American College of Trial Lawyers

ACTL Fellows: Alan Wagner, John McLaughlin, and Bill Wagner

The American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), the most selective group of trial lawyers in North America, was founded in 1950 with the goal to improve the practice of civil and criminal trial law. Its mandate is “to improve and elevate the standards of trial practice, the administration of justice and the ethics of the profession.” It counts as “honorary fellows” each of the U.S. Supreme Court justices, as well as the justices of the Canadian Supreme Court.

Membership in ACTL, though much sought-after, is difficult to obtain. ACTL guidelines, in fact, dictate that only 1% of the local attorney population of any given state or province may become an ACTL “fellow,” and its current membership includes a mere 5700 fellows, encompassing the United States and Canada. An attorney can become a member only by invitation after a minimum of 15 years of active trial practice experience. Only those trial attorneys who have earned the respect of the legal community, through their talent and integrity, have a shot at becoming a member.

As part of upholding its mandate, ACTL sponsors awards encouraging judicial independence, justice programs, courageous advocacy, and improvements to the litigation process. The Emil Gumpert award, for example, is an annual $100,000 award given to a program designed to improve the administration of justice.

ACTL is active in educating its own members as well as attorneys throughout Canada and the United States. It publishes codes of pretrial and trial conduct, with forwards by the Chief Justices of the United States and Canada. It has also produced trial advocacy materials for lawyers and judges, and it sponsors law student competitions in trial and appellate advocacy.

Wagner McLaughlin is proud that three of our attorneys are ACTL fellows: Alan Wagner, John McLaughlin, and Bill Wagner.

Wagner McLaughlin's ACTL fellows

Wagner McLaughlin’s ACTL fellows

Together with the rest of our committed team of attorneys and staff, these three lead Wagner McLaughlin in zealously fighting for our clients’ rights.

If you have been injured through someone else’s negligence, our attorneys have the experience, passion, and reputation to be your voice in court. Whether your case deals with personal injury, legal malpractice, or medical malpractice, contact us today for a free consultation.