Who are these Lady Lawyers?

Jun 1, 2021

Tracy Hightower-Henne and Susan Reff are partners of the Hightower Reff Law firm in Omaha, NE, and now partners on their new podcast! Who are these Lady Lawyers and what are they all about? Learn about where these two lady lawyers came from, their entrepreneurial drive, and how they teamed up to build an all-female law firm together!


Announcer: Welcome to the Lady Lawyer League podcast. They are a league of lady lawyers in an all female law firm in Omaha, Nebraska, called Hightower-Reff Law. On this podcast, you’ll hear stories of what it’s like to be a lady, lawyer and an entrepreneur. Now it’s time to talk about the law. Share real life stories about representing clients and discuss the current events of the week. It’s the Lady Lawyer League podcast with Susan Reff and Tracy Hightower-Henne.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: On today’s podcast, we’re going to be talking about our backgrounds and what brought us together as law partners. So what have you been up to since the last podcast?

Susan Reff: Since the last podcast, I went out to eat at a restaurant for the first time in a since before COVID.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Where did you go?

Susan Reff: We went to 801 Chophouse

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The fancy one, not

Susan Reff: The grill, the grill. It was the grill. Yeah, it was the grill. Yeah, it was really weird. I thought it was weird. We made a reservation. Not, you know, not knowing whether it was going to be busy or not. And there was one other table at the restaurant the whole time we were there.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What night of the week was it?

Susan Reff: It was. It was a Sunday night.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, the food’s good.

Susan Reff: The food was very good. The service was awesome. We went with some friends, so that was nice. But it just was strange to be like out in a restaurant and we we haven’t done that for over a year. It was kind of sad like that. It was so dead at the restaurant,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So well, it was a Sunday night. Yeah. Try it again.

Susan Reff: Hopefully, that was all it was. What about you? What have you been up to since the last podcast?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, you know, we’re doing some construction on our house because that seems to be never ending. So they’re putting siding on the back of our house. So this morning I woke up at five forty five to the guys on our deck putting siding on. And it’s kind of funny because we laid there in bed thinking, should we go out and be like, Hey guys, it’s five. Forty five, seriously. And then we were like, No, they’re here. They’re working, let them keep working. Yeah. So that’s what I woke up to this morning.

Susan Reff: The fact that they even showed up in my experience is something you should celebrate.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, you had some bad experiences with contractors.

Susan Reff: Absolutely terrible experiences.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I’m also doing, you know, I’m doing this Airbnb. So we turned one of our rental properties into an Airbnb. And the gal left yesterday. On Sunday, she checked out, and so she sent me a message and said, My AirPod app is showing the my AirPods are still in the Airbnb. Can you look? Sure. So I go over. So I spent also after five forty five. I spent this morning shaking out sheets and comforters to see if I could find her AirPods. And then she sent me a message after I left that the app now updated and shows that the AirPods are with her.

Susan Reff: So that’s probably not something you thought you would have to do when you decided to have an Airbnb.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, our very first guests left a blanket that was a sentimental blanket, so I had to find a friend that lived in Omaha to get her blanket back. So, you know, it’s only been a couple of months.

Susan Reff: You should write a blog just about what that’s like so far.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: That’s about all I got. Hmm.

Susan Reff: I think you’re going to have a lot of stories later on. Speaking of stories, so today we’re going to go do kind of a deep dive into what you know, Tracy and I’s background is how we got where we are. You know, maybe a little bit of the why behind behind what we do and some of our passions. So I went to Creighton Law School and I ended up at Creighton Law School. Kind of in a strange way. I didn’t decide to become a lawyer until like two or three months before I graduated from college. I was kind of in that phase of like, Well, what do I do now? You know, right? Like, I had a philosophy degree, which I really enjoyed. I had a very good conversation with one of my philosophy mentors who told me in no uncertain terms, I wasn’t smart enough to keep going in philosophy, which I really appreciated. It’s kind of a degree that a lot of people get, like master’s in and PhDs, but then they still don’t ever get jobs.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You aren’t going to be the next Aristotle. Know who else is there, Socrates?

