Potter Law Office has been a fixture in downtown Gothenburg for decades, and though Steve is no longer with us the office is still very much alive and well. Chevas Shaw had the privilege of working under Potter for two years and was already sharing office space with him, and is now practicing full time in the office that holds so many memories.
Shaw is a native of Brady and a graduate of Brady High School. He passed his bar exam and was licensed to practice law in Nebraska in September 2017, and immediately joined Potter in his firm. However, law was not Shaw’s initial plan for an education or an occupation.
Following graduation he headed to Lincoln to attend the University of Nebraska, where he majored in English. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English in 2013. “My mom had always encouraged me to take some sort of legal course because she thought I would be good at it, but I never did,” said Shaw. “So I graduated with an English degree with a focus in creative writing but there aren’t any jobs for that person that I could find. So I decided to give law a shot when I realized that you could go to law school with any kind of degree. So I took a tour of the law school, liked it, applied, and started in August 2014.”
He received the rest of his education at UNL, including his juris doctorate. “It’s not one of those things I was writing in second grade of what I wanted to be when I grew up,” he said of his decision to pursue law.
Shaw said one thing he misses about not having Steve around is receiving constructive criticism or feedback on the way you’re doing things. “So I take my cues from my clients at this point. That is the best sounding board I have available to me.”
He said returning to this area to work was not a difficult decision for him. “The people in law school always made it abundantly clear that there is a shortage of attorneys in greater Nebraska. There is a lot of money to be made because there is a huge demand,” said Shaw. “So I didn’t see any reason not to go back home and make a go of it, and I didn’t ever really see myself staying in Lincoln or Omaha.”
Shaw did consider beginning his law practice in Alaska, and researched jobs there “just out of some sense of rugged individualism”. “But believe it or not there’s not a huge footprint for Nebraska grads in Alaska, and at the same time I was talking with Steve and that worked out perfectly.”
Potter’s mentorship was invaluable, Shaw said. “But now that he’s gone I have to credit the local bars and local attorneys for helping me out. If it takes a village to raise a child, some version of that might be applicable here,” he laughed.
The majority of Shaw’s work, he shared, is juvenile work involving allegations of neglect or abuse. He also does a good deal of criminal defense work and family law. “You have to be a reasonable jack-of-all-trades here.”
In January 2020 Shaw moved to Gothenburg from North Platte, and has been practicing under his own LLC since at least 2018. He was already spending most of his time in the Gothenburg office prior to Steve’s passing. “He had intended to retire, but I wouldn’t even say he was winding down that much. It was still a busy practice that I more or less inherited,” he said. “I’m happy with the practice and where things are going. I have every intention of staying here.”
When not in his office or a courtroom, Shaw can generally be found near a body of water this time of year. “That’s the way God intended it really,” he laughed. He is also an avid sports fan and follows all things Husker, Braves and Raiders. He is also a movie buff and enjoys spending time with family.