…that one of the best parties we throw every year, tonight’s MCBA Holiday Bench & Bar Party, is perceived by some to be only for litigators. I have heard rumblings about this for years, and every year, I work to quell that rumor. So I thought I would take this opportunity to dispel any rumors to that effect.
It is called the “MCBA Bench & Bar Holiday Party”, and yes, we see this as an opportunity to welcome and celebrate members of the judiciary. And for a second year in a row, the MCBA has extended “complimentary invites” to ALL members of the judiciary, both MCBA members and non-member judges. The Association values its relationship with the judiciary, and appreciate this opportunity to gather members of the judiciary and the bar to celebrate this relationship.
However, if you are one of the many members of the bar that never appear before the Court, that does not mean this is also not your holiday party, indeed it is. This celebration is for everyone!
Just yesterday, I was speaking to several young attorneys that both practice real estate law. They were talking about the fact that the holiday party is just for litigators, and I quickly stepped in to clarify that this was absolutely not true. I went on to challenge them that though they may be practicing in the area of real estate now, is there not the potential that they may choose to try a new area of law in the future, and if and when that time came, would it not be to their advantage to know members of the judiciary. Or, in their many bar activities and involvement on various committees or sections, is it not to their professional benefit to get to know members of the judiciary as friends and colleagues; after all, judges are people too.
So I challenged these two young women to go back to their firms and to encourage their department co-workers to join us tonight. It really is a wonderful event that kicks off the holiday season in the beautiful B&L Wintergarden. The food is plentiful, the beverages come in all forms, and best of all, the company is great!
Help put an end to this rumor…
A very happy holiday to one and all, and I hope to see you in just about 6 hours. You can pay at the door…
Thanks for checking in,
Gratitude…according to Webster’s Dictionary means….a feeling of appreciation or thanks. It’s a short definition that means so much, as I am grateful for much.
I am grateful for my president, Diane Cecero. The president is never quite ready for the demands of the job, and, frankly, how could one be? It is very demanding, but I also like to think that it is very rewarding as well. Diane is doing a great job of keeping up with the many demands of her MCBA leadership position, asking good questions, all while serving as Counsel to the President of Monroe Community College.
I am also grateful to the president-elect, Steve Modica. Steve is a steady supporter of myself and the president, always willing to jump in and assist. He is spending much of his “learning year” as Chair of Strategic Planning. What better role for an incoming president?
Grateful for present and future, I’m also grateful for those who have come before them, such as Connie Walker, who is chairing our Nominating Committee, and Richard Rosenbloom and Mary Ross, who chair our Past President get-togethers like tomorrow’s luncheon.
I am also grateful to the MCBA Board of Trustees for their active and thoughtful engagement at the monthly Board meeting, and at the many requests for participation that we put them through. This includes a special call-out to our current Treasurer, Amy Varel, and her wonderful House Finance Committee that keeps us fiscally strong, and MCBA Secretary, Neil Rowe, a master at taking minutes.
I am also grateful to all the committee and section chairs who dedicate their time and energy to this Association.
Thank you to Beth McDonald, chair of the Awards Committee, and her committee for focusing on celebrating the accomplishments of our members by nominating them for not only MCBA and Foundation awards, but also ABA, NYSBA and many community awards. We are so grateful and proud of the work of this committee.
I am also very grateful for the Hon. Frank Geraci and his Memorial Committee that just last Friday celebrated the lives of 22 attorneys and judges who passed away over the past year. Some lived long and rich lives, and some were taken from us way too soon. As always, it was a touching ceremony, and at the end, each family member was called up to accept a rose and a copy of the tribute book. Always a profoundly touching event, reminding me how grateful I am for my family, while reminding me of the sadness for those gone too soon.
I am also grateful for Wende Knapp and the entire Young Lawyers Section for allowing me to feel young at heart and for showing all of us the bright future in store for this Association.
Special thanks to the Academy of Law for striving for and delivering excellence in the educational offerings we bring to our legal community — both in breadth of subject and high quality of programming.
