Spring…a time of renewal

Posted on Updated on

Following one of the most intense winters I can recall, these last few weeks of spring have been such a gift. No more boots, or heavy winter clothing; no more shoveling or negotiating with the plow guy as to why he has to hit your house first in the morning over his other clients; and no more grumbling of people everywhere you go about the weather.

What I do find amusing is that with a few days already in the high 80’s, I have actually heard people grumbling about the heat. “Wait a minute, just less than 2 months ago, we had snow on the ground…so why are we complaining?”

snow photo house

But I get it. Spring follows winter for many reasons. The primary one is that it is a time of renewal. Buds begin to emerge on the barren trees, and in time bring signs of spring in the form of blossoms and leaves. The sun seems to be out more, resulting in a happier Rochester, and even the air feels cleaner. In addition, I am noticing our dedicated members are appearing at some of these early morning and noon time meetings with a bigger smile. The commute to the MCBA offices, whether by boots or snow tires, was a hassle this winter.

To their credit, not the snow, or rain, or ice or arctic blast would keep a dedicated MCBA member down. Your spirit and commitment to the MCBA, the Center for Education, and the Foundation was always clear. You delivered, and for this we are grateful.

blog snow photo

So now that we all survived the memorable Winter of 2015, and are enjoying this time of renewal, I write to ask you to keep up with your spirit of renewal, and renew your MCBA membership when you receive it next week. In a recent Membership Report from the ABA, I read with interest that for the majority of bar associations it takes 7-12 interactions/requests/connections to secure a renewal from a member. We are somewhere in the middle.

My hope in sending this message of renewal today is that you will do your own internal processing about the value of the MCBA in your own life and practice.

Did you take advantage of one or more of the following:

Elizabeth Randisi, Robin Marable, Jere Fletcher and Meredith Lamb.

  1. Join or lead a substantive committee or section;
  2. Distinguish yourself by presenting at one of our 60+ CLEs;
  3. Attend either the Holiday Bench & Bar or the Inaugural Robing Ceremony to network with the judiciary;
  4. Participate and learn at one of our highly rated CLEs;
  5. Join the Lawyer Referral Service panel to assist in growing your practice;
  6. Take part in one of our monthly, informal and fun MCBA BarSTOPS to share the end of day with a colleague;
  7. Utilize one of our two Member Workstations complete with phone, desktop (thank you to the Foundation) and now, Fastcase Legal Research thanks to a gift of two licences from NYSBA;
  8. Did you either reach out to be a mentor, or reach out seeking a mentor through our Mentor for a Moment program;
  9. Sign up to utilize one of the MCBA Conference Rooms to meet with a client;
  10. Or did you reach out in one of dozens of other ways with the MCBA this year that provided you with meaningful engagement with friends and colleagues, in a way that enhanced your life both personally and professionally?


If so, all I ask is that when your renewal comes in the mail in the week ahead, please make my day by renewing immediately. My goal is to reduce the renewal cycle of 7-8 months, down to two months, in order that we can get back to the business of delivering to you a bountiful number of membership advantages.

Lastly, renew by June 30, and take advantage of the 2 Free CLE credits through a video replay — a total value of $66. This is too significant not to take advantage.

I appreciate your consideration and attention to this request as we don’t take your membership for granted.

Thanks for checking in,


To All My Wonderful Colleagues – Thank You!

Posted on

thank you!

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

– Seneca the Younger.

You may or may not know, but I am leaving my position at the Monroe County Bar Association to start a new and exciting chapter of my life in Delaware. It has been a most meaningful two years and nine months here at the MCBA (August would have made three years). I want you all to know that I am truly leaving here with mixed feelings; happy about a new career opportunity, but sad to be leaving such a great organization.

I would like to thank my wonderful colleagues:

Mary, Liz, Diane, Dianne, Galina, Ginny, Kathy, Louise, Merritt and Mark. Thank you for being such an awesome team and for helping me grow both professionally and personally. I have enjoyed my time here and will miss the team. Thank you for all the support, insights, and help you have provided me over the past two years and nine months.

