It is hard for me to believe that my term as President is already 2/3 complete. Nevertheless, in the words of Robert Frost, “I have miles to go before I sleep.” With the number of early morning flights that I have had to take, that is becoming literally true.
One of the things that has most impressed me on my travels is the enthusiasm for and dedication to the College that Fellows demonstrate at the events that I attend. I am often thanked (sometimes profusely) for taking the time to attend, even though, as the saying goes, “It’s my job.”
I have been reflecting on how we can capitalize on that dedication to, and enthusiasm for, the College so that it is in play all year around. There is no question that one gets more out of being a Fellow in the College by being involved. So that causes me to think about what can be done to get more Fellows to be active in the College on a regular and ongoing basis.
The fact is that there is lots to be done at local, regional, and national levels. First, not everyone can serve at the same time on a State or Province Committee. But, on a regular basis, every Fellow could take the time to try to identify at least one trial lawyer who might be a good candidate to be considered for Fellowship. This would be particularly important if Fellows focus on diverse lawyers and younger lawyers. Having identified a candidate, that name could be passed on for consideration by the State or Province Committee. While I would not want to overwhelm those Committees, having good suggestions for candidates from a broad cross-section of Fellows seems to be one way, if not the best way, to promote diversity and could assist significantly in making the College “younger.”
Second, we have nearly 40 General Committees and Task Forces. Our policy has been to ensure that any Fellow who requests to be on a Committee will have that request honored if at all possible. So again, I would urge you to look at our list of Committees and Task Forces and let us know what interests you.
Third, the College has a number of awards: the Emil Gumpert Award; the Beverley McLachlin Access to Justice Award; the Griffin Bell Award for Courageous Advocacy; the Sandra Day O'Connor Jurist Award; and the Samuel E. Gates Litigation Award. The Committees in charge of those awards are constantly looking for nominations. So again, I would urge you to take the time to look at the criteria for the awards and make an effort to identify someone you think might be appropriate for a particular award and put his or her name forward.
Fourth, we also have student moot court and trial court competitions in both the United States and Canada. The Committees in charge of those competitions are frequently looking for volunteers to serve as judges, particularly at the regional competitions. I have talked to so many people who have done this work who have found it well worth the time and most rewarding. Give it a try.
Fifth, our Access to Justice and Legal Services Committee continues to look for appropriate candidates to serve as Access to Justice Distinguished Pro Bono Fellows who are paired with a partner organization to provide pro bono services on an ongoing basis. Particularly for senior Fellows, this offers an opportunity to do many of the things we wished we could do while still in full-time, active trial practice. If you are interested, contact Mark Surprenant (Mark.Surprenant@arlaw.com).
Sixth, our Task Force on Mentoring continues to look for input from Fellows on developing recommendations for mentoring and on how to create opportunities for younger lawyers to get work experience. Take the time to share your ideas. Please do so now, as the Task Force hopes to complete its work by July. Email Regents John Day (email@example.com) and Kathleen Flynn Peterson (KFP@ciresiconlin.com).
These are only some of the ways that you can find “things to do” as a Fellow of the College and ensure that being a Fellow means more than just “having the plaque on the wall.”
* * * * * * * * * *
One of my more recent and interesting trips was to Puerto Rico. State Committee Chair Enrique Mendoza-Méndez had organized a meeting with Chief Judge Gustavo Gelpí. Almost half of the Puerto Rico Fellows attended and participated in a one-and-a-half-hour discussion about the Court and the College. This is the first time that anything like this has happened in Puerto Rico. The Fellows later expressed how important it was to them to have this opportunity. This was definitely one of those times where I felt very proud to be the President and a Fellow of our organization.
Front row, from left to right:
Enrique Mendoza-Méndez, Puerto Rico State Chair; Jeffrey Leon, President; Hon. Gustavo Gelpí, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court-Puerto Rico; Martin Murphy, Regent.
Back row, from left to right:
Salvador Antonetti; Eugene Hestres; Charles Cuprill; Past State Committee Chair David Indiano; Ramón Rivera; Immediate Past Chair Francisco Colón-Pagán; Eric Tulla; Past State Committee Chair Ruben Nigaglioni; Raúl Arias-Marxuach.
There was also a dinner in the evening that was attended by an equal number of Fellows and their spouses. In my remarks, I told the Fellows that their colleagues in the College were very much aware of the ongoing problems created by the debilitating impact of Hurricane Maria. I indicated that if there was more that the College could do to help in a practical way, then they should let me know. After the dinner, I was approached by two Fellows. They said, “We very much appreciated your remarks. There is a way that you can help. Please make Fellows aware that the situation here in Puerto Rico remains very difficult.” There are still more than 30,000 families in Puerto Rico with the blue tarps provided by F.E.M.A., after two years and with the hurricane season approaching. The people of Puerto Rico are not looking for assistance as a favor, but as something to which they are entitled. The Fellows insisted that this was not a matter of politics. There are real and significant ongoing problems. So, they asked me to ask you “to not forget our plight and perhaps in this way, we can receive the attention required from the appropriate government agencies” to restore normal life in Puerto Rico.
I consider it an honor to be able to convey this message. It means a great deal to our Puerto Rican Fellows to be in your thoughts. They recognize that to many, Puerto Rico remains “an unknown land” and “is not taken into consideration at many levels.” Indeed, it was not until 1972 that Puerto Rican trial lawyers were recognized and became part of the College. I was able to assure our friends that the College is proud to have them as valued colleagues in our organization. And I would urge you, if you have ways you can help, please take whatever appropriate steps available to you.
* * * * * * * * * *
The registrations material for the Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia will be mailed out towards the end of this month. We are expecting this event to be well attended and I would urge you to register early. Vancouver is a spectacular city and the location of our hotel is right in the heart of the city's natural beauty. The long-range forecast for September 26-29 indicates that it will be PLEASANTLY WARM AND A LOW CHANCE OF RAIN! That will translate into our being able to get the very best that Vancouver has to offer. I hope to see you all there and be able to say, particularly if you take me up on some of my earlier suggestions, “thank you for all you do for the College.”
