OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — At Hightower Reff Law firm, there’s strong collaboration among the team.
For attorney Deanna Piña, who joined the law firm in November 2020, it’s an ideal workplace.
“I've worked in nonprofits, I've worked in government, I've worked in other private law offices, and I've never experienced the level of support and just general working togetherness that we have here, I've never experienced that anywhere else,” said Piña.
Attorney Tracy Hightower-Henne founded the law firm in 2012 with Susan Reff. The firm practices a variety of law including divorce & family law, criminal defense, immigration, business law, estate planning & probate, contracts, and workers’ compensation.
“We were two progressive women at the time. Starting a business in a still male-dominated industry was interesting and had some fun stories to that in 2012,” said Hightower-Henne.
The team has grown since its start. The office is now made up of eight attorneys. All women.
Hightower-Henne said making it an all-female office wasn’t intentional, but she has found it has allowed them to offer a compassionate approach to the legal community.
“I think that a lot of clients think it's going to be a really scary process talking to a lawyer and we really recognize that it can be a traumatic experience just talking in the door. So even when building our office, we built it in a way that we thought would be very comfortable walking in here, not scary. We don't have any scales of justice, we don't have any gavels, we don't have big bookshelves that are dark wood. We created a space that we feel pretty comfortable for our clients,” she added.
It’s also known to be a positive work environment for staff, with room for emotional understanding and support.
“We like to pretend like it doesn't matter but it sort of does,” said Piña. “It just feels great to walk into a room and know that I don't have to explain why things may be more difficult for me or why I might be anxious about certain things because everyone typically understands because they've gone through the same thing. I've gone through situations where I go to court and get called the interpreter because I speak Spanish and my hair is like this. So, it feels great to be able to come home to our office and be able to get emotional support and bolster me to keep going forward.”
She adds, “The legal field is not created to be empathic. It's created to be adversarial so a lot of people who do this work are very combative and so one of my favorite things about working here is that we never bring that to the office. We're very open, very collaborative and I never feel like I have to go out of my way to prove myself or fight someone for a case. It's really nice here.”
Hightower-Henne prides herself on her and her team’s dedication to supporting their community, by offering time and services to nonprofits and organizations.
“I often equate our legal degree as sort of a superpower that we really need to use going forward,” said Hightower-Henne.
She listed events Hightower-Reff Law supports, including sponsoring the Omaha Pride festival, working on reproductive justice issues with Planned Parenthood, and collaborating with the Nebraska Innocence Project, an organization that looks at inmate cases that are claiming innocence.
Some bilingual attorneys also volunteer Monday nights with Pesek Law Firm, which provides free legal services to the Spanish-speaking community in South Omaha’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
As the firm continues to grow, Hightower Reff Law is committed to continuing to provide respectful legal representation, while ensuring its community is also making strides.