Thank you for all being so thoughtful, and making me feel appreciated. Hopefully I won’t have a full on Kim Kardashian meltdown next Thursday at the farewell party.

kim k cryface

While it’s common practice to acknowledge the work of a colleague when they leave, I’d like to take this time to acknowledge your continued hard work and the impression that all of you have imprinted on me. There is a great sense of community within the MCBA that isn’t found in a lot of workplaces.

To my Lawyers for Learning committee colleagues:

The great work that you do for School 29 does not go unnoticed. Thank you for your time, hard work and dedication to the Lawyers for Learning program. Never underestimate the difference that you can make in the lives of the children.

LFL Commitee

I look forward to celebrating the committee members, mentors and School 29 teachers at the appreciation social on Tuesday, May 19 at Tapas.

And finally to everyone I have not mentioned, do not think that I have forgotten you. You have each inspired me and taught me valuable lessons. You have all played your part in shaping me into the person I am today.

The last two years and nine months as the communications coordinator has been the best period of my career so far. I learned a great deal and worked with many great people. I can only wish that my new job will give me such rewarding experiences.

With gratitude,

– Dajaneé

It is that time of year…

Posted on Updated on

…when there is so much going on that it makes my head spin. No doubt, your head is spinning as well.

Last week we had an incredible Law Day Luncheon. If you missed it, check out our YouTube channel for our 10 year Telesca Center for Justice celebration video along with videos of some of the award recipients. Click here to see photos from the annual luncheon. It was a great day celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Telesca Center for Justice…complete with birthday cake!

Law Day Blog

But as one event ends, another half-dozen are right around the corner. While at the same time, it is time to rake the yard, mow the lawn, open the porch, and enjoy this warm and wonderful sunshine. It’s starting to feel like summer! But summer cannot officially begin before the official conclusion of this bar year on June 30. I know for a fact, one First Lady of the MCBA, Lorrie Modica, is counting the day’s until she has her incredibly dedicated husband, and my president, back full-time. Lorrie actually showed me the countdown she has going on her phone, and understandably. Steve has been a remarkable bar president, and has not slowed down, nor will he till that final hour. But when the time comes, Steve totally deserves the right to slow down, but I know Steve, and I know he will always be there for the MCBA.

So in the final weeks, here is what lies ahead for you and me:

New Opportunity to View the Film — Dedicated to Justice: Hon. Michael Telesca

If you were unable to join us for the film premiere of Dedicated to Justice: Hon. Michael A. Telesca, you have another chance tomorrow, Friday, May 8th at 12:15 pm in the Rubin Center for Education on the 5th Floor. Do not miss the chance to view this remarkable film, which was produced by our Foundation, about the life of our beloved Judge Michael Telesca. Bring your lunch, we will provide the soda and water, and in addition to watching the 30 minute film, you will meet the  the filmmaker, Matthew Spaull. He will be joined by MCBA President Steve Modica and Judge Jonathan Feldman to share a bit about the making of the film.

Film Premier Blog

Court of Appeals Reception — Wednesday, May 20th

If you are free that evening, plan to join us out at Woodcliff to welcome our two new Court of Appeals Judges, the Honorable Leslie Stein and the Honorable Eugene Fahey. The reception will begin at 5:30 pm and conclude at 7:30 pm. Pre-registration is required for this very special event, so please visit here.

Empire Justice Center’s — A Celebration of Leadership Reception

I am both humbled and honored to be joining Joe Casion, of Harter Secrest & Emery fame, in being one of the two recipients of their leadership awards. This very special evening will be held on Thursday, May 21st from 5:30 – 8:30 pm at the Strathallan on East Ave. This award is especially meaningful because of my admiration of the incredible people that comprise this very dynamic organization. The dedication and commitment to ensuring access and advocacy to those that are unable throughout Rochester and all of New York State is extraordinary. If you are not real familiar with Empire Justice, I would encourage you to join in this very special evening.

