The American College of Real Estate Lawyers
Authoritative. Collaborative. Trusted.


Guidelines for Member Selection

1. Nomination Procedures:

a.         Each nominee shall be proposed by a Regular Fellow (including an Academic Fellow) who has independently certified to the Member Selection Committee that the nominee meets the criteria for membership.  No Fellow shall propose more than two persons for membership with respect to any annual election.  Each such proposal shall be accompanied by two seconds that independently certify to the Member Selection Committee that the nominee meets the criteria for membership.  Except as set forth in Section 2 below, any Member – Regular, Academic, Senior and Honorary Fellows – may second any number of nominations.  

b.         Unless the state has ten or fewer Members, at least one of the proposer or seconding Fellows must be enrolled as a member of the College from the same state for which the nominee is proposed for membership except that such requirement shall not apply to a full time professor of law.  For purposes of this provision, “state” refers to the location of the office from which the individual primarily practices.

c.         It is of utmost importance for nominators to submit as full and complete a nomination as possible for each candidate.  Nominators should submit a proposer’s letter addressing the Distinction and Giveback Requirements.  Nominations for membership need not be kept confidential from nominees.

d.         While campaigns for the election of a nominee are strongly discouraged, Fellows are encouraged to confer with ACREL colleagues to identify deserving candidates for nomination to membership.  Inappropriate efforts by Fellows to influence the consideration of a nominee by members of the Member Selection Committee, the Board of Governors or voting Fellows will likely prejudice the nominee’s prospects for admission.  Other than communication by the Member Selection Committee to the Board of Governors of the results of balloting, details of balloting and comments made in considering the nomination shall be kept strictly confidential.

2. Disqualifying Relationships:

No proposal or second shall be accepted from: (a) a Fellow in the same firm, business entity, faculty or other organization as the nominee; (b) a Fellow who is related by birth, adoption, or marriage to the nominee; (c) a Governor; or (d) a member of the Member Selection Committee.

3. Required Disclosure by Nominator or Seconder:

Any proposal or second submitted by a Fellow whose law firm or employer is regularly engaged as counsel for, or who regularly engages as counsel, the nominee or the law firm or employer of the nominee shall include the following information: (a) full disclosure of the nature of the relationship between the Fellow or the Fellow’s law firm or employer and the nominee or the nominee’s law firm or employer; (b) an estimate of the extent (which need not involve dollar amounts) of the work performed for the nominee or the nominee’s law firm by the Fellow or the Fellow’s law firm or employer, including any pertinent information; and (c) any additional factors that may influence the propriety of the nomination.

4. Admission Criteria:

A primary objective of the College is to recruit the best real estate lawyers in the United States as Fellows. In considering nominees for membership, the Member Selection Committee and the Board of Governors shall apply the following criteria:

a.                   Distinguished Practitioner:  The Primary Criterion.  The primary criterion for admission is that the nominee must be a distinguished real property law practitioner who is well known as a specialist in real estate law or a subspecialty thereof by fellow members of the real estate bar and who enjoys an outstanding reputation for excellence and integrity in the practice of law.  If the nominee does not satisfy this threshold criterion, there is no reason to continue to evaluate the nominee.

b.                  Giveback: Quality and Complexity.  The nominee shall have contributed to a more informed bar or public with respect to matters of real estate law or to the improvement of real estate practice (this is generally referred in the College to as “Giveback”).  Giveback is satisfied by the complexity or quality of a nominee’s presentation or contribution, whether or not it could be construed to address business (as opposed to strictly legal) issues, was made to or for a non-legal audience, or was given with the possible intent of attracting clients.  Evaluation of a nominee’s Giveback is a qualitative evaluation, not a quantitative or chronological one.  Giveback may occur at any time during a nominee’s career.  Giveback can be by teaching, writing, working in the organized bar, acting in connection with the adoption of legislation or otherwise performing public service that meets the above requirements. The nomination shall specifically identify the nominee’s activities satisfying the Giveback criteria, including information supporting the quality and complexity of the nominee’s contribution(s).

