Press Releases

36 New Fellows have been elected to The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Washington, DC: The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is proud to announce this year’s second class of New Fellows.  ACTEC is an organization of peer-elected lawyers and law professors who are skilled and experienced in the preparation of wills and trusts, estate planning, and probate procedure; and administration of trusts and estates of decedents, minors, and incompetents. To qualify for membership, a lawyer must have no less than 10 years’ experience in the active practice of probate and trust law or estate planning. Lawyers and law professors are elected to be Fellows based on their outstanding reputation, exceptional skill, and substantial contributions to the field by lecturing, writing, teaching, and participating in bar leadership or legislative activities. It is their aim to improve and reform probate, trust and tax laws, procedures, and professional responsibility.

ACTEC’s Board of Regents met recently in Nashville, Tennessee at the Fall Meeting to review and finalize the election process. This year’s class of New Fellows comes from across the United States, England, and Canada. The College’s President, Susan House, offered her congratulations stating, “only the most dedicated and talented trust and estate law professionals are elected into ACTEC. We commend our New Fellows on their accomplishments and contributions to the profession, and we look forward to having them join us in the mission of ACTEC to improve and reform probate, trust, and tax laws, procedures, and professional responsibility.

ACTEC New Fellows

Judith L. Bomster of Butenhof & Bomster, PC in Manchester, NH — Judith is a graduate of University of New Hampshire School of Law. Becoming an ACTEC Fellow has been a professional milestone for her.  She has been an active participant the New Hampshire Bar’s Ethics Committee and enjoys working with clients and families on a daily basis to solve concrete issues, and to establish lifetime and succession planning to achieve their long-term objectives.

Stephen M. Breitstone of Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP in Mineola, NY — Stephen is a graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law – Yeshiva University.  He speaks the language of tax and of trusts and estates and likes representing the entire client. Stephen began his career as a tax attorney representing large financial institutions but now enjoys working with individuals and their businesses.

John D. Bristow of Armstrong Bristow Farley & Schwarzschild PLC in Richmond, VA — John, a graduate of University of North Carolina Law School, enjoys the trust and estate area of the law because it often results in long-term relationships with clients.

Peter W. Bullard of the Law Offices of Peter W. Bullard, P.C. in Fort Collins, CO — Peter graduated from Indiana University’s Law School. He has volunteered for 16 years to chair the local bar’s trust and estate committee. Peter finds it rewarding that his clients are helped by his counsel.

Alfred R. Casella of Murtha Cullina LLP in Hartford, CT — Alfred is a graduate of University of Connecticut School of Law. He has the ability to help people going through one of the most difficult times of their lives dealing with loss, family relations, probate and tax issues, or planning for that event.  Alfred is looking forward to the continuing education that ACTEC offers and discussions with fellow ACTEC Fellows.

Thomas J. Collura of Hodgson Russ LLP in Albany, NY — Thomas is a graduate of Albany Law School of Union University. His background as an accountant and experience with corporate law and entity taxation has been helpful when counseling owners of closely held businesses.

Allison J. Cornwell of Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP in Little Rock, AR — Allison is a graduate of New York University School of Law. She has a passion for tax law, and practicing in the trust and estate section allows her to combine that with the ability to guide families regarding estate planning tax issues. As the daughter of funeral home owners, she understands the troubles of grieving families and works hard to minimize post-mortem family disputes, especially when a family business is involved.

Samantha Weyrauch Davis of Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson, P.C. in Tulsa, OK — Samantha is a graduate of University of Tulsa College of Law. She enjoys helping people and families through the various chapters and journeys of their lives. “It is a tremendous honor to help clients with their most personal planning and giving them a sense of peace that planning and working through issues can bring.”

David Arthur Diamond of The Northern Trust Company of Delaware in Wilmington, DE — David graduated from The University of North Carolina School of Law. He has over 30 years of experience in the trusts and estates field, both as a practicing attorney and with trust companies. David is looking forward to tapping into the knowledge of the College and working more closely with ACTEC fellows.

Gray Edmondson of Edmondson Sage Dixon PLLC in Oxford, MS — Gray is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law. He is looking forward to the opportunity to learn from the best trust and estate leaders and to collaborate with them on issues which affect us and our clients.

Donald J Farinato of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC in Knoxville, TN — Donald, a graduate of University of Tennessee Law School, began utilizing the ACTEC Commentaries a decade as he pondered an ethics scenario. He strives to bring calm, and humor when appropriate, to trust and estate matters and is “­honored, humbled, and excited to be an ACTEC Fellow.

