College Fellows' News


September 8, 2021 - The ABA Business Law Section has announced that Fellow Sylvia Fung Chin will serve as the Section Diversity Officer. In this role, she will lead and help coordinate efforts across the Section to achieve Section Diversity, Equity & Inclusion goals and strategies. As Section Diversity Officer, Sylvia will also serve as Chair of the new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Board, and oversee and support the work of the new Council Committee on Initiatives and Outreach. Sylvia is partner of counsel at White & Case LLP in New York, and her career and activities within and outside the Section amply and reflect her long-term commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the Section, the profession, and society overall.

April 28, 2021 - Norman M. Powell recently co-authored, "Contracting COVID: Private Order and Public Good (Standstills)," with Temple University – Beasley School of Law Professor Jonathan C. Lipson.  The article appeared in the Business Lawyer (Vol. 76, Spring 2021), the premier business law journal of the American Bar Association's Business Law Section. The article discusses the role that ex ante contracting, specifically standstill/forbearance agreements (“SFAs”), can play in ameliorating the commercial costs of COVID or similar future calamities. Mr. Powell is a partner in the Delaware law firm of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, where his practice includes formation of and service as Delaware counsel to corporations, limited liability companies, and statutory trusts, and the delivery of legal opinions relating to such entities, security interests, and other matters of Delaware law.

February 22, 2021 - Otterbourg P.C. announced today that Thomas P. Duignan has been named co-chair of the firm’s Finance Department. Mr. Duignan represents many prominent banks, commercial finance companies and other institutional lenders in connection with a wide range of transactions. 

August 13, 2021 – Holland & Knight partner Leonard Gilbert has been elected to the American Bar Association (ABA) Board of Governors. His three-year term began at the close of the ABA's annual meeting in August.  Mr. Gilbert has a long history of service with the ABA that includes serving as a member of the House of Delegates, director of the American Bar Foundation, chair of the General Practice Section, a member of the of Business Law Section's Council, and member of the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.  The 38-member Board of Governors oversees the general operation of the ABA and develops specific plans of action. Previous Holland & Knight partners who have served on the board include partners William Shepherd and Suzanne Gilbert.  Mr. Gilbert is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a member of Holland & Knight’s Financial Services Practice Group. He has represented numerous state, national and international banks and other financial institutions, as well as public bodies and secured and unsecured creditors’ committees. He has had significant involvement in high profile and complex cases receiving international attention. Mr. Gilbert consistently recognized as a top banking, bankruptcy and creditors' rights lawyer by The Best Lawyers in America and is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell.  Mr. Gilbert is a former president of The Florida Bar, the Hillsborough County Bar and the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers.


2019 - 2020

Fellow Jennifer Hagle of Sidley Austin LLP, spoke on a fireside chat panel titled “Restructuring in the Time of Coronavirus,” as part of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, which was held as a virtual event on September 24, 2020. The panel reviewed the current and prospective state of restructuring, and addressed a variety of issues, including whether some recent innovative strategies in chapter 11 will endure in a post-pandemic world. The other panelists were James H.M. Sprayregen (Kirkland & Ellis) and Chief Bankruptcy Judge David R. Jones for the Southern District of Texas.

On Monday, June 29, 2020, Fellows Patrick A. (Buzz) Guida,  Thomas S. Hemmendinger, Edwin E. Smith and Steven O. Weise, along with Lisa Kresge, Esq., and presented the popular Commercial Law Update. Part 1, reviewed the various commercial law related court decisions from around the United States; Part 2 finished up the national decisions then focused on Rhode Island Supreme Court, Superior Court, and U.S. District Court cases decided in the RI District Court and for which written decisions were issued during the last 12 months. 

Fellow Carolyn Alford participated in the joint meeting of the ABA’s Secured Transactions Subcommittee and Secured Lending Committee on Wednesday, June 10th to discuss "A Practical Guide to reviewing amendments to cash flow and asset based deals in the time of Covid".