c.                   Required legal experience.  The nominee must have had substantial experience in real estate law or a subspecialty thereof for a period of not less than ten years. (See Bylaws Article III, Section 1 (a)).  The work experience during this period must consist of real estate law practice (which can be with a law firm, governmental agency or organization, or as “in-house” counsel of a for-profit or non-profit employer or other organization), supervision of a real estate law department or activity concentrated in the teaching of real estate law (or, in all cases, a subspecialty of real estate law). A nominee for election as a Regular Fellow shall be actively practicing real estate law at the time of nomination, and if elected, at the time of admission.  Consideration will be given to the currency of the candidate’s real estate law (or subspecialty) experience.  While there are not different standards for membership for Fellows from large and small cities, due regard shall be given to the professional stature of a nominee, to the size of the community in which the nominee practices and to the opportunities for real estate practice in that community

d.                   Broad Scope of “Real Estate Law or Real Estate Practice”.  The definition of “real estate” for purposes of application of these criteria does not exclude fields that are a part of, or complement, a distinguished, sophisticated real estate practice or other legal practitioners who provide advice on legal issues affecting real estate clients.  Legal practitioners satisfying these criteria may be in various law firm departments, in academia or in companies; although they may not be specifically denominated by employers as “real estate” lawyers per se, they should function with distinction in real estate matters.

e.                   Integrity and civility.  The nominee must exemplify the standards of professional integrity and civility and commitment to the client, the profession and the community that are set forth in the College’s Statement of Professionalism.

f.                    Academic nominees.  Active professors of law shall be considered for election as Regular Fellows, rather than Honorary Fellows.

g.                  Limitation on Admissions.  As nearly as may be practicable, the number of Regular Fellows engaged in private practice shall not be less than eighty percent of the Regular Fellows of the College.  If at any time the percentage of Regular Fellows engaged in private practice falls below eighty percent, no nominees for Regular Fellows shall be approved for membership other than private practitioners until the minimum percentage is restored prior to or at the time of admission of such nominees. It is an objective of the College that the Regular Fellows who are not private practitioners shall be representative of the activities other than private practice in which real estate lawyers are engaged.

h.                  Regular Member requirements.  Membership in the College is limited to lawyers licensed to practice in the highest court of any state or jurisdiction of the United States, and who are actively practicing or teaching at the time elected.  There is no policy precluding the election as an Honorary Fellow of a lawyer not licensed to practice in the United States, but licensed to practice in another country, if the standards for election to Honorary Fellow are otherwise met.

i.                    No limitation on the number of an organization’s members.  The fact that the College has one or more Fellows from an organization shall not preclude the election of another person from the same organization and the Member Selection Committee shall make its recommendation to the Board of Governors based on the foregoing criteria without regard to the number of existing Fellows in the College from the nominee’s organization.

5. Deferral of nomination:

For purposes of this provision, a “member selection cycle” refers to the full round of consideration of nominees for admission to the College.  The cycle begins with the opening of nominations in the fall of one calendar year and concludes with the vote of the Board of Governors on the recommendations of the Member Selection Committee at the Spring Meeting of the College in the following calendar year.

If the Member Selection Committee defers considerationofanomineein a given member selection cycle, the Committee shall advisetheFellowproposingthenomineeofthedeferral and thereasonstherefor. The Committee shall give such notice to the proposing Fellow promptly following the Committee meeting in which the deferral decision is made.  Thenomination will automatically be reconsideredbythe Member Selection Committee duringthe second member selection cycle after the Member Selection Committee’s deferral decision,unless the Fellow proposing the nominee either (i) withdraws the nomination or (ii) requests that the nominee be reconsidered during the first member selection cycle after the Committee’s deferral decision, and the Member Selection Committee agrees, at its discretion, based on new information supplied by the Fellow proposing the nominee to so reconsider the nominee in the immediately following member selection cycle. Ifthe nomineeisnotelectedinthe member selection cycle when the nominee is reconsidered,thenomination is deemedrejected.  

6. Effect of rejection of nomination:

Any nomineewhosenominationisrejected may notbeconsideredduringthenextmember selection cycle,but maythereafterbeconsideredonthefilingofanewnominationformembershipinthe College.

7. Permitted Voters:

All Regular Fellows, including Academic Fellows, Governors and members of the Member Selection Committee, are entitled to vote on nominees.

8. Disapproval of nominee:

Unless otherwise determined by the Member Selection Committee for good reason, no nominee may be elected a Regular Fellow if the nominee is disapproved by the written vote of the greater of three Fellows in the state in which the nominee practices or ten percent of the Regular Fellows in the state in which the nominee practices. (See Bylaws, Article III, Section (3)(d).)

9. Board of Governors to elect Fellows and waiver of guidelines:

New Fellows are elected by the Board of Governors in the discretion of the Board of Governors after consideration of the recommendations of the Member Selection Committee. Unless otherwise required by the Bylaws (See Bylaws, Article III, Section 3(d), last sentence), these Guidelines may be waived by the Board of Governors in whole or in part in the consideration of any nomination.

Revised 10/2016
* Please refer to the Bylaws, Article III, Section 1(b) and Section 4, for rules relating to selection of Honorary Fellows.