Patrick Francis Harney of Forsters LLP in London, England — Patrick is a graduate of the Law Society of Ireland Law School. He is one of our International Fellows and is looking forward to the opportunity to meet a wider range of the best US trust and estate attorneys. Patrick enjoys the intellectual challenge of this area of the law and has worked hard to understand US tax and estate issues even though he is not a US attorney.

Daniel Hayward of Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella, P.A. in Wilmington, DE — Daniel graduated from Villanova School of Law. He strives to find the best trust and estate planning solutions and enjoys helping people accomplish their planning objectives, especially as it relates to providing for their children and future descendants.  

Karolyn Hicks of Stokes Lawrence, P.S. in Seattle, WA — Karolyn graduated from American University, Washington College of Law. She is excited by estate law because it is complex and intellectually engaging, and it involves helping people with real-life issues. As a litigator, she works to help clients solve their estate problems resolve any disputes that may arise.

Jennifer F. Hillman of Ruskin, Moscou Faltischek, P.C. in Uniondale, NY — Jennifer is a graduate of St. John’s University School of Law. She considers herself an optimist.  “I strive to solve problems and resolve issues.  Trusts and estates litigation gives me an opportunity to come up with creative resolutions to end disputes and (hopefully in some instances) begin the process of mending a family or other relationship.”    

Ralph F. Holmes of McLane Middleton, Professional Association in Manchester, NH — Ralph graduated from Boston College Law School. He finds both the law, which is rapidly changing in NH, and the situations and family dynamics of clients highly engaging. Ralph is looking forward meeting and learning from ACTEC trust and estate lawyers, especially those with trial experience.

Jonathan P. (JP) Lee of Sojourner, Caughman & Thomas, LLC in Columbia, SC — JP is a graduate of University of Miami School of Law and has practiced with ACTEC Fellows his entire career. He enjoys the trust and estate practice because it remains an area of the law where it is possible to truly help people as a counselor, offering sage advice for the practical issues facing clients.

Daniel F. Lindley of The Northern Trust Company of Delaware in Wilmington, DE — Daniel is a University of Virginia School of Law graduate. He discovered ACTEC more than twenty years ago when he heard ACTEC Fellow Thomas P. Sweeney at a Delaware CLE program. “Tom discussed ethics in the context of a trusts and estates practice. He relied on ACTEC’s interpretations of the Model Rules of Ethics. Needless to say, it was highly impressive.”

Erin Keys MacDonald of Karnopp Petersen LLPin Bend, OR — Erin is a graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School. She is excited to be part of ACTEC, an organization with the highest caliber of members in the estate planning profession, is looking forward to networking with the other Fellows, and continuing her educational and professional development.

Sarah MacLeod of Lane Powell PC in Seattle, WA — Sarah is a graduate of University of Washington School of Law. She works with young entrepreneurs in Seattle and often finds herself acting as “quarterback” for clients’ families’ legal needs.

Raj A. Malviya of Miller Johnson in Grand Rapids, MI — Raj is a graduate of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and a past recipient of the ACTEC Young Leaders Program. Young Leaders are offered tuition-free attendance at the ACTEC-ALI/CLE webinars, materials from ACTEC national, state, and regional meetings, and invitations to attend state and local ACTEC events in their regions. Raj is looking forward to opportunities to collaborate with other ACTEC Fellows in preparing technical and robust practice-oriented materials that cater to the next generation of estate planning and tax professionals.

Robert A. (Bob) Mason of Mason Law, PC in Asheboro, NC — Bob is a graduate of the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He is looking forward to attending the regional and national meetings with ACTEC Fellows who are the best estates and trusts minds in the country.

Daniel H. McCarthy of Wick Phillips Gould & Martin, LLP in Fort Worth, TX — Daniel graduated from DePaul University after following his mother’s advice to go to law school. The trust and estate area of the law has allowed him to further utilize his CPA. A Chicago native, Daniel now resides in Fort Worth with his family.

Robert Lee McElroy IV of Downey McElroy, P.A. in Palm Beach Gardens, FL — Lee is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and the inaugural graduation class of the ACTEC Florida Fellow Institute. He began his career as a Navy JAG officer and is looking forward to working with other professionals across the country on estate and trust issues.

