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Dean Emeritus Robert Walsh wins national ABA award

Professor Robert K. Walsh

Bob Walsh, who was the dean of the Wake Forest University School of Law from 1989 to 2007, is widely recognized as one of the leaders in legal education in the United States. Besides directing the rise of the law school into national prominence, Bob has been the chairperson of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Each year, the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar gives its national award, the Robert J. Kutak Award, to the person who “meets the highest standard of professional responsibility and demonstrates substantial achievement towards increased understanding between legal education and the active practice of law.” The award honors the late Robert J. Kutak, a distinguished member of the Section’s governing Council who died suddenly in 1983 after a remarkable career characterized by service to the public and the legal profession.

The ABA has announced that this year’s winner of the Kutak Award will be Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Robert K. Walsh of the Wake Forest University School of Law. The award will be presented to Dean Walsh at a reception and ceremony at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco on Friday, Aug. 6. Past winners of the Kutak Award have been practicing lawyers, academics, and judges, including Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2006.

“This award is a humbling honor,” Walsh said. “It is very meaningful to me because of the man it honors, the wonderful achievements of its past recipients, and the source of the award, an organization for which I have the highest respect.”

Walsh was dean of the Wake Forest University law school from 1989 to 2007 through a period of substantial growth in programs and prestige. He has served the legal profession in a great number of outside activities. He is a past chairperson of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which is the accrediting authority for all law schools as well as one of its two learned societies. He has chaired the Sections two major committees, the Accreditation Committee and the Standards Review Committee. He co-founded the ABA’s Seminar for New Law Deans, which was held at Wake Forest for its first decade. He is currently the president of the American Inns of Court Foundation Board of Trustees, being the second non-judge president of the organization in its 30-year history. He also has been a board member of the National Association of Law Placement Foundation Board of Trustees and the ABA Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative Advisory Council.

Last year, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. appointed Walsh to a five-year term on the Federal Judicial Center Foundation Board. He has also been a vice president of the North Carolina Bar Association and a member of its Board of Governors.