Foundation Facts
Law Day Job Shadowing - 2014

The purpose of Law Day Job Shadowing is to encourage students to work hard and stay in school.

This year marks the 13th annual Law Day Job Shadowing for fifth graders, cosponsored by the Bar Foundation and the Nebraska Supreme Court.  Since the beginning of this program, more than 3,000 students have visited law offices and courtrooms around the state to learn more about the work that goes on inside.
Because seeing the fifth graders experience a courtroom for the first time is such an uplifting experience, we want to share some stories and photos from the 2014 Law Day Job Shadowing program.  We also want to feature the efforts of all of the dedicated and energetic coordinators and hosts who make this statewide program possible.  On behalf of the Foundation and Supreme Court, thank you so very much for all you do to provide this educational enrichment activity for Nebraska fifth graders!






Executive Director  


Buffalo County (Kearney) Job Shadowing
Mock Trial in Spanish Stymies the Accused

Translator informs fellow student that she is being charged with the theft of an iPad
How would you react if you were accused of a crime and the court proceedings were conducted in a foreign language? 
This was the issue addressed in a mock trial conducted entirely in Spanish with fifth graders as defendants.

Not until a Spanish-speaking fellow student stepped forward to translate did the defendant have any clue about the charges against her.  This trial demonstration provided a poignant lesson on the need for interpreters in Nebraska courtrooms.
Judge William Wright describes the court system  

Prior to the mock trial, students from Kearney Public and Pleasanton Public interacted with Judge William Wright who described the Nebraska and Buffalo County court structure and answered the questions posed by students.  Then, local attorneys Jonathan Brandt, Brandon Brinegar, Shawn Eatherton, Tana Fye, Steve Lowe, Nichole Mailahn, and John Marsh, took groups of students on a tour of the new courthouse and law enforcement facilities.  Of particular interest was the security system for the building.

Clerk of the Buffalo County District Court Sharon Mauler organized the day's activities for the students.  Mauler has been a Law Day Job Shadowing Coordinator since the program began in 2002.

Mauler also arranged for the following courthouse personnel to interact with the students:  Bob Roos, Court Interpreter and mock trial judge; Janelle Beutler, interpreter for mock trial; Dolly Morett, Spanish speaking attorney for mock trial; Lt. Robert Tubbs, Deputy Sheriff and Emergency Operations Manager; Andrea Towler and Kathy Gilmore, Deputy Sheriffs at Guard Post.

Holt County (O'Neill) Site
Judge Alan Brodbeck explains how he uses technology in the courtroom

Law Day Theme, "American Veterans - Everyday Heroes" Incorporated into Activity

Students from O'Neill St. Mary's, Stuart Public, and Chambers Public heard from local attorney Forrest Peetz or Jan Krotter Chvala about the education needed to practice law and what a day in the life of a lawyer is like. 

At the Courthouse, Judge Alan Brodbeck and Court Reporter Kami Hooey shared detailed information about their respective jobs.  Judge Brodbeck also visited with students about general legal issues.

In keeping with the Law Day theme, "American Veterans - Everyday Heroes," the local Veteran Service Office and Holt County Supervisor (also a veteran) demonstrated the proper procedures for displaying and folding the American Flag.  One of the students who is a first-generation American assisted in the demonstration.

Local veterans demonstrate the proper way to fold the American flag 
Holt County Court Clerk Magistrate Laura Reynoldson coordinated the Job Shadowing event in O'Neill. 
Kimball in Kimball County
Message About Texting and Driving Makes Big Impression

Judge Derek Weimer presides over
Q& A session with students
At the Kimball County Courthouse, students from Mary Lynch Elementary School had an opportunity to interact not with one, but two judges.  Judge Derek Weimer and Judge Randin Roland took the time to visit with the fifth graders about their jobs, and the students were able to observe an actual sentencing.  
County Attorney David Wilson and attorneys Audrey Elliott and Tyson Petitt were observed in action as a part of the court proceedings.

Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) trooper Bryan Woods showed a powerful video about the consequences of texting while driving.  Several of the students' evaluations pointed to this information as being among the most surprising of what they heard, learned, or observed in the course of their job shadowing activity.  The NSP Community Officer also provided "goodie bags" for the students.
Thumbs up for getting to check out the State Patrol car

The local Veteran's Office Coordinator conducted a flag folding ceremony, in keeping with the Law Day theme, "American Veterans - Everyday Heroes."  Both the NSP and Kimball Police Department patrol cars were open for inspection by the students.  "Hot cars" are always a big hit with fifth graders!

