College Elects New President, New Regents


College Elects Three New Members to Its Board of Regents

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA – October 1, 2019 – The American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), one of the premier professional organizations comprised of preeminent trial lawyers from the U.S. and Canada, has installed Douglas R. Young of Farella Braun + Martel LLP (San Francisco, CA), as its 70th President to lead the College during the coming year.

The College also elected three new members to its Board of Regents at its 69th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. The new Regents, who join 12 existing Regents, include Peter Akmajian of Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian (Tucson, AZ); Gregory M. Lederer of Lederer Weston Craig PLC (Cedar Rapids, IA); and Lyn P. Pruitt of Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C. (Little Rock, AR).

“As the College moves toward its 70th Anniversary, I look forward to helping preserve the legacies established by so many others over the years and to ensuring that the College continues its commitments to the rule of law, the administration of justice for all citizens, and the independence of the judiciaries in both the United States and Canada,” said President Young. “The privilege of serving in this coming year is matched only by the responsibility of seeing the College contribute in positive ways to the challenges presented by our evolving modern era.”

At its Annual Meeting the College elected its Executive Committee. Mr. Young succeeds Jeffrey S. Leon, LSM of Bennett Jones LLP (Toronto, ON) as President.  Mr. Leon becomes the Immediate Past President. The College also elected as President-Elect Rodney Acker of Norton Rose Fulbright US (Dallas, TX), Michael L. O’Donnell of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP (Denver, CO) as Treasurer and Susan J. Harriman of Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP (San Francisco, CA) as Secretary.

Mr. Young’s practice involves complex civil and often-related criminal matters nationwide -- trials, appeals, and investigations covering diverse subject areas such as intellectual property, securities, unfair competition and antitrust, and including class actions and MDL proceedings. He also has served as a federal court Special Master in civil and criminal cases; as counsel to a Ninth Circuit special committee investigating a sitting judge; and, for eighteen years, by court appointment on the Federal Criminal Justice Act trial panel for the Northern District of California. He also has, by court appointment, represented three prisoners on California’s Death Row. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

In addition to his participation as a Fellow in other trial and appellate organizations, he has participated on a variety of public-interest boards and was a member of the 2015 and 2016 Anglo-American ACTL exchanges. He also has served as President of the Bar Association of San Francisco, the McFetridge American Inn of Court, and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (Northern California Chapter). From 1989 through 1994, he was appointed to State Department task forces in administration of justice projects in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Egypt, Greece, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay.

About the American College of Trial Lawyers
The American College of Trial Lawyers is comprised of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada and is widely considered to be the premier professional trial organization in North America. Founded in 1950, the College is an invitation only fellowship. The College thoroughly investigates each nominee for admission and selects only those who have demonstrated the very highest standards of trial advocacy, ethical conduct, integrity, professionalism and collegiality. The College maintains and seeks to 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 College strongly supports the independence of the judiciary, trial by jury, respect for the rule of law, access to justice, and fair and just representation of all parties to legal proceedings. Learn more at

Eliza Gano
American College of Trial Lawyers
Communications Manager

Cheryl Loof
Farella Braun + Martel LLP
Communications Manager