Order or Directive? That is the Question!
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record
     Lunch with Fenner is 20 years old and still going strong! The Omaha Bar Association invites Creighton University School of Law Professor G. Michael Fenner to address the membership on current issues pertaining to the Constitution, his area of expertise. This year, he chose the topic “Immigration: Presidential Action in the Face of the (Dysfunctional?) Congress.”
     He began by asking everyone to refrain from agreeing or disagreeing with his claims until the end of the presentation – “No knee-jerk reactions!” In due course, he found many pros and cons in the President’s recent actions regarding immigration policy implementation. To the question, “What is President Obama doing?” he responded, “Expanding coverage of the Dream Act.” At issue, he said, was whether the expansion was an executive order which carries with it the force of law, or an executive directive which provides guidance to employees (i.e. Federal officials) on how to do their job. Either way, they follow it. “Does it matter? he asked. “Yes.”
     He noted that with a directive, the President is trying to administer the law, within the confines of the money appropriated by Congress. He has that right, and duty. But, he said, the President expanded the boundaries, so that it seems more like an amended statute. “It’s the President’s job to implement the law, not make it. … While the genesis of the Constitution is separation of powers, that is not as distinct as was thought.” He noted that other Presidents have issued directives, for different reasons. “We have had at least five great expansion of executive powers,” Fenner said. “Here’s my concern: This may be the sixth great expansion.” If Obama’s actions are constitutional, then how do you stop the next expansion? He delved much further into the issue, and humorously concluded, “We’ll just have to wait and see what Justice Kennedy thinks!”

Darren Carlson’s approach to life is best exemplified in things like the
whimsical photo above, which he chose for his book, Your 1960’s TV Guide to Estate Planning.

Carlson Uses Innovative Multi-media
Approach to Market His Law Firm

By John Benson
Legal Writer
The Daily Record

After over two decades practicing in traditional Omaha law firm settings, Darren Carlson wanted to create a firm which would allow him to implement the management and marketing strategies he had begun to champion, while allowing him the time to pursue the many non-legal endeavors which he so relished.

With those goals in mind, Carlson teamed up with Anne Burnett in 2008 and founded the law firm of Carlson & Burnett.
Since its inception, Carlson & Burnett has grown to include 11 attorneys and two law clerks. The firm has positioned itself as a full-service family law firm with multiple practice gr
oups, all of which relate to the family unit.
The firm’s website boasts, “At Carlson & Burnett, our lawyers believe that devotion to family is everything.”
Click here for full story
Visit for more information.

Dean Loftus and Martha Heydenreich collaborate, as they have for years, on continuing to improve the Mental Health Diversion program.
Mental Health Diversion Program
Showing Success in Sarpy County

By Dennis Friend
The Daily Record

The kid was in trouble. He was accused of felony theft, of stealing from his employer. That’s when he became part of the Sarpy County Mental Health Diversion program.
“He was one of our first cases,” according to Dean Loftus, diversion officer and mental health diversion manager. Loftus learned the young man had been treated for mental health issues before this new encounter with the criminal justice system.

Click here for full story

Legal Aid Board President David Piester (right) drops in on new Executive Director Mick Wagoner in the Native American conference room, named for its décor, as he prepares to take on his latest challenge.

New Executive Director Wants Legal Aid
To Continue Expanding Across Nebraska

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

He sports an impressive resumé, including 24 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps.
But what you notice first about him is his easy smile and homespun charm.
Thomas A. “Mick” Wagoner, the new executive director of Legal Aid of Nebraska (LAN), is a third generation Nebraska lawyer and proud of it.

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ADR Adds Judge Sievers to Roster of Neutrals
Affirmative Dispute Resolution Ltd. Co. (ADR) recently welcomed Hon. Richard D. Sievers, a former Chief Judge of the Nebraska Court of Appeals, to its roster of neutrals.  Judge Sievers served on the Court of Appeals from the new Court’s organization in early 1992 until his retirement in 2013.
Sievers is the ninth neutral and second retired judge to join Affirmative Dispute Resolution’s roster of neutrals. He will provide mediation, arbitration and evaluation services for disputes in Nebraska.  Judge Sievers is available for a variety of cases, including agriculture, banking, commercial, divorce, employment, estates, professional negligence, probate, personal injury and other areas.
Affirmative Dispute Resolution’s website can be found at:

