IN BRIEF IN BRIEF NOVEMBER 2020 NOVEMBER 2020
NEBRASKA PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION
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IN THIS ISSUE: From the President ..... 1 From the President ..... 1 From the Editor ........... 2 From the Editor ........... 2 Save the Dates ........... 2 Save the Dates ........... 2 2020-2021 Board ........ 3 NALA News ................. 3 RBG Tribute ................. 4 District I News ............. 4 NALA News ................. 5 District II News ............ 6 District I News ............. 8 Get to Know ................. Fall Seminar Recap .... 9 New Members ...... 7/15 CP Scholarship SpotArticle: .......................13 8 light ........................... Article: District IICOVID News .......... .......... 16 14 New Members .......... 15 Article: New Ch. 11 Subchapter V .......... 18 Diversity & Inclusion Event Recap ............. 21
Article: Trump’s Executive Order on “Divisive” Concepts .................. 26 Getting to know your Board ........................ 31 Article: Lessons Learned from a Pandemic ....................... 32
FROM THE PRESIDENT: ANGEL YOUNGER, ACP 2020...what a year so far! I really never thought the pandemic would go on this long and my heart breaks for everyone who has lost loved ones. I know I hug my family just a little bit tighter. As paralegals we have the skills to adapt to difficult situations so we were able to quickly adapt to this new normal too. I want to thank all of you for being patient while we navigate through this difficult time. I also want to thank our Board of Directors for quickly adapting and setting up a virtual platform for our CLE Seminars. We have held a variety of virtual options that are hopefully of interest to everyone and have received a lot of great feedback. We will continue to have only virtual options for the first part of 2021 as well because we don’t want to risk the health and safety of our members. On the bright side, since virtual options aren’t as expensive as in person events, we have been offering them to our members for free. We added an extra CP scholarship and lowered our membership fees to give back to our members as well. I am really looking forward to NePA being more involved in the community starting with our Food Drive for the Open Door Mission. We are looking at other opportunities as well so if you are passionate about a particular organization, feel free to share it with our Public Relations Director. I am really excited to serve as your President this year and hope you and your families stay safe and healthy. Thank you,
Angel Younger, ACP
REGISTER FOR EVENTS AT: http:// nebraskaparalegal.org
FROM THE EDITOR I’m so excited for our new Board Members who have accepted their new positions! It’s another great team that I’m lucky enough to work with at NePA. Humble brag alert– I got married in September so my new name is Casey Grennan and you will still see me as the Publication Editor for the coming year!
Upcoming Board Meetings (5:30-7:30pm): January 5, 2021—
I sincerely miss getting together for all the NePA and Board meetings! Please know that we are thinking about all of you.
(Virtual) March 2, 2021— (Virtual) June 2, 2021—TBD August 3, 2021—TBD October 5, 2021— TBD
As always, feel free to reach out to any of our board members with questions, suggestions, or concerns. If you have corrections regarding this issue or have suggestions for future content, please forward them to me at email@example.com. PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Casey Grennan, CP, Chair Kimberly Brown, ACP Kim Hansen Amber Roberts, ACP
SAVE THE DATES November 18, 2020: District I (CLE) - Working for Justice for All - register here
February 17, 2021: District I & II (CLE) - Freedom of the Press v. Privacy Rights - register here April 23, 2021: Spring Seminar (Mahoney State Park) June 8, 2021: Diversity & Inclusion Event (Scott Conference Center) September 22-23, 2021: Fall Seminar & Annual Membership Meeting (Scott Conference Center)
2020-2021 BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Please feel free to reach out to any of our new officers! PRESIDENT
ANGEL YOUNGER, ACP
AMY OLSON, ACP
KIM BROWN, ACP
MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR TERESA SEMERENA, ACP
LAURIE VIK, ACP
JESSICA MCCARDLE, CP
DISTRICT I DIRECTOR
ALICIA TUTINI, CP
DISTRICT II DIRECTOR
CASEY GRENNAN, CP
KELLY ELDER, ACP
COURTNEY PFEIFFER, ACP firstname.lastname@example.org
TYSON GIRARD, CP
IN BRIEF TRIBUTE REST IN POWER! - RUTH BADER GINSBURG
On Monday, September 22, Omaha Bar Association President, the late Honorable Laurie Smith Camp recorded remarks regarding the recent passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Please take a few minutes to enjoy this incredible video taken by the Omaha Bar Association, “Remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg”.
WATCH VIDEO HERE Judge Smith Camp was Nebraska’s first female federal judge and held a trailblazing career. Her expertise, professionalism, and her care for humanity will surely be missed. Video was shared with permission, from the Omaha Bar Association, Dave Sommers, Esq. Get more information at www.omahabarassociation.com.
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NALA NEWS: CARYN REDDING, CP (Outgoing) / JESSICA MCCARDLE, CP (Incoming) It seems like yesterday that I started my two-year adventure as the NALA Liaison. Yet, here we are. This is my last article as the NALA Liaison. Jessica McArdle is your new NALA Liaison and will be taking over the duties from here on out. I would like to take a moment to thank you all for allowing me the honor of being your NALA Liaison. I had a wonderful time and learned so much. Attending the national conference was definitely a highlight as it is such a unique experience. I learned so many new things from other paralegals around the country. Participating in NALA’s first virtual conference was equally unique and informative. And, might I add, the NePA Board members that I’ve worked with over the years are truly inspirational. Each person brings their own perspective to this organization, and it is invaluable. I loved working with them. I also want to encourage everyone to get involved on a committee or jump on the Board. You will not regret it! Now, on to NALA news! The 2020 NALA Conference Recording Bundle is now available. If you were unable to attend this year’s conference, this will be a valuable resource as well as 33.75 hours of CLE. If you did attend the conference, you will only be able to earn CLE for sessions that you did not participate in during the conference. Have you claimed your NALA Badges yet? Visit NALA’s website for more information on your badges and how to claim them. Also on NALA’s website is all the information on upcoming webinars and events, such as Cannabis 101 on Nov. 11th. If you are looking to obtain your CP, the Knowledge Exam is available on demand, year round. Once you pass the Knowledge Exam, the testing windows for the Skills Exam are the months of February, April, July, and October. Finally, the next national conference will be held in Louisville, KY, July 22-24, 2021. It is never too late to start planning for it; perhaps even make it part of your vacation! Have a wonderful holiday season! See you next year! Caryn Redding, CP
Attention NePA Members:
IT'S A TURKEY 'N' FIXIN'S FOOD DRIVE Help Open Door Mission provide fresh nutritious meals this holiday season to the hungry and homeless in the Heartland. The goods you donate will help Open Door Mission provide over 284,000 meals!
