Blumel, '89, to Serve as Dvorak Law Group Managing Partner
04 Feb 2019
Dvorak Law Group, LLC is pleased to announce that Jeffrey J. Blumel, '89, will serve as Managing Partner of the firm, effective January 1, 2019.
Blumel's practice focuses on civil litigation, trial practice, and dispute resolution. He received his J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law.
"Jeff brings a multitude of professional and practical legal experience to the firm. His relationships in the broader Nebraska legal community are unparalleled. He will provide the firm with a great platform as we expand the firm's footprint throughout Nebraska and beyond," says David M. Dvorak, partner with Dvorak Law Group.
Bring, '13, Becomes Partner at Heidman
04 Feb 2019
Heidman Law Firm announces the election of Jason D. Bring, '13, as a partner of the Sioux City firm, effective Jan. 1, 2019.
Bring is a member of the firm’s litigation practice group. His general practice includes commercial law, criminal law, administrative law, business law, real estate law, torts and personal injury.
He earned his J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law and his B.A. from Briar Cliff University.
Pederson, '80, Recognized by North Platte Public Schools Foundation
04 Feb 2019
David Pederson, '80, was named the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus for Outstanding Service to the North Platte Community by the North Platte Public Schools Foundation.
Pederson earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1980 and was sworn in to practice before the Nebraska Supreme Court, U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit that year. He has spent 38 years in private practice in North Platte.
While earning many accolades in his professional career, he also gives back at to the North Platte community. He was the president of the North Platte Public Schools Board of Education from 1993 to 1997, a founding member of the North Platte Public Schools Foundation as well as the Great Plains Health Care Foundation, chair of the Great Plains Health Board of Directors and the 2011 Nebraska Hospital Association Hospital Trustee of the Year. He is actively involved on his church council, Noon Rotary Club, Heartland Singers and the North Platte Community Playhouse.
According to the Foundation's press release, "Pederson truly believes that working to make North Platte a great community is as important as working in the community. He leads by example and has proven that it is possible to build a successful career while taking time to prioritize family and community. Pederson and his wife, Judy, are valuable assets to the North Platte community."
Langan, '11, Mahlin, '10, Tefft, '11, Named Dvorak Law Group Partners
04 Feb 2019
M. Thomas Langan II, Stephanie N. Mahlin, and Patrick A. Tefft have accepted invitations to become partners with the Dvorak Law Group, effective January 1, 2019.
Tom Langan's, '11, practice focuses on business and corporate law, intellectual property, and banking and finance. Langan graduated with his J.D. (with distinction) from the University of Nebraska College of Law.
Stephanie Mahlin's, '10, practice focuses on business and corporate law and intellectual property. Mahlin received her J.D. (highest distinction) from the University of Nebraska College of Law.
Pat Tefft's, '11, practice focuses on business and corporate law and construction law. Tefft received his J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law.
Audience serves as jury in 'Defamation Experience'
01 Feb 2019
The College of Law will host “The Defamation Experience” at 11 a.m. Feb. 6.
The play is a courtroom drama that explores issues of race, class, religion, gender and the law with a twist — the audience serves as the jury. The program, which includes audience deliberation and a facilitated discussion, is a unique opportunity to engage in civil discourse about pressing social issues.
The play centers on a defamation lawsuit between a south side African American female business owner and a wealthy Jewish north shore real estate developer. Following the 75-minute trial, the judge will lead the audience through deliberation. An audience vote will decide the outcome of the trial.
Since “The Defamation Experience” premiered in 2010, thousands of people nationwide have participated, examining themselves, preconceived concepts and responses, and the themes touched on by the play.
A limited number of tickets are available in the College of Law Dean’s Office. The performance is sponsored by the John Gradwohl Family and the College of Law’s Multi-Cultural Legal Society.
Wilson, '91, Named Partner of Carlson & Burnett, LLP
28 Jan 2019
Andrew "Andy" Wilson, '91, was announced as a new partner of Omaha law firm Carlson & Burnett, LLP.
Wilson is an Omaha native and 1991 graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law with over twenty-five years of criminal and civil litigation experience. After starting his career with a firm in Des Moines, Andy moved back to Omaha in 1993 to join the Douglas County Public Defender's office. In that role, Andy's case load included serious felony offenses, including drug trafficking, murder, and sexual assault. In 2000, Andy moved into private practice and built a civil litigation practice focused on personal injury and insurance defense. He has an extensive trial background, including over forty jury trials as lead counsel. In 2013, Andy was awarded the Jury Trial of the Year award from the Office of Federal Public Defender. He is active in his church, the Millard Rotary Club and Omaha Central Legion Baseball, for which he currently serves as president.
