|Law firm relocates to downtown square|
by Kurt Johnson
A local law firm relocated to the downtown square last week, hoping to expand both its office setting and legal services in Hamilton County.
Svehla, Thomas, Rauert and Grafton PC calls York its home base, and has had a presence in Aurora since 1999. Partners Kent Rauert and Scott Grafton, who both spend two days a week in Aurora, said they had simply outgrown the small house/office at 1106 L St., across from the post office.
"This building came open and we were looking to have a bigger space to handle more clients in Hamilton County," Grafton explained of the former Travel Concepts-RGA Realty building on the north side of the square. "We really enjoy working with courthouse staff and judges here in Hamilton County, so we’re excited about the move."
Svehla, Thomas, Rauert & Grafton PC is a general practice law firm focusing primarily on business and estate planning, banking law, personal injury, family law and workers’ compensation. The firm has three shareholders and five attorneys, serving a region that stretches from Kearney to Lincoln, and Hebron to Columbus.
"We enjoy being a part of the community here, which is partly why we wanted to expand," Rauert added. "From my perspective it’s just a pleasure working here because there are two excellent judges, and there is a good rapport and working relationship with other attorneys and court personnel. It’s really refreshing to have that type of environment to work in. It just isn’t like that everywhere we practice."
The downtown location has been partially renovated to include three offices and a conference room. Some decorating work still remains, though the office opened for business on March 17. Staff is available here on Tuesday and either Thursday or Friday, or by appointment.
The building also includes the former North Side Bakery location to the west, a space that is currently available for lease.
"We bought the entire building and hope to find somebody who wants to go in there and rent that space," Rauert said. "We will also be selling our previous location (on L Street) to whomever is interested in buying it."
Rauert is a native of Aurora, having graduated from Aurora High in 1989. He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administation from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, continuing on with the college of law school until he graduated in 1996. Rauert joined the law firm later that same year.
He and his wife, Kara, live in York with their four daughters: Alexandra, Ashton, Maggie and Josephine, ages 9, 7, 3 and four months.
Grafton is a McCook native who also attended UNL and the NU college of law, where he graduated in 2001. He joined the practice that same year. He and his wife, Tricia, live in Aurora.
The other member of the Aurora staff is Tracy Lackey of Hampton. She has been a legal assistant with the firm for 11 years, and now works in Aurora two days a week.
She and her husband, Brad, live in Hampton and have two children, Katie and Jerry, ages 22 and 20.