Food Drive Dates: Oct. 1st - Nov. 13th
What to donate: - Canned Vegetables, Fruit, Meat, Soups - Cereal - Cookies - Peanut Butter - Boxed Meals / Boxed Potatoes - Pasta / Pasta Sauce - Mac 'n' Cheese - Frozen Turkey - Ham
Drop Off Locations: McGoughLaw - 11920 Burt St., Ste. 100, Omaha, NE 68154 (M-F 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) (Text/Call Tyson at 316-841-8681) Sandy Banks House (Gretna Area) - 19104 Ridgemont St., Omaha, NE 68136 (Text/call Sandy at 402-699-8894) Kim Brown's House - 15210 Craig Cir., Bennington, NE 68007 (Text/Call Kim at 402-580-6884) Monetary Donations can be made on NePA's website at: https://nebraskaparalegal.org/payments.php
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DISTRICT I NEWS: ALICIA TUTINI, CP NePA's District I hosted a virtual presentation, Notary Tips, Tricks & Things to Avoid, on October 28, 2020. The presenters, Jessica Moock and Rose Garver, both work in the Nebraska Secretary of Stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office. The presentation covered a lot of ground -- addressing general requirements to become a notary public, an electronic notary public, and an online notary public. The presentation discussed the differences between electronic and online notarization, and the processes notaries must follow. Additional information can be found on the Nebraska Secretary of State website: sos.nebraska.gov. This event had 47 members register to attend.
The session was recorded and is available on NePA's YouTube channel. Please contact Alicia Tutini, District I Director, with any questions at email@example.com.
Save the Date: November 18, 2020 Working for Justice for All, Robbie McEwen, Nebraska Appleseed (CLE)
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2020 FALL SEMINAR RECAP With the 2020 COVID pandemic still in full effect, NePA chose to hold its Fall CLE Conference virtually on September 16th. In years past we kicked off the two-day event with a Paralegal Recognition Breakfast; however, with the virtual format of this year’s event, we postponed the Recognition event to next year! Angel Younger, CLE Committee Chair and President-Elect, kicked off the virtual session with a
great welcome and thank you to NePA’s sponsors who partnered with us even through the pandemic! This year’s sponsors included Baird Holm, Capitol Services, Koley Jessen, Kutak Rock, Avalon, Rembolt Ludtke, Fraser Stryker, Gross & Welch, and Latimer Reporting.
basic estate-related tax considerations involving income tax, Nebraska inheritance tax, and federal estate and gift tax. He taught us that even the most confusing laws are easier to understand when you break them down piece by piece.
Bryan Slone, President of the Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce & Industry followed with his presentation, “The Economic Effects of COVID-19.” Bryan presented statistics of the recession by month and industry, state revenue impacts, and Federal COVID payments made through May 2020. Bryan then gave us hope for an economy when the COVID dust settles. He described long term initiatives for Nebraska’s residents, cities, government and sectors. All in all, we are lucky to live in a state with a solid postCOVID vision. Kyle Kaldahl, President of Excel Nebraska, then provided us with Excel Tips & Tricks 2.0. Last year, Kyle presented an entertaining session on Excel basics, and this year he did not disappoint with a great follow-up presentation. Kyle not only taught us additional Excel tips and tricks to use in our careers, he taught us the 5 Excel Disciplines, which I felt were also life lessons: Efficiency, Standards, Think Long Term, Make the Change, and Continuous Training. We must think ahead if we want to stay in the legal field.
Anthony DeLuca, Esq., of Koley Jessen started the day off with an Estate Planning and Administration 101 presentation. Anthony provided a basic overview of estate planning in Nebraska, including a discussion of the most common elements of any successful estate plan. Anthony Aimee Melton, Esq., of Regan, Melton, & then provided an overview of the post-death Delaney presented, “Grandparents’ Rights.” estate administration process and touched on Aimee navigated through Nebraska’s narrow
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2020 FALL SEMINAR RECAP CONTINUED laws for grandparents' visitation rights and criteria that grandparents have to meet in order for a judge to grant visitation against the wishes of the child's parents. The right is to visitation of the grandchild, not to custody. Aimee addressed which circumstances allow grandparents the right to visitation, why it is important to take action early, and described some of the biggest hurdles grandparents face under Nebraska law. Aimee shared illustrative details unique to the cases she has tried to the Nebraska Supreme Court during her presentation. Our audience also appreciated the Regan, Melton, & Delaney office dog roaming in the background of Aimee’s Zoom screen!
ing the rules of professional responsibility about candor, confidentiality, loyalty, and fairness through hypothetical situations. He also gave participants a chance to apply the critical ethical rules all paralegals need to know and practice. We all walked away from this presentation with the ability to identify common situations that require ethical decision-making and choose actions that comport with the rules of professional responsibility.