Susan Reff: A whole bunch of dead people who

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Weren’t smart enough to be those

Susan Reff: People. Right? And you know, that was OK because I don’t think that was really my passion was to be like a college professor or someone who does a lot of research and writing for, you know, high higher education type books or anything like that. So I thought about law school and it seemed like a good idea. So because it was kind of late in this in the year as it was, I thought, Well, I’ll take a couple of years off. And then I took the LSAT, and I didn’t know if I had performed very good on the test because I, you know, now I’m two years out of college or a year out of college, and I don’t have that like academic bubble surrounding me smart enough to tell me if it was good or not. So I called the Creighton Law School and I said, Can I talk to someone about admissions? And they said, Sure, and this is in the middle of the summer. And I talked to the dean of admissions and she told me that my score was definitely good enough to come to Creighton. And she said, Have you submitted an application? And I said, Well, no, I think I’m, you know, my plan is to take another year off. And if I need to retake this so I can get even a higher score, you know, I’ve got time. And she encouraged me to apply, and I said I would think about it. And so I talked to my mom and and we chatted and my mom said, You know, if you want to go to law school, why not just go,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What are you going to pay for it?

Susan Reff: Oh, no. So, so you know, my mom, my mom was very wise and she was, she said, if you if you really want to do it, why? Why put it off even another year, you know, you’re one more year closer to actually having a career and all of that stuff. So I called the dean of admissions back, you know, the next day or a couple of days later, and I told her that I did want to apply. And she said, I’ll hand-deliver you the application today and you need to get it back to me in 24 hours. And I was like, What what? And she said, Well, we’ve already slotted our whole class. It’s July now, right? And school starts on August 18th. And I thought,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So where did she have to hand-deliver

Susan Reff: It to you? Well, I was working. I had a job, so she brought it to where I was working at the time. And where are you working now? Remember, this was in 1998.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Ok, so there’s internet,

Susan Reff: But nobody has like ad home

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Internet. It’s the dial-up.

Susan Reff: Like, I didn’t have it, whatever that noise is. I was working at celebrity staffing, which I think is now called like CBS Industries or something like that. S.a. Industries. So she drops off the application and I filled it out and completed it by hand. I asked her if that was OK, and she said yes.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Otherwise, was it typewriter? Like, put it in the typewriter? And yeah,

Susan Reff: It would have had to be on a typewriter.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And then you could have faxed it in.

Susan Reff: I could have faxed, I suppose, or mailed it or hand-delivered it back to her. I think I did. I did hand-deliver it back. And then she called me like two days later and said she was scheduling a call with me. She was calling to schedule a call with the admissions committee, and I thought they were going to interview me. And it was just one professor who got on the phone with me and just told me I had gotten in. And then she got on the phone immediately and was like, And here’s how you pay, and here’s all the details and we need all of this now and school starts in three weeks.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So then you had to pay within twenty four hours. Did you have to hand-deliver like a bag of money?

Susan Reff: So I was applying for I applied for financial aid. And you know, that process takes time. And so I didn’t have my financial. I got the deposit in. That was that wasn’t a big deal, but I had to. I had to pay with my own money for my books because I didn’t have my student loan money, student aid loan money at the time. And did you have real books in law school or OK, so expensive?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Do they not have real books now?

Susan Reff: They don’t. They have some, I think. I think it’s like a mix. Some are e-books. I mean, you have to buy them.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But it’s like highlighting everything in law school.

Susan Reff: Yeah.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But tell us about you before law school, like, did you want to be a lawyer? You said you didn’t want to be a lawyer growing up. So like, what was the thing that when people asked you when you were in fifth grade, what do you want to be when you grow up? What did you say?

Susan Reff: I wanted to be a brain surgeon. That’s what I said. I always said that and I I get so grossed out by blood and stuff. I have no idea why I ever said that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But aren’t we practically being brain surgeons now without the blood, you know?

Susan Reff: No, I think we’re heart surgeons. If we would be a body part surgeon?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So did you like to play the operation game?

Susan Reff: Yes.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Was there a brain piece in that?

Susan Reff: I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s anything in the head I can’t remember. I didn’t have that game.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I didn’t. We didn’t have it either, or we did. And it broke right away.

