Kutak Rock announces that David A. Jacobson will step down as Chair of the firm effective September 15, 2017, signaling a historic changing of the guard for the national law firm that rose to prominence in the early 70s and has since grown to more than 500 attorneys and 18 locations. Jacobson, who has served continuously as the firm’s leader since 1996, informed the firm’s executive committee earlier in the year that he would not be seeking another term. Upon learning of Jacobson’s intentions, the firm sought to identify attorneys within its ranks as candidates for the leadership position and expects to announce Jacobson’s successor imminently.
In his letter to the firm’s executive committee, Jacobson states, “maintaining vigor in a mature law firm requires constant investment in new people. I have often been reminded of Bob Kutak’s observation: ‘I have long felt that the most important member of a law firm is its newest member. That lawyer, in a very real sense, will determine the future of the firm, its growth, its development and eventually its success...’” He adds, “I am confident that the next chair will continue to lead us to a better future, with new ideas and cogent plans, while remaining committed to our values.”
In Jacobson’s more than two decades as Chair, Kutak Rock grew from a firm with approximately 200 attorneys and offices in nine cities to its current size. American Lawyer magazine, which releases an annual ranking of U.S. firms by total revenues, placed Kutak Rock at number 130 for 2016.
Jacobson’s tenure as Chair was characterized by strong leadership that balanced practicality with calculated risk. Along with expanding established practice areas, this approach meant introducing new areas that would make Kutak Rock a truly “full service” law firm for larger corporate clients seeking comprehensive service across a full range of business needs. It also meant opening offices in locations that not only addressed the geographic needs of existing clients, but also presented opportunities for the firm to bring its services and unique value proposition to a wider audience.
Jacobson earned his J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1974. After working for the Omaha Legal Aid Society for two-plus years, Jacobson joined Kutak Rock’s Omaha office as a litigator in 1977 and eventually became head of the firm’s national litigation department. He was selected to serve as Vice Chair of the firm in 1994 and promoted to Chair just two years later.