Casebook

26 Sep 2014    

Professor Sheppard's article "Because Inquiring Mind Want to Know - Best Mode - Why is it One-Sided" was cited in the Third Edition of the widely used patent casebook "The Law of Patents."  This Craig Nard casebook is a lean yet comprehensive presentation on the law of patents. The casebook features helpful introductory text, technologically accessible cases, detailed comments, comparative and policy perspectives, and statutes.  The new Third Edition incorporates the America Invents Act, the most sweeping changes to the patent statute since 1952.

Dority Baker to Blog for AALL

26 Sep 2014    

Professor Marcia Dority Baker will be a regular contributor to the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Spectrum blog for 2014-2015. Her first blog titled, “We Want You! Why You Should Join Your Local Library Association,” was published on September 9, 2014.

UNL Dedicates Statues of Former Secretaries of Agriculture

22 Sep 2014    

Ronnie Green, Harlan vice chancellor of the University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, led the dedication of statues honoring Nebraska's former secretaries of agriculture on Saturday, September 20, 2014. Clayton Yeutter, '63, was among those being honored.

Yeutter's statue is in the Jeanne Yeutter garden on UNL's East Campus, while the other three are placed in an area bound by the East Union, C.Y. Thompson Library and Filley Hall. With planned renovations to the library and the union, Green said, this Legacy Plaza will become a major focal point on East Campus, where the statues will serve to educate future generations of students about "these four distinguished Nebraskans who have served our country greatly."

Green said the idea for the statues was born during the celebration two years ago of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which created the land-grant university system. Yeutter and Johanns were among four former ag secretaries who participated in a panel-discussion that fall.

Yeutter expressed appreciation. "I've been a Cornhusker all my life," said Yeutter, a Dawson County native.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. Visits College

22 Sep 2014    

U.S. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.’s appearance at the University of Nebraska College of Law Friday, September 19, 2014,  drew over 500 people including many reporters and VIPS.

In the conversational-style appearance, Roberts sat in a chair on stage right while he answered prepared questions from William Jay Riley, '72, Chief Judge of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Several of the questions had been submitted by students at Oakland-Craig and Wahoo schools, who watched the talk via web streaming.

The event was covered by reporters from ABC News, the Associated Press, and several Nebraska newspapers and broadcasters.

Some of the highlights, according to the Associated Press and Tweets posted during the talk:

  • Roberts is worried about partisanship in the judicial confirmation process and the public perception that the court is a political body, the AP reported.
  • He lamented that the “eminently qualified” Justice Elena Kagan was confirmed on an almost strict partisan vote, Joe Duggan of the Omaha World-Herald reported.
  • Jeff Zeleny, ABC News Senior Washington Correspondent, tweeted Roberts’ comment that neither Justice Antonin Scalia nor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could survive confirmation if they went before the Senate today. “Neither one of them would have a chance today. That’s not good.”
  • Jenn Schanz of KLKN TV Channel 8 in Lincoln tweeted this quote from the chief justice: “We need to keep the partisan divide on the other side of First Street.”
  • Lori Pilger of the Lincoln Journal-Star chose this Roberts quote for one of her Tweets: “We are not part of the political process. We don’t make decisions on political grounds.”

Other highlights recounted on Twitter:

Asked how his undergraduate degree in history influences his work, Roberts quipped “I went to law school because I couldn’t get a job in history.”

His aim is to be fair when he assigns opinions to other justices. Each gets a share of important cases and “dogs,” he said.

When asked what he does for fun, Roberts said “I have two teenaged kids. I go to soccer games, hockey games and school plays.”

Question: “Is being chief justice everything you imagined?” Answer: “More.”

A video of the conversation between Cheif Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Chief Judge William Jay Riley is available on the College of Law Alumni Continuing Legal Education and Programming page.


Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic Presents to Local Non-Profit Organizations

22 Sep 2014    

Four Students

Four Student Attorneys in the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic gave a presentation Thursday, September 18th to representatives of more than 60 local non-profit organizations.  The presentation, “Non-Profit Fundraising and the Law,” was hosted by at the Lincoln Community Foundation and Sarah Peetz, Vice President for Community Outreach.  

Third-year law students Andrew Joyce, Ashlea Whitney, Aditya Ezhuthachan, and Brianna McLarty offered guidance on legal issues relating to fundraising, including licensing for raffles and lotteries, sales and use tax issues, federal tax issues and record keeping requirements for donors and non-profits.  The students also provided information regarding best practices for non-profits in managing their fundraising efforts. 

The presentation was given as a part of the ongoing outreach efforts by the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic at the University of Nebraska College of Law.  The Clinic, through the efforts of its Student Attorneys under the direction of Professor Brett Stohs, provides free transactional legal services for start-up endeavors throughout the State of Nebraska.  For more information about the Clinic, please visit

Brooks, ’15, Speaks at HRC Nebraska Kickoff

22 Sep 2014    

Taylor Brooks, ’15, spoke at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Nebraska kickoff reception on September 15th. He shared his experience of being a young gay professional in Nebraska and his aspirations of making the state a place that other young LGBT professional consider for their careers.