In-between each session, we had entertaining legal videos and memes (prepared by Amber Roberts) and advertisements from our vendors and sponsors. We also chose almost 25 door prize winners through a fun online wheel of Corey O’Brien followed with “The Trials and Trib- names! ulations of a Prosecutor in the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office.” Corey provided a Each year NePA donates $50 to a charity choglimpse into the everyday life of the prosecu- sen by each seminar speaker. This fall, NePA dotors who travel the State of Nebraska assisting nated $50 to United Way of the Midlands, Set county attorneys with some of the most high Me Free Project, Project Harmony, Lutheran profile, complex, and serious criminal cases in Family Services of Nebraska Refugee Reception the state. Corey also discussed some of the & Placement Program, and California Change more high profile cases he and his colleagues Lawyers. have handled and the role the Attorney General’s office plays in the legislative process. Corey is married to NePA’s very own District II Director, Deb O’Brien, who can also share additional insight with us at future events! Tom Pokladowski, Esq., of Los Angeles, California, rounded out the day with one hour of Ethics – something every paralegal needs to have to maintain the Certified Paralegal designation. Tom presented, “Ethics – Practicing the Paralegal’s Professional Responsibilities” by examin-
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2020 FALL SEMINAR RECAP CONTINUED NePA held its Annual Meeting and Elections virtually on September 17, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. During the meeting, the membership approved the 2019 Annual Membership Meeting Minutes, the 2020 MidYear Membership Informational Meeting Minutes, NePA’s Financial Reports, and 2020-2021 budget. The membership also ratified the Board of Directors’ actions for 2019-2020. Each of NePA’s officers and committee chairs had the opportunity to speak on behalf of their position and committee. We also had more door prizes that were given away. We are proud of all our accomplishments through the pandemic and the new ideas and projects for the coming year! Finally, the membership elected its new officers for the 2020-2021 fiscal year: President: Angel Younger, ACP Past President: Kim Brown, ACP President-Elect: Amy Olson, ACP Membership Director: Teresa Semerena, ACP Treasurer: Laurie Vik, ACP Secretary: Andria Bell NALA Liaison: Jessica McCardle, CP District I Director: Alicia Tutini, CP District II Director: Deb O’Brien
While we are all waiting for the day when we can safely meet in person again, these virtual events were world class. We had wonderful speakers, fun entertainment and amazing door prizes that helped to make us feel closer even though we are apart.
Proud to support the Nebraska Paralegal Association
Koley Jessen Paralegals 1125 South 103rd Street
Omaha, NE 68124
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CP SCHOLARSHIP SPOTLIGHT! Many qualified candidates submitted applications for the CP Scholarship this year. The NePA membership voted to award two scholarships, instead of one, to its members this year! NePA awarded scholarships to cover the cost of the Certified Paralegal exam for two of its members, Andria Bell and Lisa Bryan. Both applicants submitted applications and the proper supporting information to the NePA CP/ACP Scholarship Committee by the deadline of August 1st. With Committee review and approval, both paralegals will receive funds to cover the cost of the Certified Paralegal Exam and study materials. Don’t miss your chance to apply for the 2020-2021 CP and ACP Scholarships! Andria Bell Andria started her paralegal career over 20 years ago at a small law office in Omaha and is now a Paralegal at Burlington Capital, working for the same attorney for over 13 years. She received her Associates Degree in Applied Science at Metropolitan Community College in May of 2001, with honors. During her time at Metro, she earned a spot on the National Dean’s List and Phi Theta Kappa. She has been an active committee member for many of NePA’s committees and also volunteered for the Omaha Housing Authority, Eagle’s Nest Worship Center Children’s Ministry, and Partnership 4 kids over the years. The scholarship will give her the opportunity to earn her certification designation and, ultimately, her Advanced Certified Paralegal designation. Andria received glowing recommendations from both of her current employers. George Achola of Burlington Capital noted, “If the scholarship is looking for somebody
that will not only use its benefits for her own personal growth as well as for the benefit of the community, you will find no better suited candidate.” Rachel Lengyel, Director of Precious Memories Childcare noted, “I hope you will consider Ms. Bell; you won’t find a more deserving person.” NePA is delighted to support Andria in her certification pursuit!
Lisa Bryan Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts from Bellevue University and Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies from Iowa Western Community College. Shortly thereafter, she started her legal career in a small Council Bluffs law firm and works today at Richardson-Severn Law in Omaha. Lisa is not only a member of NePA, but also a member of the Iowa Paralegal Association. The Omaha Legal Professionals Association awarded Lisa with the OLPA Award for her outstanding service to the organization. In her spare time, Lisa studies many different languages. She has a desire to help guide the younger generation in their legal careers and knows that the Certified Paralegal designation will lead her in the right direction toward that dream. The Dornan Law Team noted that Lisa impressed them with her “work ethic and eagerness to learn and grow.” Lisa’s current employer, Lilly A Richardson-Severn noted that Lisa “would be an asset to the paralegal profession as she is eager to learn, and is very professional in appearance and work quality.” NePA is also delighted to support Lisa in her certification pursuit! NePA will also award two CP and ACP scholarships for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, so be sure to apply or re-apply if you did not receive the scholarship with your initial application! If you are interested in the CP/ACP Scholarship, please reach out to Katie Wibbels at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Certified Paralegal program, please visit NALA’s website at www.nala.org.
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NEW CERTIFIED PARALEGALS! DEBRA LUNDBERG, CP DAWN THEER, CP ALICIA TUTINI, CP Remember that the Nebraska Paralegal Association wants to invest in your future! Visit our website to learn more about scholarships offered to help members obtain the Certified Paralegal and Advanced Certified Paralegal designations : https://nebraskaparalegal.org/scholarships.php
DISTRICT II NEWS: DEB O’BRIEN District II held it’s final CLE meeting of the year on November 4, 2020. George Welch, Assistant Attorney General of the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office presented, “Prosecuting Cases of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.” There were 40 members in attendance.