Make plans to join the College in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia for the 2019 Annual Meeting. Registration materials will be sent later this month. Several tours--before, during, and after the meeting-- are available to experience the beauty, culture, and fine dining of the area. Sample tours include: Capilano Suspension Bridge; biking in Stanley Park; food tour in Gas Town; Grouse Mountain. Full-day tours will be offered to Whistler in the coastal mountains of British Columbia and the Sea to Sky Gondola with Shannon Falls. After the meeting, two three-day tours will offer unforgettable moments in the Okanogan Valley and Victoria. The lineup of speakers include: Gideon Arthurs, CEO, National Theatre School of Canada; Chief Phil Fontaine, Founder, Ishkonigan, Inc.; Philip K. Howard, J.D., Lawyer and Author; Jon Krakauer, Author; Daniel Barstow Magraw, Jr., J.D., Visiting Professor; Nicholas Schmidle, Author; Justice Robert J. Sharpe, Judge, Court of Appeal of Ontario; Suzanne Spaulding, J.D., Senior Adviser, Center for Strategic & International Studies.
New Community Site Launches for Committee Discussions
President Leon announced the launch of ACTL Connected, the new Fellow-only online community. Through ACTL Connected, Fellows will be able to connect, engage, and share information in real time. To visit ACTL Connected, click on My ACTL located at the top right in the blue navigation bar on the actl.com site. For questions, visit the FAQ page here
Speaker Videos, Photos Available from Spring Meeting in La Quinta
Three speaker videos from the 2019 Spring Meeting in La Quinta are available on the College YouTube page
. Photos from the La Quinta meeting are also available through Shutterfly
. You may view the photos without an account. However, to download or order photos you must log in to Shutterfly or create an account.
Foundation Funds Projects
Thanks to the generous support of Fellows, the Foundation provided financial assistance to different programs that fit the core purposes of the Foundation. At the time this eBulletin was posted, the Foundation had awarded the following:
- $100,000 Emil Gumpert Award Recipient – Indigenous Human Rights Pilot Program of Pro Bono Students Canada
- $50,000 – Tucson Home Project: Step Up to Justice
- $20,000 - National District Attorneys Association for scholarships for participants to attend trial advocacy seminars
- $5,000 – Montana Trial Advocacy Seminar
- $2,000 – Maine Trial Lawyers Association Maine College of Trial Advocacy
- $2,000 – “Masters of Litigation” CLE Program with Temple Law School
- $2,000 – The Missouri Coalition Right to Counsel
The Foundation not only relies on the contributions of Fellows to make these grants possible, but many of the programs the Foundation funds rely on the Fellows’ professional expertise and local connections. For example, the Foundation Trustees worked with Fellows in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico to identify organizations who could best leverage the grant money in those places to assist with needs caused by the hurricanes. Fellows are the organizers of the programs in Montana and Maine. Many Emil Gumpert Award recipients over the years have been nominated by Fellows.
If you have not made a donation yet this year and want to help continue funding for important initiatives like those just described, you may donate online at any time: www.actl.com/donate. Your contribution is valued and it makes a difference.
District of Columbia
The Washington, D.C. Fellows held a panel presentation on Apr. 8, 2019 on “The Life and Trials of Edward Bennett Williams” at the Georgetown University School of Law. The program was presented by Fellows Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr., former Federal Legislation Committee Chair John J. Buckley, Jr., and K. Chris Todd, along with David Kendall. Over 200 attended the presentation.
The Central Florida Fellows and their guests gathered May 11, 2019 at the University Club in downtown Orlando for their 4th annual dinner. Fellow Mark Horwitz
and his wife Susan were the hosts for this event.
On Jun. 12, 2019, following the Kentucky State Committee meeting, three Kentucky Fellows, former Kentucky State Committee Chair Richard W. Hay, former Kentucky State Committee Chair John W. Phillips, and J. Guthrie True, along with Deputy Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court Lisabeth Tabor Hughes and law professor Grace M. Giesel, from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, will present a 1-hour CLE at the 2019 Kentucky Bar Association Annual Convention. The topic will be “Handling the Challenges of Pretrial and Trial Practice Ethically and Professionally.” On Jul. 26, 2019, Kentucky Fellows will host an appellate advocacy training program sponsored by the ACTL and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers jointly with the Kentucky Supreme Court. This training program, for approximately 25 public interest lawyers, will be held at Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law. It will also be open to 25 members of the Kentucky Bar Association who are interested in developing their appellate advocacy skills. A 4-hour CLE credit will be given to those in attendance. On Sept. 13 and 14, the Kentucky Fellows, along with the Kentucky Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, will hold a trial skills training program for public interest lawyers in Louisville. The Friday afternoon program, Sept. 13, will consist of lectures and demonstrations. The Saturday program on Sept. 14 will consist of 5 to 6 mock trials with Kentucky Fellows serving as mentors and judges. Law students from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law will assist in serving as witnesses, parties, and bailiffs.
In late April, Task Force for Boot Camp Trial Training Programs Co-Chair and Maryland Fellow Paul Mark Sandler presented and the Maryland Fellows co-sponsored the reenactment of the Supreme Court argument in the case of McCulloch v. Maryland. Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera of Maryland’s highest court, The Court of Appeals presided over the proceeding with two other jurists. On May 1, Sandler and Task Force for Boot Camp Trial Training Programs Co-Chair Paul Bekman, put on a trial training program for 150 young lawyers in New York City. The case study for the day was the Rosenberg spy case, and the program was held in the original courtroom where the trial took place. On May 18, “The Trial of Al Capone” a play written by Sandler, was presented for the first time at Stevenson University. The play was produced by the Maryland State Bar Association with many Fellows appearing in the cast. All proceeds from the play are dedicated to Access to Justice, an organization that strives to provide equal access to justice for all Marylanders.
