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NLADA Announces Michael Dale and Lisa Freeland as Winners of the 2017 Kutak-Dodds Prizes

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Michael Dale and Lisa FreelandThe National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) has announced that Michael Dale, Executive Director at the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project, and Lisa Freeland, Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Pennsylvania, will receive the 2017 Kutak-Dodds Prizes. Both winners will be honored at the NLADA Exemplar Award Dinner on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Kutak-Dodds Prizes recognize extraordinary contributions to advancing access to justice in both civil legal aid and public defense. Dale is this year’s recipient from the civil community, and Freeland is the recipient in the public defense arena. At the Exemplar Award Dinner, Max Laun, Vice President and General Counsel at Arconic, will also be honored with the 2017 Exemplar Award.

“Every year, NLADA has the privilege of announcing the Kutak-Dodds Prizes to our membership and the legal community at large. We are so pleased that Michael Dale and Lisa Freeland have been selected as the 2017 Kutak-Dodds Prize winners,” said Jo-Ann Wallace, President and CEO of NLADA. “Both individuals have worked tirelessly on behalf of economically disadvantaged and underserved populations and their influence is felt widely. It gives us so much pleasure to have this opportunity to shine the light on impactful issues and extraordinary people in the legal field.”

Dale from Portland, Oregon is being recognized for more than 40 years of impactful litigation and advocacy that has significantly improved the lives of farmworkers and other low-wage workers across the nation.

Freeland in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is being honored for her innovative advocacy on issues of pretrial reform, racial diversity within federal defender organizations, and death row representation.

“With issues of race, immigration, and poverty at the forefront of our national conversation, this year’s nominees illustrate the dedication of our legal field in safeguarding justice for all. We are grateful for their passion and their successful, creative approaches to improving access to justice,” said Patricia Schuett Peterson with the Robert J. Kutak Foundation.

Since 1989, the Kutak-Dodds Prizes have been awarded to attorneys who have significantly contributed to the human dignity and quality of life of individuals unable to afford legal representation. The prizes are jointly sponsored by the Robert J. Kutak Foundation and NLADA in memory of Robert J. Kutak and Kenneth R. Dodds. Each Prize carries a cash award of $10,000.

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 Michael Dale Lisa Freeland the Omaha, Nebraska Office of Kutak Rock LLP, 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.

The National Legal Aid & Defender Association, founded in 1911, is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels through the creation of our public defender systems and other important institutions from The Sentencing Project to the Legal Services Corporation. A leader in the development of national standards for legal aid and indigent defense, NLADA also provides advocacy, training and technical assistance for equal justice advocates across the country.

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