This was a fantastic session with a ton of questions asked. George walked us through the different domestic violence scenarios and difficulties they encounter when trying to prosecute like safety of the victims and reasons a victim might be unwilling to cooperate. He then went on to discuss sexual assault cases he’s been involved with. There were great questions like, “Has there been an increase in domestic violence cases since the pandemic started?” and, “Does technology help to prove stalking claims easier than in the past?” Don’t miss out on the upcoming CLEs in 2021. All virtual district meetings are FREE for members. For all questions, please contact: Deb O’Brien, District II Director, at email@example.com
ACTIVE Erica Eschliman - Bull, Loudon, Ebert and Brostrom, LLC Natalie Lewis - Baird Holm LLP Nancy Kyser - Nebraska State Patrol Tina Carpenter - Atwood, Holsten, Brown, Deaver & Spier
ASSOCIATE Stephen Koenig - Koenig Investigative Agency LLC Jessica Strese – Koley Jessen
STUDENT Haleigh Compton - College of Saint Mary
Allis Conley - Metropolitan Community College Odett Pochop – Metropolitan Community College
NOT A MEMBER YET? Check out all the details and download an application at: https://nebraskaparalegal.org/join.php
HONORING THE PAST, BUILDING THE FUTURE
50 years of finding ways to help individuals, businesses, and governmental entities reach their goals.
Lincoln | Seward remboltlawfirm.com 402.475.5100
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NEW CHAPTER 11 SUBCHAPTER V OPTION FOR SMALL BUSINESS
The ongoing pandemic is crushing small businesses. For the lucky businesses that obtained PPP loans, EIDL, and state grant money, the true financial impact may have been delayed. For other less-fortunate businesses that did not receive such relief, the situation is dire. Thankfully, there is a new-look Chapter 11 bankruptcy called Subchapter V specifically designed for small businesses that went into effect February 19, 2020. To qualify, the business must be "engaged in commercial or business activities" with total non-contingent liquidated secured and unsecured debt of less than $7.5 million. (The CARES Act increased the debt limit from $2,725,625 for a one-year period). The Subchapter V Chapter 11 bankruptcy is supposed to support small businesses and provide a more cost-effective and efficient process to facilitate reorganization. The traditional Chapter 11 bankruptcy works pretty poorly for
small businesses because it is expensive and overly burdensome. Also, small businesses are commonly privately owned "mom and pop" type businesses, meaning they'd like to retain control and ownership of the business. The traditional Chapter 11 bankruptcy makes that difficult if not impossible in most situations. Key Features of Subchapter V 1. Subchapter V Trustee. The Trustee is appointed in each case to serve the role as mediator, facilitator, and monitor of the case. This is a brand new role created just for the Subchapter V bankruptcy. I welcome the addition because the small business Debtor will benefit from the additional support. 2. Debtor-in-Possession. The owner remains in control of the business. This is crucial to a small business because typically the business and the owner are quite frankly one-in-the-same.
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NEW CHAPTER 11 SUBCHAPTER V OPTION FOR SMALL BUSINESS CONTINUED 3. No Absolute Priority Rule. The owner retains ownership of the business. In a traditional Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the small business has to deal with the absolute priority rule, which is typically a hurdle they can't overcome. With the elimination of the absolute priority rule, the Debtor has to commit disposable income to the plan to comply with the "cram down" provisions. This means that general unsecured creditors will most likely get paid pennies on the dollar and allow the owner to retain ownership, which is a big win for small businesses. 4. Required Status Conference and Report. The Debtor has 60 days to hold a status conference and 14 days beforehand to file a report regarding efforts to obtain consensual plan. The goal of the Subchapter V is increased speed and efficiency that I hope leads to increased collaboration with creditors to give the small business a chance to reorganize. 5. Only Debtor May File Plan. The Debtor doesn't have to be looking over its shoulder wondering if a creditor/creditors committee will submit a competing plan.
makes during the course of the bankruptcy. For a small business where every dollar makes a difference in operating and reorganizing, these fees can be overly burdensome to the point where the Debtor has to forego an expense that would propel the business forward. Not having these fees frees up funds for the small business to operate and reorganize. 9. Plan May Modify a Claim Secured Only by Debtor's Principal Residence. If the funds of the debt secured by the primary residence were used for business purposes, the claim can be modified. This is a provision borrowed from Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies. This is a major benefit because the Debtor can remove the lien in part or in whole depending upon the value of the residence and the amounts of senior liens on the residence. The Debtor can also modify the interest rate 10. Delayed Payment of Administrative Expense Claims. In a traditional Chapter 11, the Debtor must pay administrative expense claims as of the effective date or in the ordinary course of business, which can seriously impede cash flow. In the Subchapter V, the Debtor may spread out the payments of administrative expense claims over the duration of the plan, which ameliorates a cash flow crunch.