Meetings, meetings and more meetings…

This is no surprise to anyone — we host many, many, many meetings at the MCBA. So of late, it has been many Foundation meetings including the establishment of the Legacy Society, a planned giving program, as well as the launch of its Raise the Bar Annual Campaign that should be hitting your mailbox any day now. Plus, the Member Focus Committee which is a new Board Committee which is busy reviewing programs of the bar that directly impact and benefit our members. Then we have the Health and Well-Being Task Force, that is meeting with regularity in order to put in place a solution to assist our members dealing with work life balance, stress, depression, PTSD issues, and other mental health matters. This was a big discussion point at Law Day. Mental health issues are on the rise in the profession and as your local bar association, we are working to develop a confidential solution that will assist those attorneys in need. Earlier this week the T. Carl Nixon Board Room was packed with more than 28 solo and small firm practitioners that convene on the first Tuesday of every month to meet, network, share questions and ideas, learn about a new area of practice, share referrals, and most of all support one another. It is like a big law firm meeting! If you wish learn more about this high energy group, contact Brad Kammholz, the Chair, or Liz Novak, the manager liaison.

Time to Renew Your Commitment to the MCBA

In between all of the events and meetings, Liz Novak, our membership manager, is busy preparing for the next membership renewal cycle. Yes, for the vast majority of you, it has been a year since you made that renewal. My hope is that you will once again renew your commitment to your MCBA, your peers, and the profession, by taking this action as soon as that reminder hits your inbox. For so many of you, it is automatic. For others, it sometimes requires multiple friendly nudges from Liz, me, and even the Board as they are assigned to make calls. What we hear most often is “Oh, did I not do that yet, I’m sorry, I will take care of that right now,” and most of you do. But frequently, it becomes displaced again, which requires more of our time to make the connection again. Not that I don’t mind, but I would so much prefer to be putting my time and the Board’s time on matters that will create greater impact and benefit to you directly. Does this make sense? But if I have to, I will respectfully chase you down, because we are a better bar with you! Thank you in advance.

Need any CLE credits?

If so, do we have a CLE for you. It will be another banner year of CLE activity thanks to Academy Dean Mary Jo Korona, Dean-Elect Cindy Snodgrass and CLE Manager, Louise Spinelli. I have lost count, but I think we will end the year with 60+/- CLEs. That is a big number! And approximately one-third of those are delivered in this last quarter of the bar year. In addition to the live programming, visit our website for many online CLE viewing options.

CLe Credits Blog

Welcoming the Summer 2015 Diversity Clerks to Rochester

Always an exciting time of year as we welcome 8 new 1L law students to Rochester for their 10 week experience. Once again, we have an incredible class of young people that will be making Rochester their home for the summer. We hope that if you have an opportunity to meet these young people, that you will regale them with stories about the wonderful practice of law in Rochester. Special thanks to Diversity Clerkship Chair, Jeff Harradine for his work on this important program, with great support from Louise Spinelli.

Valor Day — June 13
Rochester has a thriving military and veteran population. Valor Day is FREE event for ALL Veterans, Active Duty or Reserve Service Members and Immediate Family featuring over 30 service providers and legal services professionals. It’s on Saturday, June 13, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at MCC. If you’re interested in participating as an attorney, click here. For more information about the day, please visit the Valor Day website.

Annual Award Dinner — June 25th — The Hyatt Regency

We are very excited to have former Chief Judge Sol Wachtler joining us as our Keynote Speaker at the Annual Dinner this year. Judge Wachtler will be sharing his very painful journey with mental health, and that with assistance and education, one can turn their life around. His story is incredible and we hope that you will plan to join us for this very important evening.

As we do each year around this time, we will be gathering to celebrate our next President, Neil Rowe. Neil has been hard at work, probably feeling, “have I not already served my year?”, while I am here to remind him that he has not. The real fun lies ahead. In addition, we will be extending our very special thanks to Steve Modica as his action-packed year draws to a close. Like Steve, I have known Neil for many years as he has served in several capacities over the years.

