In academia, it is customary to honor important milestones in a colleague's career with a festschrift, a collected volume of scholarly essays or reflections on the individual's contributions to his or her field. Very often, festschrifts are assembled to celebrate a retirement, but they are also used to honor the memory of a colleague who has died. The Board of Editors of the ACTEC Law Journal unanimously agreed that our first issue of the 2017-2018 academic year should be in honor and memory of Dennis Belcher. With the encouragement and contributions of many of Dennis's friends and colleagues, we are pleased to present this festschrift issue of the ACTEC Law Journal.
The issue is divided into two parts. Part I includes a transcription of Dennis's 2016 Joseph Trachtman Memorial Lecture, introduced and prepared by his colleagues Michael Barker and William Sanderson. The time and effort they spent transcribing this speech allows Dennis's wit and wisdom to be preserved, as Dennis had not converted his remarks into a written article at the time of his death. This Part also includes Dennis's April 3, 2008 written testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Finance. Dennis's many ideas for simplifying estate planning maintain vitality today.
Part II of this issue includes professional and personal reflections from many different people who knew Dennis in a variety of capacities. A call went out to all ACTEC Fellows, who were encouraged to share the call with others. The call invited reflections on estate planning techniques or doctrines that were of particular interest to Dennis, salient cases in the public record in which Dennis played an important role, Dennis's role as a leader or mentor in the profession, service to the profession and/or community by Dennis, or personal reflections about working with him. In these pages, you will read many accounts that illustrate how widely and deeply Dennis's influence was felt throughout the estate planning community.
Bridget J. Crawford, Foreword--Festschrift in Memory of Dennis I. Belcher, 43 ACTEC L.J. 1 (2017), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/1086/.