The Maryland Fellows’ signature program, the Master Class in Trial Advocacy, involving 24 students from the University of Maryland School of Law and the University of Baltimore School of Law was another success. This trial course, which is presented by 15-plus Fellows over the course of the semester, was orchestrated and moderated this year by Fellow Robert L. Hanley, Jr. The class (based on a medical malpractice wrongful death case) has been presented by the Maryland Fellows during the winter/spring semester for the past eight years.
The Massachusetts Fellows held their Third Annual Trial Skills Seminar on May 13, 2019 at Suffolk University Law School. The session was well-attended and was presented to a sold-out audience. There were over 200 young lawyers who participated in the Skills Seminar, with over 50 Fellows who participated as well. This year the presentation was on cross-examination. The first year was opening statements and the second year was direct examination. Three justices of the courts, who are Fellows of College, were involved: Judicial Fellow the Hon. Robert Ullmann,
Associate Justice of the Massachusetts
Superior Courts; Judicial Fellow the Hon. Edward J. McDonough, Jr.
, Judge of the Massachusetts Appeals Court; and Judicial Fellow Hon. Page Kelley
, Magistrate Judge, U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts. Former Regent Elizabeth N. Mulvey
participated as well.
Missouri Fellows will conduct two mock trial seminars in June 2019. The Kansas City seminar, "Trial of a MedMal Case by the Masters" is set for June 4 at the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Event Center. The St. Louis seminar, "Trial Wars - Return of the Jury" is set for June 11 at Saint Louis University School of Law, John K. Pruellage Courtroom. Fellows Paul L. Redfearn III and Dawn M. Parsons are the co-chairs of the Kansas City seminar. Fellows John G. Simon and Amy Collignon Gunn are the co-chairs of the St. Louis Seminar.
On May 1, 2019, several New York Fellows participated in an innovative trial practice program for more than 140 aspiring trial lawyers. Using the historic trial of United States vs Ethel and Julius Rosenberg as the model, attendees were led through opening, direct, cross and summation, in a daylong program held at the Southern District Courthouse in the very same courtroom where the Rosenbergs were tried in 1952.
The program was created and led by Task Force for Boot Camp Trial Training Programs Co-Chair, Paul Mark Sandler, with the able assistance of Immediate Past Chair of the New York-Downstate Committee, J. Bruce Maffeo and New York-Downstate Committee Chair Robert J. Jossen. Among the New York Fellows who gave outstanding demonstrations or who participated in the intriguing panel discussions were: Michael F. Bachner; Matthew E. Fishbein; soon to be inducted Fellow Joan Illuzzi-Orbon; Robert Jossen; Judith A. Livingston; Susan G. Kellman; Regent Larry H. Krantz; Bruce Maffeo; Susan R. Necheles; David E. Patton; and Roland G. Riopelle. In addition, Judicial Fellow Hon. Jed S. Rakoff, Senior U.S. District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, participated in several aspects of the program, together with other judges from the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and from Maryland. The program was jointly sponsored by the ABA Litigation Section and included a riveting discussion of the story of the Rosenberg trial and its historical background. This truly was the College and its Fellows acting at their best, demonstrating the skills which make them stand out as trial lawyers, and providing public service to the bar.
Ontario Fellows, in partnership with The Advocates' Society, presented The Advocate Matters: Spring Symposium 2019 on Apr. 24, 2019. The practical program, a continuing professional development and networking event for civil litigators, included presentations on the following topics: The Year in Review: Key Cases in 2018; Fireside Chat with The Honourable Eleanore A. Cronk (retired), Court of Appeal of Ontario; Electronic Trial Advocacy; Demonstration & Discussion: What Category of Expert is your Opponent Calling and Why Does it Matter?; Some Reflection and a Few Lessons from Public Inquiries. Two panels were also held, with the first panel discussing “A Question of Advocacy: Handling Questions from the Bench” and the second panel presenting on “Evidentiary Issues: What Every Advocate Needs to Know.” The program included a keynote presentation from Fellow and Griffin Bell Award for Courageous Advocacy recipient Andrew J. Savage as well as a presentation to Pro Bono Students Canada and their new pilot, the Indigenous Human Rights Program, the 2019 recipient of the Emil Gumpert Award.
The following Fellows participated in the program: The Honourable W. Ian C. Binnie; Honorary Fellow The Honourable Eleanore A. Cronk; Immediate Past Chair of the Ontario Province Committee Scott K. Fenton; Regent Sandra A. Forbes; Brian J. Gover; President Jeffrey S. Leon, LSM; Beverly McLachlin Access to Justice Award Committee Chair Guy J. Pratte; soon to be inducted Fellows Matthew P. Gottlieb and Linda M. Plumpton; Linda Rothstein; Special Problems in the Administration of Justice (Canada) Chair Kent E. Thomson; and former Access to Justice and Legal Services Committee Chair Sylvia H. Walbolt.
Recognizing that a well-educated judiciary is essential to the fair and impartial administration of justice, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has expanded continuing judicial education requirements for the more than 1,000 elected jurists in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At the urging of Judicial Fellow, the Hon. Christine Donohue, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Fellows have begun to work with the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts to develop “intentionally interdisciplinary” programs that will combine law, science, and technology. Fellows John P. Gismondi and Pennsylvania State Committee Vice Chair John C. Conti will present the first of such programs in the fall of 2019.
Fellows David Romano, who serves as the Outreach Liaison for West Virginia, and Bill Galeota, who serves as the West Virginia State Committee Chair, joined Judge Thomas Kleeh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia as judges for the finals of the Marlyn E. Lugar Trial Competition at the West Virginia University College of Law. Later, Galeota presented WV ACTL’s traditional honoraria to the finalists.