Watch for this invitation coming very soon to a mailbox near you.

Summer Plans & Vacation

Spring is in the air, and so is LOVE! I do have some fun weddings coming up. MCBA members Laura Myers and Curt Johnson are tying the knot, and since they met at Jazz for Justice, and I was there on that first very special evening, I am invited and can’t wait to celebrate these two good friends. One week later our very own Dajaneé Parrish, will be tying the knot with a really lovely and fun man, Gregory Hoyos. I still like Gregory despite the fact that he is taking Dajaneé from us and relocating to Delaware for his work. Dajaneé has been a real gift to the MCBA, and we are very sad to see her go. But we do look forward to celebrating with this great young couple.

And did you know, Ginny LaCour, my very special Executive Assistant, is retiring after 10 years with me? Ten years is a long time. Ginny deserves this retirement. She has worked hard all her life, and Ginny would be the first to tell you she has worked “really hard” these last 10 years.

In terms of vacation, none planned so far, but I do need to get on that…

Thanks for checking in…


Here’s to the dreamers…

Posted on

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
— Harriet Tubman

There is something to be said for young, unbridled enthusiasm…and even more so when it’s focused on a subject you are passionate about.

On Monday, a few of our members – Steven Modica, Bruce Lawrence, Bill Bauer, Hon. Craig Doran, Leah Tarantino and the Hon. Michael Sciortino – had the opportunity to experience this firsthand as they…and I….participated in the Annual Student Awards Ceremony at The Rubin Center for Education at the Telesca Center for Justice.

The Awards Ceremony takes place each year around Law Day and celebrates the winners of the Sydney R. Rubin Mock Trial Tournament and Rochester Teen Court participants, and when possible the Law Explorers Mock Trial program.

This year Hilton High School won the Monroe County Sydney R. Rubin Mock Trial Tournament – it was first time that Hilton has ever won. And to say that these students were excited – well, it would be an understatement to say the least.cropped image

The Sydney R. Rubin Mock Trial program is a program of the Monroe County Bar Association, with special funding from the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar. Rochester Teen Court is a program of The Center for Youth, with some of its funding provided by the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar and the Young Lawyers Section of the Monroe County Bar Association. In addition, many members of the MCBA and Young Lawyers Section act as attorney mentors, like Leah Tarantino, to the Teen Court participants.

Teen court photo

Judge Doran presided over the event and talked to both groups about a passion for the law and encouraged them to pursuit it. He also thanked the parents of the students, the teachers who act as coaches as well as the attorney volunteers involved in these programs, such as Leah Tarantino, Hon. Michael Sciortino, Bianca D’Angelo, Bill Bauer and many others

The attorney volunteers are key to keeping these programs alive, as well as keeping that “young, unbridled enthusiasm” alive – to avoid the “cynicization” of the youth. But they are not the only ones – the MCBA’s Lawyers for Learning program pairs attorneys with young students (K-6) at School 29 and our Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship program which pairs up first-year law students at firms and organizations.

All of these programs are examples of the Bar’s dedicated volunteers to not only the Association (which is great) but to the entire community and its future. And for every volunteer of time, there are those who donate dollars, whether to the Foundation’s Raise the Bar and Jazz For Justice event, the Young Lawyers Silent Auction benefiting Teen Court, or to the Lawyers for Learning Annual Golf Tournament in September to help these programs.

And these programs above don’t even include those attorneys whose day job has them working with the youth – whether it’s a family court or ACT For the Children attorney, a public defender, a judge presiding over a case- and so many others.