I am grateful to the Foundation and its President Audrey Peartree and President-elect Bruce Lawrence for the support they provide to the MCBA and legal community through the many grants they award to various programs, like the A.C.T. For the Children Program (celebrating 15 years!), Rochester Diversity Clerkship Program, Rochester Teen Court, and more. I am also extremely grateful to the Foundation for its leadership role in the Telesca Center for Justice, from start to finish.
I am grateful to members of the Judiciary, past and present, whom we will be honoring on December 5 at the Bench & Bar Holiday party, for providing a unique perspective on how we can be a better Bar Association and for their daily work in administering justice for all.
Thank you to my staff, who show up every day ready to serve our members.
And last, but oh so not least, I’m grateful to all of you who proudly call yourself a member of the Monroe County Bar Association. You dedicate your time, your dollars and your wisdom to this organization and the legal community. As members, you are a diverse group of people, with diverse backgrounds and varying opinions on so many things, but we also have our commonality.
On the eve of his assassination, I’m reminded of one of the many wise and particularly poignant quotes from President John F. Kennedy:
“For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.”
For all that you do, every single day, I am very grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!
Aside Posted on
It took the loss of my brother, Peter, six years ago at the young age of 50, to begin to trigger a wake-up call in my life. Then just over a year ago, I had my own scare as some of you may recall, and fortunately, the end result was all good news. But I would be lying if I did not say that those moments forces one to step back and say, “Wait a minute!”
And one of the things I had to look at was the attention, or lack thereof, that I was “giving to Mary”. Having worked full time since I was 21, raising three kids, and having managerial, high pressure positions over the past 20 years leaves everyone else at the top of the priority list, and you (or in my case – me) at the bottom.
My dear sweet father used to tell me as the pounds came on, “Honey, it’s baby-weight, you will lose it!” To which I responded, “Dad, I’m an adult, this no longer constitutes baby-weight.” That was until I had my own three babies, then I blamed it on them, like my mom did, and all the mothers before us.
Since Peter’s passing, I began by having serious conversations with myself and recognized that change was in order. Watching my diet, stepping away from all the naughty stuff, and focusing on the healthy stuff. My efforts had ebbed and flowed like so many of us; but it was on my mind. Then about this time last year, learned I had Celiac disease, which means NO gluten, not even a little bit. The doctor reported that for some people this is devastating news, but I must admit, for me it was great news. I am eating gluten free (GF) 24/7 — and enjoying it! I feel better. The world has become very “GF friendly”. My house is GF, and that includes for friends and family. I still do dinner parties and no one complains. I am a good cook and there are so many healthy options out there. Some have chosen to reduce the gluten in their life, despite having no gluten issues, and admit to feeling better without it. My diet is simple — fruits, veggies, healthy proteins, GF granola, good yogurt and almost no processed food. Do I have moments and cravings, sure I do, but far fewer than ever before, and I have healthier solutions now to satisfy.
Though I played all kinds of sports as a kid, in high school and even in college (the first women’s rugby team at Bonaventure — because they had great uniforms and very fun parties). Working out was not part of my routine, and despite repeated efforts, it was NEVER anything I enjoyed doing. Nor could I understand why anyone else enjoyed it. As the kids came along, I had even less time to think about it. I considered my exercise to be hauling laundry before and after work, along with cooking, and attending 4-6 soccer games each week cheering them on.
So for almost three years now, I decided I was going to invest in my own health and joined Midtown Athletic Club. This was a significant conversation with myself where I repeatedly had to convince myself that I was worth this investment. Midtown works for me, because I literally live less than a mile from the gym which makes getting there a non-negotiable. I also did the cost benefit analysis, and told myself that if I am going to make this investment, then I was going to commit to being there a minimum of 4-5 days a week. After all, I am worth it!
