Nebraska's new business and law major 'best decision' for Kinney

· 6 min read

Nebraska’s new business and law major ‘best decision’ for Kinney

Jack Kinney of Omaha and Richard Moberly, dean of the College of Law, was one of the first Huskers to enroll in the new Business and Law major.
Craig Chandler | University Communication and Marketing
Jack Kinney of Omaha with Richard Moberly, dean of the College of Law, was one of the first Huskers to declare the new interdisciplinary business and law major. Only offered by a handful of business schools, the new major addresses a critical shortage of mid- and upper-level managers with legal knowledge.

A fifth-generation Husker, Jack Kinney of Omaha became one of the first students to declare a major in business and law at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Created through a partnership between the College of Business and the College of Law, the new interdisciplinary program includes courses taught by business, law, and arts and sciences faculty.

“The business and law major at Nebraska offers me the best of both worlds, combining my broad-based interest in business studies with my passion for law. From first enrolling in Intro to Law and the Legal Profession (CASC 140) as a freshman, I was hooked. The exploratory course was taught by the Dean of the College of Law, Richard Moberly, and it became my favorite part of each week. His discussions about careers in the legal profession helped me realize my passion for studying law,” Kinney said.

Moberly said the new major was designed to address a critical shortage of mid- and senior-level managers with strong business skills who also understand legal implications and regulatory constraints. The courses build familiarity with legal concepts for jobs that require some knowledge of the law, but not necessarily a juris doctor.

“Understanding how the law works and how lawyers think enables students, like Jack, to become business professionals who solve problems and minimize legal risk,” Moberly said. “Our business and law graduates will be able to solve critical challenges in Nebraska and beyond by understanding the fundamentals of law in the context of business.”

Only offered by a handful of business schools, the new degree prepares business and law graduates for high-demand careers in growing fields such as regulatory compliance, financial services, securities regulation and corporate social responsibility.

“My business and law courses spark continued thought and inspired ongoing discussion long after the courses end. I’ve had the privilege to learn directly from former University Chancellor Harvey Perlman, our state’s Deputy Attorney General for Public Affairs Joshua Shasserre; and my Introduction to Corporate Compliance (BLAW 377) course was taught by Daniel Hill, vice president of legal and general counsel at Hudl, where I work as an intern,” Kinney said.

Jack Kinney
Craig Chandler | University Communication and Marketing
Kinney interned at Hudl using business and legal skills. The business and law major prepares students for high-demand careers in growing fields, such as compliance.

An avid sports fan with experience using Hudl software tools from the consumer side, Kinney’s client support internship required an expansive knowledge base. He also relied heavily on two of the key learning outcomes of his major, problem-solving and communication.

“The kind of critical thinking and in-depth analysis central to the business and law major is something that I draw upon in my role at Hudl each day. I’m challenged with finding resolutions to an incredibly wide range of potential issues experienced by customers. I also draw upon the negotiation skills and strategies gained when the appropriate or rightful resolution may not immediately meet a client’s favor,” Kinney said.

Kinney hopes his interest in sports law leads to a position in compliance in the future. He also shared his gratitude for the many connections gained during his internship at Hudl.

Having started college during the pandemic, “logged into a MacBook book with spotty WiFi at the kitchen table,” the lack of in-person interaction and community wore on Kinney. Accepted into the University Honors Program, he connected with Tamy Burnett, who serves as associate director.

“Dr. Burnett inspires students to achieve their full potential, and I will always be indebted to her for her limitless support. The University Honors Program assembles peers of diverse interests, experiences and backgrounds who share a desire for heightened challenge and practical application of learning. Without her influence, I don’t know that I would have pursued leadership opportunities expelling me well beyond the bounds of my comfort zone,” Kinney said.

Kinney connected with Tamy Burnett, director of the Honors Program at Nebraska.

He applied as a New Student Enrollment Orientation Leader to “inspire a sense of belonging and play a part in creating a safe and welcoming campus” environment. He pledged Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity “finding camaraderie and purpose” and, as alumni relations chair, established scholarships and started a mentoring program. He also helped lead an after-school multimedia club at Lincoln North Star High School in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club.

“Jack is an outstanding thinker, leader and member of the classroom community. He routinely enriches classroom discussion by offering unique viewpoints, bringing in interdisciplinary approaches, and responding to his classmates with empathy and genuine interest in their perspectives,” Burnett said. “He is successful because of the way he combines his interpersonal skills with his intellectual abilities, always pushing himself to do more and leading by that example.”

With encouragement, Kinney decided to seek State of Nebraska local-guest-substitute authorization. For the last five semesters, he spent most Fridays as a substitute teacher at Omaha Westside Community Schools, where both he and his sister, Hannah-Kate, attended prior to college.

Kinney and his twin sister, Hannah-Kate, who also attends Nebraska.

“Growing up as twins, our parents insist that our shared interest in debate and negotiation began rather early in life, perhaps as early as our first spoken words,” said Jack, who took Civil and Criminal Litigation (BLAW 376) with Hannah-Kate. Three minutes younger than Jack, she is a journalism, broadcasting, advertising and public relations major at Nebraska.

Inducted into the Innocents Society — the Chancellor’s senior honorary society with members known for their service, leadership and scholarship — last spring, Jack looks forward to his upper-level courses this fall. Graduating in May, he plans to attend graduate school.

“Choosing a business and law major was the best decision I’ve made at Nebraska,” he said. “I’ll always love game days at Memorial Stadium and playing intramurals at the Rec Center, but the influences that run even deeper are the faculty and peer connections I’ve made along the way. Being a part of Husker Nation is in my DNA, I’m grateful to be born into a family whose commitment and sacrifices paved the way for me and luckier still to be a proud member of the Cornhusker family.”

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