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Legal Aid of Nebraska celebrates staff awards and promotions

The Shawn Farritor Memorial Award Winner: The Centralized Intake Unit

The Shawn Farritor Memorial Award is given to an office, Unit, Project, or another group at Legal Aid. The group must demonstrate exceptional teamwork and share Shawn’s enthusiasm for Legal Aid of Nebraska.
“The CIU paralegals epitomize our mission. They often are our first interaction with our client population. The CIU paralegals are the first employees to greet our clients. The job requires tenacity and compassion. They treat all callers with respect and dignity.”

The Lori Wilson Memorial Award Winner: Hazell Rodriguez

The Lori Wilson Memorial Award is given to a Legal Aid employee who shows dedication to providing quality representation to clients and, in Lori’s memory, emulates her passionate concern for our clients.
“Hazell Rodriguez, like Lori, has devoted the majority of her career to working at Legal Aid. Hazell has always been willing to take on a case and fight for a client even when it appears all odds are stacked against her and the case looks hopeless (and I have known her to win some of those “hopeless” cases)”

The Ruth Miller Award

The Ruth Miller Award is given to a current support staff employee of Legal Aid of Nebraska. The recipient must carry out our mission by supporting the advocacy of the organization and providing exceptional service to clients and staff.
“Over my four years working for Legal Aid I have been struck by Heather’s commitment to what we do. Every time I ask for assistance from an attorney in Lincoln the universal response is ‘let me ask Heather.’ Heather is committed to her clients, her coworkers, and our mission.”

Jayne Wagner has been promoted to Health, Education, & Law Project Managing Attorney

Jayne is originally from Fort Collins, Colorado. She graduated from Doane College in 2010 and graduated from Creighton University School of Law in 2014 and has been working with HELP since 2014. Since 2019, Jayne has served on the Nebraska Supreme Court Commission on Guardianships and Conservatorships and is the Program Chair for Inns of Court in Omaha, Nebraska. HELP focuses on legal issues that are related to social determinants of health that interfere with access to and success of medical treatment.

Brandy Mutehart has been promoted to Unit Director of Income & Benefits

Brandy is originally from Missouri but has lived in many different places. She is a graduate of Truman State University and the University Of Illinois College Of Law. A few months after finishing law school she began working at Prairie State Legal Services, an LSC-funded legal aid firm in northern Illinois, where she was a staff attorney for over seven years and then a supervising attorney for four years. She joined Legal Aid of Nebraska in August 2021 in the Norfolk office. Brandy has experience helping clients with a wide variety of civil legal issues and in particular, has experience with public benefits cases.

Jenna Hynek has been promoted to Communications Manager

Jenna is from Omaha, Nebraska, and graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Jenna joined Legal Aid of Nebraska in 2021 and has worked hard to improve our internal and external communication strategies. Her expertise has expanded Legal Aid’s reach to connect with those who need our services the most.

Hazell Rodriguez has been promoted to Managing Attorney for the Juvenile Project

Hazell has been a supervisor of the program for several years. The Juvenile Project has 6 attorneys handling a high volume of cases representing children and parents in juvenile court. Hazell was born and raised in Costa Rica and has a Law Degree from the University of Costa Rica and a Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Law. This year, Hazell was the first recipient of the Lori Wilson Memorial Award for Outstanding Advocacy and has been with Legal Aid of Nebraska for 19 years.

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