LAWRENCE — A retired attorney and devoted community servant, an international criminal law expert and a Kansas Supreme Court chief justice will receive the University of Kansas School of Law’s highest honor at a private ceremony this week. John W. (Jack) Brand, Class of 1959; Nicholas Kittrie, Class of 1950, and Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, Class of 1982, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes graduates for their professional achievements, contributions to the legal field and service to their communities and the school.
John W. (Jack) Brand completed his bachelor’s degree in history at KU before receiving his law degree in 1959. His career with the Lawrence law firm Stevens & Brand, co-founded by his father in 1925, spanned nearly 48 years. Brand represented Commerce Bank and its Lawrence predecessors, serving as bank director for 38 years, and assisted the Kansas Department of Insurance with receivership litigation. In 1997, the Kansas Supreme Court appointed him to the Kansas Justice Initiative, a comprehensive study of the Kansas court system. He has served as Douglas County Bar Association president, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Kansas Bar Foundation, a member of two governmental ethics commissions and as Legislative Committee chair and Ethics Committee chair of the Kansas Bar Association, receiving the KBA Outstanding Service Award in 1999. A community leader, Brand has served as president of the Lawrence United Way fund, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and the Lawrence Rotary club as well as moderator of Plymouth Congregational Church. He taught trial practice at KU Law and served on the school’s Board of Governors.
Born in the United Kingdom, Nicholas Kittrie is a distinguished University Professor of Law and former dean of the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. In addition to his A.B., LL.B. and M.A. from KU, Kittrie studied at the London School of Economics and the universities of Cairo and Chicago, served as a Visiting Fellow at Yale University Law School and earned an LL.M. and an S.J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. An expert in American and international public and criminal law, Kittrie has served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and is past president of the American Society of Criminology and chair of the United Nations Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Kittrie has authored and edited more than 15 books and numerous articles, and he is often consulted as an expert on political offenders, terrorist activities, war crimes, drugs and alcohol, extradition, penology and criminal sentencing. He travels extensively and is fluent in multiple languages, lecturing at universities and congresses in Europe, Asia and Africa. Kittrie has been a legal consultant to several foreign governments and to the United States Vice-President’s Commission on Terrorism.
A fourth-generation Kansan, Chief Justice Lawton Nuss serves on the Kansas Supreme Court. He graduated from KU in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in English and history before serving as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. After his discharge in 1979, he returned to KU for law school, graduating in 1982. Nuss began his career with Clark, Mize & Linville in Salina, spending 20 years representing corporations, individuals, defendants and the government in civil and criminal cases. Nuss served as chairman of the Board of Editors of the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association, president of the Saline-Ottawa County Bar Association, mediator for the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas and president of the Kansas Association of Defense Counsel, which also awarded him the Distinguished Service Award and Defense Research Institute Exceptional Performance Citation. Gov. Bill Graves appointed Nuss to the Kansas Supreme Court in 2002, and Nuss became chief justice in 2010. He is currently the Supreme Court liaison to the Kansas District Judges’ Association. He has served as chairman of the Kansas Judicial Council and as Supreme Court liaison for the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, the Client Protection Fund Commission and the Kansas Board of Examiners of Court Reporters.
View previous Distinguished Alumni Award recipients on the law school’s website.
Distinguished Alumni Award recipients will be honored along with James Woods Green Medallion honorees and members of the Dean’s Club. Named after the school’s first dean, the Medallion recognizes the school’s major financial supporters. This year’s honorees include the Bever Dye LC; Walter L. Cofer, L’81, and Nicola R. Heskett; Janice Miller Karlin, L’80, and Calvin J. Karlin, L’77; Matthew, L’84, and Lori Keenan; Jennifer Johnson Kinzel, L’78; Bradley G. Korell, L’97; Teresa M. Meagher, L’79 and T. Bradley Manson; Deborah Cawley Moeller, L’91, and Michael Moeller, L’91; Eric, L’84, and Tracy Namee; Mike, L’84, and Elaine Riggs; Sen. John Vratil, L’71; Steve, L’83, and Sandra Walton; Larry, L’57, and Beverly Worrall, Michelle Worral Tilton, L’88; and Rachel Worrall Smith, L’90.
The awards will be presented at an invitation-only dinner Saturday, May 2, in Lawrence.