Watching the program on Monday evening — the excitement of the night – I felt proud of our members and our legal community, and I felt excited for our students and our future who benefit from it. And that feeling for me can be summed up with one quote:

“Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” – Rita Pierson

Thanks for checking in,


Special moments…

Posted on

As a parent, we have thousands and thousands and thousands, of special moments with our children in our lifetime. But let’s be honest here, we can also have very difficult moments as a parent, but that’s another blog for another day. I recall the day I brought Brian home from the hospital. He was 2 days old, and I had been able to rely on the nurses to feed him, change him, diaper him and above all else, not drop him.

But all of a sudden, I am sitting on the couch looking down at this incredible little person, and was completely overwhelmed by the responsibility that just washed over me. With his Dad, and my parents standing there and looking at me, I felt the crush of the world coming down on me. I did not know what to do. “Oh my god, I have to take care of this little being and make sure nothing ever happens to him, because he is the most precious gift in my life.”

Finally, I decided I would change his diaper. “Yes, that makes sense,” I said to myself. “Then I will nurse him.” “Great, now I have a plan; I can do this!” And those were the early moments of motherhood. It just kicks in; it becomes intuitive.

As you know, I went on to have this experience two more times with Aidan 2.5 years later, and Claire, about 15 months later. The good news is, I have never dropped any of them. Though Aidan did decide to ride a fast wheel down the basement steps and it left him without 4 teeth at the age of 2. One of my toughest nights as a mom. I carried the 4 teeth to the dentist, and not thinking, said, “Please put them back in!” That too is another blog on another day.

marys kids

Anyway, as a mom I have sat through sick nights with them, struggled through homework assignments, sat through hundreds of soccer and lacrosse games (wins and losses) as well as hiked the muddy slippery hills of Mendon to cheer Claire on her muddy cross-country meets, tried to listen and help them heal when their little and maturing hearts were broken from love, picked them up when they were defeated or beaten down or disappointed, and practiced very tough love (and I believe in this approach) when critically necessary, but that is also another blog for another day.

I have dropped them off to college in Erie PA, and Boston, MA. Welcomed Brian home, then packed him off for his first job at a golf course in Nashville, waving goodbye with tears in my eyes, and his, because I knew that if Brian accomplished his goal of becoming a PGA Professional, he would most likely NEVER be back in Rochester again. But NEVER say NEVER! On Saturday night, I heard someone coming through the back door, and turned to see Brian, one of the very newest PGA Professionals, walking through the door. What a moment! And on Sunday morning, he began his first day with his new gig, as Co-Assistant Golf Professional at the Country Club of Rochester. Yes, he is back in Rochester until the snow falls, then he will head south for his winter gig. I actually had a chance to see him dressed in his golf garb and leaving for work the other day…he is too darn cute!

brian back in town

And then earlier this week, Claire-Bear called to say, “It’s done, I accepted the job!!” This follows weeks and weeks and weeks of interviews for Claire, graduating from Bentley University on May 16th. As you will recall, this is a very stressful time for any college senior. Claire was fortunate and had several options. There have been lots and lots of phone calls, strategy sessions, highs and lows, of email drafts, and more discussion, but she is now officially employed as of June 8th! Great job; great city as she will be staying in Boston; great company, advertising/marketing firm — all good. Icing on the cake, she even has roommates and found an apartment in Brighton outside of Boston, with parking included!

I will soon be down to one in college. Aidan is a junior at Brockport preparing for a career in Finance, living on his own. Full-time student; part-time working man. He always was the strongest of any of us when it came to numbers. I have no doubt, he will have the same success of his siblings when the time comes. Aidan has walked a different path and has grown in a way that the other two have not. He has lived more than the other two, and for Aidan, is better for it.

But these are moments as a parent that make the lives of your children flash before you. Wait, stop, they are still only infants. How did this happen? It went too fast? They grew too fast? Did I take the time to watch them grow? Or was I moving too fast? Do they have issues with me? Probably – we have always been pretty open about that stuff. I believe in honest conversations, and when they say things like, “Mom, I am 21 or 23 or 25, I am not sure you can ask that question of me anymore?” To which I respond with a clever response, and then add in, “Well, if you don’t like my direct approach, add it to your future list titled, “Issues for the Therapist Down the Road About Life with Mom”.