Kimball County Court Clerk Magistrate Michele Woods arranged for all of the presenters and activities associated with this Law Day celebration.
Pawnee County - Pawnee City
Three Schools Job Shadow on Arbor Day

Judge Maschman and HTRS fifth graders fill the stairwell at Pawnee County Courthouse
Not only was it Arbor was also Judge Curtis Maschman's 21st anniversary of being on the Bench.  And Judge Maschman and County Court Clerk Magistrate LaRita Weber graciously gave their holiday to host fifth graders in Law Day Job Shadowing.

Students from Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer, Pawnee City, and Lewiston Consolidated took part in a mock trial with a twist, as the defendant was a twin...and a tale of mistaken identify ensued.  Weber, County Attorney Jennifer Stehlik Ladman, Sheriff Jayme Reed and attorney Diane Merwin assisted the students in the trial over which Judge Maschman presided.  Twin sons of Merwin played the parts of the suspects in a case involving a missing iPad.

Following the trial, Judge Maschman and Weber shared some of the antiquities of the county courthouse by opening probate records from the 1890s.  The activity was concluded with all of the students being treated to Weber's famous iced "star" cookies...always a big hit with the fifth graders! 

Lewiston students said they were surprised the books from the 1890s had been kept so long!

Nelson in Nuckolls County/Red Cloud in Webster County
Students Participate in Big Bad Wolf v. Curly Pig Trial

These two communities were fortunate to have Judge Michael Offner working with them to present a mock trial in which Curly Pig is charged with "attempted wolf cooking."   
Cross examination of Ms. Pig in mock trial in Webster County

At trial, Curly Pig was found guilty and was then escorted off to jail.  The jail sentence paved the way for the fifth graders to visit the jail cells in the respective courthouses.  One student said that the thing that most surprised him about what he learned while job shadowing was "how if feels to get locked up in the cells."

Fear sets in as the cell door closes in Nuckolls County 
Students from Red Cloud, Lawrence-Nelson, and Superior elementary schools also heard from law enforcement personnel as well as those staffing the communications centers for their respective counties.  Students said they were impressed by "all of the computers and screens" they saw. 

In Nelson, the day's activities were coordinated by Nuckolls County Clerk Magistrate Diane Wehrman.  Jolene Duffy, Webster County Clerk Magistrate, was the job shadowing coordinator in Red Cloud. 

Attorney John Hodge assisted with the mock trial in Nelson.
Some Comments from Students' Evaluations

Which parts of the job were of interest to you?
  • "Attorney - because my mom was a lawyer and that's kind a like an attorney"
  • "I liked the fake trial."
  • "The part where you listen to both sides of the story"
  • "The sentencing interested me."  
What surprised you most about what you learned, heard, or observed?
  • "That being a judge is hard work"
  • "They don't use the hammer very much."  
  • "All the radios, security, and the command center"
  • "How many languages we interpret (in a court setting)"  
  • "There were more jobs than I thought" 
What knowledge and skills are you learning in school that could be used in this type of job?
  • "The three branches (of government)"
  • "Language Arts because otherwise you wouldn't know what the big words mean"
  • "Decision making"   
  • "Honesty"
Teacher Testimonials
  • "It was all very good!  We enjoyed the visit."
  • "The trial was great and really made the students think."
  • "(Continue to) tell the kids to work hard and stay in school."
  • "Love the court case."
  • "Wish we could have more time."   
Law Day Job Shadowing Resources
Find These on the Bar Foundation Website

Members of the PEOPLE Committee's LRE Subcommittee have created video job shadowing orientations for both students and teachers.  These short videos as well as a vocabulary and information on courthouse technology, courtroom procedures, and jobs may be easily found online. 

Job Shadowing coordinators and classroom teachers are encouraged to review this information in advance for Law Day in order to make the interchange more meaningful on the day of the courthouse visit.

If you have questions about the Foundation's programs of Law-Related Education, please contact me at

1-800-773-5396 or 402-475-1042. 

Nebraska State Bar Foundation
635 S. 14th Street, Suite 120
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
Nebraska State Bar Foundation