The University of Nebraska College of Law will officially open the new Marvin and Virginia Schmid Clinic Building at McCollum Hall with a public dedication at 4 p.m. March 31.
The new facility provides easy access for clients seeking legal assistance and stresses the importance of skills training and experiential learning at Nebraska Law. The dedication is open to the university community and the public.
The 16,000-square-foot, more than $5 million addition to the home of Nebraska Law was funded with private donations to the University of Nebraska Foundation and is adjacent to the building’s main entrance. The space opened earlier this semester for use by all of Nebraska Law’s legal clinics – the Civil Clinic, Criminal Clinic, Immigration Clinic and Weibling Entrepreneurship Clinic – which give students hands-on experience serving real-world clients.
The new building adds to Nebraska Law’s long-standing dedication to providing a complete legal education, said Kevin Ruser, professor of law and director of the college’s clinical programs.
“Our clinical programs provide students with those opportunities, by giving them hands-on experience in real cases involving real clients,” Ruser said. “This new facility enhances their learning experience by placing them in a highly professional setting in which they can collaborate with each other and clinical faculty, enhancing their ability to prepare themselves to represent clients at a high level of competence at the beginning of their legal careers.”
Designed by The Clark Enersen Partners, the new space features a reception area, private interview rooms to consult with clients, conference rooms and a mock courtroom. A classroom and faculty offices allow the four clinic directors to coordinate teaching. Desk space in a large open area accommodates up to 40 students, so they can trade ideas and consult on strategy without waiving attorney-client privilege.
Ruser will speak at the event, which also will include Chancellor Ronnie Green, Interim Law Dean Richard Moberly, and recent Nebraska Law graduate Roxana Cortes.
“Nebraska Law graduates will have received a rigorous education in the classroom on how to ‘think like a lawyer,’ and their training in one of our clinics will give them the opportunity to use that knowledge to actually ‘be a lawyer,’” Moberly said. “Thanks to the generous support of donors, such as lead gifts from the Marvin and Virginia Schmid Foundation, Dennis Weibling and Esther Beynon, students have a space to learn and grow into capable attorneys.”
The Marvin and Virginia Schmid Foundation of Omaha provided a leadership gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation for the new facility. Marvin G. Schmid earned an undergraduate degree from Nebraska in 1933 and juris doctor in 1935. Virginia H. Chain Schmid earned a bachelor’s degree from Nebraska in 1937. Over their lifetimes they provided generous support of the university, including endowed support for the law library, support for the library’s reading room in memory of their son, M. Brian Schmid, endowed and expendable law student scholarships and more.
A principal gift in support of the addition was provided by alumnus Dennis M. Weibling of Kirkland, Washington, who earned a master’s degree and juris doctor in 1977. Another principal gift was given from alumna Esther L. Beynon of Colorado Springs, who graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in education in 1950. Her parents, alumni Ira and Esther Beynon of Lincoln, attended Nebraska in the early 1900s with her father receiving a law degree in 1919.
Major donations for the project were provided by alumnus Deryl F. Hamann and his wife, Ramona Hamann, of Omaha; law alumnus John C. Anderson and his wife, Elizabeth A. Anderson, of Darien, Connecticut, and alumnus George H. Krauss of Omaha who received bachelor’s, master’s and a juris doctor degree. A major gift was also provided by the family of the late Hon. Donald R. and Janice C. Ross of Omaha who were Nebraska alumni, with Donald Ross receiving a juris doctor in 1948.
Nebraska law firms also provided financial support, including Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather, Kutak Rock, and Rembolt Ludtke.