Foundation Facts
April 2015
Now that spring has arrived, we know Law Day is right around the corner.  The official day for celebrating it is May 1.

This year, the Foundation and the Nebraska Supreme Court will observe Law Day on May 4 with the Hall/Howard County Bar Association in Grand Island.  The Foundation's 2015 LRE theme, "American Ingenuity--Innovation and Imagination"  will be carried out at the luncheon where the keynote presentation will be given by Dr. Matt Waite, University of Nebraska Drone Journalism Lab, on the future of drone technology and the media.

Gates Elementary Character Council members will be recognized for service to their school and the community and will be presented with Certificates of Civic Engagement by Chief Justice Mike Heavican, Nebraska Supreme Court.  Learn more about the Foundation's Law Day celebration and resources provided for teachers online.

Watch for photos from the Law Day celebration in our next issue of Foundation Facts! Now, I invite you to read about our recent Fellows Dinner and those honored by Foundation awards and the latest news about our LRE programs.






Executive Director  


Three Honored for Exemplary Service, New Fellows Inducted at Fellows Dinner
March 7 at Holland Performing Arts Center, Omaha

Judge William Jay Riley accepts the Foundation Award from Judge Laurie Smith Camp

At its annual Fellows Dinner the Nebraska State Bar Foundation presented its Lifetime Service, Distinguished Service, and Foundation awards to outstanding Nebraska lawyers.  The Foundation recognized Omaha attorney Howard Kaslow, Grand Island attorney Todd Elsbernd (posthumously), and Chief Judge William Jay Riley, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. 


Riley received the Foundation Award, the highest recognition given by the Bar Foundation.  Chief Judge Laurie Smith Camp, Federal District Court for the District of Nebraska, presented the award honoring exemplary service to the Foundation and strong commitment to its goals.  


Elsbernd was a Grand Island attorney who lost his life at the hand of a client in 2013.  His law partner, Ralph Bradley, eulogized Elsbernd for his 25-year service to the legal profession.  Elsbernd's widow Jeannie accepted the Distinguished Service Award recognizing her late husband's legacy in the practice of law.


Ralph Bradley presents the Distinguished Service Award as Jeannie Elsbernd accepts
Kaslow, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, was recognized by his law firm partner John Herdzina for contributions to the legal community, the Bar Foundation, and the Omaha community.  He has been in practice for more than 50 years at Abrahams, Kaslow & Cassman, the firm founded by his father.  

Howard Kaslow is given the LIfetime Achievement Award by his partner John Herdzina

Introduced by Robert D. Mullin, Jr., the 2014 Class of Fellows was inducted into fellowship, and Lifetime Fellows were recognized.  Deb Gilg introduced Distinguished Fellows.  Attaining the Bronze level of giving was Thomas B. Fischer of Omaha; Mullin was recognized at the Silver level; Kile W. Johnson of Lincoln was given Gold recognition; and Gary W. Radil of Omaha became a Platinum Distinguished Fellow.

Following the program, guests enjoyed the performance of Cassandra Wilson in celebration of Billie Holiday's 100th birthday anniversary.
Lincoln East High Achieves Decade of Wins at State We the People Finals
Team to Represent Nebraska at Nationals at End of April

Lincoln East High's We the People team

In 2006, Lincoln's East High School began a run of state championships that was most recently updated on January 6, 2015.  At the State Hearings held at the University of Nebraska College of Law, the 13-member team from Lincoln East High School was declared this year's We the People:  The Citizen and the Constitution State Hearings champion.


More than 125 students from six Nebraska schools participated in the competition. The East team's win makes it Nebraska's official representative in the national competition April 24-27, 2015, at George Mason University and in Hearing Rooms on Capitol Hill.  

Foundation Offers 3-Day We the People Summer Institute for High School Teachers
June 24-26 at University of Nebraska Omaha

The Summer Institute provides senior high teachers the opportunity to work with constitutional scholars from a variety of disciplines.  Participants complete academic readings and attend morning lectures and afternoon sessions dedicated to the content and teaching methods appropriate to the We the People curriculum.  The institute also prepares teachers to meet the Nebraska State Social Studies Standards for high school civics.

Institute participants receive at no cost:
  • Training and interaction with Constitutional scholars
  • A selection of Constitutional literature
  • An eBook of the We the People textbook
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • A stipend for attendance and an additional stipend for using WTP in the classroom
Up to thirty teachers from public and private high schools in Nebraska may attend the sessions.  If you know a high school teacher who might be interested in the We the People Summer Institute, please ask him or her to contact We the People Coordinator Pam Hastings Carrier no later than April 21.
Revised Reaching the Age of Majority Booklet Now Available
In Print, iBook, and PDF Formats  

The ever popular Reaching the Age of Majority booklet, has been revised and updated with a new teen-friendly "look."  

Containing chapters on topics such as Alcohol, Cell Phones, Credit, Criminal Law, Drugs, Health Insurance, Internet Safety, Landlord Tenant Law, Tax Responsibilities, and Weapons, the booklet serves as a guide for young adults who are trying to find a balance between their rights and responsibilities.  

Lincoln attorney Kara J. Ronnau served as the project chairperson to oversee the rewrite and redesign of the booklet.  Kristina Peters, Nebraska Department of Education, consulted on developing the iBook format.

An order form and electronic versions of the booklet are posted on the Bar Foundation's website.  The book's two electronic versions are posted on the Department of Education's website.  
Law Day Job Shadowing to Honor Memory of Judge Michael Offner

This year's Job Shadowing for fifth graders activity is being offered in memory of the program's local coordinator for Nuckolls and Webster counties.  
Judge Offner who died suddenly last fall had led, in cooperation with Clerks Magistrate Diane Wehrman and Jolene Duffy, the annual program.  Together, they enacted the mock trial of The Big Bad Wolf v. The Three Little Pigs with fifth graders in the communities of Nelson and Red Cloud.

At the conclusion of this year's Law Day Job Shadowing events, watch for a special edition of Foundation Facts with stories and photos from all of the job shadowing sites around the state.  This program, begun in 2002, has given more than 3,000 Nebraska elementary students their first experience interacting with lawyers and judges in a courtroom setting.
Mock Trial in Middle/Home School Setting
An Omaha parent of middle/home schooled students has contacted the Foundation for assistance with beginning a mock trial program.  The Foundation office is pleased to reach out to non-traditional education settings as well as to grade levels other than 9-12 in an effort to promote law-related education through the mock trial program.

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