ORD, Neb. — When Cheree Hatfield leaves the Valley County district courtroom here and glances northeast out the third-floor window, towering grain elevators dominate the skyline and represent the hub of commerce for this community.

The view is a stark contrast to the more familiar urban skyline she grew up with in Omaha near 48th and Q Streets.

Here, there are no Starbucks and no stoplights, and the nightlife is limited to a handful of bars dotting the downtown district.

Hatfield learned as much while on a spring break bus tour in 2013 that was part of the Nebraska State Bar Association's Rural Practice Initiative, an effort to introduce future lawyers to the state's rural communities and the professionals working within them.

She also learned that there is a need for legal services in the communities surrounding this town of about 2,100.

With new financial incentives and expanded opportunities to get a taste of rural practice, public and private-sector officials across the state plan to make an even louder appeal to place more students like Hatfield in Nebraska's most needy rural communities.

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