River City Six – Kathleen Pallesen
Meet Kathleen Pallesen, an attorney at Berry Law Firm (www.jsberrylaw.com).
Tell us a little about your business.
The Berry Law Firm was founded in 1965 by Attorney John Stevens Berry, Sr. We continue to uphold a heritage of aggressive, effective, and reliable legal advocacy to individuals who have been arrested or charged with crimes in Omaha, Lincoln, and the entire state of Nebraska. Due to our team’s diligent work, thousands of clients have trusted us with their cases and, more importantly, their futures. I practice in the areas of adult and juvenile guardianships and conservatorships, small business, civil litigation, and elder law, including Medicaid crisis planning, social security, probate, and wills and trusts.
How did you get started in the business?
I started at a young age (maybe five or six years old) by having breakfast on Saturday mornings at Northrup Jones before heading to my dad’s office with him and my younger sisters, Joanne and Peggy. We would eat with Judge Buckley, Judge Montag, Judge Wolf, and any lawyers who happened to be around. We did that until about the age of 10. I knew from a young age I wanted to go to law school.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Convincing my dad to come out of retirement and start a law practice at the age of 79. Also, convincing my mother to watch me present an oral argument in front of the Court of Appeals. She was a nervous wreck! (I won by the way.) In all seriousness, I think my most important achievement professionally, after being an attorney for 27 years, is that fact that I am still proud of being part of the legal profession and enjoying my work.
Tell us a little about your family.
I am the fifth of seven kids in my family. I’m the only attorney, but I learned a great deal about negotiating, mediation, keeping secrets, and advocating from my siblings! I have been married to Mike Pallesen, an attorney himself, for 27 years and we have four kids: Katie (22), Michael (17), and twins, Libby and Maggie (16). All four kids are very skilled negotiators.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Working for the Douglas County Public Defender’s Office during high school and college. I was able to watch the inner workings of the Douglas County Courthouse. Whenever I had a break, I would watch hearings and trials in county and district court. I was able to interact with the public during very difficult or very happy times of their lives.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
My grandfather, Martin Holbrook, was an attorney for Union Pacific Railroad and his sister, Mary Olive Holbrook, was one of the first women who attended Creighton University Law School. My dad attended Creighton Law School, but I ended the tradition and went to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
In memory of Aretha Franklin, the 1965 hit song “Respect.”
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
Aksarben Foundation, CASA, and Kicks for A Cure. The Aksarben Foundation and CASA both have amazing missions, but Kicks for a Cure raises money locally for cancer research. My mother died of cancer in 2013 and I love soccer, so it’s a special organization to me.
What is your favorite movie?
The Sound of Music. I traveled to Austria this summer and went on the Sound of Music Tour!
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