6. The Debtor has 90 days to file a plan. This is pretty quick as compared to maximum 300 days in a traditional Chapter 11. Once again, the quicker a plan can be confirmed, the less the Debtor spends on case administration. Patino Law Office is a boutique bankruptcy firm located in Omaha, Nebraska providing services 7. No Disclosure Statement. In a traditional statewide. Chapter 11, the Debtor must prepare and file a separate disclosure statement to accompany Article reprinted with permission, from the Patithe plan. Reducing requirements reduces the no Law Office, Patrick Patino. Get more inforcost of navigating the Subchapter V. mation at www.Omahabklaw.com. 8. No US Trustee Fees. Traditionally, the Debtor has to pay quarterly fees to the US Trustee's Office based upon distributions that the Debtor
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RECAP: DIVERSITY - EMBRACE IT, SHARE IT, CELEBRATE IT. WOW! That’s all I can say about the Diversity & Inclusion event co-hosted by NePA and the Omaha Bar Association on November 3, 2020. While we didn’t intend for it to be on election day, it turned out that may have been a blessing in disguise. Attending an event meant to bring us closer together in the midst of an election that many have deemed one of the most divisive in history was a welcome relief to all the politics of the day. We truly were embracing, sharing and celebrating our diversity. We started the day with a Legislative Update from Senator Tony Vargas. A big kudos to him because he showed up for us on election day...while he was running for office! What a great session, though! He discussed different bills he had brought before the legislature or supported, some more successful than others. Senator Vargas is one of only four Nebraska senators who identify as people of color. He is in the minority and works constantly to build bridges so that he can pass legislation which may affect minority groups directly but has far-reaching implications, including helping to make Nebraska more diverse and welcoming to keep more of our youth in Nebraska and attract more people to come live here. Some of the legislation he’s worked on for the past few years is related to reducing the number of individuals in our corrections system who are Latino and African American. Overcrowding is an issue at many levels and these two groups in particular are over-represented in our correctional facilities. Another piece of legislation is called the Crown Act which seeks to bar discrimination because of hair texture, natural styles, etc. This was pocket vetoed and many have asked if we truly need this kind of legislation. This is a true example of a law that affects an under-represented population but has a significant impact to that specific
population and implications that extend out, including showing that Nebraska is working to become a more inclusive place to minorities which will help us keep our talent and recruit new talent to the state. Senator Vargas is also a supporter of the concept that every piece of legislation should have to go through a Racial Impact Statement review, similar to what is done from an economic standpoint, to determine what potential positive or negative racial impacts the bill may have. It would be conducted by an impartial, non-partisan group. There was a lot of discussion about this and what could be done to get other senators on board with it.
We also discussed the disparities arising from COVID-19, particularly how it is affecting Hispanic and Latino communities more than their population percentages in Nebraska. Part of this is due to the conditions seen at meat packing plants where a large percentage of the workers are Hispanic and Latino. While the bill they proposed to protect people of color in these dangerous situations did not pass, it did lead to changes at many facilities to protect the workers. This was a short legislative session and a lot of items weren’t able to be properly discussed.
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RECAP: DIVERSITY - EMBRACE IT, SHARE IT, CELEBRATE IT. CONTINUED There are real opportunities for the public to weigh in and provide input on these and other bills. One of these is to participate in Black and Brown Legislative Day. Senator Vargas is happy to connect anyone interested with the coordinator of the event. People of color are often times the only ones to discuss diversity & inclusion issues but we all can do our part to engage lawmakers and make sure the entire electorate is educated on how these issues affect the community and all of us when we don’t feel safe and welcomed in our cities, communities, and state. Our next session was from Callie McCool of Big Fire Law. She gave a Native American Legal Update which was very interesting and touched on many things that have been in the news in the past few years, including the Dakota Access Pipeline and a recent court ruling in Oklahoma that clarified if the state had jurisdiction over criminal cases. The outcome of that case has left Oklahoma scrambling to determine which convicted criminals now have their cases overturned.
Our third speaker was Dr. Lawrence Chatters, Vice President of Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at Midland University. Dr. Chatters was phenomenal starting with his own personal history. His willingness to be vulnerable to his audience is one of the tools he utilizes to find common ground regarding difficult discussions of diversity and inclusion issues. His personal connection to the criminal justice system through his youngest brother made a significant impact on him as well as his personal experiences of racism within his own family, specifically his relationship with his father-in-law. He worked in the prison system counseling inmates and was able to see and hear stories of what led the men to where they ended up in prison. This led him to look at what could be done earlier in their lives to prevent them from ending up in the system. When working on his doctorate, he focused on young men of color and working on their trajectory. He also created “Building Bridges” which works with at-risk students between 8th and 9th grades providing help with school work, counseling, and working with their families. Young boys of color have a higher risk of dropping out and this program is working to reduce that risk.
I found it interesting to hear what exactly is defined as “Indian Country,” how it has changed over the years, and what the government continues to do to limit the boundaries and autonomy of the Native American tribes. Dr. Chatters went on to explain microaggressions and how they can whittle away at your confidence. Saying things like, “You are so articulate,” can make the person think that based on their looks they shouldn’t be articulate. Another example is saying, “I don’t see color.” What do you mean you don’t see color? Do you mean that you don’t see them as a person of color or that you are blind to the differences of each person? Both are wrong. People of color know that race and color are part of their world in the U.S. Wouldn’t it be better to acknowledge and celebrate our differences? Another example given was when someone talks
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RECAP: DIVERSITY - EMBRACE IT, SHARE IT, CELEBRATE IT. CONTINUED ing barriers such as language, gender, disability and technology challenges. How can these issues create inequities and what can you and your company do to balance the scales? The first step is to bring awareness to people in positions of power and also to talk about these things openly. An example would be to ask which clients get the worst service, and why. Then do the alternate. Which clients get the best service, and why? It can be easy to get defensive but working to find common ground can make all the difference.
louder or slower to a person in a wheelchair. Just because a person is paralyzed doesn’t mean they can’t hear. When you see a person of Asian or Latino descent and you ask them where they are from because you assume they aren’t from the U.S. is another prime example we might all be familiar with.
Dr. Chatters ended his session with the topic of privilege. He asked us to consider that all of us on the call that day were privileged...we had access to technology and wifi. He went further to ask us to consider if we woke up that day and didn’t have to worry about finding something to eat for breakfast or a safe place to join the call from or any accommodations that had to be made. These are all different levels of privilege. Privilege is simply the absence of having to worry about certain things in our lives based on our “classification” within society. There are all different types of privilege: gender, race, socioeconomic, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious. He challenged us to think about the privileges we have and what privileges others do not. Think about it from a legal perspective. Are we missing certain people being represented in our companies, on our boards, and in other areas of our life that would bring a different perspective to our work? If so, expand your circle to include these other people and perspectives.