Federal Criminal Procedure Committee
The Board of Regents recently approved a White Paper that furthers the mission of the College, in the area of criminal justice, to maintain and improve the “standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice through education and public statements on important legal issues relating to its mission.”
The ACTL strongly supports recent criminal justice reforms aimed at addressing the incarceration rate in the United States and urges full consideration of reforms at both the state and federal level through the White Paper, Statement on Criminal Justice Reform (“Statement”).
Drafted by the ACTL’s Federal Criminal Procedure Committee, the Statement discusses the fact that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. It provides important background to explain how the U.S. reached these high incarceration rates and discusses recent innovative criminal justice initiatives that have resulted in reducing incarceration rates.
The Statement highlights some notable criminal justice reforms, including the recent enactment by the federal government of the FIRST STEP Act, short for “Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person" Act. The Statement also discusses reforms, including those on the state and local levels, that have had a notably positive impact, including: bail reform; the opportunity for courts to guide first-time offenders to diversion programs; efforts to reduce prison terms for certain non-violent offenses; and certain multi-faceted approaches that involve branches of the criminal justice system and the community to provide a structure to enable successful re-entry into society after release from custody.
In the latest white paper from the Jury Committee
, “Improving Jury Deliberations Through Jury Instructions Based on Cognitive Science,"
it looks to science—a field that shares with trial law the vocabulary of fact, evidence, proof—to understand the common flaws in decision-making. It discusses recent efforts by courts to improve jury instructions about the dangers of eyewitness identifications by taking account of (and trying to offset) flaws in human decision-making; offers several model jury instructions based on the science of decision-making that are designed to counter cognitive flaws and focus jurors’ attention, increase their use of deliberative thought, mitigate “confrontation bias,” and broaden participation during jury deliberation.
Task Force on Judicial Independence
Written by the Task Force on Judicial Independence, “The Need to Promote and Defend Fair and Impartial Courts” concludes that threats to judicial independence have increased in volume – both number and pitch – at both the federal and state level over the past decade. It advocates that “we as a profession must find new resolve and creative measures to promote – not just defend – the role of the judiciary and to safeguard fair and impartial courts. We must bring the message into the open forum of ideas, not expecting others to seek out what we have to say. As lawyers we are professional advocates and we must, as our ethical code requires, apply our special skills to ‘further the public’s understanding of and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system because legal institutions in a constitutional democracy depend on popular participation and support to maintain their authority.’” The Task Force also made a series of detailed recommendations that are being considered and reviewed. More details will be shared about the plans of the College to further promote judicial independence in the U.S. and Canada in the weeks to come.
Future Advocates Shine in Law School Competition
National Trial Competition
The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law was crowned the 2019 National Champion, Mar. 28 – Mar. 30, 2019, at the National Trial Competition in San Antonio, Texas. It is the first national trial championship in the law school’s history. CUA Law joins an elite group of only 21 other law schools which have won the title. Representing CUA were students Vania Smith and Jennifer Brooker, coached by National Trial Team directors John N. Sharifi and Lindsey Cloud Mervis. The George A. Spiegelberg Award for Best Oral Advocate went to Vania Smith.
The National Trial Competition is co-sponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) and the College. It is widely thought to be the most coveted trial competition in the country. The competition attracts teams from more than 140 law schools and involves more than 1,000 law students each year. Nationwide regional competitions are held every February, during which the 2 top finishers in each region qualify for the national competition. Thirty regional winners then compete for the championship.
This year’s national competition involved a securities fraud insider trading case titled United States v. Jordan Belfort. CUA Law faced off against five-time champion Stetson University School of Law in the spirited final round judged by the members of the National Trial Competition Committee. President Jeff Leon presided at the championship trial.
The College recognizes extraordinary individuals and their important contributions to the law through four awards described below. A nominator need only submit a letter of support, and the award committee will complete an investigation before deciding whether to recommend the person to the Board of Regents
. Please consider nominating a worthy recipient. You may send your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
or directly to the committee chair indicated below.
Beverley McLachlin Access to Justice Award
The Award, named for The Honourable Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, is to be awarded to a judge or a member of the bar in the United States or Canada, whether or not a Fellow of the College, who has played an exceptional role in creating and promoting access to justice. The Award will recognize innovative measures or extraordinary personal commitment and professional dedication which have enhanced access to justice in the United States or Canada.
Griffin Bell Award for Courageous Advocacy
Chair: Guy J. Pratte, email@example.com
To receive and investigate recommendations and information relative to outstanding courage demonstrated by trial lawyers in unpopular or difficult causes, and where appropriate to recommend an award.
Samuel E. Gates Litigation Award
To honor a lawyer or judge, whether or not a Fellow of the College, who has made a significant, exceptional and lasting contribution to the improvement of the litigation process.