Megan Cade Neal of McDonald & Kanyuk, PLLC in Concord, NH — Megan is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Law. She is honored to be part of an organization full of highly accomplished and well-respected trusts and estates attorneys and professionals.  Megan enjoys the forward-looking nature of trust and estate law and the personal family-oriented perspective of the practice.

Rebecca Lynne O’Toole of Withers Bergman, LLP in Rancho Santa Fe, CA — Rebecca is a graduate of University of San Diego School of Law. She loves working on tax issues. “There is something so pure and beautiful about being able to decipher a complicated tax code section and put it to good use for a client.”  She also enjoys getting to know her clients, learning about their families, and helping them tackle difficult family, financial, and tax problems.

Emily S. Pan of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Cincinnati, OH — Emily is a graduate of University of Miami School of Law. She is very excited to join ACTEC committees and working with Fellows to continue to educate lawyers in the profession. Emily enjoys building strong personal relationships with her clients and becoming their trusted advisor.

Stephanie L. Terry Perry of Pasternak & Fidis, P.C. in Bethesda, MD — Stephanie is a graduate of Emory University School of Law and is looking forward to the opportunity to learn from some of the most highly regarded and expert attorneys in the country. She believes that each client’s needs and objectives are unique.  Her primary focus is ensuring that each client receives the individualized service that he or she deserves.

Ian T. Richardson of Gleaves Swearingen LLP in Eugene, OR — Ian is a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School. He is excited about the opportunity to exchange ideas and information with other Fellows, and the opportunity, and obligation, to carry on professional expertise and ethics for another generation.

TJ Ryan of Frazer, Ryan, Goldberg & Arnold, L.L.P. in Phoenix, AZ — TJ is a graduate of University of Arizona School of Law and is an ACTEC legacy (his father, James W. Ryan, is an ACTEC Fellow). He is excited about the seemingly unlimited resource of talent, experience, and knowledge represented by the other Fellows. TJ says, “Estate planning provides a unique sense of accomplishment by providing safety and security for clients where they otherwise had a void causing them stress and anxiety.”  He is incredibly honored and humbled to be an ACTEC Fellow.  

Brett D. Sovine of Brown Brothers Harriman Trust Company, N.A. in Charlotte, NC — Brett graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center. He has always been good with numbers and problem solving, essential elements of effective estate planning.  Brett enjoys working directly with family members to help them achieve their goals. Brett says, “The variety of estate planning makes going to work each day a fun and rewarding experience.”

Laura E. Stegossi of Diamond, Polsky & Bauer, P.C. in Philadelphia, PA — Laura is a graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law. Her major in college was Latin and Ancient Greek literature. While at law school, she discovered that parsing the Internal Revenue Code was a lot like translating Homer’s Odyssey from ancient Greek to English. Both texts involve a slow process – line by line and word by word. She is looking forward to meeting the “rock stars” of the trusts and estates world.

Victoria Beth Tillman of Anne M. McKinney, P.C. in Knoxville, TN — Victoria is a graduate of University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphrey School of Law and came from an accounting background. She enjoys the opportunity and challenge of assisting people with their estate planning and is looking forward to this opportunity to participate and serve with ACTEC.

Leia G. Ursery of Lindquist & Vennum, P.L.L.P. in Denver, CO — Leia is a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Her initial exposure to trust and estate law came when she interned (and later clerked) for the Denver Probate Court.  She was mesmerized by the variety of topics that arise in the context of a probate proceeding and wanted to learn more. Leia has focused on trust and estate issues since she began practicing and is excited about ACTEC’s educational programs and the opportunity to meet practitioners from across the country.

Fred J. (John) Williams III of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. in Fargo, ND — John is a graduate of the William Mitchell College of Law. He enjoys working with family businesses and taxes, and works to solve problems methodically. A major goal of John’s when he started in estate planning over 12-years ago was to become an ACTEC Fellow. “Now, having the opportunity to accomplish that goal is an amazing feeling. I appreciate the membership so much.”

Peter A. Wong of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Vancouver, BC — Peter is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Lam School in Toronto, Ontario. He is intrigued by the advantages of using trusts and estates as part of global tax plans for private clients and works hard to offer unique tax solutions to his clients.

About the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC): Established in 1949, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, ACTEC, is a national organization of approximately 2,600 lawyers peer-elected to membership by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence, and experience as trust and estate counselors. Our members, “Fellows,” are the best and brightest in the trust and estate practice, with decades of experience representing and advising families. ACTEC offers technical comments about the law and its effective administration, but does not take positions on matters of policy or political objectives.