Hightower Reff Law helps navigate life’s toughest events

Some of the most stressful events in life require the assistance of an attorney: divorce, death of a loved one, facing a criminal charge, or a workplace injury. Finding someone experienced who you can trust is critical, but you also want to ensure they have an entire legal team that can help navigate and set expectations at every step along the way. With expertise in the areas of divorce and family law, estate planning and probate, criminal defense, workers compensation, immigration, and business formation, Hightower Reff Law provides a seamless process and personal touch for all its clients.

Hightower Reff Law is unique in its approach to client care as well as the fact it’s led by two female attorneys: Tracy Hightower-Henne and Susan Reff. The women met more than a decade ago when they each were practicing independently at a co-op office space. Hightower-Henne, an Omaha native, had recently left a corporate tax law position, and Reff had spent the past seven years as a criminal defense attorney for the Douglas County Defenders Office. With the lease expiring at the shared office, the attorneys decided to partner and open a practice together in 2012. Hightower-Henne would focus on divorce cases, and Reff would focus on criminal defense.

Reff began taking on divorce cases as well, and soon both attorneys were focused on that area of practice. Their first office was located directly across the street from the courthouse in downtown Omaha. Two years ago, they decided to move to a more central location near Westroads Mall and one that offers ample parking and convenience for clients from all parts of town. Now the firm boasts seven attorneys and seven additional staff, as well as a very thorough intake process to ensure every client is matched to an attorney that is best suited for their individual case. That process and team approach is what makes the difference for clients, especially during a time that is often traumatic. “Everything a client experiences is familiar to us, but it’s new to them, so helping them with expectations, even something as small as where to sit in the courtroom before they go in, makes all the difference,” Hightower-Henne explained.

One of the challenges that lawyers often face is battling misinformation, especially found online. Reff said having a consultation is so important because every situation is different and every judge is different in how they approach a case. She said it’s also important to know how to personalize each case. “Lots of lawyers know how to handle a divorce, but do they truly care about their client and listen to their worries? We help determine your goal with your case and that’s where we focus our time. At the end of a consult, whether you choose to retain us or not, we just want you to feel better. They don’t teach you compassion in law school.”

With spouses forced to spend more time at home together during the pandemic, the divorce rate rose, and Hightower Reff Law saw a significant increase in its own caseload. In fact, last year was the firm’s highest performing since its inception 10 years ago. The partners attribute that growth not only to their approach to running the business and emphasis on client care, but they’ve also spent a lot of time developing other attorneys, which they said is not often the case at other firms. “We strategically think about how else we can help people,” Hightower-Henne said. For example, they have a Spanish-speaking attorney working in immigration law and an estate planning attorney who helps clients set up a new will following divorce cases. The firm also has a trusted network of other professionals, such as financial planners and realtors who can help clients in those areas. “We want to be considered thought leaders in the legal community and provide the same level of care to our clients in all areas of the law,” she said.

Part of that care is educating clients on value. The value of a lawyer is the first. The saying “you get what you pay for” is true, according to Hightower-Henne. She urges people to always look for a value consistent with an attorney’s experience, trust, and professionalism. Clients who work with Hightower Reff Law will have a level of comfort knowing its attorneys routinely discuss and help each other with cases, ensuring that knowledge and best practices are shared among the whole team.

The second component is the value of a settlement versus going to trial. She explained that clients don’t realize the long-term consequences of going to trial and letting a judge make decisions for you, especially related to co-parenting in divorce cases, so her firm takes the time to make sure a client truly understands what trial entails.

Overall, Hightower Reff Law set out to be different and continues to strive for that every day, whether it’s through the firm’s modern offices, eye-catching marketing materials, or tracking each and every call and inquiry they receive. In an emotionally-charged profession that has to help people through grief, sadness, and relief, they try to be a positive force in the community for their clients and for themselves. Hightower-Henne stated, “There are a lot of good attorneys in town, and we consider ourselves to be among those who are the best.” 

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