Fellows Patrick A. (Buzz) Guida (Duffy & Sweeney) and Peter J. Wasserman (JP Morgan Chase Bank) will be presenting for ALI "Life After LIBOR: What to Expect and How to Prepare."  They will be joined by Tess Vermani (Loan Syndications and Trading Association).  The Program (February 27, 2020, 12:00-1:15pm) this 75‑minute webcast will focus on strategies for the transition to SOFR, how SOFR should be introduced, and LIBOR fallback language.  Click here to learn more

The College's best wishes go out to Fellow Kenneth (Kenny) Greene (Carruthers & Roth) who was recently honored as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bankruptcy Section of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA).  The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a bankruptcy practitioner who, for not less than 25 years, has contributed to the betterment of the NCBA Bankruptcy Section and the profession, and who has set an aspiring example for those who follow. Greene is the ninth recipient of the award and it was presented at the 42nd Annual Bankruptcy Institute on November 22, 2019 in Wilmington, NC. For more information, see Carruthers & Roth's press release by clicking here. 

It is with great pleasure that the College announces that Fellow Kenneth Chin has been selected as the recipient of NYSBA’s 2020 John E. Higgins Diversity Trailblazer Award.  Kenneth was approved by distinguished nominees from both the Committee on Diversity & Inclusion and the Committee’s Trailblazer Award Nomination Review Subcommittee. The personalized award will be presented prior to the Association’s “Opening Night Reception Celebrating Diversity”, on Monday, January 27, 2020, during the NYSBA Annual Meeting. 

The College congratulates our ACCFL President Norman M. Powell, who has been appointed to a two-year term on the Board of Directors of the Working Group on Legal Opinions Foundation.  Norm is a partner in the Delaware law firm of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, and has been a College Fellow since 2006. 

WGLO's mission is to bring together all constituencies concerned with giving and receiving legal opinions in order to foster a national opinion perspective, broaden the consensus that exists, and provide a continuing forum for discussion of opinion issues. Twice each year WGLO brings together the heads of Law Firm Opinion Committees, representatives of Bar Associations and other attorney groups as well as representatives of opinion recipients and issuers to discuss current issues confronting the legal opinion bar.

Norm provides guidance and renders legal opinions regarding security interests and all aspects of the laws governing Delaware entities in both domestic and international transactions. He has held leadership positions in the American Bar Association and its Business Law Section for more than a decade, and currently serves as President of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers. As an elected member of the American Law Institute and an advisor to the Permanent Editorial Board on the UCC, Mr. Powell participates in drafting committees under the auspices of the American Law Institute and the Uniform Law Commission.

Congratulations also goes to our ACCFL Vice President, R. Marshall Grodner for his recent election as the Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Business Law Section's Commercial Finance Committee, one of the Section's larges committees.  Marshall is a partner in McGlinchey Stafford PLLC in Baton Rouge, LA.  He was inducted as an ACCFL Fellow in 2006. 

The ABA BLS Commercial Finance Committee provides cutting‐edge, practical knowledge and guidance for commercial finance, real estate finance, and restructuring lawyers, focusing on new developments and industry practices in commercial finance, real estate finance, and restructurings, and facilitating the development and evolution of commercial finance, real estate finance and restructuring laws. 

Within the ABA’s Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Section, Marshall is current Chair of the Ethics and Professionalism  Committee, and Vice Chair of the Real Property Litigation and Ethics Group.  In addition to his current leadership, Marshall has also held positions in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL) and the Association of Commercial Finance Attorneys, Inc. (ACFA).  He is a contributing reporter for "The Uniform Commercial Code Opinions in Real Estate Finance Transactions Report," published in the Fall 2018/Winter 2019 issue of the ABA's Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Journal.  

The College also congratulates Fellow Doneene K. Damon, who this year was elected as Richards Layton & Finger, PA's first female President!   A recent article in Law360 notes that as an African-American woman, Doneene “concedes it has been a ‘struggle’ closing the racial and gender gaps….” Clearly, her perseverance, knowledge, and commitment to her craft have been recognized, and stand as an example to many young female lawyers. 
An ACCFL fellow since 2012, Doneene has been busy practicing law as a partner in her firm, while holding a variety of leadership roles in the American Bar Association, the Delaware State Bar Association, and other professional groups.   At the same time, she has been breaking barriers, winning awards, and demonstrating that “diversity of thought” is important to the fabric of the legal community.  Doneene has received, among others, the National Diversity Council Leadership Excellence in the Law Award, the National Association of Professional Women’s VIP Women of the Year Award, and the YWCA Trailblazer Awards. Doneene also sits on a variety of ABA and other business law committees, chairing a number of them.  For more information, Doneene’s biography can be found by clicking here.  A recent article in Law360 can be viewed here

