JFON-NE’s Executive Director Emiliano Lerda (left) and Cupcake Wars’ pastry chef Florian Bellanger listen to a culinary student’s presentation on her cupcakes. (Turn to page three for more photos.)
No Slowdown in Sight for JFON-NE
By Lorraine Boyd
The Daily Record

It may have taken place at Omaha’s Slowdown venue, but the first annual Justice For Our Neighbors – Nebraska Food Truck World Tour event never slowed down.
The fundraiser for the nonprofit legal organization featured not only an international bevy of food truck offerings and a rousing party with popular local band Satchel Grande, but also a special cupcake tasting judged by none other than the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars Judge Florian Bellanger and the “Carpenter Brothers,” Jake and Justin Blecha.
Cupcakes were prepared by culinary students from Iowa Western Community College and Metropolitan Community College, as well as The Millard Horizon Academy.
Flavors included bacon and maple, pumpkin, strawberries and cream, and even churro. Bellanger tasted each entry and gave detailed feedback to the eager students. Even Bellanger contributed to the international emphasis of the event; he’s a native of Paris, France.
JFON’s Executive Director Emiliano Lerda, J.D., LL.M., was seen carrying Bellanger’s cupcake leavings. The Blecha brothers, who were raised in Omaha, assisted by providing comic relief during the judging.

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Exceptional Judicial Branch Employees
Recognized During Annual Awards Celebration

Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael G. Heavican recently presented 11 Employee Recognition Awards to individuals and team members during the Nebraska Supreme Court’s seventh annual recognition event.
The Employee Recognition Committee selected ten individuals and one team from the nominations submitted for the Employee Recognition Awards. Candidates for the awards were chosen and nominated by their supervisors and colleagues in the courts and probation offices where they work. The purpose of the program is to recognize ongoing court and probation employee dedication, acknowledge exemplary contributions, and encourage employee commitment.
This is the seventh year that the Nebraska Supreme Court has recognized court and probation employees with awards for outstanding job performance and commitment to public service. Employees were honored by Chief Justice Michael G. Heavican, Court Administrator Corey Steel, Probation Administrator Ellen Fabian Brokofsky, and invited guests with a ceremony in the Warner Chamber of the Nebraska State Capitol.
The awards are the highest honors given by the Nebraska Supreme Court recognizing exemplary performance by court and probation employees in the Nebraska Judicial System. There are nearly 1,500 employees in the judicial system in court and probation offices statewide.
The 2015 Award Recipients include:
Employee of the Year: Gary Dietrich, Senior Probation Officer, District 4J, Omaha. The award recognizes one employee for exemplary performance, professionalism, loyalty and other accomplishments that establish the values and professional standards of the daily work of the Judicial Branch.
Diversity Leadership Award: Adriana Hinojosa, Interpreter Coordinator, Omaha. The award recognizes employees for their exceptional efforts to promote diversity within the Judicial Branch.
Innovation Award: Carrie Rodriguez, Deputy Chief Probation Officer, District 5, Columbus. The award recognizes employees for their contribution of effectiveness, efficiency, or economy to the Nebraska Judicial System operations.
Outstanding Clerk of the District Court (Marjorie Schaffer Memorial Award): Janet Wiechelman, Clerk of the Cedar County District Court, Hartington. The award recognizes exemplary performance by a clerk of a district court.
Outstanding Court Supervisor/Administrative Employee: Darla Schiefelbein, Clerk Magistrate, Platte County Court, Columbus. The award recognizes exemplary performance by a supervisor or administrative employee in the Nebraska Judicial System.
Outstanding Customer Service in the Courts Award: Johnny Blackburn, Accounting Clerk, Douglas County Court, Omaha. The award recognizes employees who have implemented creative and effective programs that improve customer service to external or internal court/probation customers.
Outstanding Probation Employee (Jean Miller Memorial Award for Probation Support Staff): Danielle Graybill, Office Manager District 5 Probation, Columbus. The award recognizes exemplary performance by any probation support staff employee in the Nebraska Judicial System.
Outstanding Probation Officer (LaDonna Snell Probation Officer Award): Jeff Banholzer, Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision Probation Officer, District 5 Probation, Columbus. The award recognizes exemplary performance by a Probation Officer.
Outstanding Probation Supervisor (Bob Keller Memorial Award for Probation Supervisor): Heather Briggs, Probation Supervisor, District 4J Omaha. The award recognizes exemplary performance by a Probation Supervisor.
Outstanding Team Award: CCJ/COSCA Planning Team, which includes: Marcie Luhman, Eileen Janssen, Carole McMahon-Boies, Judy Beutler, Jennifer Rasmussen and Ralene Cheng, Administrative Office of the Courts, Lincoln.
Outstanding Trial or Appellate Court Personnel: Jackie Hladik, Administrative Assistant for Chief Justice Heavican. This award recognizes exemplary performance by an employee serving in any office of the trial or appellate courts in the Nebraska Judicial System.
For more information regarding the Nebraska Supreme Court, please go to:

