Thank you! I am truly honored to serve as president of your Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys. Immediate past-president Jason Ausman led in fine fashion during the most difficult of times and left our organization in great shape. I am grateful and appreciative for the commitment and accomplishments of all the fine trial lawyers who have previously led your organization and I, like many of you, have benefited greatly from their leadership and example since joining NATA in 2004.
I am thankful for, and would like to introduce, the talented group of officers currently serving on our executive committee and working tirelessly to keep our organization moving in the right direction: President -Elect Brock Wurl; Secretary Todd Bennett; Treasurer Jon Urbom; Immediate Past President Jason Ausman; Board Oversight Chair Pete Wegman; NATA PAC Chair, Matt Lathrop; and our Executive Director Stella Huggins.
The Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys is and will always be “dedicated to the improvement of the trial practice and preservation of the jury system.” And while the pandemic has brought jury trials to a standstill, my commitment to you is to remain focused on issues important to our clients and our organization.
We, as a group, have long provided quality continuing legal education and some of the best trial lawyer seminars in the state. Our listserv gives all our members access to the finest trial lawyers and legal minds in our area. If you have a question, whether you represent plaintiffs or defendants, post your question to the listserv or pick up the phone and call another NATA member - someone is always there to help out.
NATA PAC, the political arm of NATA, and the NATA Legislative Committee work diligently to watch for legislative initiatives which might adversely impact our clients and interests and support those that will benefit and protect our clients. They also work to support legislative candidates who agree with NATA’s commitment to civil justice and preservation of the jury system. In this past year’s Unicameral Election NATA, by and through the efforts of Matt Lathrop, our lobbyists at O’Hara Lindsay & Associates and other NATA member volunteers, NATA PAC supported 16 candidates in their respective districts, of which 10 were re-elected or elected. NATA is delighted with the outcome and optimistic that we have senators who will listen to NATA’s concerns on issues that affect not only our clients, but all Nebraskans.
The professionalism, cooperation and dedication of our members allows us to do what is best for our clients and do it better. NATA members have always taken pride in posting or calling with advice, helping anyone who asks and sharing their own experiences and lessons learned. Doing so allows us to grow, practice with integrity and better serve our clients.
As we move in to 2021, we know things will look different and our practices, much like our personal lives, will adapt and change. Fortunately, thanks to the contributions of those that have come before me and the solid foundation that has been built, NATA will continue to be here for our clients, and for all of us, for many years to come.
As we prepare to turn the calendar, I would like to take a minute to point out a few things to keep an eye out for in the upcoming year:
- 2021 Unicameral – NATA’s Legislative Committee held its first meeting for the upcoming session on November 6th via Zoom. Along with our lobbyists, we reviewed and discussed various legislative proposals before deciding to focus our efforts this year on overturning the Tadros decision, eliminating anti-stacking provisions, amending Neb.Rev.Stat. §48-134 to allow a plaintiff’s physician to attend a defense medical exam by electronic means, legislation to remedy Moser v. State, and introducing legislation to increase automobile liability limits.
The 2021 legislative session begins on January 6, 2021 and our first Committee meeting is scheduled for January 15, 2021 in Lincoln. If you have ideas for legislative bills that would benefit your clients or trial practice in Nebraska, or would like to attend a Legislative Committee meeting, feel free to reach out to NATA’s 2021 Legislative Committee Chair Brock Wurl.
- 2021 Seminars – While 2020 threw us all a curve, NATA made the difficult decision to cancel our May 2020 seminar, but in doing so showed that we could adapt with the best. In September Mark Richardson chaired NATA’s first hybrid seminar with in-person and webinar attendees. This past month Jon Urbom and Cameron Guenzel put together NATA’s first zoom webinar with all attendees, and all but 2 presenters, participating remotely. Both seminars were fantastic and informative, as always, and very well attended.
Aaron Brown has agreed to chair our next Zoom webinar “Workers Compensation” to be held February 26th. NATA’s Spring Seminar will be chaired by Terry Salerno and held April 23rd at the Scott Conference in Omaha and our Fall Seminar will be chaired by Mark Richardson and will be held September 24th at Scott Conference Center in conjunction with NATA’s Annual Meeting. Thanks again to Mark, Jon, Cameron, Aaron, Terry and Mark for chairing and agreeing to chair these seminars. If you have ideas for a seminar topic or have interest in presenting at any of NATA’s seminars, please contact NATA’s 2021 Seminar Chair Jon Urbom.
- 2021 NATA Summer Meeting - For the second year in a row we are scheduled to have our Summer Meeting at Bridges Bay Resort in Lake Okoboji, Iowa June 24-26, 2021. Lake Okoboji is a great family vacation destination with water sports, water park, golf courses, shopping and restaurants. NATA summer meetings are family friendly and provide a fantastic opportunity to get to know each other and learn more about NATA. I look forward to seeing you and your families there!
Again, I thank you for the privilege of serving as President of this wonderful organization. If you want to become more involved or join NATA, I encourage you to do so. If you know someone that would benefit from NATA, invite them to a meeting or seminar. If you know someone that is looking for advice or assistance with an issue, please have that person reach out to any NATA member. Our organization is only as good as our members, and while I believe we do a lot of great things, we are always looking to make ourselves better.
Best wishes and stay safe in 2021!