Sandra Day O'Connor Jurist Award
The Award is to be given from time to time to a judge in the United States or Canada, whether or not a Fellow of the College, who has demonstrated exemplary judicial independence in the performance of his or her duties, sometimes in especially difficult or even dangerous circumstances. A nomination form can be found here
2019 Annual Meeting
September 26-29, 2019
The Westin Bayshore
Vancouver, British Columbia
2020 Spring Meeting
March 5-8, 2020
6th Circuit Regional Meeting
June 7-9, 2019
Region 15 Regional Meeting
June 14-16, 2019
10th Circuit Regional Meeting
June 20-23, 2019
Region 5 Regional Meeting
Keystone, North Dakota
September 12-14, 2019
Kentucky Fellows Dinner
June 12, 2019
Texas Fellows Summer Luncheon
June 14, 2019
Connecticut Fellows Dinner
New Haven, Connecticut
June 18, 2019
Manitoba Fellows Meeting
June 26, 2019
Minnesota Fellows Meeting
June 27, 2019
Colorado Fellows Dinner
Cherry Hills Village, Colorado
July 13, 2019
Idaho Fellows Meeting
July 27, 2019
Alaska Fellows Dinner
August 2, 2019
Wyoming "Dinner with the Supreme Court"
August 8, 2019
Iowa Fellows Meeting
August 16-18, 2019
Georgia Fellows Dinner
August 22, 2019
Kansas Fellows Meeting
August 24, 2019
Montana Fellows Dinner
September 6, 2019
New Mexico Fellows Meeting
Albuquerque, New Mexico
September 6-7, 2019
Nebraska Fellows Dinner
September 7, 2019
Wisconsin Fellows Dinner
September 11, 2019
Michigan Fall Reception
Traverse City, Michigan
September 14, 2019
James J. Brosnahan of San Francisco, California is the 2019 recipient of the John H. Pickering Award of Achievement, presented by the American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division. Brosnahan will be recognized on Aug. 8, during the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Thomas F. Campion of Florham Park, New Jersey, was presented with the Francis X. Dee Award for Trial Excellence. Established in 2018, the award recognizes a trial lawyer who demonstrate outstanding advocacy skills and is dedicated to improving the standards of trial practice and the administration of justice. The award celebrates the life of Dee, a Former Regent, who during his forty-seven-year legal career, was broadly recognized by his peers as a trial lawyer who exemplified the profession’s highest ideals.
Mark D. Hinderks of Kansas City, Missouri will be honored as one three recipients of the Kansas Bar Foundation’s Robert K. Weary Award later this month. The award recognizes attorneys and firms that have made significant contributions and demonstrated a commitment to the goals of the Kansas Bar Foundation in honor of Weary, a member of the KBF's Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2000.
The University of Tulsa, College of Law has established the Terry West Civil Legal Clinic, in honor of Terry F. West of Shawnee, Oklahoma. The clinic will offer an experiential learning experience as part of the legal education where participants will take on the professional role of counselors, advocates and problem-solvers for clients who face diverse civil legal problems.
North Carolina Fellows Meeting, Asheville, March 21-24, 2019: President Leon and First Lady Carol Best visited North Carolina, where the Fellows know how to do things right. Their event was held at the magnificent 8,000-acre property of the Biltmore House, the largest privately owned home in the U.S. Gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains abound. The Thursday dinner was well-attended by the North Carolina Fellows and included State Committee Chair Mark Holt, Vice Chair Maureen Murray, former State Committee Chairs Keith Vaughan and Catharine Arrowood, Judiciary Committee Chair Mark Anderson, and Task Force on Judicial Independence Vice Chair John Wester. The Friday morning meeting included an entertaining presentation on “The Voice as an Instrument of Persuasion” by Fellow Charles Becton, a former Judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. This was followed by a panel discussion on the origins of professionalism. On Friday morning, Jeff learned the sad news that Past President David Scott had passed away. Jeff talked to the assembled Fellows about David being a giant of the College and of our society. As David would have wanted, Jeff gave his prepared remarks, touching on local history and the College’s programs and priorities. After an enjoyable Friday afternoon touring the Biltmore House and then a lively dinner (including wine from the Biltmore winery—yes, there’s a winery on premises), Jeff attended the Saturday morning program. The agenda included presentations on complex litigation, diversity in trial practice, and litigation in politics. To top off this event, the North Carolina Fellows held a black-tie reception and dinner. It is a wonderful and moving tradition at this dinner to read the Induction Charge, and Jeff was honored to do so.
Quebec Fellows Dinner, Montreal, March 27, 2019: Before heading to Montreal for the Québec Fellows Dinner, President Leon and First Lady Carol Best flew to Ottawa on March 27 and attended David Scott’s visitation. Here they extended their sympathies to Allison and the Scott family. Jeff then went by car to Montreal and arrived for the cocktail reception at Restaurant Graziella attended by about 30 Fellows, including Québec Province Committee Chair Suzanne Pringle and Former Regent Yves Fortier. At dinner that evening, there were several remembrances by Jeff and others of David Scott and expressions to continue his work in the College. The guest speaker this evening was Kim Thúy, who was born in Saigon in 1968 and arrived in Canada with the “boat people” and eventually earned a law degree at the Université de Montreal. She is now a celebrated author, and she gave an entertaining and informative talk on the difficult journey from Vietnam to Canada. The next day, back in Ottawa, Jeff and Carol attended David Scott’s funeral at the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral of Ottawa. Many Past Presidents of the College attended. Those who knew and loved David were able to give their remembrances at a reception following the mass.
National Trial Competition, San Antonio, Texas, March 28-31, 2019: President Leon and First Lady Carol Best attended one of the signature events of the College, the National Trial Competition. Rest assured, this event is all it’s cracked up to be and much more. The social event on Thursday evening featured not only an epic karaoke party but National Trial Competition Committee member Richard Zielinski singing “The Ballad of Jeffrey S. Leon” sung to the tune of the smash hit, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. The competition began in the morning with the national semi-finals and then the finals in the afternoon. About 20 Fellows from all over the country were present to judge the competition. Jeff presided at the finals. He was an excellent judge. He started out telling counsel to call their first witness. Without missing a beat, counsel asked if he could do his opening statement first. Way to keep them on their toes, Jeff! The evening reception and awards ceremony recognized the incredible effort that goes into the competition. This was the 44th annual competition. 150 law schools from virtually every state participate, with 30 teams. At the end of the night the awards were given out. The runner up (who received $5,000 donated by Beck Redden LLP) was Stetson University College of Law and the winner was Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law (who received $10,000 donated by Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP). This competition fulfils a core mission of the College. As Jeff said: “Let me say what an excellent program this is and how lucky the college is to have such dedicated Fellows who participate, some on a long-term basis, and devote significant time to making the event a success. They do the College proud.”
