Calling All Equal Justice Heroes: Nominations Now Open for the National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s 2013 Kutak-Dodds Prizes

The National Legal Aid & Defender Association is now seeking nominations for the 2013 Kutak-Dodds Prize, an annual award that goes to a lawyer whose work makes a significant contribution to improving the human dignity of the poor.

Nominations are now open for the 2013 Kutak-Dodds Prizes. The prestigious award annually honors the accomplishments of civil legal aid attorneys, public defenders, assigned counsel or public interest lawyers who, through the practice of law, are contributing in a significant way to the enhancement of human dignity and quality of life of those persons unable to afford legal representation. The Prizes are intended to spotlight the work of practicing attorneys who are engaged for most, if not all, of their time in the actual practice of civil or criminal law that reinforces the principle and reality of justice for all under the law. In commemoration of NLADA’s 90th anniversary, the second Prize was added in 2001 to recognize the visionaries of both the civil legal aid and public defense communities in the same year.

The 2013 Kutak-Dodds Prizes will honor two legal advocates for equal justice, one from the civil legal aid community and another from the public defense community. Each Prize carries a cash award of $10,000.

DEADLINE Monday, July 15, 2013 is the 2013 nominations deadline.

The Kutak-Dodds Prizes, established in 1989, are jointly sponsored by the Robert J. Kutak Foundation and NLADA and bestowed in memory of Robert J. Kutak and Kenneth R. Dodds. Both men were former partners in the Omaha, Nebraska Office of Kutak-Rock, and practitioners and advocates of public service, legal education, and high ethical standards throughout their lives. In addition to legal services for the poor, the Kutak Foundation supports education in professional ethics, minority scholarships and a variety of other public interest projects. The Foundation is maintained by Mr. Kutak’s former friends and associates.

For a list of previous Kutak-Dodds Prize winners, follow this link.


To qualify for consideration, the nominee must be an attorney employed by or affiliated with an organization serving persons who cannot afford to pay for legal representation in either civil or criminal matters. The nominee also may be an attorney working for a public interest, nonprofit organization. Nominees must have at least 10 years of legal practice in legal services or public interest work and must be currently so engaged.

Factors that will be considered by the selection committee include:

  • Personal vision and commitment;
  • Nature of the need(s) addressed by the nominee’s advocacy;
  • Innovation in the nominee’s work;
  • Impact of successes achieved through effective advocacy; and
  • Difficulty of circumstances surrounding the achievement.

The Kutak-Dodds Prizes are given to nominees who are not primarily managers or directors, but are currently involved in legal advocacy and/or active representation of clients on a daily basis in the judicial, legislative, administrative or public policy arena. The prizes honor a history of accomplishments and are not intended to fund specific future endeavors. No conditions are imposed on the recipient’s expenditure of the cash prize.

Winners will be honored at NLADA’s 2013 Exemplar Award Dinner in Washington, DC on Thursday, September 19, 2013. For complete information on the nominations process, please visit the NLADA website.

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