Dr. Chatters gave some specific examples he’s experienced such as when he’s walking around in a mall or store and people follow him or ask him multiple times if they can help...as if suspicious that he’ll steal something. He’s learned to never put his hands in his pockets when shopping. In fact, while at Estes Park, his family visited an Indian shop where his daughter bought a small purse. They went to another shop that was selling the same purse and she was asked to show the receipt to prove she had already bought it. He and his wife had to intervene to convince them it wasn’t stolen. How would you have felt if that happened to you? Would you be outraged? These You can make a difference with young people in are daily occurrences in our country for many. particular by reaching out and mentoring. Show Dr. Chatters then focused on the legal perspec- them that the legal field and others are available tive for all of us. When you see a client walking in, to them. You may be the first exposure they’ve for instance, do you immediately make judge- ever had to the law, and having someone tell ments about him/her? Talk with your peers about them that they too can be a part of it can make ways to make the law more accessible by remov- a world of difference in their lives.
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RECAP: DIVERSITY - EMBRACE IT, SHARE IT, CELEBRATE IT. CONTINUED Our final session of the day was an amazing panel! Candi Jones of Mutual of Omaha joined us for the panel and was such a great addition. Candi was recently honored with a 2020 Changemaker award and it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving individual. She brought great insight and compassion to the discussion.
Many of the questions covered difficult topics and the panelists handled it all with grace and integrity while at the same time leaving us with actionable items we could do to start making a change in our own organizations and within our own personal spaces...wherever they may be. Some of these insights are:
4. Be a leader especially when you are trying to change culture in your organizations. It can be hard to bring up disparities or inequalities that you see; do it anyway. Encourage people to do the right thing and recognize your own power.
1. Meet people where they are. We are all in different stages of our personal journeys. You don’t know what has led a person to think and feel as they currently do. Meet them where they are by asking questions, being vulnerable and willing to share your own person- 5. Be an ally. Help younger employees who may al story, and working to find common ground have deficits in their training. Hold space for which can open even the most stubborn others and “shut up” to put it bluntly. Demand heart. more from those in your circle. Realize that it is possible to “uplift everyone” and look around 2. Allow others a level of grace and don’t asfor those opportunities. sume bad intentions. Microaggressions are a perfect example of this. Most people aren’t Final thoughts on the day? It was hopeful, powertrying to offend or cause hurt...they may just ful and thought-provoking. Having these types of not know the impact their words have on you. learning experiences and being open to seeing Don’t coddle them, but accusing and being others’ perspectives can help us to change the hostile isn’t the right approach either. world. I don’t know about you, but I look forward 3. Understand that we all have implicit bias because of how we were raised and our life experiences. Acknowledging that and then working to “undo” those biases one by one is hard work but it can be done if we’re committed to trying. One method is to take a broad approach and read as much as possible.
to being a changemaker!
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VOLUME MMXX, ISSUE 4
HOW PRESIDENT TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON “DIVISIVE” RACE AND GENDER CONCEPTS AFFECTS CONTRACTORS AND GRANT RECIPIENTS In light of new restrictions imposed by Executive Order 13950, federal government contractors will need to review the content of their employee diversity and related training programs. This Order, issued on September 22, 2020, follows a September 4, 2020 OMB Memorandum directing federal agencies “to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on critical race theory, white privilege, or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the U.S. is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.” The OMB Memorandum also directs agencies to identify legal avenues to cancel any such contracts or avoid the use of federal money to support them.
is encouraging individuals to report these violations using a new OFCCP hotline.
Executive Order 13950 is the subject of significant controversy, likely to be rescinded if Joe Biden wins the Presidency. Importantly, enactment of regulations by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) would be required to conform to the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice and comment rulemaking procedures. Contractors that win new federal contracts awarded after November 21, 2020 will need to consider their strategies for meeting the requirements it imposes. A September 28, 2020 OFCCP press release suggests that the OFCCP will be interpreting the requirements broadly. Specifically, the OFCCP stated that training with the prohibited material as well as engaging in unlawful race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating in employment generally “may also violate a contractor’s obligations under the existing Executive Order 11246, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, [and] national origin” and
- Employers that are not federal contractors, subcontractors or grant recipients are not subject to the Order.
1. Who is covered by Executive Order 13950? - The Order requires all federal contracts awarded after November 21, 2020 to include a contract clause specifying the restrictions on the content of the training. Unless an exemption applies, all companies receiving such contracts will be required to comply with restrictions imposed by the contract clause. The training restrictions will be mandatory flow downs to all subcontractors and suppliers at every tier. - The training restrictions imposed by EO 13950 will also apply to recipients of federal grants, although they will not immediately go into effect.
