The Nomination and the Trustee Evaluation Process
Class of 2020 Fellows

Fellowship is bestowed on law practice management specialists who consistently exemplify the highest professional standards and achievements. One of the best things about belonging to the College is meeting people who’ve made extraordinary contributions to law practice management and making sure they are Fellows in the College. We all benefit from the College’s diversity in all of its forms, so the nomination of diverse candidates is especially encouraged.

As a reminder, here are the criteria as set forth in the Bylaws of the College:

SECTION 2.3. MEMBERSHIP ADMISSIONS STANDARDS. The College is a professional, educational, and honorary association of law practice professionals, including lawyers; judges; law professors; administrators; consultants; officers of the government; in-house legal operations executives; and others who are dedicated to the improvement of law practice management processes and the enhancement of the professional quality of and public respect for the practice of law.

The College honors those professionals whose sustained performance in the practice of their profession exemplifies the highest standards of professionalism among law practice management specialists by granting them membership as Fellows. Membership shall be restricted by invitation to honor those individuals who meet these standards and have proven so to their peers, their employers, the bar, the bench, and/or the public through performance related to law practice management. Qualities and criteria bearing on an individual’s admission to the College as a Fellow include that they:
    • Have the highest professional qualifications and ethical standards;
    • Provide exceptionally high-quality professional services to clients, their employers, the bar, the bench, or the public;
    • Are committed to fostering and furthering the objectives of the College;
    • Have significantly contributed to and enhanced law practice management, its literature, its procedures, and its philosophy through dedicated service, or published writing, or through teaching and lecturing, or through demonstrated excellence in law practice management; and
    • Have that high level of character, integrity, professional expertise and leadership which demonstrates the likelihood that they will continue to contribute to the enhancement of law practice management scholarship, continuing education and law practice management process. 
    • In its annual nomination process, the College will actively solicit nominations for new Fellows of the College, and when doing so will encourage the nomination of diverse candidates as determined by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and nationality.

PLEASE NOTE: Nominations for the Class of 2020 will close on January 10, 2020 – no exceptions this year.

Tips for an Effective Nomination and Insight into How Trustees Evaluate Nominees

The Trustees would like to share with you some tips for completing an effective nomination and some insight into the evaluation process. One of the most rewarding, and difficult, tasks of the Trustees is to elect nominees for induction into the College. We assess achievements against the criteria for Fellowship, which are established in our bylaws. We have an in-depth discussion about each candidate’s merits. The Trustees take the nomination process very seriously.

  • Fill Out the Form Completely. We can’t consider incomplete nominations, so you may attach additional sheets, if necessary. It’s a road map to present your candidate’s merits—make sure that every element is covered. 
  • Restrictions on Nominations. No nominations shall be made or seconded by (a) a person in the same firm, corporation or other entity as the candidate or (b) a person related by birth or marriage to the candidate or (c) a person who is regularly engaged as counsel or consultant for the candidate or for the employer, partner or firm of the candidate. In addition, the nominator and the seconder may not be employed by the same organization.
  • Sustained, Visible Professional Involvement and Innovation. A record of sustained contribution to the field is one of the most important criteria we consider. Trustees will, however, consider leaders who have innovated and transformed their law organization without visible external professional involvement.
  • Write a Compelling Citation. This is the basis for the executive summary that is used during the annual induction ceremony. It should engage the audience and tell why your candidate is special. It also serves as a summary of your nomination for the Trustees.
  • We Honor Achievement and Leadership in Law Practice Management. To be a leader means sharing knowledge with others. We honor contribution to law practice management; other organizations recognize distinguished legal practice and civic involvement.
  • Commitment to the College. We want Fellows who will be active in the College and advance its mission and work. Fellowship should mark the beginning of active involvement, not just a capstone to a career.
  • A Formal Resume Isn’t Enough. Give us a sense of the candidate as a human being, as a colleague, a friend, a mentor. You think highly of this person—tell us why we should.
  • Not Finding Information? That’s a signal. If you can’t find information, it probably means the candidate doesn’t yet have enough experience to be eligible. It’s also why finding the right Fellow to second your nomination is crucial; others may have information that you don’t.
  • Don’t Pad the Nomination Form. The nomination form should be less than 10 pages. Longer is not better. Limit attachments; if necessary, include URLs in the nomination.
  • Leave Enough Time to Complete the Nomination. Don’t underestimate the time it will take you to assemble the candidate’s package.
  • Nomination and Selection Rates. In the past, we typically receive between 10 and 20 nominations each year and approve about 75 percent. The past few years, however, have seen a marked increase – 40 to 70 nominations. As we have grown, so have the number of nominations. This makes it essential that Fellows give a lot of thought to whom they nominate and then generally prepare strong nomination forms. We do not rank nominations or have numeric targets.

The Voting Process and Need for Confidentiality

The Trustees believe that all Fellows should understand how we evaluate candidates. Decisions are “yes” or “no” with an occasional deferral or a request to the nominator to provide additional information. As mentioned above, incomplete forms will not be considered. With the increased number of nominations, it is essential that forms be as complete as possible. Beginning with the Class of 2019, we are building into the timeline a two-week review period during which the nominator may be contacted to provide additional information.

We decide based on a formal, open vote. A two-thirds majority is required for election of a new Fellow; however, many votes are unanimous. Borderline candidates (based on a straw vote) often spur additional discussion until we are satisfied we have reached as much of a consensus as we can.

Our deliberations are strictly confidential. We have a thorough and candid discussion of candidates. Sometimes negative information emerges and then we spend time in discussion. Our goal is to maintain the “ethical standards” and “high level of character” requirements in the Bylaws. We are a small organization and it’s important to have candidates with collegiality and team spirit, and with whom our Fellows will be proud to associate.

We have also voted down candidates where we did not see that “special something.” Long-standing volunteer activity and even leadership roles in other professional societies and organizations does not always suffice to meet the innovation or contribution standards.

It can be difficult to explain to a nominee that she or he has been unsuccessfully nominated. We strongly recommend against informing a candidate that they are being nominated. Ultimately the decision to do so is yours but informing a candidate of their candidacy could set up expectations that may be disappointed should the Trustees, for whatever reason, decide not to accept the nomination. The College does not notify those candidates that are not approved, but we do notify the nominator and seconder. An opportunity is offered for a call with the College President to discuss the candidate.

If you have questions about the nomination process generally or a specific candidate, please contact the College president or the College administrator, Debbie O’Connell, or any one of the College Trustees. 

If you have questions about the nomination process generally or a specific candidate, please contact the College administrator, Debbie O’Connell or any one of the College Trustees.

— College Trustees
Revised: October, 2018

View the guidelines for nominating a Fellow
Nomination Exemplar