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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.

Nominations Sought for 2024 Kutak Award

Nominations are sought for the 2024 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 sent via email to [email protected].

The deadline for submitting nominations is March 8, 2024.

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.

2023-2024 Kutak Committee

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

Gail Agrawal
Dean Emerita and Professor
Univeristy of Iowa College of Law

Diane F. Bosse
Special Counsel
Hurwitz Fine P.C.

Erwin Chemerinsky
Dean and Professor
Berkeley Law

Angela Onwuachi-Willig
Dean and Professor
Boston University 
School of Law

Luis Felipe Restrepo
Judge
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Charles A. Smiley, III
Judge
Alameda County Superior Court

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.

Attorney Diane F. Bosse is the 2023 Robert J. Kutak Award Recipient 

Diane F. Bosse is Special Counsel to the law firm of Hurwitz Fine in Buffalo, New York. She was appointed by the New York Court of Appeals to the New York State Board of Law Examiners in 1998, after serving as an assistant to the Board for 19 years. She served as chair of the Board from 2001 to 2020. She served on the Board of Trustees of the National Conference of Bar Examiners from 1999 to 2008 (chair, 2006-2007), and is presently a member of the Conference's Implementation Steering Committee for the NextGen bar exam. Ms. Bosse is a past president of the Defense Trial Lawyers of Western New York and a past member of the boards of directors of the Bar Association of Erie County and of the Western New York Trial Lawyers Association.

In 2014, Ms. Bosse was named Lawyer of the Year by the Bar Association of Erie County. She was selected as one of the New York Law Journal’s Top Women in Law for 2016. Her prior awards include the Award of Merit from the Bar Association of Erie County, the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Public Service from the University at Buffalo Law Alumni Association, the Defense Trial Lawyer of the Year from the Defense Trial Lawyers of Western New York, the New York State Bar Association Award for Excellence in Public Service, the Chair’s Award from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and the Lamplighter Award from the Eighth Judicial District Gender & Racial Fairness Committee.

Ms Bosse served on the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar from 2014-2021 (chair, 2019-2020). She served on the Section’s Accreditation Committee for six years (2007-2013), including two years as chair; on the Standards Review Committee for three years (2004-2007); and on the Bar Admissions Committee for two years (2002-2004).

Ms. Bosse is an elected member of the American Law Institute. She received a B.A., magna cum laude, and a J.D., cum laude, from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

In nominating Ms. Bosse for the award, Nominating Committee Chair Rebecca Hanner White remarked: “No one, to my mind, better exemplifies the qualities honored by the Kutak Award than Diane Bosse. Throughout her many years on the Accreditation Committee and the Council, Diane brought rigor, thoroughness, thoughtfulness, and far sightedness to the accreditation project, leading by example and inspiring those of us lucky enough to work with and to learn from her to try to meet the high bar she set. Incredibly, Diane did this work on behalf of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education while simultaneously serving as Chair of the New York State Board of Bar Examiners, working tirelessly with the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and practicing law. Her hard work and dedication have enhanced legal education and the bar examination process for a generation of law students and law school graduates sitting for the bar.”

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. Ms. Bosse will be presented with the award at the Section’s Council and Kutak Award Dinner in May in Chicago.

Past Award Recipients

2022 Emerita Chancellor & Dean Mary Kay Kane
2021 Professor Joan S. Howlandq
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