When Katie Klug, ’16, expanded her career by teaching Business Law (BLAW 372) at the College of Business, she replaced Neal Nelson, ’87, a long-time adjunct faculty member with a prestigious law career. To help with consistency during the transition, Klug utilized Nelson’s structure and organization, and also pulled from her past experience following in his footsteps.
“My father is Neal Nelson, and he taught business law extensively while practicing law, including a 32-year career as assistant revisor of statutes for the Nebraska Legislature. When he decided to retire, Aaron Crabtree (then director of the School of Accountancy) asked if he knew anyone interested in teaching the class. Aaron and I discussed the position, and the rest is history,” said Klug.
Immersed in business law as general counsel of White Castle Roofing, Klug previously worked for the Nebraska Supreme Court as an assistant staff attorney and spent two years in private practice. She utilizes her professional background in the classroom often as BLAW 372 focuses on ethics and contracts for business majors.
“All of it excites me. What I enjoy most is seeing students begin to understand the material, and the moment it clicks for them is a privilege. I always compare learning law to learning another language. Students learn a new vernacular and way of thinking. It is amazing to be part of that process,” she said.
As part of the core curriculum for all business students, the business law course introduces students to basic legal principles needed to recognize relevant issues and the legal implications of business situations. The class also helps accounting students working toward taking the CPA exam as they will need to know the standards of business law and the legal responsibilities as an accountant.
“Business law is both complex and essential for the future of business. Companies can succeed or fail around contract, ethical and legal issues,” said Crabtree.
To help her students, Klug shares relevant articles and links to the U.S. Supreme Court and Nebraska Supreme Court oral arguments.
“The access we have to our courts is great, and I am notorious for listening to oral arguments. I also love class discussions because law is a topic that lends itself to full class participation,” Klug said. “I love teaching because these future professionals and their bright futures inspire me. I hope to be a resource for students who would like to attend law school.”
Klug’s first teaching experiences happened while in law school, as both her parents asked her to substitute. Her mother, the Hon. Jodi L. Nelson, ’87, District Court Judge, Third Judicial District, Lancaster County, Nebraska, became a judge in 2006 and began teaching business law at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Until then, she too taught at Nebraska Business.
“I am lucky to have great parents who also are colleagues and mentors to me in a professional sense, and I am proud of their legal careers. One of the reasons I went to law school was ‘to know what they know,’” Klug said. “It means more than I could put into words to continue teaching business law. We discuss how our profession allows us to be lifelong learners. I think they would both agree teaching allows us to learn.”
This spring, Crabtree coaxed Nelson out of retirement to teach BLAW 372 to Nebraska Business Honors Academy students. This rounded out Nelson’s 20th year teaching business law at the college.
“Katie continues the tradition of her parents by providing practical, real-world business law education. That consistent experience makes a difference in the careers of our students,” said Crabtree.
Published: May 31, 2022