Lepard Publishes Article in American Journal of International Law Unbound
23 Jan 2019
The online journal American Journal of International Law Unbound has published an article by Professor Brian Lepard entitled “Customary International Law: A Third World Perspective’: Reflections in Light of an Approach to CIL Based on Fundamental Ethical Principles.”
In the article Professor Lepard comments on and critiques an article published earlier in 2018 in the print edition of the American Journal of International Law by legal scholar B.S. Chimni. Lepard evaluates the strengths and potential shortcomings of Chimni’s arguments in light of an approach to customary international law that Lepard has developed in his writings that is based on fundamental ethical principles recognized in international law. Lepard discusses critically three of the key theses articulated by Chimni: First, that customary international law is inherently colonialist and inconsistent with the values of Third World peoples; second, that even contemporary customary international human rights law is a means of furthering global capitalism to the detriment of Third World peoples; and third, that the remedy for customary international law’s biases lies in the creation of a “postmodern” doctrine of customary international law that incorporates reference to the “juridical conscience of humankind.” Professor Lepard’s article can be found here.
The American Journal of International Law is one of the premier publications on international law in the United States. 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.
Crabtree, '72, Joins JAMS Denver Office
23 Jan 2019
C. Scott Crabtree ’72, was a trial attorney in the Denver metro area for 30 years before being appointed a Colorado District Court Judge in 2001. He retired at the end of June 2016. He is now a panelist with the national firm of JAMS in its Denver, Colorado office. While he was a sitting judge, he issued a ground-breaking order declaring Colorado’s statutory and constitutional prohibitions against same sex marriage unconstitutional under the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
Christensen, '18, Joins Baylor Evnen, LLP
23 Jan 2019
Jenna (Woitaszewski) Christensen, '18, has joined Baylor Evnen, LLP's Workers’ Compensation practice group. Christensen received her Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska College of Law with high distinction in 2018. While attending law school, Christensen was a law clerk at Baylor Evnen, LLP and served roles on the Nebraska Law Review and the Nebraska Moot Court Board. She received her undergraduate degree with honors from Doane University, majoring in business administration, sociology, and law.
Magilton and White Awarded Inclusive Excellence Development Grant
18 Jan 2019
An interdisciplinary team from the College of Law and the Political Science Department has been awarded one of the University of Nebraska’s Inclusive Excellence Development Grants from the Office of Diversity, Access and Inclusion. Elsbeth Magilton, the Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law program Executive Director and Political Science faculty member Dr. Tyler White, will be implementing their proposal, “Recruiting, Retaining, and Supporting Women in the National Security Field” over the next two semesters. The proposal seeks to establish student programing and resources to provide career development and field-specific mentorship to women engaged in national security.
Magilton explained, “leaders throughout the government and the Department of Defense (DoD) have recently called for new and creative methods for thinking about national security strategies, with a particular focus in engaging young and diverse people in defense policy. The University of Nebraska, through our collaborations with DoD and the intelligence community, has a unique opportunity to use our time with students - undergraduate, to graduate, to doctoral - to create a more diverse and supportive pipeline into these career fields for female students.”
“In recent years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln there has been a major shift in enrollment into the Intelligence Community Scholars program, with a notable increase in female students. Unfortunately, we do not see those same numbers several years into the profession. The University has an opportunity to help enact change in the profession,” added Dr. White.
The project will focus on three core objectives to achieve their desired impact: visibility of female role models in the field, field-specific mentorship, and professional skills building. Efforts will include public panels, career development workshops, and more cross-department collaborations.
This is the second time Magilton and White have collaborated to bring national security focused opportunities to students; last March the team co-hosted the Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance conference on behalf of U.S. Strategic Command featuring primarily student and new-faculty research.
More information about the Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law program is available at law.unl.edu/spacecyberlaw. More information about Nebraska’s Intelligence Community Scholars program is available at nationalsecurity.unl.edu.
Husker Civic Challenge aims for 1.5M hours of service
17 Jan 2019
In commemoration of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s 150th year, the Center for Civic Engagement has challenged the university community to grow its helping handprint.
The Husker Civic Challenge is encouraging students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the university to record more than 1.5 million service hours during 2019.
“We want to be able to capture and record the impact of giving back to the state of Nebraska and beyond,” Linda Major, director of the Center for Civic Engagement, said.
The challenge began Jan. 1 and formally kicked off with the Husker Civic Challenge Service Fair Jan. 16, where students learned about volunteer opportunities with local nonprofit organizations.
Major said there will also be monthly events in which students can participate and record service hours, beginning with the MLK Reading Challenge Jan. 21 and a Valentines for Troops event in February. Additional events will be announced as they are finalized.
The university is using GivePulse, a civic service tracking website, to record service hours. Any person who wants to log hours toward the challenge can register with the site at unl.givepulse.com.
The website also lists volunteer opportunities from more than 400 local organizations, service events and service learning classes, tracking the hours given in real time. Users can log hours and get information via a GivePulse app, as well. Linda Moody, assistant director of civic engagement, has led the integration of GivePulse at the university and in the Lincoln community.
