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The Fellows Officers


Don Slesnick is Chair of The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.  He is Managing Partner for the Law Offices of Slesnick & Casey, LLP. He has been in private practice specializing in “labor and employment” law since 1978, representing public sector employee organizations. Prior to this he held labor relations management positions with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Miami-Dade County Police Department. In 2011 he concluded ten years as Mayor of Coral Gables, Florida.  He served as the 2009-10 President of the Florida League of Mayors. 

Don received a B.A. (Foreign Affairs) from the University of Virginia, a J.D. from the University of Florida and a M.P.A. from Florida International University. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1985; is a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Labor & Employment Relations and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator. He is the incoming Vice President of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers and a member of the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators.

In addition to his law practice, he has recently been named as Dean of the School of Public Administration of the newly chartered University of Southernmost Florida.

Active for many years in his profession, Don has been Chairman of the Florida Bar Labor & Employment Law Section and Co-Chairman of the ABA State and Local Government Bargaining and Employment Law Committee. He is presently serving as a member of the governing council of the ABA Labor & Employment Section and represents that Section in the ABA House of Delegates. 

Don is a Vietnam veteran, a former U.S. Army advisor to NATO forces in Germany and retired from the Army as a Lt. Colonel.  He currently serves as an Army Reserve Ambassador. He has been active in numerous civic and business organizations which include the Orange Bowl Committee, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce (Founding Chairman of the award winning program for Ethics in Business & Government).  He has served as Chairman of both the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Council and the Coral Gables Community Foundation.

Included among his awards he has received: the Bill Colson Community Leadership Award from Leadership Miami; the Distinguished Service Award - American Bar Association; the Miami-Dade County Medal of Merit for Leadership, in 2007 was included in the Sun Post's list of the “50 Most Influential Persons in South Florida”, was chosen in 2004 by South Florida CEO magazine as one of the “Top 101 Global Leaders of South Florida”, and was recently awarded the Friend of Foreign Service Medal by the Republic of China (Taiwan). Additionally, he has held the Martindale-Hubbel rating of “AV Preeminent” for over twenty-five years. He was included in the Best Lawyers In America”, has been designated as a Florida “Super Lawyer” and named as one of South Florida’s “Top Lawyers

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Kathleen J. Hopkins is the Chair-Elect of The Fellows.  She is a fortunate enough to practice law with five great friends and lawyers, and is a founding member of Real Property Law Group, PLLC, a six attorney Seattle firm.  Kathleen concentrates her practice in the areas of real property transactions, real property and personal property finance, workouts and commercial leasing.  She is a frequent speaker and writer on real property, financing and leasing issues.  In August 2012, Kathleen co-edited The Real Estate Closing Deskbook (3d ed.).  She is admitted to practice in Washington State, in Federal Courts for the Western and Eastern Districts of Washington and in the United States Supreme Court. 

 Kathleen has been active with local, state and national bar associations for over 20 years.  She is a Sustaining Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, served as a Washington State co-chair for the Fellows of the ABF and in 2011 received the ABF’s Outstanding State Co-Chair Award.   Presently, is the Secretary for the Fellows of the ABF and in that capacity represents the Fellows on the ABF Board.   

  Kathleen’s bar service includes terms (many years ago) as the President of the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Young Lawyers Division and member of Board of Trustees for the King County Bar (KCBA) Young Lawyers Section.  Way back then, KCBA recognized her with its Outstanding Young Lawyers Award.  Kathleen is currently representing WSBA in the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates.  In 2010 she also completed service as a member of the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors, representing the ABA members in District 18 (which includes Washington State).

 On the ABA Board, she chaired the Investments subcommittee and continues on that subcommittee as one of three non-Governor members.  She has been a  member of the executive councils for the ABA Business Law Section and the ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division (GP Solo), and recently finished her term as the GP Solo Division’s budget officer.   In April, 2013 the ABA Business Law Section recognized her as its Outstanding Woman Business Lawyer of the year with its Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award.

 Kathleen also serves presently on the ABA Journal Board of Editors, and chairs the ABA Standing Committee on Publication Oversight.  Kathleen is on the Board of Regents of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers and a member of the American Law Institute. Kathleen recently completed work as an ABA advisor to one Uniform Laws Commission drafting committee and on a study committee for another ULC project. 

 Kathleen is also quite active in pro bono and public service projects, locally and nationally.  She was on the founding advisory board for Washington Attorneys Assisting Community Organizations and in 2012 organized the Northwest Human Trafficking Summit, which was co-convened by the ABA, the Washington Gender & Justice Commission and the Washington Diversity & Justice Commission.  Kathleen is currently coordinating a partnership between the ABA entities and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a non-profit project founded by Microsoft to provide representation to unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings.  She also works through the ABA to develop other partnerships to foster pro bono and public service opportunities for transaction lawyers and small firm lawyers. She is past chair of the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference, past chair of the ABA Business Law Pro Bono Committee and current co-chair of the ABA GPSolo Pro Bono and Public Service Committee.  In 2011 the ABA recognized her work with the Presidential Pro Bono Publico Special Service Award. 

Most important, Kathleen has been married for 32 years to her best friend, David Hopkins and is they are the proud parents of two sons: Neil (30) and Ian (21).   


The Honorable Cara Lee Neville is Secretary of The Fellows. Judge Neville has served as a  member of the House of Delegates since 1986 and  served on the House Nominating Committee  as State Delegate from Minnesota and as Secretary of the House Committee on Scope and Correlation of Work. She chaired the Criminal Justice Section, the Coordinating Council of the ABA Justice Center and the Coalition for Justice. Judge Neville  served on the Joint committee to revise the model Judicial Code, chaired the Judicial Div Ethics and  Professionalism committee, the National Assn. of Women Judges Ethics committee and also that of the American judicature Soc. a past member of the Standing Committee on Judicial Independence and served on the Judges Advisory Committee to the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.  She is  a Past member of the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society and a "founding mother" of the Mn Women Lawyers Assn. and currently serves on their advisory comm. and in the Assembly of the Mn. State Bar Assn.

Judge Neville served approx. 30 years on the state of Mn. Dist. Court  Although she recently took Sr. Status she serves and sits on the Court by Special Appt. of the Chief Justice of the Mn Supr Court. She is a graduate of William Mitchell Collage of Law from whom she received the honor of being named  one of their most distinguished graduates and one of the "one hundred graduates to have made a difference " in the 100 yr history of the  school. Judge Neville is President and founder of Benchmark National ADR, LLC which provides Alternative Dispute Resolution including serving the courts as a special master and providing private mediation and arbitration services.