Retirement: Lyle E. Strom
|Judge Lyle E. Strom,
U.S. District Judge for
Nebraska, retired on
December 1, 2017, at the
age of 92, after 32 years
with the Court.
|Judge Strom was born in
Omaha in 1925. During
World War II he served
as an Ensign in the U.S. Merchant Marines from 1943
to 1946. Following his military service, he graduated
from Creighton University with his B.A. in 1950 and his
J.D., cum laude, in 1953.|
|He spent the next 32 years practicing law at the
Omaha law firm Fitzgerald, Hamer, Brown and Leahy
(now Fitzgerald, Schorr, Barmettler & Brennan),
where he became partner and one of the most highly
regarded civil trial lawyers in Nebraska.||In 1985 President Reagan appointed Strom as U.S.
District Judge for the District of Nebraska. He served
as Chief Judge from 1987 to 1994, and assumed senior
status the following year, in 1995.
||Judge Strom’s legacy is one of “unparalleled” service
to the court, bar, legal education system, and
community. He is known for leading by example in
promoting “collegiality, civility, professionalism, and
He was among the first federal judges to cite racial
disparity when he departed downward from the
federal sentencing guidelines in 1993, and he testified
before Congress in favor of an amendment proposed
by the Sentencing Commission to lower crack
||Judge Strom served as chair of the Gender Fairness
Task Force for the Eighth Circuit, as co-chair of
the Federal Practice Committee of the District of
Nebraska, and as a member of the Eighth Circuit
Judicial Conference Committee to Study Restructuring
of the Judicial Conference.
||He served as president of the Omaha Bar Association
and Nebraska State Bar Association (NSBA) and as
a member of the NSBA House of Delegates and the
Nebraska Supreme Court Committee on Practice and
Procedure. He has written Nebraska Jury Instructions,
Nebraska Rules of Evidence, and law review articles.
He is a fellow of the Nebraska Bar Foundation and has
served on its Board of Trustees. He also had a key role
in establishing Nebraska’s Inns of Court.
||Judge Strom has served as teacher and mentor to
many, including our own Judge William Jay Riley,
during their years together at the Fitzgerald law firm.
He taught at Creighton University School of Law as an
adjunct professor, teaching municipal corporations
from 1958 to 1970 and trial practice from 1974 to
1995. He served as the Director of the Robert M.
Spire Internship Program and Clinical Professor of Law
from 1996 to 2005. He participated in the National
High School Mock Trial Program and Nebraska’s High
School Mock Trial Competition, which ultimately was
named the Judge Lyle Strom High School Mock Trial
||Among his recognitions are the Eighth Circuit
Professionalism Award, American Inns of Court, 2001;
Lifetime Achievement Award, Omaha Bar Association,
Law Day, 2002; George H. Turner Award, Nebraska
State Bar Association, 2006; Golden Gavel Award,
National High School Mock Trial Championship,
2014; and the President’s Professionalism Award,
Nebraska State Bar Association, 2014. He is a fellow
of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the
American College of Trial Lawyers.