In Memoriam: Bonnie Glantz Fatell


We are deeply saddened to inform the Blank Rome community that our friend and partner Bonnie Glantz Fatell passed away on August 24. We have lost a leader, trailblazer, mentor, member of our family, and one of the nicest, most caring individuals we will ever know.

Bonnie received her B.S. from Pennsylvania State University in 1973 and her J.D. from Temple University School of Law in 1981. She began her remarkable legal career in 1981 and joined Blank Rome in 1984 with the team from Wexler Weisman Forman and Shapiro. Bonnie retired from Blank Rome in 2016. For nearly 35 years, Bonnie has been both a pillar and a force of nature at the Firm. She conducted herself with the highest level of professionalism and grace and embodied the Blank Rome spirit and culture.

A Trailblazing Leader: At Blank Rome, Bonnie’s leadership was highly sought after, and she wholeheartedly and selflessly took on simultaneous roles, contributing to the success of her colleagues and the Firm. She served as chair of the Business Restructuring and Bankruptcy group from 2001 through 2008, distinguishing herself as one of the first female attorneys in the country to chair a national bankruptcy group. During this same seven-year period, she also served on multiple committees, including the Partner Nominating Committee, Partner Board, Women’s Steering Committee, Diversity Committee, and Distribution Committee. Twice she served as the Administrative Head of the Wilmington office. 

Outside of the Firm, Bonnie held leadership positions in the Delaware State Bar Association and was a member of the Pennsylvania State Bar. She was a former chair of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference, a former member of the American Bankruptcy Institute (“ABI”), a former Advisory Board member of the ABI Mid-Atlantic Conference, and former member of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation. She completed the ABI/St. John's Mediation Program and served as a mediator nationwide. She was a contributing author to the Collier Bankruptcy Commercial Forms Manual—a leading treatise for bankruptcy practitioners.

A Passionate Mentor: Bonnie’s national practice required a great deal of focus, but she was passionate about women’s issues and made it a priority to devote significant time and energy to mentoring women on career advancement and professional growth. Her experience, drive, and compassion influenced countless women throughout the Firm and the legal industry.

During her role as chair of the Blank Rome Women’s Forum, she organized and hosted a series of unique programs for Blank Rome’s women attorneys and professionals. She also developed the Firm’s annual Women’s Forum retreat, which in 2010 was honored by a special appearance by then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Bonnie organized educational, social, and networking events that were known not only for their successful impact in promoting advancement and leadership, but also for their prominent guests, including award-winning author and magazine journalist Katie McCabe, and Blank Rome Government Relations Principal, the late Geraldine Ferraro. The Firm’s Women’s Forum programming continued to grow and support women both inside and outside of the Firm year after year, thanks to Bonnie’s significant contributions.

An Authentic Client Advocate: Bonnie’s authenticity made her a true original in the legal profession. It was her authentic nature that allowed her to develop strong and meaningful relationships with her clients and serve as a fierce advocate for them in the courtroom. Her dedication to her clients was second to none, and she received regional and national recognition for her efforts. For example, she was recognized by one of the Firm’s clients, Lyondell Chemical Co., for her outstanding service, and was “knighted” and presented with a ceremonial sword for the most outstanding battle as an attorney. 

In further recognition of her accomplishments, Bonnie received numerous honors and distinctions throughout her career, including repeated listings in Chambers, Who’s Who Legal, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers in America by which she was selected as 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law in Philadelphia. In 2014, she was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal on their “Women of Distinction” list. She was twice appointed by the Chief Judge of the Third Circuit to serve on the Merit Selection Committee for new Bankruptcy Judges in the District of Delaware. She was also appointed as a Consumer Privacy Ombudsman by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Trustee Program and inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy where she was only the second practicing Delaware attorney selected to be a fellow. Additionally, she served two terms as Regent of the American College of Bankruptcy for the Third Circuit.

A Dedicated Mother and Wife: Greater than all these accomplishments and accolades combined was Bonnie’s intense love and pride for her family. She is survived by Howard, her husband and best friend of 50 years; her daughter Sara and her wife Kelsey; and her son Danny and his wife Andrea. Bonnie loved to travel with Howard, and created pottery, a passion of hers for years.

Bonnie also volunteered regularly for Get Out the Vote campaigns and worked tirelessly to promote political involvement. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with Bonnie’s family. We are all better people for having known Bonnie and will be forever grateful for the positive, lasting impact that she had on our Blank Rome family.  

Relatives and friends are invited to services on Monday, August 26 at 10:00 a.m. at Cong. Adath Israel Old Lancaster Rd. & Highland Ave. Merion, PA. Int. Haym Salomon Mem. Park. The family will return to the late residence and will be sitting Shiva all day Monday, August 26; Tuesday, August 27, 12:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, August 28 and Thursday, August 29, 7:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice. Her obituary is available here.