Susan Reff: We weren’t a game family. We didn’t have games. So. So yeah, I wanted to go to medical school and I went to college and took a ton of. You know, advance science classes and stuff like that, but I knew that I knew pretty quick, I wasn’t cut out for that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Did you know that because you you went to a math class?

Susan Reff: No.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Tell us about your math skills.

Susan Reff: Well, that’s like a long story for another podcast, probably.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But basically, Susan and I are not good at math, but so aren’t most lawyers.

Susan Reff: I’m not good at arithmetic.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I think that using letters?

Susan Reff: No, that’s where that’s like 12 plus six. No, I’m good at algebra. Arithmetic is basic math.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Do you use algebra now?

Susan Reff: I think we use a lot. Logic a lot.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, is so is it logic? It’s the letters like X and Y. I never understood that.

Susan Reff: So. When did you make the switch from wanting to become a brain surgeon to being a lawyer?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I never had concrete plans to be a doctor. It would just that sounded so cool. So I don’t know that I really made a switch, but I grew up always loving school and never wanting to be done with school. Like, I think even in the summertime, I was like, Oh man, it’s summer, I’m going to just keep going to school. Oh, you’re weird. Yeah, super weird. And so I, you know, went to undergrad and I loved it and I was at a small school. I went to Doan and I took a class for my business management major. I took a business law class and it was taught by a law school professor. She came in as an adjunct and love to the class, and it was, she told us it was taught just the way they would teach you a class in law school. So I thought, Well, this is cool. That was my junior year, and I decided I was really not good at the aptitude tests. Is that what we call them? The LSAT stuff?

Susan Reff: So standardized tests?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, it was not good at any of those. So I decided I needed to study, and I really just didn’t even expect to do good enough on the LSAT to get in anywhere. And I had an awesome GPA because I was a huge nerd. So it was like the the, you know, I have good or I have the good GPA, but not a good LSAT, and that’ll get you in most places, not Harvard. I didn’t. I didn’t apply there. So I don’t know. I spent my whole senior year studying for the LSAT thing. Thankfully, did. I still didn’t do very good. So I wonder how how good I would have done if I didn’t study. That was a lot of philosophy type things in the LSAT, and I just was doing all the business stuff and accounting and those types. But I had no idea what I was going to do after college when I was in college. So I just decided, well, I’ll keep going to school. But my mom specifically said, We’re not paying for anything after this. It’s on you. I was like, Yeah, cool, I can do this financial aid thing. I’ll figure it out later.

Susan Reff: So where did you apply to law school?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I, I don’t remember exactly. I filled out probably 10 different applications. I also didn’t really know where in the country I wanted to live, but I applied and got into a law school called Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, and I went there. I got a scholarship. I think it’s because the GPA, not the LSAT and the rest is history. Is that what they say?

Susan Reff: I know. No, because the rest isn’t history. The rest is a good story, right? Sure. And then after law school, you kept going to law school, sort of, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah. So, you know, I went to law school with my business management undergrad degree, so I kind of thought I would go in the direction of that in some way. And so I was really taking these heavy tax law classes, which in theory were pretty interesting. You can kind of apply the law. Look at this IRS tax code mumbo jumbo. You didn’t have to use a calculator too much. You know, it was kind of legal theory. So that was cool. So I again decided, Oh, law school is over. That was really fun. I wish I could keep.

Susan Reff: No one says that no one says law school is fun, except, you know, heard anyone say it was fun.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: All all of the people that got their lemon tax law said the same thing, and there was like seven of us. So I kept going. But really, it was only kind of a semester and a half. So I moved back home because my law school was in Michigan and I needed to do an internship or some other class. So I got an internship at the IRS in Omaha when they used to have a legal office. I don’t think it’s there anymore. It used to be in the federal courthouse, so that was really cool.

Susan Reff: I went to work that required for your graduation, for your LLM.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, I had to have some sort of practical something so I could have worked in a company or the IRS. So yeah, it was really interesting. There was four different lawyers there. I had to go through security every day. I thought that was a cool, cool thing.

