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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 Jeffrey S. Leon, LSM of Bennett Jones LLP in Toronto, Ontario, as its 69th President to lead the College during the coming year. He is the second Canadian to serve as President.

The College also elected four new members to its Board of Regents at its 68th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. The new Regents, who join 11 existing Regents, include Joe R. Caldwell, Jr.  of Steptoe & Johnson LLP (Washington, D.C.); Sandra A. Forbes of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP (Toronto, Ontario); Larry H. Krantz of Krantz & Bergman LLP (New York, New York); and Michael J. Shepard of Hogan Lovells US LLP (San Francisco, California).

“It is a great honor to be elected President of the College and I appreciate the opportunity to serve,” said Mr. Leon. “I look forward to working with the Executive Committee to continue our contributions to the administration of justice in both our great countries. This includes supporting a vital trial process and creating opportunities for our Fellows to provide access to justice for all Americans and Canadians through pro bono work.”

At its Annual Meeting the College elected its Executive Committee. Mr. Leon succeeds Samuel H. Franklin of Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC (Birmingham, AL) as President.  Mr. Franklin becomes the Immediate Past President. The College also elected as President-Elect, Douglas R. Young of Farella Braun + Martel LLP (San Francisco, CA), Rodney Acker of Norton Rose Fulbright US (Dallas, TX) as Treasurer and Michael L. O’Donnell of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP (Denver, Colorado) as Secretary.

Practicing for over 35 years, Mr. Leon has a general domestic, international and cross-border litigation practice with a focus on business litigation. He acts in a variety of litigation matters, including securities, commercial, corporate, class proceedings, product liability, professional negligence and health care. He has appeared before courts and arbitration tribunals both domestic and international, has extensive trial and appellate experience and also serves as a mediator and an arbitrator. He is recognized as a leading litigation lawyer by numerous legal directories and has been the recipient of various awards for his professionalism and civility and his contributions to the legal profession.

In 2013, Mr. Leon was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his achievements in law and his commitment to serving his community. In 2014 he received the prestigious Ontario Bar Association Award of Excellence in Civil Litigation. He is also a past President of The Advocates’ Society and Pro Bono Ontario. A former law clerk to the Chief Justice of Ontario, he is a regular author, speaker and panelist.

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