Joe Nigro is a lifelong Nebraskan. He graduated from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a B.A. in 1980 and a J.D. in 1983. Joe has worked in the Lancaster County Public Defender’s Office as an attorney for the last 38 years, successfully representing thousands of people. In 2014, Joe was elected as the Lancaster County Public Defender. He was reelected in 2018. Joe has been married to Shari since 1985, and they have three children, Margaret (Kyle), Betsy (Tanner), and Nick, and three grandchildren, Teddy, Imogen, and Eloise. They lost one grandchild, Jude.

Joe served on the board of the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorneys Association and currently serves as a member of the House of Delegates for the Nebraska Bar Association. Joe also serves on the Supreme Court Problem Solving Court Committee, the Supreme Court Committee on Practice and Procedure, the Justice Behavioral Health Committee, and the Lancaster County Justice Council. Joe chaired the Supreme Court Mental Health Court Committee. 

Joe has served the community in a variety of ways. He was chair of the Lincoln Cable TV Advisory Board, chair of the UNL College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Board, and was a board member of the UNL Alumni Association and the Board of Directors of the Bridge. Joe chaired the Christ United Methodist Church Advisory Committee for ten years, served on the Christ United Methodist Church Board of Trustees, and currently serves on the Christ United Methodist Church Foundation Board. Joe was also the Mayor’s Liaison to the Lincoln Public Schools, a member of the LPS Curriculum Council, and was a member of the LPS Calendar Committee. He was president of the Lincoln East Parent Advisory Committee, and coached youth soccer, basketball, and football for 12 years.