Susan Reff: So when you graduate with your LLM in tax, do they have a graduation ceremony or do they just send you a certificate in the mail?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yes, I actually went back for that graduation ceremony, so it was like a fancier robe and hat. It was like the more flouncy hat. When you get like a master’s, you know?

Susan Reff: Yeah, it’s not the really hard cardboard for carryout, right?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Hmm. Yeah. So I did go back for that. But yeah, that’s that’s my law school story.

Susan Reff: I just remember from your story that you said it was fun and I think you’re crazy, but I

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Say it every time, right?

Susan Reff: I don’t know if I’ve ever heard you say law school was fun before you’ve told me some stories that sounded like you had some fun times, but I can’t. I would never describe law school as fun. I would describe law school as very traumatic.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh wow. Yeah, scary different experiences. I had a fun social time, though in law school too.

Susan Reff: Yeah, so did I. But I don’t equate that to law school.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, got it. Yeah. That time in my life was pretty fun and and I was so far away from home to that. I also had the experience of kind of like figuring that out on your own, and I had my own apartment as opposed to I was I lived in the dorms at Doanh all four years, so this was really like living on your own.

Susan Reff: Yeah, I see. Hmm. So do you. What made you decide to come back to Omaha?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It was either that or try to find a job in some random city that had no other connection to. I think I probably with my lemon tax, which is a master’s and tax law, I probably could have gone to some big accounting firm in Detroit or something like that, pretty close to to where I went to law school. But my whole family’s from Omaha. I grew up here. I actually grew up in a house that’s like less than a mile away from our current office. My entire childhood, which was, is pretty interesting. I get to drive by my childhood house almost every day on the way to work.

Susan Reff: That’s cool.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And you’re from North Dakota, right?

Susan Reff: I’m actually going there this weekend. I’m from Fargo. Yeah, I haven’t lived in Fargo since I graduated from high school. Well, I lived in Fargo during that time between law school and college for a short bit while I was trying to figure out what I how to be a real adult. I lived with my mom for a little bit, but yeah, I really haven’t lived there as an adult. So it’s interesting when I go home like it’s changed so much. I mean, so it’s it’s a very different place than where I grew up. And also like, I’ve changed. So that changes how you look at things.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: What’s changed so much?

Susan Reff: Oh, Fargo is totally grown. It’s huge. But again, that might also just be my perspective. Maybe it always was bigger than I thought, but my bubble was really small. So I really like Fargo. I I think Fargo is really great. I love going there. I love visiting. Every time we go, we go to great restaurants. There’s fun shops, you know, I see my family and my friends from, you know, back then. But and all my family is there. So that’s why it’s fun to go to.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Did you have a job when you were in high school?

Susan Reff: I did. I was a lifeguard in the summers and sometimes in the winter and an indoor pool, but I preferred lifeguarding outdoors. And then I was a bus girl at the Fargo Country Club, which is where I lifeguarded in the summer at the Fargo Country Club.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: This is a country club still there. Yes. Do you ever eat there now?

Susan Reff: I have not. Very recently, my grandparents were always members until, you know, they passed away and then just random invites from friends and stuff to go there.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But so if you eat there, do you tell the story like I used to work here? No, you’re not doing it right.

Susan Reff: I don’t tell that story.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So in high school, I used my very first job growing up in Omaha was at Wendy’s because you could work there, you know, before you turned 16 and I really wanted a job. So I worked at Wendy’s and the drive thru. And then as soon as I turned 16, I was like, I can get a different job now. So I worked at Menards and the Menards that’s in Omaha now in, you know, around 120th and dodge was very different back then was small, and they were passing around petitions at the time that I was about to graduate high school wanting the businesses to. Object to what’s the word I’m looking for? Protest the Dodge Expressway. And I remember thinking, Wow, this is really, really interesting. No one’s going to be able to get to Menards. And it was a lot of people were pushing for the Dodge Expressway not to be built.

Susan Reff: I do remember that people thought it would be really dangerous to drive on it, too,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: That you might fall off the side and then you would fall on top of Menards. But then they tore down Menards and they built this huge Menards now. So it’s not really the same, but I still I still know all the department codes. I learned a lot working at Menards like lumber.