Koley Jessen Welcomes
Tews as Estate Planning Shareholder
Koley Jessen recently welcomed James A. Tews to the firm’s estate and business succession planning practice group. Tews focuses his practice on estate planning and trusts, probate, guardian and conservatorships, Medicaid planning, real estate matters and corporate and business law.
Tews has developed an expertise in estate planning for families who are parenting or caring for a child with physical or cognitive challenges. He is experienced in establishing special needs trusts and supplemental special needs trusts which provide the ability to use trust assets to give individuals with special needs “non-necessity” items that would not be available through government benefits.
Tews is a frequent author and speaker on estate planning. He received his bachelor of arts degree, summa cum laude, in business administration, environmental science and biology from Mount Marty College in 1999. He received his juris doctorate, magna cum laude, from Creighton University School of Law in 2003.
For more information regarding Koley Jessen, please visit the firm’s website at

Jason Grams is especially proud of his work with the Robert M. Spire American Inn of Court.
– Photo by Michael Tran
A Latecomer to the Profession…
Grams Jumped Into Law With Both Feet

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

For a decade Jason W. Grams worked in the marketing services industry, and then he decided to make a career change.
“When I was in the eighth grade, we were given a personality test. Mine said that I should be a lawyer.
We did papers after the test and I wrote that I wanted to be a lawyer. My teacher wrote in red pen on my paper, ‘Why would you want to do that?’
“But it was always my life plan to be a lawyer.”

Click here for full story

What’s a Section? Ask Lorrie Benson
By Dennis Friend
The Daily Record

Maybe you’re a lawyer hoping to connect with your peers. Maybe you want to share information. Maybe you want to talk to other lawyers involved in your area of expertise.
Maybe Lorrie Benson can help.

Lorrie Benson

Benson holds the position of Section Facilitator for the Nebraska State Bar Association. It’s a new position, one she assumed October 1, and one she described as “a fast, fun introduction to the Nebraska State Bar Association,” or NSBA.
What’s a section facilitator? Essentially, it’s someone who helps members of the bar association connect with other members. The NSBA provides access to resources for those interested in everything from Agricultural Law to Workers’ Compensation Law. These areas, or sections, involve lawyers who practice or have an interest in specific legal areas.
“In an organization with thousands of members, often the best way you can get involved is through smaller groups,” Benson pointed out. “It helps people be more connected. They can share professional interests.”
Benson was has been a member of the NSBA for 20 years, describing herself as a former “country lawyer and elected county attorney” who had a practice in Iowa. Her careers also have included print and broadcast media reporting. She was with the University of Nebraska when she learned about the position which became her new job.

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In Case You Missed It…
Here are some of our recent articles.
Click on "Click here" to access the entire article.

Kris Kluver (left) and Managing Editor John Darwin strategize in Social Media Contractors’ “industrial” strength offices in southwest Omaha.    
– Photo by
Social Media Contractors
‘If You’re Going to Dream, Dream Big’

By Dan McCann
The Daily Record

Omaha native Kris Kluver is part of an elite society, a member of a special band of risk takers known as serial entrepreneurs.
He launched his first venture at age 19 – a clothing design and wholesale manufacturing company. He has since been directly involved in the creation, operation and occasional sale of more than 20 successful businesses – everything from commercial real estate development firms to storage facilities.

Click here for full story
                                                                                                                  – Photos by Lorraine Boyd
OBA Annual Wine Tasting
The Omaha Bar Association’s Annual Wine Tasting, held at Brix at Village Pointe, welcomed nearly 250 members and guests to partake of several wines and a spread of hors d’oeuvres. Co-sponsored by the OBA and The Daily Record, the event is one of the most popular of the year. It aims to promote old and new friendships among members of the legal community. Here Douglas County District Court Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf (left) and William Jay Riley, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit; and Caitlin Ellis, Judge Retelsdorf’s niece, enjoy the ambiance and the company. The OBA’s next event is the 20th annual Lunch with Fenner tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. at Creighton University’s Harper Center Ballroom, where Creighton Law Professor G. Michael Fenner will discuss “Immigration: Presidential Action in the Face of the (Dysfunctional?) Congress.” Visit www.omahabarassociation for more information.
Click here for more coverage of the Wine Tasting.
Michaela Smith finds McGrath North to be a perfect fit for her skills.
–  Photo by Michael Tran
Ordinary Name, Extra-ordinary Attorney

Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

Teachers make a difference. They can inspire, mentor, and even help a student find his or her direction in life. At least that’s what happened to Michaela A. Smith, an attorney and shareholder at McGrath North.
Click here for full story
You can learn more about her firm at



The University of Nebraska College of Law is seeking applicants for the position of Associate Director of Career Services.  The Associate Director will counsel students, assist with interviews and have primary responsibility for developing and executing programming. Juris Doctor degree, practical legal experience and excellent communication skills required. Criminal history background check will be conducted. Excellent benefits including staff/dependent scholarship program. Applicant review begins March 9. View requisition S_150141 at for additional details and to apply. UNL is committed to a pluralistic campus community through affirmative action, equal opportunity, work-life balance, and dual careers.
2-27-to 3-6-15

The Daily Record
Now you can access the entire issue online!
Just look f
or the COMPLETE ISSUES link in our menu.  
Issues will be available online for five weeks following publication.

From left, back row: Daniel M. Donnelly, Stephen P. O’Meara, Kristin A. Fearnow, Rodney C. Dahlquist, Anne M. Breitkreutz and Josh W. Weir. From left, front row: Sean Conway, Joseph L. Howard, Mallory N. Hughes, Stuart J. Dornan, Christine A. Lustgarten, Thomas J. Monaghan (Of Counsel) and Jason E. Troia.
Dornan, Lustgarten & Troia
Having Bilingual Lawyers Enhances
Practice’s Ability to Serve Clients

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

One quarter of the attorneys at Dornan, Lustgarten & Troia, PC, LLO, are bilingual, resulting in the firm providing a wide range of services to Spanish-speaking Omahans, while serving all clients in both criminal and civil cases.

They have just announced the addition of two associates, Kristin Fearnow and Daniel M. Donnelly. In addition, Sean Conway, a member of the DLT team since 2011, has become a partner.
The law firm has continued to grow since its founding partners, Stuart Dornan and Christine Lustgarten, opened the doors to Dornan and Lustgarten on January 7, 2007.  
Lustgarten met Dornan when he was the Douglas County Attorney. She was working in that office, and Dornan retained her as Deputy County Attorney in charge of the Civil Division. When he left office, she joined with him to open their law firm.
Today the firm, housed on the second floor of the historic Paxton building in downtown Omaha, boasts seven partners, five associates and a former U.S. Attorney of counsel. It plans to be there for a long time, having purchased its space there. “We don’t have plans to grow the firm right now,” Lustgarten said. “We’d have to purchase the rest of the floor before we did that. But then, we didn’t plan our growth when we opened either.”
DLT provides a full range of legal services to the Spanish-speaking community in Omaha and surrounding areas.
Kristin Fearnow, new to the firm in December 2014, brings nearly ten years of experience as a bilingual attorney to the firm’s immigration section.  
“We are so lucky to have her,” Managing Partner Christine Lustgarten said. “She brings so much experience.”
Fearnow is the chair of the Iowa/Nebraska Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, serves on the board of directors of National Justice For Our Neighbors and is a member on the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s committee for Violence Against Women, U and T Visas. She is a frequent speaker at the annual AILA conferences and is scheduled to testify before the Nebraska Legislature on issues impacting immigrants.
Lustgarten said that about 50 percent of their clients are Spanish-speaking.
“We used to have a satellite office in South Omaha, but we found our clients were more than willing to come to our downtown office, so we closed it.”
The Mexican Consulate has retained the firm’s immigration section since 2008, handling both civil and criminal cases for their constituents.
“Josh Weir is a big reason for the success of the immigration section,” Lustgarten said. In 2010 he represented the appellant in a seminal case – State v. Mena-Rivera – that established a defendant, when entering a guilty plea, had to be instructed about the possibility of deportation or a denial of naturalization. “It was a big step,” she said.
Weir and Fearnow speak at the Mexican Consulate twice a week about issues affecting immigrants, including the status of litigation. They then spend a couple of hours answering questions.
“They were speaking once a week, but when the new consul, Guadalupe Sánchez-Salazar, arrived last summer, she asked them to come twice a week,” Lustgarten said.
In addition to the firm’s work with immigration, attorney Stephen O’Meara, who served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, is heavily involved in the anti-human trafficking movement in Nebraska and Iowa.

