The Keating O’Gara law firm has a distinguished history of talented law professionals who care about our clients and each other. It’s more than winning cases in the courtroom. For us, it’s about valuing people above all else. Get to know some of the men and women who helped build Keating O’Gara into the respected law firm it is today. Each of these professionals practiced law with integrity and compassion, creating and sustaining a foundation on which we structure our firm.
Today, we’re highlighting Lloyd J. Marti and John V. Hendry.
Lloyd J. Marti
Keating O’Gara was founded in 1945, and Lloyd J. Marti was one of these founders. He was born and raised in Hastings, Nebraska. After graduating from Hastings College, Mr. Marti taught English and speech and coached the debate team at McCook High School. In 1925, he enrolled in the University of Nebraska College of Law. As a senior, he started working in the offices of Stewart, Perry, Stewart and Van Pelt, who then hired him upon his graduation in 1927.
Mr. Marti taught at the University College of Law for 10 years and was eventually offered a full-time teaching position at the College. Although it was a tempting offer, he couldn’t leave the excitement and the challenge of the courtroom. Throughout his career, Mr. Marti was involved in a number of important personal injury, workman’s compensation and corporate law cases.
State v. Mary Ross
One of Mr. Marti’s memorable cases was his defense of a woman who shot her husband in Arapahoe, Nebraska. The state was charging Mary Ross with first-degree murder. Marti convinced the jury that Ms. Ross was not guilty and helped her secure the insurance payment from her late husband’s life insurance policy.
Bette Bonn v. Lincoln Better Business Bureau, Marti, Et. Al.
As the attorney for the Lincoln Better Business Bureau, a local business sued the Bureau for $1,000,000 in damages. Bette Bonn operated several modeling schools. For a large fee, anyone could attend Bette Bonn’s school and train to be a model. The Bureau had received several complaints about Bette Bonn and issued unfavorable reports about her school in response. Bette Bonn then sued the Bureau for $1,000,000. This was the first time Marti had been involved in a case in which someone sued for such a substantial sum of money. Marti and his team eventually filed to a Motion to Dismiss for Want of Prosecution, which was sustained. Shortly after the case was closed, all of Bette Bonn’s modeling schools were closed.
In 1943, Marti was elected Mayor of Lincoln. He continued to practice law full-time while performing all the duties of mayor, including taking late-night phone calls about snow removal and barking dogs. Mayor Marti was recognized for several notable accomplishments while in office including the desegregation of Lincoln swimming pools in 1944. He was elected to his second term in 1945 after running unopposed.
After 53 years of actively practicing law, Mr. Marti retired in 1980. Upon retirement, his advice to young lawyers was to “Work less and play more.” Always the consummate hard worker, Mr. Marti’s dedication to serving his clients and the Lincoln community had always put hobbies and leisure activities on hold until his retirement years.
Chief Justice John V. Hendry
John V. Hendry grew up in Omaha, Nebraska in a working class neighborhood. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1970. Mr. Hendry, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education, was the first person in his family to earn a degree. He originally chose to be a teacher because he liked working with people and he liked history. His career took him on a different path, however, and Mr. Hendry graduated from the College of Law at Nebraska in 1974.
Mr. Hendry started his legal career as a law clerk at Bruckner, O’Gara, Keating, Hendry, Davis and Nedved in 1972. After graduation, he was hired as an associate attorney in 1974 and named partner in 1979.
During his time at Keating O’Gara, Mr. Hendry worked civil defense cases for insurance companies and was later tasked with personal injury cases on behalf of the plaintiffs. Mr. Hendry thrived in this area for a number of years before handling one of the firm’s first product liability cases. Mr. Hendry’s success helped Keating O’Gara earn additional product liability cases. Mr. Hendry excelled in product liability law and by 1995 was considered one of the top lawyers in that field in Nebraska.
Mr. Hendry was with the firm until 1995 when he became a Lancaster County Judge. As a judge, he earned respect for his work in and out of the courtroom. He was instrumental in developing a new probation program for domestic violence violators that focused on education to help avoid repeat cases. The Nebraska Supreme Court selected Mr. Hendry to chair a subcommittee on domestic violence and sexual assault. As a member of this committee, he helped improve the legislation structure so laws related to these cases would have a better chance of attaining legislative approval to become law.
Judge Hendry sworn into the Nebraska Supreme Court
In 1999, Judge Hendry was sworn in as a member of the Nebraska Supreme Court. His hard work as an attorney at Keating O’Gara early in his career, combined with his distinguished work as a judge, eventually led him to the role of Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court. In 2006, he retired from the Supreme Court in order to spend more time with family. Upon being notified of his retirement, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman called the Chief Justice “a striking jurist who has strived to create a judicial system that reflects and upholds the values of the people of this state.”
While serving as Chief Justice, Mr. Hendry presided over some of the most controversial cases in the court’s history, including the impeachment trial of a University of Nebraska Regent who was removed from office for breaking the state’s campaign finance laws.
We’re very proud to have worked with Chief Justice Hendry and to count him among our most accomplished and distinguished alumni.