Virginia Fellows Meeting, Charlottesville, April 5-7, 2019: Coinciding with the University of Virginia’s triumphant return to the College Basketball Final Four, the Leon/Best party arrived at this beautiful spot in the Virginia countryside for the Virginia Fellows Meeting. Past President Mike Smith and Ellen Bain were present as was Regent Susan Brewer. In fact, due to the keen interest in UVA’s basketball team, Jeff gave his Saturday remarks at the Friday dinner. He acknowledged that Virginia is traditionally known as the “mother of presidents” (though not in his case). The Saturday morning program included presentations on the “#MeToo” movement and related challenges for the bench and bar as well as discussions of sexual assault allegations and maintaining dignity in the courtroom. The entertainment at the evening dinner was UVA versus Auburn, and, in the end, there was joy in Mudville, or more accurately, Charlottesville.
Downstate New York Fellows Dinner, New York, April 8, 2019: Following the UVA victory, President Leon and First Lady Carol Best flew directly to New York City for the Downstate Fellows Meeting. Jeff attended the reception and meeting that evening at its traditional location, the Century Association. Past Presidents Greg Joseph, and Bob Fiske, Regent Larry Krantz, State Committee Chair Bob Jossen and Former Regents Henry Miller and John Siffert were present along with about 50 Fellows. Jeff gave many of his usual remarks about the current work and priorities of the College, but he also pointed out his New York roots—his father was born in Brooklyn, but he met Jeff’s mother while stationed in Edmonton during World War II. Things have gone full circle, however, with the return of Jeff’s daughter to New York with her husband and grandson. This evening included the Leon Silverman Award presented to Audrey Strauss, an illustrious Fellow now in charge of investigations of the Trump administration in the famed Southern District of New York. In her remarks, Audrey talked about the importance of mentoring, and she recalled the influence that Leon Silverman had upon her career. She also pointed out that 43% of the lawyers at the U.S. Attorney’s Office at the SDNY are women. As she put it, “there is reason to believe that the College will be able to find women Fellows, in greater numbers, in upcoming years.”
Kentucky Social Event, Lexington, April 12, 2019: It was on to Kentucky for President Leon and First Lady Carol Best for their Fellows’ “Social Event” organized by State Committee Chair Pat Moloney. Horse racing was, of course, the theme. For those in the know (e.g. with good horse sense), Keeneland is ranked right up there with Churchill Downs. The Fellows enjoyed lunch at the track and watched about eight races. Yes, legal betting occurred, and the Kentucky Fellows saw to it that Jeff came away a big winner ($45!). The dinner that night was at the Lexington Club. Those present included Immediate Past President Sam Franklin and Betty Franklin, Regent John and Joy Day, and Pat and Kathy Moloney, as well as about 40 Fellows and spouses. Jeff gave remarks focusing on the College’s drive for diversity and mentoring. At the end of the program, Moloney presented Jeff with a framed certificate, signed by the governor of Kentucky, certifying Jeff as a real Kentucky Colonel.
Missouri Fellows Meeting, Ridgedale, April 12-14, 2019: President-Elect Doug Young filled in for Jeff at Big Cedar Lodge, often called “America’s premier wilderness resort,” located in the Ozarks. State Committee Chair Rob Adams presided over this weekend. Five judges from the Missouri Supreme Court (all the members of this court are called judges except for the chief, who is the only “Justice”) attended this event and actively participated. The Saturday program featured a compelling and enthusiastically received presentation by the principal lawyers featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer.” Following this presentation, the judges of the Missouri Supreme Court fielded questions on a wide range of topics during an engaging discussion. That evening, dinner was held in the lodge, which overlooks the famous “Trail of Tears” statue and a grand vista. Doug’s remarks this evening focused on judicial independence, as well as diversity and access to justice. Doug ended his remarks with a toast recognizing that “it is the courts in our country that do the most to ensure that access to justice is achieved where possible and that justice is done.”
Unveiling of Beverley McLachlin Bust, Vancouver, April 18, 2019: Immediate Past President Sam Franklin traveled to beautiful Vancouver (site of this year’s Annual Meeting) for the unveiling and placement of Former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin’s portrait bust.The unveiling of the portrait bust took place at the Great Hall of the Law Courts for British Columbia, home of the court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The building is a modern masterpiece, with a spacious atrium lobby full of natural light and greenery. The event was well attended by around 100 people, including members of Chief Justice McLachlin’s family and friends as well as members of the local legal community. Regent Mona Duckett, Former Regent Justice John Hunter, and Province Committee Chair Bill Smart were among the many Fellows present as well. Sam gave remarks at the ceremony, and Chief Justice McLachlin expressed great appreciation to the College for its support when she came under unfair criticism by one of the former Premiers of Canada. A reception followed at the Law Courts Inn.
Ontario Fellows Dinner, Toronto, April 23, 2019: President Leon’s travels on this occasion involved a whole five-minute walk from his office to the French restaurant Biff’s Bistro in downtown Toronto for the opening reception and dinner. About 50 Fellows were present, including Province Committee Chair Martha McCarthy and Regent Sandy Forbes. Jeff focused his comments on this evening remembering and toasting Past President David Scott and discussing Jeff’s efforts, inspired by David, to “weave Canada into the fabric of the College.” Jeff further proposed creating an award in David’s memory.Jeff also spoke to the Ontario Fellows about the importance of speaking out on issues important to the College such as legal aid funding and access to justice. The next day, Jeff participated in the symposium, sponsored by The Advocates’ Society of Canada, at which numerous Fellows gave presentations. Jeff held a fireside chat with Judicial Fellow The Honourable Eleanore Cronk, Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and introduced Fellow Andy Savage, the recent recipient of the College’s Griffin Bell Award for Courageous Advocacy. The day was capped off in amazing fashion with Jeff’s presentation of the Emil Gumpert Award (and $100,000 check) to representatives of Pro Bono Students Canada for their Indigenous Human Rights Program.
