January 01, 2018 GPSolo


The ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division’s 2017–2018 Nominating Committee consisted of the following members: Chair Jennifer A. Rymell, Richard Evangelista, Henry Hamilton, Alan O. Olson, and Thomas P. Tully. The Committee met in person in St. Paul, Minnesota, on October 20 and 21 at the Division’s 2017 Solo & Small Firm Summit. The Committee was charged with nominating a candidate for the office of Division Secretary and five candidates to serve as Council Members-at-Large. Two individuals applied for the position of Division Secretary and eight for the position of Council Member-at-Large. Special efforts were taken to ensure each candidate’s interview was conducted in a professional manner, identical in scope and objective.

Each candidate for Division Secretary and Division Council Member-at-Large was allotted 30 minutes for his or her interview. During the respective interviews, each candidate was afforded an opportunity to share any information the candidate wanted the Nominating Committee members to consider. In addition, Nominating Committee members were given the opportunity to make whatever inquiry they deemed appropriate of the candidates. At the conclusion of the interviews, on October 21, 2017, the Nominating Committee considered all the applicants. After extensive deliberations, the Nominating Committee voted on each position and, in accordance with Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division Bylaw 7.3.1, has submitted the following slate of nominated candidates for Division Secretary and Division Council Members-at-Large for the Bar Year beginning at the 2018 ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

Division Secretary

Stephen J. Curley. Curley, of Stamford, Connecticut, is a sole practitioner who practices in the area of complex commercial litigation. He received his JD, cum laude, from Boston College Law School and has been a practicing attorney for 26 years. In addition to his practice, Curley has been appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut to serve in various quasi-judicial capacities, which include attorney trial referee, fact finder, arbitrator, and special master. He was first appointed by the Chief Justice in 2014, and his term was renewed in 2017. In such capacities, he has decided or mediated approximately ten cases. Curley has been active in the American Bar Association since 1993. During this time, he has served in numerous leadership positions with the GPSolo Division, Section of Litigation, Young Lawyers Division, and the ABA House of Delegates. He also has received several ABA Presidential Appointments to the Standing Committee on Constitution and Bylaws, the Standing Committee on Membership, National Law Day Chair, the Standing Committee on Meetings and Travel, and the Advisory Committee on Gun Violence. Most significantly, Curley has been entrusted with managing the funds of the GPSolo Division as Budget Officer since 2013. He also has served as a Director, Executive Committee Member, and a Council Member-at-Large. Curley is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, Connecticut Bar Fellows, New York State Bar Association, D.C. Bar, and The Regional (Stamford) Bar. His local bar leadership positions included Treasurer, Secretary, Executive Committee Member, and Board of Governors Representative for the Connecticut Bar Association, as well as Chair of the Young Lawyers Committee for The Regional Bar Association. Not surprisingly, Curley has received many accolades for his contributions to the legal profession. He has been named as a New England and Connecticut Super Lawyer. He received the Outstanding Subcommittee and Committee Chair Awards from the ABA Section of Litigation and was recognized as a Star of the Quarter three times by the ABA Young Lawyers Division.

Council Members-at-Large

Lisa Jill Dickinson. Dickinson, of Spokane, Washington, is a sole practitioner focusing on business, commercial, and civil litigation. Dickinson also serves as an Administrative Law Judge for the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings in the Employment Security Division and presides as an appellate justice in various tribal courts. She is extremely active in various bar associations in Washington State in addition to her ABA involvement. Dickinson has been recognized as the Member of the Year by the Washington Women Lawyers, Spokane Chapter. She also has received the Random Acts of Professionalism Award from the Washington State Bar Association and was named one of the Top Women Lawyers in Washington by the Seattle Met Magazine two years in a row. Dickinson was chosen as a GPSolo Division Diversity Fellow and has served as chair/co-chair on the Construction Law, Litigation, and Strategic Communication Committees. She is currently a member of the Division’s Membership and Awards Committees.

Al Harrison. Harrison, of Houston, Texas, has been practicing intellectual property law for more than 30 years. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and received his MS degree in operating research from New York University in 1970. Before attending the University of Houston Law Center, Harrison was an engineer for ten years. He co-authors with Joseph Jacobson a bimonthly series for the GPSolo eReport on “Clarifying Cloud Computing,” along with an article of the same name for GPSolo magazine. Through his legal career, Harrison has been very active in local, state, and specialty bars. He has served as Chair or Council Member for the State Bar of Texas Computer & Technology Section, and Business Law Section, and General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section, as well as the Houston Bar Association Pictorial Roster and Member Benefits Committee and the Houston Intellectual Property Law Association. Harrison lends his expertise to the ABA GPSolo Division as a member of the Book Publishing Board, Resource Center Committee, Intellectual Property Law Committee, and SoloSez Task Force. He also has been the recipient of the City College of the City University of New York G. Edwin White Award in Engineering, and the State Bar of Texas Computer & Technology Section Lifetime Achievement Award.

Matthew Moeller. Moeller, of New Orleans, Louisiana, is the owner of a small firm that focuses on maritime, commercial, and construction law. He obtained his BA degree from Southern Methodist University and his JD from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. He is a frequent author on maritime and construction law issues, having published articles in the GPSolo eReport, the ABA Section of Litigation Mass Torts Litigation Newsletter, and the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee Newsletter, to name a few. He is the current Chair of the GPSolo Construction Law Committee and a member of the Programs Board. He was honored last year with a GPSolo Gold Star award for his outstanding committee work. Moeller is a member of the Federal Bar Association, Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, Louisiana Associated General Contractors, and the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute. He also serves on the Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Jay Ray. Ray, of Plano, Texas, is employed by the Center for American and International Law. He serves as its Director of the Institute for Energy Law and Co-Director of its Institute for Law and Technology. In these capacities, he is responsible for running member organizations for attorneys and planning 18 annual conferences and events around the world. Ray has been involved with the American Bar Association since 1997, beginning as a member of the Young Lawyers Division (YLD). He served on numerous committees and Division Council for the YLD, culminating in Ray serving as ABA YLD Chair in 2006–2007. After his service in the YLD, Ray became active in the GPSolo Division. He has served as a Council member for nine years, on the Executive Committee, and as the Division’s Diversity Director. The year he served as Diversity Director, he undertook the significant task of updating the Division’s Diversity Plan, which is still in place today. Ray is currently in his 14th year as a Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. He served as a Division Delegate for three years and was just reappointed to serve his third term as delegate for the State Bar of Texas. During Ray’s young lawyer career, he was honored by the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers as Dallas Young Lawyer of the Year.

Andrea Van Leesten. Van Leesten, of Culver City, California, is a sole practitioner specializing in probate, trust, and estate law. She received her BA degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her JD at Georgetown University Law Center. Van Leesten also received her mediation certification at Pepperdine University School of Law in 2004. She has been very active in increasing diversity within our Division. Van Leesten has served as Vice Chair and Chair of our Diversity Board. As Chair of the Division’s Diversity Board, she was responsible for overseeing all programs and activities that impacted the Division’s diversity efforts. Her position on the Diversity Board also entailed participating and coordinating with ABA committees and entities that promote diversity, as well as being responsible for the Diversity Fellowship Program. Under Van Leesten’s leadership, the retention rate for our Diversity Fellows substantially increased. She was ultimately elevated to the Executive Committee position of Diversity Director. She has been a frequent contributor to GPSolo magazine, authoring articles such as “Elder Law for Solos” and “How to Make Money Practicing Elder Law.”