Major thinks the goal is reachable. Hours from service learning coursework and some student events, like the Big Event, have been estimated at around 900,000 per year.
“And that’s not accounting for service done by groups such as student organizations like Dance Marathon, and sororities and fraternities, and many others,” she said. “It will be interesting to see at the end how much service learning is happening on campus.”
Major encouraged the university community to broaden perceptions of service.
“Historically, we think about community service as working at a food bank or helping with the neighborhood cleanup,” Major said. “I think a lot of people serve in various capacities, on advisory boards or unpaid elected positions, for example, without thinking of it as service.”
Logging hours in GivePulse to show impact and volunteering will also help Nebraska reach a goal laid out by Chancellor Ronnie Green during the State of University address Jan. 15. Green said he would like to see Nebraska gain the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, which recognizes institutions’ commitment to community engagement.
“If we seek that elective classification, GivePulse will serve a role in the application process and will have already recorded our impact,” Major said.
Scheer, '08, Named Partner at Woods & Aitken LLP
15 Jan 2019
Kari A. F. Scheer, ’08, has been named a partner at Woods & Aitken LLP. Scheer joined the firm as an Associate in 2013.
Scheer practices primarily in the areas of construction law and commercial litigation. She advocates for businesses of all sizes throughout court proceedings, mediations, and arbitrations. She also has experience litigating personal injury and labor and employment matters.
Scheer is admitted to practice law in the state and federal courts in Iowa and Nebraska, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She is an active member of the Eighth Circuit Bar Association where she serves on the Board of Directors. In 2008, she received her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law with high distinction.
Since 1921, Woods & Aitken LLP has focused its practice of law on achieving long-term client success. This commitment to client service has also afforded Woods & Aitken LLP the opportunity to emerge as a regional and national leader in the practice of construction, telecommunications, labor and employment, real estate, and banking and finance law. Learn more at www.woodsaitken.com.
Cantone, '08, Featured in American Psychological Association's "Monitor on Psychology"
10 Jan 2019
Jason A. Cantone, '08, is the subject of a feature story in the January 2019 issue of Monitor on Psychology, a publication of the American Psychological Association. Cantone is a senior research associate for the Federal Judicial Center (FJC), an independent federal agency dedicated to identifying ways to streamline and inform the work of the federal judiciary.
The article, "Improving order in the courts," touches on Cantone's work at the FJC, how his combined experience in law and psychology supports his current work, and his experience helping judges in Uzbekistan.
Kramer, '11, Named Partner at Gast Johnson & Muffly PC
09 Jan 2019
Gast Johnson & Muffly PC, a leading civil practice law firm, is pleased to announce that Benjamin D. Kramer, '11, has become a shareholder in the firm.
Kramer joined the firm in 2015. His practice focuses on business, real estate and estate planning matters. Kramer is co-chair of the Pro Bono Program and president of the Young Lawyers Division for the Larimer County Bar Association. Kramer emphasizes a practical approach to representing clients, focusing on their specific objectives and offering creative solutions. Prior to joining Gast Johnson & Muffly, PC, Kramer worked in Lincoln, Nebraska practicing general civil law. A Fort Collins native, it was not difficult to convince his wife to move back to Colorado.
“I am honored to become a partner with a talented group of attorneys,” said Kramer. “I look forward to adding to a great firm and giving back to the community.”
Gast Johnson & Muffly is an AV® preeminent peer rated law firm with Martindale Hubbell® and was recently recognized as a Tier 1 selection in the 2019 “Best Law Firms” for Colorado in Real Estate Law by U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, which recognizes the top law firms in the country for professional excellence.
Brown, '92, Received 2018 Nebraska Book Award
09 Jan 2019
Amy Knox Brown's, '92, nonfiction book, What is Gone (Texas Tech University Press, 2017), received the 2018 Nebraska Book Award in the category of Memoir.
Brown is an associate professor and program director of English at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha.
Schumacher, '15, Named Partner at Bruner Frank Schumacher, L.L.C.
09 Jan 2019
La Grone, '16, Appointed to Nebraska Legislature
19 Dec 2018
Gov. Pete Ricketts appointed Andrew La Grone, '16, to fill the District 49 vacancy in the Legislature on Monday, Dec. 17.
La Grone, 28, is the legal counsel for the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, chaired by current District 49 state Sen. John Murante.
Murante was elected state treasurer and will be sworn into that office early next year.
La Grone, who advised the committee on legal matters and worked out of Murante's office, will begin his appointment representing Gretna and western Sarpy County on Jan. 9.
"I am deeply honored by the governor's appointment," La Grone said in a statement. "The people can count on me to put District 49's conservative principles to work to help deliver new property tax relief, hold the line on state spending, and stand up for Nebraska's unborn children."