New Hampshire Fellows Dinner, Manchester, April 29, 2019: Just prior to this meeting, President Leon had been at the Executive Committee Retreat and had a long day of travel to New Hampshire, but he arrived on time for the cocktail reception that evening. Numerous Fellows attended this event, including Former Regent Bruce Felmly, New Hampshire State Committee Chair Arnie Rosenblatt, and Maine State Committee Chair Mark Lavoie. Given New Hampshire’s proximity to Canada, Jeff was easily able to point out during his remarks the many Canadian connections in New Hampshire, including the large French population and the Fisher Cats, the Toronto Blue Jays’ farm team (who produced the new phenom Vlad Guerrero, Jr.). Jeff also talked about the College’s efforts on mentoring, the boot camp trial training program, the White Paper on Judicial Independence, and other projects.
Southern California Fellows Dinner, Los Angeles, May 3, 2019: President Leon and First Lady Carol Best traveled from their Arizona home to Los Angeles for the Southern California Fellows Dinner. About 45-50 Fellows and spouses attended this event, including Regent Bob Warford, State Committee Chair Kevin Brogan, and Former Regent Paul Meyer. Regent Warford gave remarks about his term as Regent and introduced Jeff. Jeff discussed the origins of the College in California as well as his experience of successfully running the LA Marathon many years ago. Jeff talked about the many California/Canada connections and the slew of famous Californians. As with so many events in this organization, this was an enjoyable evening of a group of collegial Fellows.
Hawaii Fellows Dinner, Honolulu, May 4, 2019: Right on the heels of LA, the Leon/Best duo flew to paradise for the Hawaii Fellows Dinner. As one might expect, this event took place at the water with incredible views. State Committee Chair Tom Cook, his wife Ann; former State Committee Chair Mark Livingston and his wife Arlynna; former Attorney General and Fellow David Louie; and past State Committee Chair Lisa Woods Munger were in attendance. Not unexpectedly, the Hawaii event was informal. Jeff and Carol were presented with leis, but there was no program, and Jeff did not give his usual remarks. But he was prepared and had he been asked, he would have talked about Hawaii’s contribution to, wait for it, country music in the form of slack key guitar and steel guitar. Other tidbits the Hawaiian Fellows missed are the fact that Sarah Palin attended the University of Hawaii and that Blue Jay players Devon Travis and Randal Grichuk played Hawaii in the Little League World Series in 2003 for Richmond, Texas.
Puerto Rico Fellows Dinner, San Juan, May 10, 2019: President Leon and First Lady Carol Best flew from Newark to San Juan via Atlanta for the Fellows Dinner. The morning of the dinner, Jeff, State Committee Chair Enrique Mendoza, Regent Marty Murphy, and 10 other Fellows met with the Chief U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico, the Hon. Gustavo Gepi. The meeting offered Fellows an historic opportunity to speak to the Chief Judge and ask questions on various matters. Later on at the dinner, it was a well-attended affair with about 24 Fellows and spouses, including past Puerto Rico State Committee Chairs David Indiano and Eugene Hestres-Velez. After dinner, Jeff offered his support to the people of Puerto Rico given the current ongoing situation along his comments on the current agenda of College: diversity, the Task Force on Mentoring and Boot Camp Trial Training, with the suggestion to consider holding a boot camp in San Juan; judicial independence, access to justice, civility, the Foundation and the Annual Meeting. After dinner, Jeff was approached by two Fellows with a request—that he make reference to their plight part of his remarks while he travels, “to not forget us.” (Further details are included in Jeff’s letter above.)
Arizona CLE, Phoenix, May 10-11, 2019: Treasurer Rodney Acker escaped the rain of Dallas and traveled to sunny Arizona for the annual Spring Meeting and CLE of the Arizona Fellows. Rodney could not make the CLE itself but arrived at the reception to hear the rave reviews of the program. State Committee Vice Chair, Paul McGoldrick organized the CLE program. Numerous Arizona Fellows made up the faculty of the outstanding daylong program, which focused on presenting and defending damages claims. The reception was held at the offices of Arizona State Committee Chair, Georgia Staton, on a 27th floor terrace with spectacular views of downtown Phoenix. The next morning, undoubtedly fueled by his dinner of pizza and martinis with State Committee Chair Staton, Former Regent Bill Sandweg, and Regent Bob Warford, Rodney attended the Arizona Fellows’ business meeting.
Maryland Fellows Dinner, Baltimore, May 11, 2019: President Leon and First Lady Carol Best left San Juan early, with President Leon continuing solo to Baltimore. When Jeff arrived at the Maryland Club, there were over 125 people in attendance. Jeff assumed the evening’s guest speaker, Rod Rosenstein, who was in the last six hours of his service as Deputy U.S. Attorney General, was the main draw. Also in attendance were State Committee Chair Richard Burch; Former Regent Bill Murphy and his wife, Pat; Task Force for Boot Camp Trial Training Programs Chair Paul Mark Sandler; and State Committee Vice Chair Mary Elizabeth Kaslick. Jeff spoke on the College’s agenda, including diversity, the need to identify younger trial lawyers; the work of the task forces; judicial independence; access to justice; and the civility initiative. Jeff also highlighted the relationship between Maryland and Canada, noting that Canada is Maryland’s top export market. Deputy AG Rosenstein followed Jeff’s remarks, commenting on civility in government circles and in society in general, suggesting that trial lawyers have an important role to play in promoting civility.
Upstate New York Fellows Dinner, Syracuse, May 16, 2019: President Leon and Regent Sandy Forbes hit the road for the dinner in Syracuse. About 15 Fellows attended this Fellows only event, many of them familiar to Jeff from his time as Regent, including State Committee Chair Art Siegel and Former Regent Steve Schwarz. Being in upstate New York, Jeff opened his remarks with an homage to his beloved Buffalo Bills. He followed with a review of the top issues on the College agenda: diversity; updates on the Task Force on Mentoring and Boot Camp Trial Training; the recently released White Paper on Judicial Independence; the Beverley McLachlin Access to Justice Award; the Distinguished Pro Bono Fellows Pilot Program; civility, and the Foundation.