The other reason it works for me is because I have made it a priority in my life. On Sunday, I open my calendar and determine whether I will be doing morning or end of day workouts based on my bar meetings and events schedules. About half the time I go as part of the early riser club at 5:00 – 5:30 AM, which actually I love because I feel I have already accomplished something for the day. I have always been an early riser, so this is not difficult for me. At that hour of the day, I may run into Scott Forsyth, Liz Novak, Steve Schwarz, Ed Lopez, Judge Stander, Jeff Hough and others. The end of the day also has its benefits which means more time for a longer workout, and following a light dinner and a hot shower, I sleep like a baby — as they say. At the end of the day, I will run into Sue Tebor, Trilby deJung, and Lauren Frank. On a Saturday I will quite often see Judge Telesca working hard on the treadmill.
When I first started going I remember feeling a little uptight about running into people I know, in my gym clothes, with no make-up on…. egad! But over time, I cared less and less because I feel better and better. The other surprise that developed over time was that I actually ENJOY, yes, ENJOY going to the gym. If 3 days happen to go by without a trip there, my body lets me know, and I get there.
I must admit — these last couple of years of my routine have had its highs and lows, and in the midst of it all, some major projects underway here at the bar (i.e., the renovation of the Telesca Center lobby). This resulted in more scheduling challenges, more meetings, less time on my day job of simply running the bar, but I stayed with it, and on those days when the stress level crept up, I ended the day with a trip to the gym, and nothing helps that creep like an intense workout on an elliptical or rowing machine. There were weeks when I only managed to get there 3 times in a week, but then the guilt on the monthly invoice would kick in and kick my butt. During the past year, I have become increasingly serious about introducing more cardio variation, and getting into the weight room and working out on some of those machines as well. I am tracking it, and have made real progress. My son, Brian, 25 and fit beyond words with a 30″ waist, keeps tabs on my progress, and is quite impressed.
So why am I sharing all this…because I care about you! I know you are all working as hard as me at your day jobs, and then still coming here to the MCBA or elsewhere in the Telesca Center, and giving even more time. You then have to manage your family and other community obligations – I get it! It can all be very hard and stressful. But I encourage you to step back and take a look at what you are doing for YOU! If YOU don’t take care of YOU, no one else will. Our lives are stressful, and only getting more so. We have to be the ones to claim it, and control it. Life catches up with us, as do our choices, but sometimes, we are given an opportunity to turn our life around.
How can we help? We are mindful of what we feed you here at the MCBA, so next time you are here for a CLE, perhaps grab the turkey sandwich, instead of the beef, leave the chips behind, and skip the cookie. Drink water instead of soda. And before you head back to the office, walk for a few blocks just to clear your head, give yourself some quiet time as you begin your afternoon. Or on November 21, stop by “BarSTOP” and have some downtime and fun with friends and colleagues before heading home — even 10 minutes, and have a light beer!
You don’t have to join Midtown, you can join another gym, or just get out and walk, or pull the treadmill tucked away in the basement and plug it back in. But if you do want to check out Midtown, MCBA members get special deals. Simply contact Debbie Davis at 585-461-2301 x.142 for a trial membership. Maybe I will see you there.
I have come to an acceptance stage that my challenge can no longer be blamed on three beautiful babies. It is the result of choices I made over the years. But now, I am making new choices, and I am feeling the effects of this new and happier life.
Have a great day! Thanks for checking in,
The weight of running a bar association is not entirely left to me, as your Executive Director, or the president, Diane Cecero. With more than 35 committees and sections, and chairs for all of those respective groups, as well as the Foundation and all of its interest groups, we have many, many cooks (chefs) in the kitchen stirring their own concoctions. My job, along with the president’s, is to work hard and race fast to keep up with the many activities that are happening around us.
Our chefs are very busy, and I wanted to give you a quick overview of activities that are underway throughout the MCBA:
Membership & Events Committee, under the leadership of Shannon O’Keefe Pero, is working on “Mentor for a Moment”, and is hosting the inaugural BarSTOP on November 21st. Easy one to remember thereafter — the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Hyatt.