Susan Reff: Is department code something

Tracy Hightower-Henne: One one hundred. Oh, what else? Quiz me electricals three

Susan Reff: Hundred useless knowledge. Yeah. Well, in a pinch, you could always go back to Menards and work there if this law gig doesn’t work out for

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You, right? Right. They paid extra money on the weekends for you to work on the weekends, so that was huge. So I just worked there every weekend.

Susan Reff: You know, what’s interesting, I think is, like you said, you worked at Wendy’s when you were 16 or until you were 16 and then you worked at Menards when you were 16. You would never see a 16 year old working at Menards now, really? I don’t think so. Hmm. It seems like everyone that works there as an adult.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, that’s true. I was lucky. I turned into a head cashier by the time I graduated high school, so I think they wanted me to make a career out of it and stay there forever. I got really good at finding the secret shoppers, too. You would have

Susan Reff: Got a lot of discounts on the siding.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, yeah, the siding. I probably would have had to do it myself, though.

Susan Reff: Yeah. So what made you want to like do this kind of law versus tax law?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Oh, wow, that’s a good story. So out of law school, after I finished my LLM in tax, I got a job at the railroad at Union Pacific and the tax department. It was a dream job. I was offered the job on the day of my interview. I started quickly after that and then I remember, yes, I can buy my own car. So I bought a car. Just really cool experience to have a real job benefits and good pay and all of that. And I started to realize about six to eight months in. I wanted to do something that made me feel good about using my law degree, so I started looking for volunteer opportunities. And the Nebraska Innocence Project came up in a Google search and I thought, I’m going to check into this, and they sucked me in right away. They were like, Oh, you’re a new lawyer, you’re going to. Here’s this case. I’m going to have you look at this case, and it was boxes and boxes of

Susan Reff: Here’s a ton of work to do about it.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Newbie Yeah. And I got really excited about that. And I think that experience was just eye opening for me to to leave the corporate world. And, you know, working at Union Pacific was really great and it’s the right fit for a lot of people. But I had a hard time sitting still for, you know, from eight to five and trying to crunch numbers and do different things with tax stuff. So I decided from starting work on the Nebraska Innocence Project that one case that I worked on continuously for, I don’t know, eight years, 10 years, but I decided with that experience starting that, that I had to figure out something else, do something else. So I quit. And then I decided, Well, just figure out like that saying, hang your shingle. There’s no shingle, though. No shingle got hung. And that’s when I met you.

Susan Reff: And if you did hang a shingle that would get you nowhere because you won shingle does no one any good, right? You need like a lot of shingles.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, also like there’s not many buildings you can hang shingles from, right? But everyone knows what that means, right? Does that apply to non legal businesses?

Susan Reff: I think so. I don’t know now that I say it out loud.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Maybe not. I think it’s mostly legally related, but like boutiques can hang a shingle. Hmm.

Susan Reff: I don’t know. I said at one point, I’m really bad at those sayings, right? Colloquialisms.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: I can’t hear that word right now.

Susan Reff: It’s too

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Early. So what was your first job out of law school?

Susan Reff: So my first job, I was clerking at the Douglas County public defender’s office when I was in law school, and it was kind of an understanding that if they had positions opening open when you graduated, they would hire from the people who work there all through law school. And so another gal in my law school class and I both kind of started at the same time. And they had an opening and she got it. And so then I started applying for some other jobs, and I did get a couple of other offers. And then nine eleven happened and I that was after I graduated from law school and I. So I kept. But I was allowed to keep working at the public defender’s office as a law clerk, even though I had passed the bar and all of that. So I kind of thought, this is where I want to work. So if I stay patient, maybe something will happen. And so I actually started working there as an attorney in like October after being sworn into the bar in September. So the other gal got the first job and then I just waited about a little over another month and I got I got the next opening, so that worked out well. But the other jobs I had applied, I had applied for a job in a non-profit and I applied for a job at a really small law firm. And then I applied at. I think I applied at another public defender’s office and never even heard anything from them, so.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So was that your first choice