The firm’s newest partner, Sean Conway, is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law. He is an active criminal defense attorney, successful personal injury litigator, and also handles workers compensation claims. Conway serves on the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, is a Nebraska Bar Foundation Fellow, sits on the UNMC Board of Counselors and is a talented addition to the annual Barristers productions, a group of young lawyers for whom he is currently serving as president.
Daniel M. Donnelly has also joined the firm as an associate, having recently moved to Nebraska from New York City. He is a graduate of the Hofstra University School of Law and served as an assistant district attorney for the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office in New York City prosecuting violent crimes. Dan will assist the firm in criminal defense and civil litigation.
“We have a great group of people here,” Lustgarten said. Everyone is so talented.”
For more information regarding Dornan, Lustgarten & Troia, please go to the firm’s website at

Click here for full story
Law Firm of Inserra & Kelley
Accepting Clients in Syngenta Mass Tort Case

By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

What brought U.S. corn exports to China to a standstill?
In 2013, agri-business giant Syngenta released for sale strains of its GMO corn containing the MIR 162 trait, primarily under its Agrisure Viptera and Duracade brands. 

Craig Kelley/John Inserra

This trait has not yet been approved by the Chinese government for import, and China is refusing, destroying, or impounding (and charging storage fees) shipments of corn that test positive for MIR 162. 
Lawsuits that have already been filed assert that despite this, around the time that Viptera was going to market, Syngenta made untrue public statements that Chinese approval was mere days away. They also contend that Syngenta also encouraged farmers who purchased Viptera corn to plant it “side by side” with non-Viptera corn, thereby cross-pollinating and contaminating the entire crop. This contamination also occurred when Syngenta’s GMO seed corn was mixed with other corn in grain bins.
The problem lies not in the make-up of the corn seeds, but the fact that because protocol was not followed in obtaining approval by China, the corn was not accepted, causing great monetary loss to those in the supply chain.

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Timothy Sherwood Dunning
May 26, 1972 - Jan 12, 2015

Young Lawyer
Leaves Legacy of Humor
Tim Dunning in his rugby days at Dartmouth.
Forty-two-year-old Omaha attorney Timothy Dunning died unexpectedly in January. A memorial service was held January 17 at Trinity Cathedral in Omaha.
He was an in-house securities and finance attorney at Union Pacific Railroad for 13 years, after three years at Kutak Rock. He earned his law degree at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. While an undergraduate at Dartmouth, he was a stand-out rugby player, serving as president of the DRFC. He was described by coach and teammates alike as “someone you would always want by your side in any battle.”
In addition to being a versatile rugby player, one teammate noted that “Tim had a self-deprecating style of humor and was good at bringing out a laugh in his teammates.”

Click here for full story

Meetings & Seminars
for the legal community

Ethics, Credibility and the Courtroom
Hruska Law Center, First Floor Conference Room
635 S 14 St, Lincoln
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
For More Information:
E-filing and Casemaker Training
Kahill’s Steakhouse
385 E Fourth St, South Sioux City, NE
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
For More Information:
2015 Best Practices Seminar
Presented by the Nebraska State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section
University of Nebraska College of Law
635 S 14 St, Lincoln
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
For More Information:
How to Draft a Contract
Scott Conference Center
6450 Pine St, Omaha
9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
For More Information:
Update from the Department of Labor
Employee Benefits Security Administration
Creighton University Harper Center
602 N 20 St, Omaha
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
For More Information:
Trauma Awareness Training
Douglas County CASA
2412 Saint Mary’s Ave, Omaha
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
For More Information:
Lexington Ethics Seminar:
Ethical Issues in Representing Closely Held Entities and Families
Central Community College
1501 Plum Creek Pkwy, Lexington
12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
For More Information:
Omaha Bar Association | Creighton University School of Law
9th Annual Seminar on Ethics & Professionalism
Lied Auditorium
Creighton University Harper Center
602 N 20 St, Omaha
2:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
For More Information:


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March 6, 1836
3,000 Mexicans beat 182 Texans at the Alamo, after 13 day fight

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