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Richard A. Fisher joined HunterMaclean in Savannah, Ga., as special counsel for the corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and business transactions groups. Fisher has more than 40 years of experience and comes to Savannah from a law firm in Boston, where he served as chief executive officer and chairman of two public companies and as general counsel of several private and public companies. Fisher has served as counsel for multiple companies from inception through exit and has operational and legal experience in the aerospace, defense, advanced materials, sporting goods, energy, education, structured finance, clothing, beverage and food industries, in addition to others.
Jim Rotch joined Maynard Cooper as a shareholder in the corporate, securities and tax practice group and has more than 45 years of experience as a transaction lawyer and business counselor. Over the course of his career, he has participated in all aspects of complicated business and finance transactions. Rotch has significant experience with complex securities, tax, commercial lending, mining, and other business and finance transaction issues. He has extensive experience helping businesses with issues of shareholder and/or family conflict.
In 1997, Rotch authored the Birmingham Pledge (www. thebirminghampledge. org), which calls for a personal commitment to recognize the worth of every individual and to treat all people with dignity and respect. Since then, the pledge has been adopted by thousands of people, according to The Birmingham Pledge Foundation, including Desmond Tutu, Morris Dees, Harper Lee and Andrew Young. The foundation announced in 2017 the launch of a national initiative to draw attention to the pledge and its mission. Rotch spoke at Birmingham’s 31st Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast in January 2017 to mark the pledge’s 20th year.
Rotch was a recipient of the National Conference for Community and Justice Award in 2007, and the Liberty and Justice Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.
Barry A. Bryer was awarded the Queens College President’s Medal—the college’s highest administrative honor—this fall. Bryer is a corporate securities lawyer and renowned expert on mergers and acquisitions. A prominent figure in business and legal circles who has given back as a member of the Queens College Foundation Board of Trustees, Bryer is also a member of the Legal Advisory Council of Sanctuary for Families, a leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and related forms of gender violence. Bryer was partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz for 25 years, and thereafter a partner at Latham & Watkins until his retirement in 2015.
Daniel P. Card II, of O’Fallon, Mo., passed away on May 2 at the age of 71. Card co-authored the manual for the Missouri Appellate Court proceedings. He was a graduate of Trinity College before graduating from UVA Law. He served on the Council for Missourians with Disabilities and was active in the Missouri State Attorney General’s Office early in his career. He loved sailing on Carlyle Lake and having a spirited debate. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family. He was dearly loved and will be missed by all who knew him, his family members said. He is survived by his wife, Lou Ann. Memorial contributions may be made to the National Parkinson Foundation.
Thomas V. Chorey joined Taylor English Duma as a partner in the corporate practice group in Atlanta. Chorey regularly serves as outside general counsel to multiple Southeastern and Atlanta-based middle market businesses, addressing legal and strategic planning issues throughout their life cycles.
Bill Hackworth in June completed biking the entire 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia — for the third time. Hackworth biked the parkway to celebrate his 70th birthday, after making the trip for his 60th and 50th birthdays in decades prior. “If I do it for my 80th, I suspect that it will be on an e-bike,” he said.
Fred Tulley was named a leader in the Securities Litigation field in Louisiana by Chambers USA. Tulley was also selected for inclusion in the 2019 Best Lawyers in America. Tulley is a partner with Taylor Porter in Baton Rouge. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, securities litigation, professional malpractice, construction, antitrust, RICO, commercial bankruptcy and insurance insolvency.
New Jersey SEEDS presented its Leading Change Award to William V. Engel. SEEDS, a nonprofit that provides educational access to high-achieving, low-income students, honored Engel, whose initiative and commitment has enhanced the educational opportunities of young people throughout New Jersey. As a founder and trustee emeritus, Engel has been part of the organization since its inception. He is a partner at Engel & Devlin, a firm in Warren that specializes in trusts, estates and private foundation law.
Brian Ball was named Virginia secretary of commerce and trade by Gov. Ralph Northam in April. Ball previously served as deputy secretary and special adviser to the governor for economic development.
John A. Vering was selected as Best Lawyers’ Lawyer of the Year for labor law (management) for the Kansas City metropolitan area for 2018. He was also recognized this year by Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers and by Chambers USA for employment law.
Dennis J. Curran, retired justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court, authored a law review article, “Attorney-Directed Voir Dire Comes to Massachusetts: The Republic Is Safe,” which appeared in the Suffolk University Law School Journal of Trial & Appellate Advocacy. The article detailed the history of recent efforts to have Massachusetts join 47 other states in adopting attorney-conducted voir dire.
Curran also received the annual Justice Award from the Order of the Sons of Italy in America.
Will Shortz celebrated 25 years as crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times.
Noted ‘School Choice’ Advocate Komer ’78 Retires
Richard “Dick” Komer ’78 retired in May as senior litigation counsel at the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian public interest law firm where he served for 25 years.
