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Firm History

Kutak Rock was established in 1965 in Omaha, Nebraska, by agreement among its legendary founder, Robert J. Kutak and his first two partners, Harold L. Rock and William G. Campbell.

A vision for a different kind of law firm

From the beginning, Bob Kutak envisioned the development of a law firm having the capacity, size, specialized expertise and advantageous geographic locations to service a national clientele whose required legal services were undergoing dramatic changes due to the impact of complex tax, regulatory and other federal changes of this era. Bob Kutak intended the firm to be a different kind of legal services organization in which essential fairness and respect to all of its stakeholders (including clients and staff), an unwavering commitment to community and broader public interests and a relentless attention to client service would be irrevocably interwoven into the very fabric of the organization. Bob Kutak was also an early and passionate believer in diversity among attorneys and staff and in the creation of inclusive excellence as a defining core value of the firm in all of its offices.

A firm founded in finance

Significant federal legislation in 1968 required American industry and business to commit to massive expenditures over the succeeding two decades to address water and air pollution abatement requirements of that legislation. In conjunction with its Wall Street investment banking clients, Kutak Rock pioneered the use of municipal debt backed solely by the relevant corporate credit (a form of transaction at that time known as industrial development revenue bond financing) to finance tens of billions of dollars of these requirements, thus establishing the foundation of the broad ranging corporate and governmental finance practice that exists today in all of the firm’s offices. Our national corporate, real estate and litigation practices also began during this period.

"Fastest-growing law firm," Fortune Magazine

By 1972 Kutak Rock consisted of 13 attorneys, all located in Omaha. Over the next six years, however, we opened our first expansion office in Denver and partnered with an Atlanta firm to open a Washington, D.C. office, later merging with the Atlanta firm to form a national law firm of four offices that was then very unusual in the legal profession. The overall size of the firm grew substantially during these six years, with a total complement of approximately 150 attorneys in 1978. These developments prompted a cover story in the October 1978 edition of Fortune, which suggested that Kutak Rock was then the fastest-growing law firm in the United States. The Fortune article noted characteristics unusual to law firms of this period, including a particular emphasis on egalitarianism, and Bob Kutak was quoted for the proposition that law firms should “provide an adequate living, but, more than that... an adequate life... our equity goes into the professional and social environment.”

Subsequent to 1978, the firm opened additional offices in several geographically-diverse locations. Today, the firm has more than 500 attorneys located in offices coast-to-coast. The firm remains committed to a relentless pursuit of excellence in service to its clients, a pricing model that is fair and accessible, and the defining values of its founder.

Robert J. Kutak
Robert J. Kutak, a man of uncommon vision and described by his contemporaries as an “able and complex dreamer,” was the founder and first chairman of the law firm that will always bear his name, Kutak Rock.
The Kutak Commission
Read about the role our firm founder, Bob Kutak, had in drafting what is now known as the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.