Susan Reff: At the Douglas? Yes, that was by far my first choice because I had been working there. I knew what to do. I knew, like on day one, I could just go be a lawyer. The summer between my second and third year of law school, they actually gave a couple of us law clerks caseloads and we got to do everything except appear alone in court. Because we were senior certified, we could go to court with different people supervising us. The attorney that was supervising me that summer and had to go to court with me every time I went to court was Judge Burns. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah. So and judge came. She also went with me a lot, so that was fun. After a while, they were like, This is dumb that we have to go with you because. You know, but that’s the rules you have to have an attorney with you.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: That rule is not meant to be broken. No, no, that a colloquialism.

Susan Reff: I I think that’s just that’s just a good rule of thumb that rules are meant to be broken. No, that saying, oh, some rules aren’t not meant to be broken, I don’t know, but some

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Are

Susan Reff: Right. So, yeah, and I stayed there at the Douglas County public defender’s office for seven years. And then I left and started my own practice, and then we started this place.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And that’s when I met you. Dun dun dun. What was your like most interesting case in the Douglas County public defender’s office?

Susan Reff: Oh, you know, the most interesting case is never the case, it’s the client’s right and how they tell their stories. And I had a case where it was two neighbors that hated each other and starts

Tracy Hightower-Henne: The story off just

Susan Reff: Right, right? And the defense. This was my first jury trial. The defense of our case was he couldn’t have gone over and beat his neighbor up at the time that he said he, the neighbor, said he was beating him up because he was having sex and we knew he was having sex because he had a chart,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: A chart of when he had sex

Susan Reff: Because they were trying to get pregnant, him and his wife. And so they had to track every time they had sex and the sex chart.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So like the fertility chart got offered was an exhibit and he was your client. Yes, the sex guy. Yes. Wow. So so who beat up the neighbor?

Susan Reff: We didn’t that wasn’t our theory of the case, that it was, you know, to blame it on another person, it was just my guy didn’t do it then because he was

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Doing something

Susan Reff: Else. He was convicted of the like lowest of the charges that were on there. I think there was like a trespassing or something. He got convicted of that.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So the jury believed your theory.

Susan Reff: I think they did.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: How bad was the guy beat up?

Susan Reff: Not, I mean, it was a misdemeanor. So it was probably like a black guy or something. But it was really interesting because my client was. A no holds barred, here’s the chart, here’s what was going on here. And, you know,

Tracy Hightower-Henne: It’s a pretty solid alibi. Yeah, was he having sex like all day on the chart? I can’t. Just was. Same time, every time on the chart,

Susan Reff: There was a lot of information on the chart that, yeah, I mean, they they had to track the time they had to track his wife’s temperature.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: You have to redact anything.

Susan Reff: I didn’t redact anything. I don’t even think back then I knew that you should redact things on exhibits.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Well, I would count that as a victory then.

Susan Reff: Oh yeah, I had another jury or another jury trial. I can’t even remember anything about it, except for how my client smelled the whole trial. He smelled like a wet dog and a campfire

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And a long haired wet dog because, like short haired wet dogs aren’t that bad.

Susan Reff: And he wore this big, huge sweater that smelled. It was a sweater. Oh yeah, I lost. I do remember I lost that trial because very patronizingly. At the end of the trial, the other attorney came over and like, immediately upon finishing everything. You know, came over to my table and stuck his hand out and wanted to shake my hand and. And then he said, This is the part where you invite me out to drinks, where we rehash the trial and that’s what trial lawyers do. I’m making

Tracy Hightower-Henne: A scrunchy face

Susan Reff: That really. And it was like I.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: And you were supposed to pay for his drinks, too.

Susan Reff: Well, the loser pays. Apparently, that’s that was the thing. This is the thing. Yeah. To show that we get along and it’s not personal, which I totally agree with, but that doesn’t mean that I have to go and buy you drinks. If you were your graduating self from undergrad, do you think you would do it again knowing everything you know now?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, you already know my answer. I’m the dork, right? And I’m like, Yes, I would totally go to law school over and over again. And you’re, would

Susan Reff: You do it exactly the same?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No. So one thing I would have changed, and I had no idea at the time. But our law school that I went to had an Amazing Innocence Project clinic in it. And had I known what I know now, I would have sacked the tax stuff and started working in that clinic and probably would have had a pretty different direction. Yeah, I think that I also fantasize still sometimes about like being in the FBI, but I I kind of just test the waters a little bit like when I have to like, find someone on Facebook makes me feel FBI ish.

