2016 Letter to Fellows from Past-President Peter Carson.

Presidents' Letters to Fellows


April 29, 2021

Dear Fellows,

Thank you for joining us at our first ever virtual annual meeting and induction ceremony.  It was just one year ago, when we frantically dealt with the cancellation of our Boston event and headed home to our dining rooms, bedrooms and kitchens.  Never, ever did I imagine that I would take on the presidency of the College in the midst of a global pandemic and become our first fully-virtual leader!

So yes, there have been challenges, but I am most pleased to report on the opportunities that presented this past year, and how your College leadership rose to the challenge and created a stronger organization, both fiscally and administratively, with expanded reach to the Fellows through new programs.  Consider this:

March 2020 – we hastily cancelled our annual dinner but recouped our deposit and avoided loss.  We pivoted to a telephonic annual meeting and amended our bylaws to provide for that meeting to be held using alternative technology going forward if needed.  Apparently our founders had not considered a time when an in-person meeting might be impossible for more than a year!  Our telephonic meeting attracted nearly 95 of our Fellows.

In July 2020, thanks to the efforts of Treasurer Cathy Reece, we held our first new Fellows orientation and welcome session.  A Zoom call for the new Fellows and members of the Executive Committee allowed us to acquaint them with the traditions of the College and get to know each other.  Even fully vaccinated, we intend to keep this new tradition going.

By September 2020, it became clear that our Chicago dinner would not proceed.  Your Executive Committee faced the challenge of how to hold an advanced seminar (an event characterized by small group discussion and debate) virtually.  Pivoting again, we developed a virtual program on “The Intersection of the UCC and Emerging Technologies” that included break-out rooms for small group discussion.  The program drew over 65 attendees, while our in-person event usually has to be limited to about 24 attendees.  Our Fellows participated enthusiastically, with special efforts by Kristen Adams who presented, and Sandy Rocks, Penny Christophorou, Ed Smith, Teresa Harmon and Steve Sepinuck who each contributed hypotheticals for us to discuss. 

In December 2020, your Executive Committee hired Glatz Management Services as our outside administrator.  Chris, Wendy and Amanda – we can’t thank you enough!  Our team at Glatz made an immediate impact in communications, website operation and maintenance, financial reporting, recordkeeping, best practices advice and more.  We are well-positioned for the future with Glatz on our side.

We offered even more opportunities for Fellows to engage during the pandemic.  We held six Fellows Briefings by phone and then by Zoom, in which there were over 400 participants.  Thanks to our Board of Regents and past presidents for assisting the Executive Committee with their leadership, and thanks to all our committees – nominating, website, awards, and more.  If you are not currently involved in the work of the College – speak up!  We have a place for you.  I know that my involvement with the College has been a true highlight of my legal career.

Finally, I want to thank all those members of the Executive Committee with whom I have been privileged to work for the past 5 years.  They are all dear colleagues, friends, and family.  In particular, I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my predecessors – Norm, Penny, Sylvia, Peter and Steve.  They exemplify leadership.  To the future leaders of the College – Marshall, Buzz, Cathy, Neal and Kristen – I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing where you take the College.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your President.





A Message from the Immediate Past-President to all Fellows


In this time of social distancing, when for the first time we’ve cancelled our in-person annual meetings and dinner in deference to the pandemic that has most, if not all, of us connected to the world beyond our homes only electronically, I wanted to use this traditional communique to reflect on the College and its place in my life. As noted on our website (https://www.accfl.com), “The College’s mission is to bring together into an association those highly qualified members of the legal profession who, by reason of their character, skill and ability, will contribute to the goals, accomplishments and good fellowship of the College.” Though all of these things are important, today I focus on good fellowship.

Each of us became a Fellow when incumbent Fellows recognized us as “highly qualified members of the legal profession” who would, among other things, contribute to the good fellowship of the College. This year, as we welcome new Fellows Maria J. Barclay, Dawn M. Cica, Bradley Gibson, Christine Gould Hamm, E. Perry Hicks, Lisa R. Jacobs, Edward J. Janger, Jerome McCluskey, Bryon J. Mulligan, Roshelle A. Nagar, Mary Jeanne Phelan, Nancy Rigby, and Allison Jan Satyr, let us each remember when we were elected to the College.

For me, it was 2006, a time of changes and the mild anxiety that accompanies them. My wife was leaving her practice at MBNA as it was being acquired by Bank of America, and I had just resigned from one law firm to join another. I was particularly thrilled to be honored and recognized by those I dared not think of as peers, but who quickly became both peers and, more importantly, friends. Doors were opened, opportunities graciously afforded, dumb questions patiently and gently answered, and friendships deepened. In short, I found myself the beneficiary of good fellowship, and it continues to enrich my life, both personally and professionally.

Taking a bike ride last Thursday – the first full day I was to have been in Boston for the events culminating in our Saturday dinner – I came upon a car stopped on a traffic-free road. A preschooler and his dad stood in the road, watching horses in an adjacent field. They were about the same ages my sons and I were the last time the world was so disrupted and uncertain – September 2001. I’d done the same thing back then – slowed down, savoring and discovering the simple elements of a full life. But even as I reminisced, my mind wistfully returned to the present. My sons, now grown, were to have joined us for the College dinner in Boston for a menu their mother selected before our world changed.

Thinking of the future, I realized how much I look forward to our next in-person gathering (scheduled for September 12 in Chicago), to spending time with and introducing to the College its newest Fellows, and to more formally recognizing Professor Steve Sepinuck’s receiving our Grant Gilmore Award. Until then, I hope to maintain good fellowship, if only electronically, and urge you to do the same. We’re a very special group, and I’m privileged to have served as its President.

Norm Powell
March 31, 2020