2. What restrictions does EO 13950 impose? EO 13950 prohibits training that promotes or endorses “divisive concepts”. The examples provided in the EO include the following: - One race or sex is inherently superior;
- The U.S. is fundamentally racist or sexist; - An individual because of race or sex is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive; - Because of race or sex, individuals bear responsibility for past actions committed by others of the same race or sex; - Individuals should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or other psychological distress because of their race or sex;
- Meritocracy, such as a hard work ethic is racist or sexist and was created to oppress another
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HOW PRESIDENT TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON “DIVISIVE” RACE AND GENDER CONCEPTS AFFECTS CONTRACTORS AND GRANT RECIPIENTS race; and
Review existing practices, including training programs, to ensure they do not constitute pro- Other forms of race or sex stereotyping or hibited discrimination as defined in the Order. scapegoating. The Order defines “sex stereotyping” as “assigning character traits, values, Because OFCCP has stated that prohibited beliefs, privileges, status, moral or ethical codes training and engaging in unlawful race or sex generally or to an individual because of race or stereotyping or scapegoating may also violate sex.” The Order defines “race or sex scape- a contractor’s obligations under the existing Exgoating” as “assigning fault or blame or bias ecutive Order 11246, contractors should review generally or to an individual because of their existing practices and programs, and encourrace or sex, including claims of conscious or un- age employees to use internal complaint proconscious bias, sexism or racism because of cedures to raise concerns. race or sex.” Provide notice to labor unions. 3. Does EO 13950 prohibit diversity training? Contractors and subcontractors subject to the EO 13950 does not prohibit contractors from requirements of EO 13950 will be required to conducting training on diversity and inclusion. It provide notice of the “contractor’s commitdoes not prohibit discussion of “divisive con- ment to the order” to each labor union or repcepts” as long as the discussion is handled “in resentative of workers with which it has a colan objective manner and without endorse- lective bargaining agreement, contract or unment.” derstanding. In addition, they will be required to post copies of the notice in a conspicuous lo4. What actions does the Order require contraccation and available for employees and job tors to take? applicants. Like many other notices to employAvoid endorsing what the EO identifies as ees, the notice required by EO 13950 will be “divisive concepts” in workplace training provided by the government. Contractors and subcontractors awarded contracts that include the clause required by EO 13950 will be prohibited from conducting any training program that “inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of scapegoating,” which includes all of the “divisive concepts” listed in the Order. The OFCCP also has indicated that the prohibitions are not limited to workplace training programs but will be applied to employment practices, generally.
Include the provision in agreements with subcontractors and suppliers. EO 13950 provides for the contract clause that will be included in covered contracts to be a mandatory flow down. Contractors will be required to include the clause in their subcontracts and supply agreements that provide services or supplies on the contract. Contractors will also be required to “take such action…as may be directed by the Secretary of Labor as a means of enforcing such provisions including sanctions for noncompliance.”
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HOW PRESIDENT TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON “DIVISIVE” RACE AND GENDER CONCEPTS AFFECTS CONTRACTORS AND GRANT RECIPIENTS 5. What enforcement actions are authorized by quired by EO 13950 will apply only to new conthe Order? tracts awarded on or after November 21, 2020, many contractors will properly adopt a waitContract termination and suspension or debarand-see approach. It is possible that the implement. mentation of EO 13950 will be delayed or modiEO 13950 provides that a contractor’s failure to fied through legal challenges. If Joe Biden is comply with the training restrictions, the notice elected President, contractors can reasonably requirements, or the flow down requirements it anticipate that he will rescind EO 13950. imposes will be grounds for termination of the - To the extent employee diversity and inclusion contract and suspension or debarment from training programs cannot be delayed, affected future federal contracts. contractors should understand what EO 13950 OFCCP investigation. requires and what it does not. EO 13950 does Investigation and enforcement of compliance not prohibit diversity and inclusion training. It with the requirements of EO 13950 will be man- permits trainers to discuss definitions and examaged by the OFCCP. The OFCCP’s September ples of race and sex stereotyping and scape28 press release identifies the established hot- goating. It permits trainers to discuss historical line phone number and email address required events. It permits trainers to promote the benefits of racial, cultural, or ethnic diversity and inby the Order. clusiveness. It permits trainers to discuss “divisive 6. What is the effective date of the order? concepts” in an “objective manner and withThe contractor requirements imposed by EO out endorsement.” 13950 will apply to federal contracts awarded - Contractors should be aware that OFCCP has after Saturday, November 21, 2020. stated that prohibited training and engaging in By October 22, 2020, however, EO 13950 per- unlawful race or sex stereotyping or scapegoatmits OFCCP to invite federal contractors, sub- ing may violate a contractor’s obligations uncontractors, and employees to provide infor- der existing Executive Order 11246. The OFCCP mation regarding employee diversity and inclu- has instructed employees to file a complaint sion training to the OFCCP. under existing regulations using either the new As stated previously, contractors should also be hotline or the agency’s website. Contractors aware that OFCCP’s September 28 press re- conducting diversity training even before Nolease states that OFCCP intends to enforce EO vember 21, 2020 are well advised to consider 13950 immediately using its authority under whether the content conflicts with the requirements of EO 13950. “existing Executive Order 11246.” 7. What actions should contractors take at this - Expect the OFCCP to publish an Information Collection Request (ICR) by October 22, 2020 time? that seeks copies of your diversity and inclusion - Since the training restrictions, notice requiretraining materials and the frequency, duraments, and subcontracting requirements retion and cost of the training programs. At this
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HOW PRESIDENT TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON “DIVISIVE” RACE AND GENDER CONCEPTS AFFECTS CONTRACTORS AND GRANT RECIPIENTS time, it appears that compliance with the ICR including review of diversity and inclusion trainwill be voluntary, so that contractors that do ing programs offered to your employees. not respond to the ICR will not be penalized. Tracey Oakes O’Brien, Knowledge Manager, is The prohibitions contained in EO 13950 place a co-author of this content. contractors in the difficult position of controlling This post first appeared October 6, 2020 on the the content and discussion in diversity and inlegal blog Thought Leadership, written by Mary clusion programs while also complying with Elizabeth Kurt, Sonni Fort Nolan, and Brian equal opportunity and affirmative action laws. Waagner, along with co-author Tracey Oakes Husch Blackwell's government contracts, labor O’Brien, Husch Blackwell LLP. Reprinted with and employment law, and OFCCP complipermission. Get more information at ance practice groups can provide counsel www.huschblackwell.com. necessary to navigate the legal and practical business issues presented by EO 13950.
