Past Kutak-Dodds Honorees

Established in 1989 and presented each year at NLADA's Annual Dinner in Washington, DC, the Kutak-Dodds Prize honors an equal justice advocate "who, through the practice of law, has contributed in a significant way to the enhancement of the human dignity and quality of life of those persons unable to afford legal representation." The award is jointly sponsored by NLADA and the Robert J. Kutak Foundation and carries a cash prize of $10,000. Beginning in 2001, two prizes are given each year, one for exceptional work in civil legal aid and the other for outstanding service in public defense. The Kutak-Dodds Prize is named for the late Robert J. Kutak, a member of the first Legal Services Corporation Board, and the late Kenneth R. Dodds, former partners in the Omaha office of Kutak Rock. Bob Kutak dedicated his career to public service and legal education, and Ken Dodds was well known for his life-long interest in providing legal services to the disadvantaged.

Past recipients include: 

  • 2016 - Jane Perkins, National Health Law Program                                                                                  Lisa Greenman, Federal Death Penalty Resource Project
  • 2015 - Richard Rothschild, Western Center on Law & Poverty
    Kenneth Rose, The Center for Death Penalty Litigation
  • 2014 - Ellen Katz, William E. Morris Institute for Justice
    Edward Ungvarsky, Office of the Capital Defender for Northern Virginia
  • 2013 - Lisa Krisher, Georgia Legal Services Program
    Sandra Levick, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
  • 2012 - Abigail Turner, Legal Aid Justice Center, VA
    Kim Dvorchak, Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition
  • 2011 - Wendy Pollack, The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
    Samuel S. Dalton, Solo Practitioner, Jefferson Parish, LA
  • 2010 - Alan Alop, Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
    J. McGregor Smyth, The Bronx Defenders
  • 2009 - Julie Levin, Central Office of Legal Aid of Western Missouri
    Danalynn Recer, Harris County, Texas
    Eileen Hirsch, State of Wisconsin Office of The State Public Defender
  • 2008 - Charles F. Elsesser, Jr., Florida Legal Services, Inc.
    Eileen Hirsch, State of Wisconsin Office of The State Public Defender
  • 2007 - William C. McNeill, Legal Aid Society - Employment Law Center
    Dennis R. Murphy, Legal Aid Society, New York, NY
  • 2006 - Sharon Dietrich, Managing Attorney for Public Benefits and Employment for Community Legal Services, Inc.
    Melinda Pendergraph, Appellate Attorney, Missouri Public Defender System
  • 2005 - William Grimm, Senior Attorney, National Center for Youth Law
    Brownlow Speer, Chief Appellate Attorney, Committee for Public Counsel Services, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • 2004 - William J. Brennan, Jr., Director of the Home Defense Project of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society
    Roberto Nájera, Deputy Public Defender in the Alternate Defender Office of the Office of the Public Defender of Contra Costa County
  • 2003 - Lois Wood, managing attorney, of the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation
    Stephen L. Richards, deputy defender of the Death Penalty Trial Assistance Division, of the Office of the Illinois State Appellate Defender
  • 2002 - Harry J. Fulton, Chief of the Mental Health Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
    Fred Fuchs, Attorney with Legal Aid of Central Texas
  • 2001 - Christine B. Hastedt, Public Policy Specialist, Maine Equal Justice Partners, Inc.
    Fred B. Last, Wayne E. Natale & P. Jeffrey Wintner, Gloucester County Regional Office, New Jersey Office of the Public Defender
  • 2000 - Robin Steinberg, Founder and Executive Director of Bronx Public Defenders
  • 1999 - Steve Fredrickson, Staff Attorney, Columbia Legal Services
  • 1998 - John M. Bouman, Co-Founder and Director of the Poverty Law Project, a public-interest law office of the National Clearinghouse for Legal Services in Chicago
  • 1997 - Cheryl Rafert, Attorney, Death Row Defender, St. Louis, MO
  • 1996 - Tanya Neiman, Executive Director, Volunteer Legal Services Program, San Francisco, CA
  • 1995 - Ellen Hines Smith, Executive Director, Piedmont Legal Services, Spartanburg, SC
  • 1994 - Elaine R. Jones, Director, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • 1993 - Ralph Santiago Abascal, General Counsel, California Rural Legal Assistance, San Francisco, CA
  • 1992 - Stephen Bright, Director, Southern Center for Human Rights
  • 1991 - John Rosenberg, Director, Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, Inc.
  • 1990 - Martha Bergmark, for her Civil Rights and Legal Services work in Mississippi
  • 1989 - Florence Roisman, for her pioneering work as a national housing advocate