Law professor receives Tapping Reeve Legal Educator Award from Connecticut Bar Association

May 03, 2023

carrie kaas, an older woman with short white hair and glasses, smiles and looks at something off camera. there is a young female student sitting out of focus in front of her

Carolyn Wilkes Kaas, of the School of Law, earned the Tapping Reeve Legal Educator Award at the Connecticut Bar Association’s annual awards celebration on May 3.

Kaas, associate dean of experiential education, associate professor of law and co-director of the Quinnipiac School of Law’s Center for Dispute Resolution, was honored at the CBA’s “Celebrate with the Stars” event in Plantsville.

Kaas was recognized for her sustained commitment and significant contributions to the cause of legal education.

“I am honored that my colleagues nominated me, and the Connecticut Bar Association chose to recognize the work I have done at Quinnipiac Law to develop and curate our deep and varied experiential curriculum, where there are multiple practical opportunities for every student,” Kaas said. “I am also proud to have made a contribution to the national movement to transform legal education to better prepare law students to practice law in our changing world. Thank you all for honoring my life’s work.”

Kaas, who joined Quinnipiac in 1989, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cornell University and graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law, summa cum laude. 

“For decades, Carrie Kaas has devoted herself to social justice and to the education of new lawyers who practice with skill and empathy,” said Jennifer Brown, dean of the School of Law. “Carrie was appointed the associate dean of experiential education at Quinnipiac Law in recognition of the vital role she plays in facilitating our students’ learning. She has focused on practical, hands-on settings: simulation courses, in-house clinics, and field placements in externships.”

Kaas’s primary clinical teaching is with externship courses, and her doctrinal teaching is in the areas of family law and dispute resolution, including mediation and interviewing and counseling.

Kaas is active in the family law and dispute resolution national academic and practice communities as well, including publishing several articles and a book chapter in these fields. She serves on a number of national and state boards and committees and was the editor and author of a recent book on the transformation of legal education.

“Carrie painstakingly collaborates with students to assess their skills and professional development, and then assists them in securing opportunities uniquely suited to their own career aspirations,” Brown added. “Through this work, Carrie nurtures ‘the whole lawyer’ – enabling our graduates to enter the law with a strong sense of their own abilities and professional identity.”

Previous recipients of the Tapping Reeve Legal Educator Award from QU Law include Brown (2020), Professor Marilyn Ford (2016) and Brad Saxton, a professor and dean emeritus who was honored in 2013.

Established in 2012, the Tapping Reeve Legal Educator Award is presented to a member of the Connecticut Bar Association who is a member of the faculty, a clinical instructor or an adjunct instructor at UConn Law School, Quinnipiac Law School, Yale Law School or Western New England Law School or a member of the CBA who has contributed greatly to the legal education of their colleagues. The recipient must have demonstrated sustained commitment and made significant contributions to the cause of legal education in the state and have distinguished themself as a legal educator of the highest quality as a teacher, scholarly writer or both.

Tapping Reeve was an American lawyer, educator and jurist. He is recognized as founding an important and influential —and perhaps the first in America— law school in Litchfield, Connecticut.

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