Nebraska State Bar Association
Liz Neeley One of 10 Inaugural Inspire Award Winners

NSBA Executive Director Elizabeth Neeley, Ph.D., was recently awarded one of 10 first-ever Inspire – Celebrating Women’s Leadership Awards for Excellence in Business (small business category) at the inaugural awards luncheon at The Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln last Tuesday. Sponsored by the Lincoln Journal Star, CHI Health, the University of Nebraska and Nebraska Wesleyan University, the awards recognize women who have excelled in their professional lives and emerged as leaders and role models in the community.
Prior to directing the Nebraska State Bar Association, Dr. Neeley founded and directed Objective Advantage, LLC, a policy research firm that bridges the knowledge and methods of academia with local, state and national policy issues. Dr. Neeley currently serves on the board of directors of both the Nebraska Foster Care Review Office and the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. She has served as a faculty fellow at the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center for over 14 years, and is a former adjunct professor of sociology for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Additionally, Dr. Neeley’s extensive leadership background includes past board membership of the Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association and service as the director of the Minority Justice Committee, a joint initiative of the Nebraska Supreme Court and the Nebraska State Bar Association. She is an active member of the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Interpreter Advisory Committee, MInority Justice Committee, Pro Se Committee and the Steering Committee for Nebraska’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Intitiative. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.
For more information regarding the Inspire Awards, please go to: The Nebraska State Bar Association’s website is:

Baird Holm’s Putnam Named Chairman
Of the Board of Directors of KU Alumni Association

Baird Holm LLP recently announced that Managing Partner Richard (Rick) E. Putnam has been elected as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the University of Kansas Alumni Association.
Founded in 1883, the KU Alumni Association exists to strengthen the University of Kansas by informing, mobilizing and supporting Alumni Association members and the KU community. The KU Alumni Association has 42,000 dues-paying members and is a leader among self-governing alumni associations nationwide.
Putnam has been the managing partner of Baird Holm since 2009. In addition to the leadership he provides to the firm, he also counsels individuals and entities on business and succession planning issues, governance, compliance and regulatory matters, and provides counsel to public and private foundations.
For more information regarding Baird Holm LLP, please visit the firm’s website at:

Fraser Stryker Welcomes Two New Attorneys
Fraser Stryker PC LLO recently announced that Brandon Crainer and Neil Hassler have joined the firm as associates.

Crainer received his bachelor of arts from Loyola University of New Orleans, cum laude, and his law degree from Creighton University School of Law, cum laude. His practice includes litigation, insurance defense, and labor and employment law.
Hassler received his bachelor of arts from Creighton University, magna cum laude, and his law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law, with high distinction. His practice focuses on business and corporate law, and provides services to the firm’s clients in estate planning, taxation, real estate transactions, employee benefits and ERISA, and nonprofit and charitable organizations.
For more information regarding Fraser Stryker, please visit the firm’s website at:

Houghton Vandenack Williams LLP
Welcomes Meier as Associate Attorney

Houghton Vandenack Williams LLP recently announced that Nicholas (Nick) D. Meier has joined the firm as a new associate attorney, where he will work in the firm’s tax and trusts and estate planning practice areas. Meier is admitted to practice law in the state of Nebraska.
Meier received his juris doctor from the University of Nebraska-College of Law where he graduated, with distinction.  During law school, Meier was awarded the CALI Excellence for the Future in Estate Planning Problems (2014), Law Office Management (2014) and Construction Law (2013). He also served as law clerk in the criminal appeals division of the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office.
For more information regarding Houghton Vandenack Williams, please visit the firm’s website at:

The Best Lawyers in America® 2016
Recognizes 11 Attorneys from Woods & Aitken LLP

     Woods & Aitken LLP recently announced that 11 attorneys have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016, one of the legal profession’s oldest and most respected peer-review publications.
     The following Woods & Aitken LLP attorneys were selected in their respective practice areas for 2016:
Joseph H. Badami
Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law;
Litigation – Bankruptcy
Terry C. Dougherty
Commercial Litigation;
Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
Kerry L. Kester
Construction Law; Litigation – Construction
Michael D. Matejka
Real Estate Law; Litigation – Real Estate
Frank J. Mihulka
Real Estate Law
Allen L. Overcash
Commercial Litigation;
Construction Law; Litigation – Construction
James A. Overcash
Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law;
Construction Law
Jerry L. Pigsley
Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management
Paul M. Schudel
Utilities Law
Edward H. Tricker
Appellate Practice; Commercial Litigation; Construction Law
Todd W. Weidemann
Construction Law

   Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”
    For more information regarding Woods & Aitken LLP, please visit the firm’s website at:
Senate Holds Judiciary Hearing for Nebraska
Federal Judge Nominee Robert Rossiter

Washington – On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held their judiciary hearing for Robert Rossiter Jr. of Omaha and his nomination to the Federal District Court for Nebraska. Following the confirmation hearing, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on his nomination. Once approved by the committee, his nomination will head to the Senate floor for a final vote, which is expected by the end of this year.
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and former Senator Mike Johanns first recommended Rossiter for this position in August 2014. After the announcement that Judge Joseph Bataillon planned to retire from regular active service, Fischer and Johanns began a statewide search, accepting applications for more than four months before announcing their selection of Rossiter to fill the vacancy. Traditionally, when submitting judicial nominations, the president gives deference to home-state senators during the selection process.
Rossiter is currently a partner at Fraser Stryker and president-elect of the Nebraska State Bar Association. He graduated, cum laude, from Creighton University School of Law in 1981, where he served as the editor of the Creighton Law Review. After receiving his law degree, Rossiter clerked for U.S. District Court Judge C. Arlen Beam.

Midtown Shops, Homes, Businesses
Revitalized by GreenSlate Development

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record

Midtown Omaha continues to blossom.
The newest game changers in that arena are Matt Dwyer and Jay Lund of GreenSlate Development, and they are transforming the Blackstone District into one of the city’s hottest destination spots.
“We chose Blackstone for a multitude of reasons,” Lund said. “The two biggest are the area’s demographics and employment. This is one of the most densely populated residential areas in Omaha, and the majority of those people are associated with the Med Center in some way.
“The district is right next door to the Med Center [Nebraska Medicine], so that’s reason enough to do this. There are almost as many employees at UNMC as there are downtown. And when you add in Kiewit, National Indemnity, and Mutual of Omaha, the density of employment is pretty amazing. We looked at this area for over five years. Some developers had looked at it before we did, but the timing was never quite right. We saw the opportunity and took a chance.”
“The whole thing started as a pet project to renovate an old building, and the market created the demand for a greater plan,” Dwyer said. “We didn’t have a master plan. We uncovered an insatiable appetite for retailers and patrons who wanted to be in that area.”

Jay Lund (left) and Matt Dwyer are the game changers in the Blackstone District.

The “old building” to which he refers is on the corner of 40th and Farnam, and is occupied by MULA Mexican Kitchen and Tequileria, Archetype Coffee, Scriptown Brewery, and seven new apartments. Since then GreenSlate has developed a variety of residential and retail properties, including Blackstone Townhomes, Blackstone Corner (home of the Nite Owl Bar, Corkscrew Wine Bar, and others), Shops at Blackstone (home of Noli’s Pizza, Surly Chap, Dundee Cycle, and bou•quet) and more.
Their enterprise “has been wildly successful,” Dwyer said. “We have 50,000-square-feet of retail, and it is 100 percent leased. If you come on a weekend, you see hundreds of people milling around. Two years ago, there was no real sign of life. There wasn’t a business district. We went to the Nite Owl last night, and there was a 70-year-old couple, four construction workers, neighborhood residents, and everything in between … it’s a mixed demographic in this area.”

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Catherine Swiniarski, founder of Elder Law of Omaha (center), has welcomed attorneys Nick Halbur and Abby McConnaughhay to her firm.
Catherine Nichols Swiniarski
Grandmother Led to Her Work in Elder Law

By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record
   Catherine Nichols Swiniarski got into elder law because of her grandmother. As Swiniarski tells it, her grandmother was living in a senior care center and having trouble dealing with some Medicare issues.
     She asked her granddaughter for help, and after Swiniarski helped her, she started telling other residents that her granddaughter could do the same for them.       
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Bill Lamson has seen many changes in the law, but the core lessons of fairness
and integrity that he learned early still apply.

Nearly Five Decades In
Lamson Still Having ‘Fun’ at His Job

By Lorraine Boyd

The Daily Record

William M. Lamson Jr.

His name is first on the letterhead of the prestigious Omaha law firm, Lamson, Dugan and Murray LLP.

He specializes in civil and corporate litigation. He’s so good at it that he was named Defense Lawyer of the Year in 2011 by the Nebraska Defense Counsel Association.

By all accounts, he is a very accomplished lawyer.

