John Feerick, FCRH ’58, LAW ’61, professor and former dean of the Fordham School of Law, has been named the 2011 recipient of the American Bar Association’s Robert J. Kutak Award.
The Kutak Award is given annually to honor someone who has made significant contributions to the collaboration of the academy, the bench and the bar.
The association chose Feerick for his lifelong service to the bar, the judiciary and legal education. During his distinguished career, he served as:
• an adviser to the ABA’s Commission on Electoral College Reform;
• a member of the ABA’s Special Constitutional Convention Committee; and
• president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, a rare assignment for an academic.
Feerick said the award was meaningful for him because when he became dean of Fordham Law in 1982, he worked a great deal with the ABA to resolve issues involving the accreditation review process.
“The fact that this award is being given to a Fordham Law professor means that the school is held in very high esteem nationally as it moves along in the 21st century,” he said.
Feerick is perhaps best known for his service as a member of the ABA Conference on Presidential Inability and Succession in 1964, which led to his participation in the drafting of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.
He also served the New York City Bar as a member or chair of several committees—including the Special Committee on the New York Constitutional Convention of 1967—and was the founding chair of the New York County Lawyers’ Association Justice Center.
Upon stepping down as dean in 2002, he founded the Feerick Center for Social Justice, which he directs. He was the Leonard F. Manning Professor of Law from 2002 to 2004, and has held the Sidney C. Norris Chair of Law in Public Service since 2004.
“John is one of Fordham Law’s great treasures,” said Michael M. Martin, dean of the law school. “In every one of his many distinguished roles throughout his career—as a lawyer, arbitrator, professor, dean, director, mentor—he has practiced law in the service of others. The entire Fordham Law community is grateful for all of his contributions to the law school, and we are proud that the ABA has decided to honor his many achievements with the Kutak Award.”
The Kutak Award is named for a founding partner of the national law firm of Kutak Rock LLP who dedicated his career to public service and the improvement of legal education and the legal profession.
Feerick received the award on Aug. 5 at a reception in Toronto.