The College proudly announces the honor bestowed on our Past President Sylvia Fung Chin, and her firm White and Case, at the 40th Anniversary celebration of the Women's World Banking, for "their tremendous support of Women's World Banking and leadership in women's financial inclusion."  Sylvia has been a College Fellow since 

Women's World Banking is an organization that designs and invests in the financial solutions, institutions, and policy environments in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families and their communities.  Sylvia was honored for her nearly 40 years of service to Women’s World Banking, offering the organization pro bono legal and governance advice. She also served on the board of Women's World Banking as Board Secretary from 1990 to 2008.

The College sponsored a report entitled “Uniform Commercial Code Opinions in Real Estate Finance Transactions” that has been published in the Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal. Our Fellows, Steve Weise and Marshall Grodner, were Contributing Reporters. The Report can be downloaded by clicking here.

Fellows Bridget Marsh and Arleen Nand, together with Tess Virmani of the LSTA, will present a webinar entitled "Documenting and Trading Syndicated Loans" on Tuesday, April 16, 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EDT. CLE credit is available.  To register, go to

The webinar will examine the critical provisions of credit agreements and secondary trading documents currently being used in the loan syndication market. The panel discussion will focus on standard loan forms promulgated by the Loan Syndications and Trading Association (LSTA), as well as LSTA trading confirmations and related documents which have become accepted forms in the industry. The panel will also discuss points of contrast with the Loan Market Association (LMA) forms used in European transactions. Add to your calendar through this link

Fellow Carl Bjerre (Kaapcke Professor of Business Law at the University of Oregon School of Law) spent a full academic term on a visiting fellowship at Oxford University, Harris Manchester College.  The time was devoted to research and the sharing of ideas on secured transactions, securities, and related issues with faculty and graduate students from Oxford and elsewhere around the world.  Carl’s spouse, Andrea Coles-Bjerre (a Chapter 11 expert who is also on the Oregon faculty) had a parallel Oxford visiting fellowship at the same time.

On December 31, 2018, Fellow Janis Penton retired from MUFG Union Bank as a Managing Director and Associate General Counsel and has joined the faculty at the USC Gould School of Law.  She participated in a panel at the ABA’s Spring Meeting called “The Lifecycle of a Cross-Border Bond: So You Want to Do a Deal in Canada, Eh?” for the Trust Indenture and Indenture Trustees Committee on Thursday, March 28, 2019. 

In January 2019, the ABA published Financing Renewable Energy Projects:  A Global Analysis and Review of Related Power Purchase Agreements, which may be of interest to the Fellows of the College as the world continues to fight the threat of climate change following the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015.  The Guide provides for the first time in one publication, two essential components of investment in renewable energy:  analysis of the regulatory framework for renewable energy in 59 jurisdictions worldwide (including the United States) representing a global population of 4.7 billion, and analysis of related power purchase agreements. Fellow Kamil Ansar of The Ansar Law Firm acted as lead counsel and Contributing Editor in connection with the origination, arrangement, structuring, and execution of the project represented by the Guide.

On March 6th, 2019, the LSTA and LMA jointly hosted the annual US and European Loan Markets conference in London with about 430 delegates in attendance.  Fellow Bridget Marsh of the LSTA moderated the primary market panel.  She will moderate a webcast on “Acquisition Financing in Latin America” on April 10.

In February 2019, a number of Fellows participated in PLI’s Asset-Based Lending seminar which was taped for distribution later this year.  Organized and moderated by Ed Smith, panelists included Pauline Stevens, Scott Lessne, Kenneth Chin, Marshall Grodner and Pamela Martinson.

Some ACCFL Fellows presented at PLI's Asset-Based Financing Strategies 2019, which was taped in New York in February for release as an on-demand webinar:  Edwin E. Smith (Chair), Kenneth Chin, R. Marshall Grodner, Scott A. Lessne, Pamela J. Martinson, Pauline M. Stevens.  In a roundtable discussion format, program faculty join Ed Smith to explore the most common forms of asset-based financing, and the legal rules governing them, with particular emphasis on Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Bankruptcy Code. In addition, the faculty also share what they have learned in representing secured creditors and borrowers in structuring asset-based loans and in enforcing them inside and outside of bankruptcy, and discuss some special problems in asset-based financings relating to intellectual property.  A number of ethical issues that arise in asset-based financings are also on the agenda.  An announcement should be forthcoming from PLI on availability of this program soon.