Komer was among those filing petitioner briefs that helped win the U.S. Supreme Court case Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, which established that school vouchers could be used for parochial education without violating the Establishment Clause.
He also led a strategic litigation campaign to overturn Blaine Amendments to state constitutions, which forbid direct government aid to religious-based educational institutions. According to the institute’s website, the law firm has helped win key victories against “Blaine-based attacks” in nine states.
“Dick is known throughout the educational choice movement as the consummate expert on crafting choice programs that can withstand the inevitable lawsuits from our opponents,” said Scott G. Bullock, president and general counsel of the institute, in a statement lauding Komer.
Before joining the institute, Komer worked as a federal civil rights lawyer at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and three U.S. departments: Justice, Education, and Health, Education and Welfare.
He earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1974.
In Memoriam: Patrick Finnegan ’79
The General and the Academic
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Patrick Finnegan ’79, former president of Longwood University and dean at the U.S. Military Academy, died July 2 of an apparent heart attack. He was 68.
The West Point graduate was named the 25th president of Longwood in Farmville, Va., in 2010. His accomplishments included creating an academic strategic plan through a campus-wide collaborative process; securing membership in the Division I Big South Conference for intercollegiate athletics; and forming an Office of Sponsored Programs and Research to seek funding for the faculty’s scholarly activities.
“President Finnegan was a true citizen leader for our country, and an inspiration to the students who were here during his presidency,” Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV ’02 said in a statement.
Finnegan returned to West Point in 1998 to serve as a professor and head of the Department of Law, after a career in the Judge Advocate Corps.
He was appointed dean of the Academic Board and approved for the rank of brigadier general in 2005. As an instructor on the laws of war, he traveled to Hollywood in 2007 to convey his concerns to producers about how torture was portrayed in the TV show “24.”
Dave Dominick, executive assistant to the director of admissions at West Point, called Finnegan “the cadets’ dean.”
“He had the ability to bring people together and brought out the very best in individuals which inspired them to work even harder,” Dominick said in a statement. “He was a role model, mentor and father figure to me. I will truly miss him.”
In 1983, Finnegan was assigned to the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School neighboring UVA Law, serving as a criminal law instructor and deputy director of the Academic Department.
Finnegan resigned from Longwood in 2012 due to health reasons and retired to his home in Virginia Beach. He later lived in Midlothian.
He served in the Persian Gulf in operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, and was decorated with several commendations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award and Saudi Arabia/Kuwait Liberation Medal.
Finnegan was selected for the Army JAG Funded Legal Education Program, and was accepted to UVA Law in 1976. He was editor of the Virginia Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif.
Finnegan earned a bachelor’s from the U.S. Military Academy in 1971 and was commissioned as an Army officer, and earned a master’s in public administration in 1973 from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
James H. Hall Jr. was awarded the Judge Myron L. Gordon Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association. Hall practices with Hall, Burce & Olson in Milwaukee.
David J. Llewellyn presented “Twenty-Three Years of Circumcision Litigation: What Have We Learned? What Progress Have We Made?” at the 15th International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights in San Francisco in May. Llewellyn is a member of the board of directors of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child and is a member of the professional advisory board of Your Whole Baby.
George Whitley writes, “I was very fortunate to get a career mulligan when I joined Towne Bank as chief legal officer in October 2017. Joining in-house and dealing with the wide range of issues that cross your desk reminded me of just how little I actually knew. Am loving my new position.” Whitley is based in Richmond, Va.
Women’s Recruitment Campaign, Founded By Hughes ’79, Celebrates Progress
Close the gap CA, a group founded by Mary Hughes ’79 to recruit women to run for the California Legislature, celebrated its fifth anniversary in June.
The initiative was launched in 2013 after California was ranked 32nd nationally in the percentage of women in its Legislature, having once ranked fifth. The group recruited 21 women to run in 2016, with 15 advancing to the general election and seven currently serving.
Women now comprise 25 percent of the Legislature, up from 21 percent in 2017, and California ranks 26th nationally. After Election Day, this year could end with gender parity numbers approaching their highest ever in state history, at 31 percent women.
Close the gap CA’s goal is to achieve gender parity in Sacramento by 2028.
“The whole business of ‘changing culture’ is always two steps forward and one step back,” Hughes said in a TV interview in June.
She said men’s longtime “informal mentorships” to court successors and confidants leave many women behind.
“We’ve never had enough women to establish a pathway consistently. We’re trying to do that now,” she said.
In 2013, Hughes was named “Woman of the Year” by California Women Lead, the nonpartisan group promoting and training women political leaders. She was named in 2012 as one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews, and was the 2007 “Woman of the Year,” named by Emerge California.
Hughes is a co-founder and president of Hughes & Co., a strategic communications and political consulting firm in Palo Alto. She founded and served as director of The 2012 Project, a national, nonpartisan campaign of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University to increase the number of women in Congress and state legislatures. She also served as executive director of the California Democratic Party.