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Pro Se Litigants  

This Guide, prepared by the Robert M. Spire American Inn of Court, presents resources for attorneys who assist pro se litigants. This is part of the Inn's 2013-2014 series on ethics.
Last Updated: Oct 24, 2013 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts

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American Inns of Court

American Inns of Court (AIC) are designed to improve the skills, professionalism and ethics of the bench and bar. An American Inn of Court is an amalgam of judges, lawyers, and in some cases, law professors and law students. Each Inn meets approximately once a month both to "break bread" and to hold programs and discussions on matters of ethics, skills and professionalism.

Looking for a new way to help lawyers and judges rise to higher levels of excellence, professionalism, and ethical awareness, the American Inns of Court adopted the traditional English model of legal apprenticeship and modified it to fit the particular needs of the American legal system. American Inns of Court help lawyers to become more effective advocates and counselors with a keener ethical awareness. Members learn side-by-side with the most experienced judges and attorneys in their community.

An American Inn of Court is not a fraternal order, a social club, a course in continuing legal education, a lecture series, an apprenticeship system, or an adjunct of a law school’s program. While an AIC partakes of some of each of these concepts, it is quite different in aim, scope, and effect.

American Inns of Court actively involve more than 25,000 state, federal and administrative law judges, attorneys, legal scholars and law students. Membership is composed of the following categories: Masters of the Bench—judges, experienced lawyers, and law professors; Barristers—lawyers with some experience who do not meet the minimum requirements for Masters; Associates—lawyers who do not meet the minimum requirement for Barristers; and Pupils—law students. The suggested number of active members in an Inn is around 80.

Most Inns concentrate on issues surrounding civil and criminal litigation practice, and include attorneys from a number of specialties. However, there are several Inns that specialize in criminal practice, federal litigation, tax law, administrative law, white-collar crime, bankruptcy, intellectual property, family law, or employment and labor law.

The membership is divided into “pupillage teams,” with each team consisting of a few members from each membership category. Each pupillage team conducts one program for the Inn each year. Pupillage team members get together informally outside of monthly Inn meetings in groups of two or more. This allows the less-experienced attorneys to become more effective advocates and counselors by learning from the more-experienced attorneys and judges. In addition, each less-experienced member is assigned to a more-experienced attorney or judge who acts as a mentor and encourages conversations about the practice of law.


Authors of This Guide

The Guides to be produced in this series are the product of the Robert M. Spire American Inn of Court. The Spire mission statement is: "To foster excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility and legal skills by promoting discourse, camaraderie, and mentoring among its members in an informal, educational and social setting."

This particular Guide on pro-se litigants is the work of the Donald Knowles Pupillage.

Look for additional Guides in this series.


Presenters on October 7, 2013

Jean K. McNeil, J.D., is the Legal Services Director of the Nebraska State Bar Association where she coordinates the Self Help Desks in the State.  Her responsibilities include operating and recruiting volunteers to assist at the Douglas County Self Help Desk. She also directs the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the NSBA. She has also worked for Legal Aid of Nebraska and Western Nebraska Legal Services. At Legal Aid, Ms. McNeil was the Managing Attorney of the Grand Island Office where she represented clients in various civil legal matters and held Pro Se Divorce Clinics for the counties in their service area. At Western Nebraska Legal Services she represented clients in civil legal matters, managed the AccessLine, and assisted with the Pro Se Clinics operating in the service area. Ms. McNeil was admitted to the Nebraska State Bar Association in 1993 and she is a member of the Supreme Court’s Implementation of Pro Se Litigation.

Jessica Feinstein is an Associate in the Omaha, Nebraska office of Jackson Lewis LLP.  She previously worked for four years at Krieger & Krieger, a prominent immigration firm in Omaha.  She specializes in representing US and multinational companies in employment based immigration preparing nonimmigrant and immigrant petitions.  She also represents clients in I-9 worksite compliance and worksite investigations.

Mrs. Feinstein is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association, the Omaha Bar Association, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). She serves as New Member Liaison for the Iowa/Nebraska Chapter of AILA.

Mrs. Feinstein received her B.A. in Biology, from The University of Colorado, Boulder and her J.D. from The University of Nebraska College of Law.

The Honorable Marcela A. Keim joined the bench of the Douglas County Court in the 4th Judicial District of Nebraska in 2011. A 1999 graduate of the Crieghton University School of Law, Judge Keim has both sides of criminal law as an Assistant Public Defender at the Douglas County Public Defender’s Office and as a Assistant City Attorney at the Omaha City Prosecutor’s Office. Her professional memberships include Nebraska Bar Association, Omaha Bar Association, Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorney’s Association, and Nebraska Women’s Bar Association. In addition, she has  served as a Creighton University Client Counseling Competition Judge, Creighton University Moot Court Competition Judge, Douglas County Adult Mental Health Diversion Committee Member, Juvenile Justice Coordinating Committee Member, Omaha Law League Executive Board Member and Courthouse Tour Committee Chair, Project Harmony Service Board Member, and Juvenile Justice Mental Health Diversion Planning Committee Member.

Joseph S. Daly was admitted to the Nebraska Bar in 1970 after earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Creighton University (A.B. 1967; J.D. 1970), Four Year Letterman Creighton University Baseball, Phi Alpha Delta. Mr. Daly has been with the Sodoro Daly Shomaker & Selde PC LLO since his graduation from law school. Mr. Daley has handled and tried to jury verdict, hundreds of cases all over the State of Nebraska and southwest Iowa in addition to trying cases in Kansas and Alaska, obtaining a defense verdict in a multi-million dollar insurance defense construction case in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska in Anchorage. Mr. Daly is an "AV" rated lawyer by Martindale Hubbell and is a lifetime Fellow of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation. Mr. Daly was recognized as a 2012 Great Plains Super Lawyer.

Mr. Daly continues to be very active in the defense of professional liability cases with an emphasis on medical malpractice. Already through April of 2013, Mr. Daly has obtained a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case involving the alleged wrongful death of a 46 year old retired colonel in the United States Air Force wherein plaintiff’s attorneys were alleging damages of 4.2 million dollars. He has also obtained a defense verdict in a dental malpractice case against the Creighton University Dental School.

His professional memberships include Omaha Bar Association, Nebraska State Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Board of Trial Advocates (National Board Member and Past President - Nebraska Chapter), Nebraska Association of Defense Attorneys, Defense Research Institute, International Society of Barristers (former National Member of the Board of Governors, 3 year term), International Society of Barristers Foundation (current Member Board of Governors); Nebraska Chapter American Inns of Court, Master of the Bench, (former President, Nebraska Chapter), and Nebraska State Bar Foundation.


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George Butterfield
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Prof. Butterfield is the Legal Reference Librarian at the Law School. He teaches Legal Research & Writing and Advanced Legal Research. He has been at Creighton since 2007.
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Tele: 402-280-2243
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