John D. Feerick, professor and former dean at Fordham University School of Law, is the 2011 Robert J. Kutak Award recipient. Throughout his career, John Feerick has enthusiastically served the bar, the judiciary and legal education. Shortly after his graduation from Fordham Law School, he served as an advisor to the ABA Commission on Electoral College Reform and as a member of the ABA Special Constitutional Convention Committee. From 1992-1994, Professor Feerick was president of the 23,000-member Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He also served the New York City Bar as a member or chair of a number of its committees, including the Special Committee on the New York Constitutional Convention of 1967 and was the founding chair of the of the New York County Lawyers’ Association Justice Center.
In 1964, Professor Feerick served as a member of the ABA Conference on Presidential Inability and Succession, which led to his participation in the drafting of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Two years later, he received a special award for his work to help secure the passage and ratification of the amendment. The book he wrote on the subject, The Twenty-Fifth Amendment, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
For the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Professor Feerick was chair of the Standards Review Committee, the Professionalism Committee, and the Board of Visitors Committee. He was a member of the Section’s Wahl Commission, chairing its Academic Standards Subcommittee. In February 2000, Professor Feerick chaired a one-day conference on The Legal Education Continuum that brought together law school deans, bar presidents and executives, and bar foundations to explore ways to bridge the gap between the law schools and the practicing bars.
From 1995 to 1999, Professor Feerick was a director of the American Judicature Society and in 2003 chaired the New York State Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections, which recommended and helped to secure the adoption of a statewide system of judicial qualification commissions.
An Expert Arbitrator and Dispute Mediator
Known as an expert arbitrator and mediator of disputes, Professor Feerick has served as NFL special master and arbitrator, NBA arbitrator, chair of labor disputes at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and as designated chair of labor disputes occurring at national political party conventions in 1992 and 2004. Professor Feerick also chaired the committee that produced the 1994 Model Standards for Mediators of Disputes. Earlier this year, he received the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s D’Alemberte Raven Award, which recognizes outstanding service in dispute resolution.
The Recipient of Numerous Awards and Honors
The list of Professor Feerick’s honors and recognitions is exhaustive, including awards from the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, Citizens Union, Citizens Committee for Children, Brooklyn Legal Services, Hudson Valley Legal Services, Angela House for Homeless Women, the National Association of Public Interest Law, the Association of American Law Schools, the American Irish Historical Society, the New York State Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association, the New York County Lawyer’s Association, the American Arbitration Association, the Fund for Modern Courts, the New York Network of Bar Leaders, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, the Archdiocese of New York, and the New York Celtic Medical Society.
A Successful Career in Both the Private Sector and Legal Education
Professor Feerick earned a B.S. degree from Fordham University and an LL.B. degree from Fordham Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Fordham Law Review. He was also awarded an honorary LL.D. from Fordham University. After law school, Professor Feerick was a lawyer with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom from 1961 to 1982. He became dean of Fordham Law School in 1982 and held that post until 2002. In addition to his current position as the Sidney C. Norris Public Service Chair, Professor Feerick is the founder and director of the Feerick Center for Social Justice, which was established in 2006 by the then-dean William Michael Treanor.
A United States Army veteran, Professor Feerick served in both the 77th Infantry Division and the 4th Judge Advocate General’s Corps. With his wife Emalie, Professor Feerick has six children and 11 grandchildren.
Robert J. Kutak Award
Robert J. Kutak was a founding partner of the national law firm of Kutak Rock, LLP. Mr. Kutak, who passed away in 1983, dedicated his career to public service and the improvement of legal education and the legal profession. The Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and Kutak Rock established the Robert J. Kutak Award in 1984. The award is given annually to an individual who has contributed significantly toward increased cooperation between legal education, the practicing bar, and the judiciary. Professor Feerick will receive the 2011 Kutak Award at a reception on Friday evening, August 5, at Le Meridien King Edward Hotel in during the ABA Annual Meeting.