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Creighton University School of Law is seeking  a qualified Assistant Dean for Career Development.  The position is responsible  for providing primary leadership for the Law School's career planning and placement operations.  Qualified candidates must have a Juris Doctor  degree with at least five years’ experience in higher education  or in a position with responsibility for  hiring of attorneys. Qualified candidates apply at Creighton University is an EEO/AA Employer: M/F/Disabled/Vets.
10-5 through 10-9-15

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– Photo by Lorraine Boyd
NePA Annual Meeting
County Attorney Takes Mystery Out of His Office
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine gave members of the Nebraska Paralegal Association (NePA) an in-depth look at the scope of his office’s duties at the opening breakfast of their Fall Seminar and Annual Meeting last week. Noting that he still personally prosecutes many jury trials, he said nothing makes him prouder than “standing up in a courtroom and saying ‘I represent the people of Douglas County.’” His job includes leading 56 lawyers in the criminal division and 12 in the civil division. The county coroner is also under his jurisdiction, with five forensic pathologists on line to conduct around 800 autopsies this year.
He pointed out the effectiveness of PowerPoint presentations in court. “They have a tremendous impact on jurors, and paralegals help us put those together.” Of his work in the juvenile division, he said, “We do everything we can to keep them out of the system.” Speaking of some of the high profile cases he has prosecuted, he said his job is sometimes emotional, especially when it involves children.
“This position is about public service,” he said, “and your jobs are about that too. The justice system works so well because of the people in the system who make it work.”
Work in the justice system, Kleine said, “Is a great calling, an honorable profession.”

NePA Names Officers for 2015-2016 Membership Year

The Nebraska Paralegal Association (NePA) also announced the names of the officers slated to comprise its board of directors for the 2015-2016 membership year. Effective September 17, 2015, the NePA Board of Directors for 2015-2016 are:

Laurie S. Vik, ACP              President
Mindy Ware, ACP               Past President
Teri Gibbons                       President-Elect
Sandra L. Armstrong, CP   Vice President
Lauriel L. Nelson                Secretary
Bridget M. Stuhr                 Treasurer
Katie M. Wibbels, CP         District 1 Director
Barbara L. Levos                District 2 Director
Amber Roberts, ACP          NALA Liason
Anna Palmer, ACP             Parliamentarian
Nicole M. Day, CP              Website Administrator
Kimberly A.S. Brown, ACP Publication Editor

For more information regarding NePA, please visit the organization’s website at:

Steve Howard’s run for election to the Nebraska Legislature in 2014 was not successful, but he is open to running again.
Humble Beginnings Carved A Path
Of Success for Attorney Steve Howard

By Matt Goodlett
The Daily Record
  Steve Howard, attorney at Dowd, Howard & Corrigan, LLC, was two years out of law school when he lived at the John E. Johnston Mortuary on South 10th St. in exchange for services such as shoveling snow off the premises. During this time, instead of practicing law he was waiting tables, cleaning office buildings, and telemarketing to make ends meet for his budding family.
It was a low point.
   Even more so because fresh out of law school in 1987 Howard had performed as a Hall County Deputy Public Defender, winning an impressive three of four jury trials and numerous bench trials.
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Meetings & Seminars
For the Legal Community

The Role of Law and Lawyers
In the Global and Local Fight Against Human Trafficking
UNL College of Law
1875 N 42 St, Lincoln
12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
For More Information:
2015 Red Mass
St. John’s Church, Creighton University
2500 California Plz, Omaha
Mass Begins at 5:00 p.m.
Hosted Reception to Follow
Ahmanson Law Center, Schneider Commons, Creighton University
For More Information:

2015 NSBA Annual Meeting: Reigniting the Flame
Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center
12520 Westport Pkwy, La Vista
For More Information:


Securities Law Enforcement CLE: Recent Trends and Current Policies
Creighton University School of Law, Room 122
2133 California St (21st & Cass Sts.), Omaha
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
For More Information:
Federalist Society Hosts Mike Daugherty
UNL College of Law
1875 N 42 St, Lincoln
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
For More Information:
Punishment Through Process:
What the FTC Gets Away With via the Administrative Procedures Act
UNL College of Law
1875 N 42 St, Lincoln
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
For More Information:
Social Security 101
Hruska Law Center, 1st Floor Conf. Room
635 S. 14 St., Lincoln
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
For More Information:
“Sorry” Shouldn’t Be the Hardest Word:
The Evolving Liability Risks of Apologizing for Medical Errors
UNL College of Law
1875 N 42 St, Lincoln
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
For More Information:
Omaha Bar Association Presents:
Walk Through the Courts
Douglas County Courthouse
1701 Farnam St, Omaha
11:30 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
For More Information:
Omaha Bar Association October Membership Dinner
With Featured Speaker:
Hon. Joseph Bataillon, U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska
Champions Run
13800 Eagle Run Dr, Omaha
5:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
For More Information:


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This Day In History
October 4, 1916
Market Street's "Path of Gold" lit for 1st time

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