Judge Harry Edwards, D.C. Court of Appeals, Receives ABA Legal Education Award
CHICAGO, Aug. 6, 2004 – Harry T. Edwards, circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, will receive the Robert J. Kutak Award for his outstanding contributions to legal education and to increased collaboration between legal education and the practicing bar. The award is given annually by the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and will be presented at a reception Aug. 6 during the ABA Annual Meeting in Atlanta.
Edwards, who taught at the University of Michigan Law School and Harvard Law School prior to his appointment to the bench in 1980, continued his strong interest in legal education and the relationship between the legal academy and the practice of law. He has taught as a visiting lecturer at many of the leading law schools in the country since 1980.
In 1992 he published an article in the Michigan Law Review, “The Growing Disjunction Between Legal Education and the Legal Profession,” that is widely regarded as one of the most important discussions of the mutual responsibilities of the legal profession and those who prepare students for entry into that profession.
Edwards graduated from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and attended Michigan Law School, receiving his J.D. with distinction in 1965. He served as an editor of the Michigan Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.
Upon graduation, Edwards practiced law for five years before beginning his teaching career at the University of Michigan Law School. He left Ann Arbor to join the Harvard law faculty, but rejoined the Michigan law faculty in 1977, where he continued to teach until his appointment to the bench. During the decade of the 1970s, his teaching and writing concentrated in labor law and related areas, including collective bargaining, arbitration and negotiation, and public sector labor relations. He has co-authored four books and published numerous articles in these areas.
As an African American, Edwards also has been a noteworthy role model for members of both minority and majority communities in America. He is an exacting jurist who demands superior written and oral advocacy from those who appear before his court, and he has been an effective mentor to newer judges in the federal judiciary.
The Kutak Award is named for Robert J. Kutak, a founding partner of the national law firm of Kutak Rock LLP. Kutak, who passed away in 1983, dedicated his career to public service and the improvement of legal education and the legal profession. He was a member of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and chair of the ABA Commission on Evaluation of the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers, which was adopted in the 1980s.
The Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is a 6,500-member group that strives to improve legal education and lawyer licensing by fostering cooperation among legal educators, practitioners and judges through workshops, conferences and publications.
Through the law school approval process the section, through its Accreditation Committee and the Section Council, determines law schools’ adherence with the American Bar Association Standards for Approval of Law Schools and recommends the accreditation of law schools by the association. The section also studies and makes recommendations for improvement of the bar admission process.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law in a democratic society.