Susan Reff: Yeah, because that’s what the FBI does, right? Google search people.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: Yeah, what about you? Well, you tell me,

Susan Reff: Would I go to law school again? Yeah. Um, you know, I’m torn. Like part of me really likes like where I’m at my career now. I really enjoy like getting to manage a law firm and working with clients. But I also think. You know, when I pay my student loans every month, I think I could have potentially had a different career that maybe wouldn’t have put me in so much debt. And I would have been able to be in a different financial place in my. At this point in my life. So there’s that angle of it that sometimes and then some part of me thinks, I mean, I loved Creighton. I loved going to undergrad there. I met my best friends. I met lifelong friends at Creighton. I love the campus. It was the perfect size for me. I was away from home, but I don’t know if I needed to go to law school there. I mean, it was a great experience, but I don’t need. I mean, if I could have gone to a cheaper call, a cheaper law school, it would have been. I probably wouldn’t have as much debt because I had undergrad debt. So there’s a little bit of that that’s like, Oh, what if I would have done something different?

Tracy Hightower-Henne: So if someone’s asking you, Hey, Susan, my kid’s really interested in law school? What’s your advice?

Susan Reff: I would ask them what kind of lawyer they envision themselves being. Because sometimes people say things like, Oh, I really want to help people or I really want to, you know, courtroom action really inspires me, and I’m like, Well, maybe you should be a court reporter because you get to be in the mix and it’s you don’t have to go to law school, you get to be involved. And there’s a shortage of court reporters right now. True, or potentially paralegal might be a better career option. So I find out I get I try to ask the why behind what people want to do.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But if what if money isn’t an option or isn’t an issue?

Susan Reff: Well, still, I mean, do you want to like, I think, doing that reality testing with someone like, what do you really want to do? Do you want to talk to people all the time who are upset, sad, mad, angry down? You know, like that’s what being a lawyer in 50 percent of the courtroom cases is.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: They don’t tell you that in law school. Right, right. But I think it’s really interesting. Like as we look at where we are in our careers, we’re just now doing vision planning right. And oftentimes people at age twenty three have no idea what they envision. And if the answer is, I just want to help people, sometimes law school is a good way to go right where you could be a brain surgeon. So take your brain,

Susan Reff: You can you can try to be a brain surgeon. So your dream college was Harvard. That was the

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No. Oh no. I just no, I never I knew my else. That wasn’t good enough. I didn’t really care about that. I just wanted to keep going to school.

Susan Reff: Well, I think, you know, we’ve all chosen career path or we’ve made career choices that end us end up where we are now, and if I had to ask what my mom would say is regret is a wasted emotion. And so if you have regrets because then you’re constantly looking backwards. So I don’t I try not to do that and think like, Oh, well, if I would have went to University of Nebraska Law School or gone back to North Dakota, I wouldn’t have the debt, but I probably would be in a different place because I wouldn’t have made the connections and things like that that I made, right? And I tell people that too, when they say, Oh, I want to go to law school, I’m like, Well, think about where you want to end up after law school because geography matters.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But you had no idea you would be like sitting at this table right now with me with a microphone in your face.

Susan Reff: No, I knew this. This was happening like two weeks ago.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: No, you didn’t. It was a while ago.

Susan Reff: It was on our calendar two weeks.

Tracy Hightower-Henne: But I think that’s the cool thing is that no matter what you choose, if you decide to go to law school or not, there really are a lot of different possibilities of what you can do with your law degree.

Susan Reff: The law doesn’t really close doors for people, right?

Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Lady Lawyer League Podcast. Be sure to like and subscribe anywhere you get your podcasts, if you would like to learn More about our firm, Hightower-Reff Law, please visit our website at HR Law Omaha.com. We’ll see you next week.

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