West Virginia Fellows Meeting, White Sulphur Springs, May 17, 2019: The next day President Leon headed to the West Virginia Fellow Meeting at the Greenbrier, a stately resort located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. About 15 Fellows attended this event, including State Committee Chair Bill Galeota; Regent Susan Brewer and her husband Bill; State Committee Vice Chair Mark Williams; and Judicial Fellow Judge Robert King, U.S. Circuit Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Conveying his regret that he was not able to spend more time at the resort, Jeff began his remarks with a reference to a John Denver song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Similar to the dinner in Syracuse, Jeff conveyed the message he was asked to give on behalf of the Puerto Rico Fellows. He also offered a review of the College’s current agenda. After his remarks, Honorable Elizabeth Walker, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, spoke about the current situation in the Court and some of the key issues at play. The Court has been recovering from the scandal that involved judges misappropriating funds for personal purposes and more than one reference was made to the "recovery" of the Court from that situation. The Chief Justice answered questions about her remarks.
DC Fellows Dinner, Washington, May 17, 2019: President-Elect Doug Young left rainy San Francisco for sun and warmth in the nation’s capital. About 40 Fellows attended this event, including Past President Earl Silbert and his wife Pat; Former Regent Bill Murphy and his wife Pat; Former Regent David Hensler and his wife Margaret; State Committee Chair David Schertler and his wife Lisa; and Immediate Past Chair Mark MacDougall and his wife Anne. The three main events for the evening were the presentation of awards to the Columbus Law School of the Catholic University of America winners of the National Trial Competition, remarks from Doug, and a presentation from Carrie Johnson, justice correspondent for NPR’s Washington desk. Doug’s remarks focused on diversity, the Task Forces on Mentoring and Boot Camp Trial Training Programs; the Task Force on Judicial Independence and the new standing committee on Judicial Independence and access to justice. Johnson spoke on her work reporting on courthouse developments and access to justice.
Michigan Fellows Dinner, Grand Rapids, May 18, 2019: Traditionally a black-tie event, President Leon lucked out in that this year’s dinner at the University Club was business attire. Regent John Day, State Committee Chair Larry Acker and his wife Kathleen; U.S. Foundation Trustee Cheryl Bush and her husband Steve; former State Committee Chair Ed Kronk and his wife Margaret; and former State Committee Chair Tom McCarthy and his wife Linda were among those present. Jeff offered remarks about the current work of the College and as well an update on the situation in Puerto Rico. The guest speaker for the evening was Judicial Fellow the Honorable Elizabeth Gleicher, a judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals. Her remarks focused on mass incarceration and the need for criminal justice reform. She had been provided a copy of the recent State on Criminal Justice from the Federal Criminal Procedure Committee and complimented the College on its excellent work.
Alberta Fellows Dinner, Calgary, May 23, 2019: President Leon felt right at home in his home province during the Alberta Fellows Dinner. He reminded attendees that you can take the boy out of Alberta but you can never take Alberta out of the boy. Jeff gave an expanded tribute to Past President David Scott and reviewed how Canada is an integral part of the College in all its projects, papers, awards, and activities. He noted that the College has spoken out several times in Canada in support of the independence of the judiciary and funding of pro bono and legal aid. Several Fellows thanked him for the letter he had recently written to Justice Gaston. He reviewed the current agenda of the College, including the Sept. 10 program in Toronto in conjunction with The Advocates’ Society; the need for Fellows to participate in the Access to Justice Distinguished Pro Bono Fellows Program; and the new initiative by the Canadian Foundation to raise an additional $200,000 to allow a sufficient corpus by the Canadian Foundation to award regular grants, which is being undertaken in the memory and honor of Past President Scott.
Finis St. John IV
of Cullman, Alabama has been named permanent chancellor of the University of Alabama System. He previously served as interim chancellor.
The following Fellows have been elevated to the bench in their respective jurisdictions.
Alan D. Albright
Effective September 2018
U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas
Effective May 29, 2019
Iowa Court of Appeals
The College extends congratulations to these Judicial Fellows.
The College has been notified of the passing of the Fellows listed below. The date after each name notes the year of induction into the College, and the date following the state or province is the date of his or her passing. A tribute to each will appear in the In Memoriam section of a subsequent issue of the Journal.
Henry Bernis Alsobrook, Jr., ’76, Fellow Emeritus, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 13, 2015
William F. Baker, ’85, Fellow Emeritus, Lubbock, Texas, December 20, 2017
Nelson Clyde Barry, ’78, Fellow Emeritus, Emeryville, California, June 2, 2018
Richard Lyman Cates, Sr., ’73, Fellow Emeritus, Madison, Wisconsin, August 3, 2011
Henry Augustus Field, Jr., ’76, Fellow Emeritus, Madison, Wisconsin, November 5, 2018
Douglas Murrey Fisher, ’79, Fellow Emeritus, Franklin, Tennessee, April 7, 2019
John Stevens Gilmore, ’93, Sacramento, California, Date Unknown
Peter Allen Hofstrom, ’95, Boulder, Colorado, January 19, 2018
Michael Peter Koskoff, ’87, Bridgeport, Connecticut, April 24, 2019
Robert Wagner Mann, ’86, Martinsville, Virginia, April 27, 2019
John David Rhodes, ’82, Fellow Emeritus, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 24, 2016
Norman Blanchard Richards, ’73, Fellow Emeritus, Sausalito, California, February 2015
Jay Henry Topkis, ’63, Fellow Emeritus, New York, New York, September 1, 2018
George Gordhamer Walker, ’85, Fellow Emeritus, San Francisco, California, February 15, 2019
Silas Williams, Jr., ’89, Fellow Emeritus, Lookout Mountain, Georgia, December 10, 2011
Tilden Perkins Wright, III,
’93, Fellow Emeritus, Fayetteville, Arkansas, February 27, 2016