Fellow Melissa Jacoby is bankruptcy professor at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and was quoted in an article in USA TODAY, published on January 31, 2019.  It can be found at this link.  Melissa comments on the importance of determining the best interest of stakeholders in the Sears bankruptcy case.  Melissa also appeared in the Wall Street Journal article reflecting on California PG&E’s bankruptcy filing and reorganization.  Here is the link to that article. 


Widener University Commonwealth Law School announced on July 19, 2018 that Commonwealth Professor of Business Law Juliet Moringiello has been named Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development.

In her new role, Dean Moringiello is responsible for helping to raise the academic and external profile of the law school and its faculty. She will establish strategic goals and objectives to institute and maintain recognition for the achievements of the faculty and law school. Dean Moringiello will also assist in the promotion of special program activities and help faculty members in finding opportunities to present and publish their work. She will continue to teach business law.

"Our Widener Law Commonwealth faculty members make a tremendous impact with their scholarship on topics of current importance, such as election law, immigration procedure, and environmental sustainability, and so many of them are involved in law reform every level – cross-border harmonization of laws, federal policy, uniform state laws, and local ordinances. Our faculty members are not only committed teachers, but they produce important scholarship on legal education. I’m looking forward to working closely with my colleagues to maximize the impact of their work.”

Dean Moringiello studies the relationship between federal and state law in bankruptcy as well as the impact of electronic transactions on commercial law. Her work has been published in several top law reviews, including the Fordham Law Review, the University of Illinois Law Review, and the Wisconsin Law Review.  She is the immediate past chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Business Law Section, an elected member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers, and a Uniform Law Commissioner for Pennsylvania.

“Juliet brings experience and inside track knowledge of the faculty and specialized programs at the law school to her new position,” said Dean Christian Johnson. “She will play a key role in raising the awareness of faculty scholarship and law school programming to the legal community on both a local and national level.”   Visit for more information.

May 14, 2017, ACCFL Fellow Leonard H. Gilbert (Holland & Knight, Tampa, FL) was honored with the Barbara Hancock Literacy Award presented by The Hillsborough County Literacy Association. He was also presented with the Celebrate Literacy Award by the International Literacy Association.  It is with pride that the College congratulates Leonard for the commitment of time and energy that underlies these awards.  Engaging youngsters through reading activities and books is certainly a laudable activity that can alter the future for many children.  Here is a link to Holland & Knight's press release

May 7, 2019, The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) awarded Stewart G. Abramson and ACCFL Fellow Dominic A. Liberatore, deputy general counsel at DLL, the Edward A. Groobert Award for Legal Excellence on May 7 at the ELFA Legal Forum in Washington, D.C.  Here is a link to the press release.

April 12, 2018, Fellows Sylvia Chin and Elizabeth Leckie spoke at the session Cross Border Legal Opinions at the ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

April 6, 2018, ACCFL Fellow Honorable Mindy A. Mora was appointed for fourteen (14) years as a bankruptcy judge for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division.  The appointment was by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  Here is a link to a press release about the appointment. 

February 12, 2018, some ACCFL Fellows presented at PLI's Asset-Based Financing Strategies 2018, both a live presentation and a webinar:  Edwin E. Smith (Chair), Kenneth Chin, R. Marshall Grodner, Scott A. Lessne, Pamela J. Martinson, Pauline M. Stevens.

Program faculty explored the most common forms of asset-based financing, and the legal rules governing them, with particular emphasis on Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Bankruptcy Code. In addition, the faculty also shared what they have learned in representing secured creditors and borrowers in structuring asset-based loans and in enforcing them inside and outside of bankruptcy, and discussed some special problems in asset-based financings relating to intellectual property.  A number of ethical issues that arise in asset-based financings were also on the agenda to review..

ACCFL Fellow Amy Boss was presented with the ABA Fellows prestigious Outstanding State Chair Award during the American Bar Foundation’s 62nd Annual Awards Reception and Banquet on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at the Vancouver Club in Vancouver, BC.