La Grone holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and also graduated from Nebraska College of Law.
He is the president of the Gretna Optimists, a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, the Gretna Chamber of Commerce, and the Nebraska chapter of the Federalist Society.
Ricketts said La Grone's work as a private-practice attorney, as well as his work within the Legislature made him well-prepared to serve in the body.
"He is a solid conservative who will push to cut taxes, protect public safety, and champion pro-life policy," Ricketts said in a statement. "I look forward to working with Andrew to help grow our state in the coming years."
Ricketts will appoint another state senator, this one replacing Sen. Dan Watermeier, who won election to the Public Service Commission in the November election, before the beginning of the 2019 session.
Story from Lincoln Journal Star.
Siminou, '07, Receives Pound Civil Justice Institute's 2018 Appellate Advocacy Award
03 Dec 2018
The Officers and Trustees of the Pound Civil Justice Institute have bestowed the Institute’s 2018 Appellate Advocacy Award on Leslie Brueckner of Public Justice in Oakland, CA and Benjamin Siminou, '07, of Siminou Appeals in San Diego, CA. They were honored for their distinguished work resulting in the California Supreme Court’s landmark decision in T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., 407 P.3d 18 (Cal. 2017).
In T.H., a unanimous California Supreme Court held that, because brand-name prescription drug companies write the labels for all drugs, they may be sued for failing to warn of the dangers of mislabeled, generic versions of their drugs. A majority of the Court also held that even former brand-name manufacturers are subject to suit if their failure to update their labels to warn of their drug’s dangers foreseeably injure consumers of generic drugs. T.H. is the only standing decision of any appellate court granting consumers the right to seek compensation when they are injured by mislabeled generic drugs. More than 90 percent of all drugs sold in the U.S. are generic, and, under current federal law, generic drug manufacturers have complete immunity from suit because they do not write their products’ labels. Because there are no issues of federal law in T.H., it cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ben brought the case from the trial level through to the California Court of Appeals. Once at the California Supreme Court, Leslie and Ben jointly wrote the appellate briefs for the plaintiff, and both argued orally. Their efforts were supported by an amicus curiae brief of Consumer Attorneys of California and the American Association for Justice, authored by Charles Dell’Ario, of Napa, California, and Jeffrey R. White of AAJ.
Leslie is a Senior Attorney at Public Justice, a national public interest law firm, where she has worked for 25 years. She specializes in cutting-edge appellate litigation in the state and federal courts, such as class actions, constitutional law, federal preemption, consumer rights, personal jurisdiction, food safety, and combating court secrecy. She has handled numerous appeals in the federal and state courts, including the Supreme Courts of California, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virgnia, and in the U.S. Supreme Court. Ben Siminou is the founder and principal of Siminou Appeals in San Diego, specializing in appeals of civil cases. Prior to establishing Siminou Appeals, Ben worked nearly a decade as a trial lawyer with the San Diego-based plaintiffs’ firm, Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire LLP, where he handled virtually every aspect of civil litigation. Ben has handled numerous civil and criminal appeals in the California Supreme Court, the California Court of Appeal, and the Ninth Circuit.
Leslie and Ben's dedication to the civil justice system, and their persuasive advocacy in T.H. v. Novartis, have had a significant impact on the right of access to justice in civil cases in the United States.
Hoesing, '12, Graduates from Nebraska Water Leaders Academy
20 Nov 2018
Hoesing holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in justice studies from Chadron State College. He also earned a Juris Doctorate with High Distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Hoesing is an associate attorney and shareholder in the Simmons Olsen Law Firm in Scottsbluff. A project of the Water Futures Partnership-Nebraska, Academy sessions feature classroom as well as field trip experiences presented by acknowledged experts in leadership and natural resource topics held at locations across the state. The Water Leaders Academy is partially funded through a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and more than 25 other organizations and individuals.
More information can be found at www.waterleadersacademy.org.
Henderson, Klein and Page Advance to National Moot Court Competition Finals
19 Nov 2018
3Ls Paul Henderson, Nathan Klein and Chris Page defeated a University of Kansas team to win to Region 9 competition of the New York City Bar Association’s National Moot Court Competition. The team, coached by alumnus Shannon Doering, ’99, will advance to the national competition finals to be held in New York City January 21-28, 2019.
A second Nebraska Law team comprised of Adam Kost, Maureen Larsen and David Shea also made an impressive showing at the competition, advancing to the semi-final round before they were defeated.
The following teams competed in the competition, which was hosted by Saint Louis University: University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, University of Arkansas – Little Rock, Creighton University, University of Kansas, University of Missouri – Kansas City, University of Missouri – Columbia, University of Nebraska, Oklahoma City University, University of Oklahoma, Saint Louis University, University of Tulsa, Washburn University, Washington University.