The Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law is pleased to announce that Thomas D. Phelps has been named chairperson of the law school’s Board of Advisors, taking over for Parker Kennedy, who was recently named chairperson of Chapman University’s Board of Trustees.

“I was very pleased when Tom agreed to act as chair for our Board of Advisors,” Kennedy said. “People are at their best around Tom. He is one of those people who brings civility, fairness, and productivity to every meeting.”

Kennedy and his family have been tireless supporters of the Fowler School of Law for decades. Donald P. Kennedy Hall was named for Park’s father, and generous gifts in the past from the Kennedys have helped establish student scholarships, several professorships, and other initiatives to advance the academic mission of the law school.

Parker Kennedy in kennedy Hall

Parker Kennedy hands over the chair of the Fowler School of Law Board of Advisors to Tom Phelps as Kennedy steps into a new role as chair of Chapman University’s Board of Trustees.

“We have flourished under Park Kennedy’s leadership and we are grateful for all he has done to advance the law school,” said Fowler School of Law Dean Matt Parlow. “We’re thankful he will remain on the Board of Advisors even as he serves as chair of the Board of Trustees.”

A longtime supporter of the Fowler School of Law, Phelps is one of the co-founding partners at Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips, LLP, which he started in 1965 with his longtime friend, the late Charles T. Manatt. Phelps helped take their Los Angeles-based business from a two-person firm specializing in legal services for the banking community to a national, multidisciplinary professional services law firm with 450 attorneys in 10 law offices around the United States.

Phelps—whose work with scores of financial institutions throughout the country has earned him numerous accolades throughout his lengthy career—is also active in a number of banking industry groups, including the California Bankers Association, where he previously served on the State Government Relations Committee and the Federal Government Relations Committee (and was the recipient of the organization’s Inaugural Chairman’s Award in 2014). In addition, Phelps is noted for his philanthropy, serving on the boards of several local community organizations, including the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

“I’ve known Tom for almost 25 years, when I began as a first-year summer associate at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips,” Parlow said. “Since then, he has been a terrific mentor to me. It’s an honor to partner with such a titan in the legal profession to continue building on the tremendous momentum that the Fowler School of Law has been experiencing.”

Phelps, who has long served on the Fowler School of Law Board of Advisors, said he’s proud to be following in the footsteps of the likes of Kennedy and fellow chair emeritus Wylie Aitken.

“Thanks to the energetic leadership of Dean Parlow, as well as the skill and dedication of the faculty, staff, students, and advisory board, the Fowler School of Law has become one of the most impressive law schools in the country,” Phelps said. “It is an honor to be among its supporters, and I am proud to be able to contribute to its future success.”