Senior Attorneys Committee, under the leadership of Mort Bittker, has an incredible line-up of speakers for their monthly meetings. I do not think there is an age requirement to attend these fascinating meetings. The November 26th speaker is Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, President, RDDC. Come and learn about the many exciting projects underway in Downtown Rochester. I sit on Heidi’s Board, and can tell you first hand, there is a lot of cool stuff happening in Rochester.
Memorial Committee, under the leadership of the Honorable Frank Geraci, has the honor of offering our annual tributes to those members that have passed in the last bar year. Sadly, we will be recognizing 22 of our colleagues, and we would like to invite you to join this memorable event on November 15, at 12:30 p.m. at the Hall of Justice, Rm. 404. This event is about celebrating the incredible legacies of these extraordinary attorneys.
Nominating Committee, under the leadership of past president, Connie Walker will begin the annual process of nominating the next slate of candidates for the bar, and in identifying the president for 2015-16. Where do the years go? This is important work as this committee is responsible for selecting the next group of critical bar leaders. Watch for the nominating information, and consider nominating either yourself or a colleague.
Young Lawyers Sections under the leadership of Wende Knapp is always busy. On Wed. November 13 at 6:00 p.m., they are hosting their 2nd Trivia Night at Wall Street. This was a blast last year, so you should add it to your calendar. And it’s not just for younger members.
Real Estate Section, under the leadership of Maureen Garvey, has been very busy planning both CLE’s and a new edition of the Real Estate Guide. This invaluable resource will soon be available for purchase with many new forms. This is a significant project, and “kudo’s” to the section for sticking with it over the last few years.
The Academy of Law under the leadership of Hillary Merkel McMillan is having a banner year with more than 56 programs already on the calendar for the balance of the year, and 16 already behind us. I invite you to make the Rubin Center for Education a destination for some of your CLE credits. If you don’t have time for a live program, considering viewing one of our dozens and dozens of CLE programs already on line through CLE On Demand. And in case you did not know, we are doing LIVE web casting as well. Just keep an eye out for those upcoming programs. The Academy leadership ensures that we deliver high-quality programs by qualified local, regional and national speakers. Click here to check us out the CLE calendar.
Lawyers for Learning Committee, under the leadership of Elena Renner, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of this award-winning program. However, in this this year of celebration, the program is facing a year with less than 30 mentors signed up. Elena and her dedicated committee need your help. If you are interested in mentoring please click here to fill out an application. We need you!
Awards Committee, under the leadership of Beth McDonald, is doing great work weeding through award applications and vetting with her committee names of members that may be eligible for various MCBA, Foundation, NYSBA and other awards. There is nothing better than to be able to recognize and celebrate one of our very own.
Foundation of the Monroe County Bar, under the leadership of Audrey Peartree, had a very big meeting this morning, voting to approve the purchase of a new phone system for all the partners at the Telesca Center for Justice. This significant purchase presents an incredible gift to all of the partners, including the MCB, as we are all working with phone systems that are more than 20 years old. The funds are coming out of the balance of the Partnership for Equal Justice Campaign. In addition, they are working hard to reach a goal of $30,000 in the 2013 Raise the Bar Appeal. We would welcome your gift. And, save the date for the 4th Annual Jazz for Justice on Friday, March 21st starting at 5:30pm.
Well, that is all for now. No, that is not all of our committees and sections and boards, that is less than a 1/3rd of them, but it’s all that I have time to report on this afternoon. I will do another blog on this topic and provide more on the others at a later date. There is much hard work underway throughout the Monroe County Bar, with a special call out to all the bar leaders that are running these committees/sections and boards.
Without all of you — there is no bar association. So if I do not say it enough — “Thank You” for all you do and all that you give to the MCBA, the Center for Education and the Foundation of the MCB. If you are a member, or are an attorney non-member, perhaps I have peaked your interest to become more involved in one of our many activities and events. All you need to do is call, and we will get you connected to the right people.
Thanks for checking in,