Contact Molly Kurt, Sonni Nolan, Brian Waagner or your Husch Blackwell attorney to discuss specific issues presented by EO 13950,
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR BOARD â&#x20AC;&#x201D; ANDRIA BELL
How did you end up in the paralegal field? I was 28 years-old, in-between jobs, and decided that I had wasted enough time on dead-end jobs. I had always wanted to be a teacher or a lawyer, so I decided to enroll in the Paralegal Studies Program at Metro Community College. I have been a Paralegal for almost 20 years now and no longer have a desire to be a lawyer. How did you become involved in NePA? Back in 2016, I went to a NePA-sponsored event at the Scott Conference Center and was very impressed. I cannot remember how I was made aware of the event or what the event was, but I decided to join NePA in 2017. What made you decide to join the Board? Amber Roberts contacted me and asked if I would be interested in serving. I had not thought about it until she touched base with me and gave me some insight on how the position works. I am glad she did because I am learning a lot about NePA. What has been the greatest benefit of being a member of NePA? The greatest benefit has been getting to know some of the other members and serving on ad hoc committees; I am currently on the salary survey and finance committees. I am also a NEPA Mentor and have an awesome Mentee. What advice do you have for those looking to enter the paralegal field? I would say that it is very rewarding and to make sure that you give a lot of thought to the area of law you want to practice in as there are endless opportunities. Continue to further your education and explore other areas of the law that you do not practice in; you never know where you will end up. What is your favorite part of your job? Going home at the end of the day! Just kidding! The variety of my duties is my favorite part. I review and approve resident reasonable accommodation requests, respond to discrimination complaints, prepare applications for tax credit funding, ensure all of our entities are in compliance in the various states we are in; and the list goes on and on. Any funny stories you could share? I love to wear stretchy jeans. A few months ago, I was wearing my favorite stretchy jeans at work on casual Friday. I noticed when I got dressed that morning that they were not fitting like they normally do; they felt a little snug. It was not until I was getting ready for bed that I discovered I had my pants on backwards! Yes, I went through the entire day like that, not even noticing when I went to the bathroom!
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ARTICLE: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE PANDEMIC Just as all of us have been adjusting our operations in light of the pandemic, the Association has also been dealing with some of the same issues: transitioning employees to remote operations, following updates on court orders and city ordinances, learning to use new technology, etc. And like you, although the business of the NSBA has definitely not been “business as usual,” we found a way to make the “new normal” work. Thanks to our tremendous staff, we’ve transitioned all CLE opportunities, including the 2020 Annual Meeting, online. We held the first ever virtual Barristers Ball after rescheduling it to later in the year and raised record contributions in support of our mission of expanding access to justice and strengthening the legal profession. Our leadership and staff have also been working to identify new ways to support our members and our mission. Among other things:
We supported the Nebraska Supreme Court’s exemption of live CLE hours for 2020 to protect the health and safety of our members.
We’ve worked with the Nebraska State Bar Foundation to make CLE Scholarships available to lawyers who need financial assistance in meeting their mandatory CLE obligations.
We’ve taken best practices from across the country and disseminated a “Reopening Your Practice: Considerations from the Nebraska State Bar Association” checklist to assist firms with their reopening plans, which is also available on the NSBA website.
We’ve recognized that our members, perhaps now more than ever, need help connecting with potential clients, and we voted
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ARTICLE: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE PANDEMIC CONTINUED to make profiles to the Nebraska Find-a-Lawyer referral website (www.nefindalawyer.com) free to all members.
how a recession will impact budgets for legal services. •
We are working with partners and sections to provide COVID-19 related CLE content, and we developed a COVID-19 Resource Webpage to help our members navigate our rapidly changing legal landscape.
We have even adapted our pro bono opportunities by helping to establish a legal • clinic to assist Nebraskans dealing with evictions.
Now several months into the pandemic, we thought it was time to debrief and retool. At the end of August, the NSBA Executive Council, the Chief Justice, the Deans of both law schools, and the Counsel for Discipline convened to identify ways in which the pandemic has changed or impacted: the practice of law, law firm operations, our clients, and access to the justice system. These discussions allowed us to hear perspectives from across the state, different practice areas and sectors, perspectives from the judiciary, and different sized firms and organizations. We identified a number of challenges and questions, but we also identified potential opportunities that the pandemic has created.
Will the recession cause an increase in selfrepresented litigants? How can those without access to technology access our courts? How can we serve our clients in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities that won’t allow visitors during the pandemic? Lawyers with young children who are helping their kids with online school need greater flexibility.
Opportunities to cultivate interpersonal relationships with colleagues are limited, and we worry whether a sustained virtual environment will erode the civility we show each other and the bench.
Law firm operations have become more challenging as we work to comply with health directives and city ordinances, protect our staff and clients, and stay abreast of our obligations as employers.
Opportunities In a number of ways, however, dealing with the pandemic has created some silver-linings: •
The pandemic has forced lawyers to become more adaptable and more competent with technology.
Practicing via technology or in-person with masks and/ or social distance protocols can make it harder to identify facial cues, body language, and how parties are responding.
The pandemic has given some of us the push we needed to take advantage of already available technology like e-filing, cloud-based storage, billing software, and accepting credit card payments.
Practice areas are being impacted in differ- • ent ways, and there are concerns about
We are saving some our clients’ money. We are traveling less. We can appear in court without sitting through everyone else’s hear-
Challenges Some of those challenges include:
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ARTICLE: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE PANDEMIC CONTINUED
ings. Our out-of-state witnesses can appear virtually. A virtual environment can create efficiencies and can perhaps make legal services more affordable for more Nebraskans.
We’ve learned first-hand that the flexibility and remote work arrangements that our younger generations have been asking for can be effective.
Ultimately, these conversations helped Association leadership better understand the changing landscape and helped us to identify new ways to further support our membership and justice system. We look forward to further developing and implementing those plans in the coming year, and we hope you will reach out to share your experience with us.
Steven F. Mattoon Immediate Past President Nebraska State Bar Association 308-254-5595 Mattoon@mmmlawoffice.com Reprinted with permission from the author and the Nebraska State Bar Association, The Nebraska Lawyer (September/October 2020)