Foster Swift attorneys attend ACTL meeting in Europe


 (L) Criminal defense attorney Frank Reynolds recently was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers during a trip to England.; (R) Fred Dilley, an attorney with Foster Swift’s Grand Rapids office, is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Attorney Frank Reynolds flew to England in September. He flew back as a newly inducted Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, after a banquet and ceremony in front of close to 900 members at the annual meeting in London. 

“It was an impressive evening and I was honored to join such a select group of trial attorneys,” says Reynolds, a shareholder in the General Litigation Group at Foster Swift Collins & Smith in Lansing. 

The purpose of the American College of Trial Lawyers is to promote collegiality among lawyers, explains Reynolds, a specialist in state and federal criminal defense, family law and professional licensing who has garnered a long list of awards and recognitions in more than three decades of practice. He joins approximately 5,798 members of the college in the United States and Canada, including colleagues Fred Dilley and Webb Smith. 

Dilley, a shareholder in the firm’s Grand Rapids office and graduate of MSU Law, also attended the annual meeting, which started in London and continued in Paris. 

“Frank is very deserving of membership in the American College of Trial Lawyers – and I’m very proud to share membership with him,” says Dilley, who has attended four meetings in the last five years. “Although the College is highly selective and therefore exclusive – membership is limited to less than 1 percent of the lawyers of any state – it’s without a doubt the most welcoming, friendly, and interesting group of people I’ve ever been associated with. Frank and Patty will fit in very well.” 

“It’s a very select group of fellows who are highly vetted prior to being invited to join the college and be inducted as a fellow,” Reynolds adds. “I was honored to receive the invitation. Michigan attorneys I know that are fellows are all top-notch and very experienced trial lawyers. It was a pleasure to spend time there and I know it will be a pleasure to continue these contacts and friendships into the future.”

Attendees enjoyed a President’s Welcome Reception and private tour in the gardens of Westminster Abbey, as well as a reception, dinner and dancing event at the Horse Guards Parade Grounds in the heart of London. 

“I met some very talented attorneys from the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom,” says Reynolds, a graduate of Michigan State University and Cooley Law School who has successfully defended many high profile cases in Ingham County and throughout Michigan. “I learned a lot from the various speakers and enjoyed the mission of the college.”

Memorable highlights for Reynolds included a presentation by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and a panel discussion, “The Magna Carta and its Influence on Constitutional Matters and Human Rights in the 21st Century.” 

Nearly 800 years ago, King John, under pressure from rebellious barons, affixed his seal to the Magna Carta in an effort to avoid Civil War. Less than 3 months later, Pope Innocent III, at King John’s request, nullified the Great Charter, causing internal turmoil that was not resolved until the monarch’s death in 1216. 

“However, while the Magna Carta, translated from its original Latin to mean Great Charter or Great Paper, failed to resolve the conflict from King John and his barons, it has, over time, become the basis for much of our Anglo-American constitutional jurisprudence and what we now call the rule of law,” Reynolds notes. “The anniversary of Magna Carta is upcoming and the speakers were very knowledgeable.”

Other speakers included U.S. Ambassador Matthew Barzun, U.K. Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, and many others.

During their time in London, the Michigan contingent had a chance to spend time together.  

“We spent many hours walking in London, which was thoroughly enjoyable,” Reynolds says. 

Dilley and his wife Beth spent four days in Normandy paying particular attention to the invasion beaches and museums. 

“It’s a humbling experience to stand in places where so much courage, dedication, and self-sacrifice took place,” he says.