Foundation Facts
December 2014
The Bar Foundation has enjoyed an exceptional year in 2014 and is looking forward to an exciting 2015!  We want to share the news of our latest fall events and thank you for your amazing generosity and support.

We hope your upcoming December holidays are filled with joy!






Executive Director  


Omaha's Duchesne Academy is Named State Mock Trial Championship Team
To Represent Nebraska at National Competition in May

Judge Strom congratulates the Duchesne Academy student attorneys at State Championship on Dec. 10 
The Duchesne Academy Mock Trial team prevailed over the team from Omaha's V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School to claim the 2014 Judge Lyle Strom High School Mock Trial Championship.  Judge Strom presided over the trial that involved the owner of a garden gnome factory being accused of intentionally setting fire to the factory in which the custodian died of smoke inhalation and asphyxiation.

The two-day championship involving 12 teams from mock trial regions around the state took place at the Sarpy County Courthouse in Papillion.  Judge Bob O'Neal served as the host for the event.  More than 60 attorneys from Sarpy and Douglas counties volunteered their time to serve as judges for the state championship.

Attorney coaches for the Duchesne team are Mark Laughlin and Gerald Laughlin.  The Skutt team is coached by attorneys Patrick Borchers, Judy Borchers, and Erin Hurley.

On the first evening of the event, students enjoyed the annual Mock Trial Banquet, sponsored by Creighton University.  The Winthrop and Frances Lane Foundation provided a grant to help defray the travel expenses of Mock Trial teams from Greater Nebraska to participate in the state competition.

Metropolitan Community College provided gifts of learning to the Duchesne and Skutt team members.  MCC has been involved in supporting the Mock Trial program since 2006. 
State We the People Hearings Set for Jan. 6
Six Teams to Participate at UNL College of Law

On Tuesday morning, January 6, 2015, We the People:  The Citizen and the Constitution teams will gather at the University of Nebraska College of Law to compete in the State Hearings.  Schools entering a team in the contest are Skutt Catholic of Omaha, Lincoln Southwest, Lincoln East, and Holdrege.  Lincoln Southeast will have two teams in the competition.

Students will present mock congressional hearings on six units of study about the Constitution.  We the People State Coordinator Pam Carrier has recruited 18 members of the community to serve as judges for the hearings, as each unit of study requires three judges.

Newly elected State Senator Adam Morfeld will address the students prior to the presentation of awards.  Bar Foundation Secretary Steve Guenzel will join Carrier in the awards presentation.

The team winning the state competition will have the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC, in late April to represent Nebraska in the national competition.  The team from Lincoln East represented Nebraska in the 2014 national competition.
Save the Date - Fellows Dinner Is March 7, 2015 
 Jazz Singer Cassandra Wilson to Perform at the Holland Center

Cassandra Wilson to pay tribute to Billie Holiday
Please reserve the date of Saturday, March 7, and plan to attend the annual Bar Foundation's Fellows Dinner.  The venue will be the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha where we will formally induct new Fellows, present awards, and recognize Distinguished and Lifetime Fellows. 

Following the dinner, Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson will be entertaining in the Kiewit Hall area of the Holland Center.  Her performance celebrates Billie Holiday's 100th birthday anniversary.  Wilson is known for challenging the American Standard songbook by incorporating blues, country, and folk music into her work.

Watch for more information about the Fellows Dinner that will be coming soon.
Law-Related Education Theme for 2015 Announced
"American Ingenuity - Innovation and Imagination"  

One of the Top 10 words announced for 2014 is "innovation."  Even though the word has been in use for a long time, this year it is getting a lot of buzz.   The White House report, A Strategy for American Innovation, explains "the essential role of innovation in our past and future prosperity."   It further defines the "central importance of the private sector as the engine of innovation, and the role of government in supporting our innovation system."

America itself was founded on innovation.
But now we are in a digital age, which gives us good reason to assess our current status as American innovators. 

Is the United States keeping up with other nations? And with new technologies in the areas of communication and medicine, what about matters of privacy and safety? Will government policy continue to add, as in President Lincoln's words, "the fuel of interest to the fire of genius?"

The Foundation's LRE Committee looks forward to creating educational activities and opportunities based on this year's theme. 

A Look Back at Some of the Foundation's 2014 Highlights

January -
Hosted the We the People (WTP) State Hearings, naming Lincoln's East High School as state champions
March -
Inducted 30 new Fellows at the annual Fellows Dinner in Omaha
April - East High School WTP team represented Nebraska at the National Hearings
May -
Celebrated Law Day in North Platte by honoring local veterans with a special luncheon; sponsored Law Day Job Shadowing for 5th graders; Skutt Catholic High School represented Nebraska at the National High School Mock Trial Championship
June -
Named the Mock Trial Project in honor of Judge Lyle E. Strom
August - PEOPLE Committee cosponsored with the Nebraska Supreme Court a workshop for journalistsNew original Mock Trial case was posted for this year's competition/
September - Hosted The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, at the Hruska Institute; more than 1,400 students from 42 schools participated in live streaming of the Hruska Institute; celebrated Constitution Day with 120 high school students and more than 60 newly naturalized citizens at Homestead National Monument
October -
Introduced new class of Fellows; recognized long-term Mock Trial coaches and this year's winning coaches; and presented Silver Quill Awards at the annual Legacy of Liberty Breakfast
December -
Sponsored the Judge Lyle Strom High School Mock Trial Championship.  Duchesne Academy is State Champion.

As we ring out the old year, we look forward to the next one and all of the possibilities it brings.  Have a very happy New Year!

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