Skip to main content

The Fellows Officers

Kathleen J. Hopkins is the Chair 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.   As an ABF Fellows Officer she 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 continued until August 2014 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, chairs the ABA Standing Committee on Publication Oversight and is on the editorial boards of Business Law Today magazine and GPSolo magazine.  Kathleen just completed her term on the Board of Regents of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers and is a member of the American Law Institute. Kathleen recently also 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 33 years to her best friend, David Hopkins and they are the proud parents of two sons: Neil (31) and Ian (22).   

The Honorable Cara Lee Neville  is Chair-Elect of The Fellows. Judge Neville is immediate past Secretary of the ABA, served two terms on the ABA’s Board of Governors, has served as a  member of the House of Delegates for more than 25 years, and served on the ABA Nominating Committee as State Delegate from Minnesota. She chaired the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section, the Coordinating Council of the ABA Justice Center, and the Coalition for Justice. Judge Neville is past President of the National Association of Women Judges and Amdahl Inns of Court. Judge Neville is 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 Minnesota Women Lawyers Association and currently serves on their advisory committee and in the Assembly of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Judge Neville is on the Executive Board of the ABA Center for Human Rights, the Governing Council for the Tort and Insurance Practice Section of ABA, and Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the ABA’s International Law Section.

Judge Neville served  on the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee to revise the Minnesota Judicial Code, chaired the ABA Judicial Division’s Ethics and Professionalism Committee, the National Association of Women Judges Ethics Committee, the American Judicature Ethics Committee, and was one of the eleven Commissioners nationally who wrote the Model Code of Judicial conduct. Judge Neville served approximately 30 years on the state of Minnesota’s District Court.  Although she recently took Senior Status, she serves and sits on the Court by special appointment of the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. She is a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law where she was named one of its most distinguished graduates and listed as one of 100 graduates who have made a difference.  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.

In 2007 Judge Neville received the Fellows’ Outstanding State Chair Award for the state of Minnesota.

Michael Byowitz serves as Secretary of the Fellows.  He practices at Wachtell, Lipton,Rosen & Katz in New York where he has been a partner for 30 years specializing in antitrust law and policy, and advising multinational corporations on major domestic and international mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and corporate takeovers. Mike represents major corporations at the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and State Attorneys General in the United States and consults on investigations by antitrust authorities in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Mexico, Turkey, Venezuela and many other countries.  Major matters in which he has served as antitrust counsel include for United Technologies in its acquisition of Goodrich, Novartis in acquiring Alcon, Maytag in its acquisition by Whirlpool, and many others.  Mike is consistently ranked among leading antitrust specialists in peer review rankings (e.g., Global Competition Review, Who’s Who Legal, Super Lawyers, and Chambers).  He is a frequent speaker on antitrust law and compliance in the U.S. and abroad, and has written extensively on antitrust issues.

Mike received an A.B. in 1973 from Columbia College and a J.D. in 1976 from New York University School of Law (Order of the Coif and editor of the New York University Law Review).  Before joining Wachtell Lipton in 1983, Mike served as a senior trial attorney with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

For the past six year, Mike served as New York State Co-Chair of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.  He received the Fellows’ outstanding State Co-Chair award in 2012.

Mike has been active in the ABA for many years.  He was recently elected to serve as a Delegate-at-Large in the House of Delegates, and served in the House for the preceding eight years, representing the ABA Section of International Law for six years and then as an alternate for the NY State Bar Association the past two years.  Mike has spoken on many issues in the House, and has worked closely with Delegates across the country on important policy issues facing the legal profession.  Mike is also a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Membership and chairs its Large Law Firm Subcommittee.  And he is a former Chair and longtime leader of the ABA Section of International Law and received the Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

Mike has been active for many years in the New York City Bar Association where he served as a member of the Executive Committee and as Chair of of the Council on International Affairs, Chair of the Antitrust & Trade Regulation Committee, and Chair of the Subcommittee that evaluated Elena Kagan’s qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court.

Mike has been married to Ruth Holzer, the love of his life, for 38 years, and they have three wonderful children – Alice, 29, who is a bankruptcy lawyer at a large law firm in New York; David, age 27, who recently completed the New York State Bar Exam; and Suzanne, 23, who recently completed as Masters in History at Oxford University.  

Don Slesnick is the Immediate Past 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

 Contact Don at