Jan Lindquist Gradwohl
Class of 1947
Hall of Honor 2017
Jan Lindquist Gradwohl became the fourth woman judge in Nebraska, upon her appointment to the bench in 1974. She was the first woman judge in Lancaster County, having been the first female deputy county attorney there. Her prior experience included serving as a civilian lawyer with the U.S. Air Force; as Assistant to the Director of the World Tax Series, a publication branch of Harvard Law School; and practicing law with a private law firm.
Gradwohl served by Presidential appointment and Senate Confirmation on the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute. She was also on the National Jury Standards Committee that prepared the American Bar Association (ABA) jury management standards. She chaired the 900-member special courts judicial section of the ABA; and was a founding member of the International Association of Women Judges.
Gradwohl served on the faculty of the National Judicial College and was on the planning committee and/or faculty of national and international legal conferences in the U.S. and in Asia.
During her judicial career Gradwohl served on numerous committees and task forces dedicated to judicial system improvement and equal justice. In 1991, Gradwohl received the ABA National Flaschner Award, which recognizes a judge of a court of special jurisdiction for distinguished service in improving the quality of justice in the U.S. Other legal and civic organizations have also recognized her commitment to equal justice through awards such as the 2014 Nebraska Appleseed Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award.
In 1990, Gradwohl took an early retirement from the bench. She, with her husband, John M. Gradwohl, a distinguished law professor, developed interactive methods for teaching international comparative law, implementing those programs over a nine-year period at four Chinese law schools, the Chinese Ministry of Education, and the Shanghai area courts and law colleges. Together with two Chinese lawyers, the Gradwohls wrote an English/Mandarin text on international law trial practice for use in Chinese law schools, published by a Chinese University and funded by the Asia Foundation.
Gradwohl continues to be involved in legal research and writing, and serves on the advisory boards of educational and civic organizations. Her husband of 60 years, Professor John M. Gradwohl, died in 2014. Their children are Ann, Jill, and John. She has four grandchildren, Andrea, Shannon, Joel, and Allison; and three great-grandchildren, Levi, Audric, and Torin. In 2016, Gradwohl, her daughter Jill, and granddaughter Shannon, were recognized as the first family to have three generations of female graduates of the University of Nebraska College of Law.