Committee charged with nominating the Robert J. Kutak Award recipient

Kutak Award Committee

This committee receives nominations and determines a nominee for the Section's Annual Robert J. Kutak Award. The award is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to the collaboration of the academy, the bench and the bar. The award is in memory of Mr. Kutak, a distinguished Omaha lawyer, champion of legal reform, and advocate for legal education.

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and the national Kutak Rock law firm established the Robert J. Kutak Award in 1984. Most recipients have been members of the Section and active participants in its work.

2020-2021 Kutak Committee

Chair
Honorable Solomon Oliver Jr.
Judge
U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Ohio

Christine M. Durham
Appellate Attorney
Zimmerman Booher

Joan S. Howland
Associate Dean & Professor
University of Minnesota Law School

Leo P. Martinez
Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus
University of California
Hastings College of the Law

Honorable Jequita Napoli
Special Judge
Cleveland County District Court

E. Thomas Sullivan
President Emeritus and Professor
The University of Vermont

Rebecca Hanner White
Dean and Professor Emeritus
University of Georgia
School of Law

Nominations Sought for 2022 Kutak Award

Nominations are sought for the 2022 Robert J. Kutak Award. Established in 1985 by the Section and the national Kutak Rock law firm, the award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to the collaboration of the academy, the bench, and the bar. The award is in memory of Mr. Kutak, a distinguished Omaha lawyer, champion of legal reform, and advocate for legal education.

Nominations can be mailed to:
Kutak Award Committee
Attention: Carl Brambrink
Director of Operations
American Bar Association
Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
321 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60654
or sent via email to carl.brambrink@americanbar.org.

The deadline for submitting nominations is March 11, 2022.

About Robert J. Kutak

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 ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and chair of the ABA 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 the national Kutak Rock law firm established the Robert J. Kutak Award in 1984. The Kutak award is awarded annually to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to the collaboration of the academy, the bench, and the bar. Most recipients have been members of the Section and active participants in its work.

Current Recipient - Professor Joan S. Howland

Professor Joan S. Howland is the 2021 Robert J. Kutak Award Recipient

Joan S. Howland
Roger F. Noreen Professor of Law
Associate Dean for Information and Technology
University of Minnesota Law School
Minneapolis, MN

Joan Howland is the Roger F. Noreen Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Information and Technology at the University of Minnesota Law School. Professor Howland teaches a course on Magna Carta and the evolution of Anglo-American law and a course on the intersection of law, the legal profession, and legal education. Professor Howland has also taught law and business at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Her scholarship focuses on American Indian law and culture, information technologies, thoroughbred horse racing and equine law generally, legal education, organizational management, legal research methodologies, and law librarianship. She has served on the editorial board of the American Journal of Legal History.

She served on the Section’s Accreditation Committee from 2001 to 2006 and on the Council from 2006 to 2016, including a term as chair from 2014-2015. Professor Howland was a member of the Section's Law Libraries Committee from 1992 through 1994 and co-chaired that committee from 1994 through 1996. In 2020, Professor Howland was elected to serve a second three-year term as the Section's representative to the ABA House of Delegates.

Throughout her career, Professor Howland has been active in the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) , the American Indian Library Association, the Chinese and American Forum on Legal Information and Law Libraries, and the American Library Association. She is a member of the American Law Institute. Professor Howland is the recipient of numerous awards including the AALL Spirit of Law Librarianship Award for her work in promoting access to technology and information among indigenous populations in remote areas of South America. She also has received the AALS Section on Law Libraries and Legal Information award for outstanding contributions to teaching and scholarship. She has been elected to the AALL Hall of Fame and has received the University of Minnesota President's Award for Outstanding Services. In addition to a JD, Professor Howland earned master’s degrees in history, library science, and business administration. Prior to joining the faculty at Minnesota, she held administrative positions in the law libraries at U.C. Berkeley, Harvard, and Stanford.

In nominating Professor Howland for the award, Honorable Solomon Oliver, Jr., Section Nominating Committee Chair, stated: “Dean Howland’s contributions to legal education have been immeasurable in every sphere of her involvement. The Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has especially benefited from Joan’s wise counsel, astute observations, and diplomatic manner during her past service as Chair of the Section and during her current service as the Section Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. She is also a quintessential professor, scholar, and law school administrator, and has used her legal and technological skills as one of the nation’s leading law librarians to assist legal aid programs providing services to underrepresented groups. Joan Howland is richly deserving of the Kutak Award.”

Professor Howland will be honored at an upcoming reception in conjunction with the Section’s Council Meeting. The Kutak Award is presented annually to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to the collaboration of the legal academy, the bench, and the bar. The award was established in memory of Mr. Kutak, a respected Omaha lawyer, who was committed to legal reform and a strong advocate for legal education.

Past Award Recipients

2020 The Honorable Ruth V. McGregor
2019 The Honorable Christine M. Durham 
2018 The Honorable Solomon Oliver, Jr.
2017 Edward N. Tucker
2016 Pauline A. Schneider
2015 E. Thomas Sullivan
2014 John F. O'Brien
2013 Erica Moeser
2012 Jeffrey E. Lewis
2011 John D. Feerick
2010 Robert K. Walsh
2009 Gerald W. Vande Walle
2008 Rennard Strickland
2007 Cruz Reynoso
2006 Sandra Day O’Connor
2005 Geoffrey C. Hazard
2004 Harry T. Edwards
2003 Nina Appel
2002 Anthony G. Amsterdam
2001 James P. White
2000 Henry Ramsey, Jr.
1999 Peter A. Winograd
1998 Talbot D’Alemberte
1997 Harry Edward Groves
1996 Norman Redlich
1995 Robert MacCrate
1994 Rosalie E. Wahl
1993 Frank E. A. Sander
1992 Harold Gill Reuschlein
1991 Gordon D. Schaber
1990 Samuel D. Thurman
1989 Sharp Whitmore
1988 Millard H. Ruud
1987 Robert B. McKay
1986 Robert W. Meserve
1985 Richardson W. Nahstoll
1984 William J. Pincus