The legal market in Omaha, Neb., has weathered the financial storm relatively well. Growth is another matter.
“The legal market hasn’t been expanding a lot lately,” said Tammy King, assistant dean for career development at Creighton University School of Law. “I think that Midwestern employers have historically been a little more conservative in hiring decisions, and as a result we weren’t hurt as much by layoffs as other legal markets.”
Entry-level positions have been scarce. Omaha-based Kutak Rock has done away with hiring large classes of summer associates. David Jacobson, chairman of the firm, said competition for entry-level positions allows the firm to cherry-pick among top recent graduates.
The recession hit hard in 2009, but Kutak Rock for one bounced back, recording its second-best year to date in 2010. (The best was in 2007.) “Over a fourth of the firm is [located] in a very strong economy,” he said. “We did a lot of work for Freddie [Mac] last year and our D.C. office has been very strong in recent years.”
Litigation and in-house legal counsel hirings continue to remain stable, due in part to the presence of insurance companies. Public service law, on the other hand, is suffering. “We have always had a fair number of students go into public service,” King said. “Those offices were hiring fairly steady but now, with the government budget cuts, we are starting to see fewer positions.”