By SARA GIBONEY
KEARNEY – Two University of Nebraska at Kearney alumni recently returned to campus to share legal advice to future entrepreneurs.
Jordan Heiliger of Lincoln and Justin Sheldon of Lexington are students in the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic at the University of Nebraska College of Law. The clinic provides free representation and counsel to early-stage startup business clients across Nebraska.
Under supervision of UNL Professor Brett Stohs, the clinic’s student “attorneys” interact directly with clients to provide legal counseling on a wide range of business law issues. By assisting entrepreneurs when they need help the most, law students are given hands-on opportunities to make a difference in the development of Nebraska businesses.
Heiliger graduated from UNK in 2011 with a bachelor of science in political science and criminal justice, and Sheldon graduated from UNK in 2013 with a bachelor of science in business administration. They will both graduate from the University of Nebraska College of Law in May 2016.
Name: Jordan Heiliger
Graduated from UNK: bachelor of science, political science and criminal justice, 2011
Name: Justin Sheldon
Graduated from UNK: bachelor of science, business administration, 2013
Why did you decide to go into law?
Sheldon: “My family has always been in business. I’ve always been interested in the legal part, so I figured I’d go to law school and cut out the need for an attorney (in the family business).” Sheldon’s family owns franchises in Lexington, Kearney and Lincoln.
Heiliger: “In high school, I was interested in government and law, so I was trying to decide between politics or the legal field. At UNK, I interned for Sen. Johanns, which was a great experience, but I realized I never want to be a politician. So I started working for a law firm and actually stayed there for a couple of years after graduating from UNK to make sure it was what I wanted to do. I loved it, so I went to law school.”
How did your experience at UNK prepare you for law school?
Sheldon: “I took both business law and commercial law with Professor (Bruce) Elder, and that gave me a brief understanding of what we’d be doing in law school. He didn’t sugar coat it. He told us we’d spend two weeks on torte, and we’d spend a whole semester on it in law school. So it gave me a feel for what type of material we’d be learning in law school.”
What was the best part about being a student at UNK?
Heiliger: “I liked the campus. You can walk everywhere. Now that I’m in Lincoln, I’m realizing how nice it was to be on such a small campus. I also liked how close I was to my professors because the student to teacher ratio was so small. I still try and stay in touch with my professors.”
What’s it like to come back to UNK and act as a mentor to students?
Heiliger: “It’s rewarding because I remember being in their seats, and feeling like the material was way over my head and thinking I would never be able to understand that type of law.
“I knew I wanted to go to law school as an undergrad, but I had a hard time picturing myself being successful there. So being able to come back and share some of my knowledge has been great.”
Sheldon: “We had a few people come up to us and talk to us about law school so they could be in our shoes a few years down the road.”
What do you hope to do after law school?
Heiliger: “I like transactional law – business transactions and entity formation. I also really like bankruptcy, which is where I’m going to start my practice. I’ll specialize in creditors rights.
“I took bankruptcy class last year, and I really liked the subject matter. So I started working for a firm that does a lot of bankruptcy work for creditors, and I really like it. That’s where I’m going to start when I get done with law school.”
Source: Shawn Kaskie, 308.865.8135, firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, email@example.com