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 2021 Kutak Award

Nominations are sought for the 2021 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 13, 2021.

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 - The Honorable Ruth V. McGregor

The Honorable Ruth V. McGregor is the 2020 Robert J. Kutak Award Recipient

Chief Justice Ruth McGregor served on the Arizona Supreme Court from February 1998 until June 30, 2009. She was the Court’s Chief Justice from June 2005 until her retirement. She was also a member of the Arizona Court of Appeals from 1989 until 1998, where she served as Chief Judge from 1995 to 1997. Before her appointment to the bench, Justice McGregor engaged in the private practice of law as a member of the Fennemore Craig law firm in Phoenix, Arizona. She served as law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor during Justice O’Connor’s first term on the United States Supreme Court.

Justice McGregor received a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree, summa cum laude, from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, and a Master of Laws in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia.

Justice McGregor has participated extensively in professional activities, particularly in those organizations dedicated to assuring a fair and impartial judiciary. Among other activities, she has served as an officer and a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Inns of Court Foundation, the National Association of Women Judges, and Justice at Stake; as a board member of the Conference of Chief Justices and the American Judicature Society; and as a member of the Council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, including a term as Chair.

Current Chair of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Diane F. Bosse remarked, “Justice McGregor, through her career as a lawyer and a judge, and through her years of service to the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, has nurtured and strengthened the bonds among legal education, the judiciary, and the practicing bar. It is most fitting that she be honored with this prestigious award, in recognition of her accomplishments, her dedication to the profession, and her significant contributions to the work of the Section."

Justice McGregor currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Future of Arizona and of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. Since her retirement, in addition to chairing several commissions for the Arizona Supreme Court, she has completed a number of investigations for public entities and acted as a special master for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, as mediator for the City of Phoenix in public transit disputes, and as special administrator for the Arizona Supreme Court.

Justice McGregor has received several state and national awards for her work in the judicial system, including the Dwight D. Opperman Award from the American Judicature Society; the A. Sherman Christensen Award from the American Inns of Court Foundation; the James A. Walsh Award from the Arizona State Bar; the Marilyn R. Seymann Award from the Arizona Foundation for Women; the Sarah Herring Sorin Award from the Arizona Women Lawyers Association; and outstanding alumna awards from Arizona State University and the University of Iowa.

In nominating Justice McGregor for the award, Dean Tony García Padilla, Section Nominating Committee Chair stated: “This recognition to Ruth McGregor is an applause to the many leaders of the legal community — judges, practicing attorneys, legislators, executive functionaries — working for the betterment of legal education.”

Justice McGregor will be honored at a reception in November 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

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