Erica Moeser, president and CEO of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), is the 2013 recipient of the Robert J. Kutak Award sponsored by the national Kutak Rock law firm and the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. Ms. Moeser has led the NCBE since 1994. She is a former chair of the Section’s Council and has served as a law school site evaluator, as a member of the Section’s Accreditation and Standards Review committees, and as the co-chair of the Section’s Bar Admissions Committee.
However, Ms. Moeser’s activities on behalf of the Section only tell a small part of the story. As NCBE president, she has improved bar admissions processes nationally. Through her outstanding leadership and organizational skills, bar admissions authorities around the country look to Ms. Moeser and the NCBE for guidance in the many phases of the bar admissions process. Under her stewardship, the NCBE testing products have come to be acknowledged as the state of the art in examination products. The Multi-state Bar Examination (MBE) is now used in every state and territory except Louisiana (due to its Napoleonic Code tradition). The MBE is the anchor for bar examinations across the country and exceeds the reliability gold standard of .90. The Uniform Bar Examination has been officially adopted in 13 states and it is likely to be adopted by more jurisdictions in the coming years.
Before joining NCBE, Ms. Moeser worked as the director of the Board of Bar Examiners of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin for 17 years. Ms. Moeser holds a B.A. from Tulane University, an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin. She was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in January 1975. Ms. Moeser holds honorary degrees from three law school and has taught professional responsibility as an adjunct at the University of Wisconsin Law School.
In making the announcement, Gregory Murphy, chair of the Kutak Award Committee, noted “Erica came from very humble beginnings and overcame much. She is a self-made woman. Her accomplishments are due to her intelligence, energy, diligence, and gregarious character.”
Robert J. Kutak was a founding partner of the national law firm of Kutak Rock LLP. Mr. Kutak’s sudden death from a heart attack in 1983 cut short a remarkable career characterized by a strong dedication to public service, to the improvement of justice, to legal education and training, to prison reform and to the visual arts. Mr. Kutak held leadership roles in a variety of professional projects of the American Bar Association, including membership on the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and chair of the Section on Individual Rights. At the time of his death, he had just concluded five years as chair of the ABA Commission on Evaluation of Professional Standards, the body that produced the monumental new set of rules for the professional conduct of members of the American Bar.
The ABA 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. Most recipients have been members of the Section and active participants in its work.
Erica Moeser will be honored at a special reception on Friday, August 9, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco during the ABA Annual meeting.