I was the primary breadwinner for the family when the kids were growing, so I had to make all sorts of life choices, struggled with work-life balance, missed some events in their lives, was never there when they arrived home from school, and raised them to make their own breakfast and lunch (for which I do have a lot of guilt). But most nights I was there to gather with them for dinner, some nights, late dinners and to put them to bed. But I was there. I can look back and have regrets, but what purpose does that serve. There is no time, nor need for regrets. All we can do is our very best, and I would like to think I have done OK. They have all turned out great. I did not pamper or spoil them. They were raised with chores, jobs, and accountability.

So I am in a very “special moments” part of life with many, many more to come. I know so many of you can relate to these moments, past or present, and many of you have these moments in your future. For all of us, they are moments and memories to be cherished.

Thanks for checking in,


Oh, what a night!

Posted on Updated on

For those of you in attendance last night at The Strong, you know what I am talkin’ about. It was the “world” premiere of the short film, Dedicated to Justice:  Hon. Michael Telesca, and there was not an open seat in the house.

Telesca Film Image

Attendees arrived early, as the energy in the lobby grew in anticipation of the start of the film. But the energy went to a whole new level upon the arrival of the man of the hour, Judge Michael Telesca. Our efforts to seat our guests, shifted to the arrival of the Judge. He was his usual, charming and loving self, as he humbly greeted family, friends, colleagues and numerous fans.

I have had the privilege of getting to know Judge Telesca over the years as a result of the creation of the Telesca Center for Justice. Early on, Justin Vigdor, Partnership for Equal Justice Campaign Chair, and I would call on the Judge every few months to keep him apprised of efforts to co-locate the civil legal service partners under the same roof.


I loved these visits to the Judge’s chamber, where I would sit with these two giants of the profession, and witness their story-telling of the profession in the “old days”. These were priceless moments to witness these two old friends share mutual stories of admiration about each other. These visits, allowed me the ability to form my own relationship with Judge Telesca, and the ability to call him and visit on my own a few occasions as well.

When we finally put the Judge’s name in lights on the front of his building, he was in attendance at this very special event. It was an emotional evening for the Judge as he spoke of his immigrant parents that came to America from Italy, and how proud his father would be to see his name on this building and the work that took place inside the building.


The idea of the film was a collective brainstorm of Judge Jonathan Feldman and MCBA President Steve Modica. Together they began the conversation about the possibility of a film with Judge Telesca. The story shared last night was that when the Judge finally, and reluctantly, agreed to meet the young filmmaker, Matthew Spaull, he said, “OK, you can have 15 minutes.” And the rest is now history. This film was made more special as a result of the relationship formed between Judge Telesca and the young filmmaker, Matt.

What struck me was the scenes at the Judge’s desk. I have sat in that same chair across from his desk, and listened to Judge Telesca and his stories and philosophies. Matt captured these moments, and I felt as though I was again in the chair across from the desk.

Do not worry if you were unable to attend last night. You will have another opportunity on Friday, May 8th, when we will view the film in the Rubin Center for Education at 12:15 pm., please contact Liz Novak for more information. This is a complimentary viewing, feel free to bring your lunch. We will provide the beverages. If the room fills up, I am committed to scheduling another viewing. I want everyone to see the film, and to hear the powerful messages shared in the film. Very powerful!

In fact, if you would like, we are taking orders for copies of the film. You can purchase your own copy for duplication cost of $6, which includes tax and shipping. Please click here for the order form.

I wish to thank this very special man, Judge Michael Telesca, for sharing his life, his wisdom, his courage, his humor and heart, with all of us. I wish to thank Judge Feldman, Steve Modica, Joan Countryman, and Matt Spaull, for bringing it all to life in this powerful film that will forever preserve the legacy of this great man.

Oh, what a night…

Thanks for checking in!




Top 10 reasons I love my job…

Posted on Updated on

The list exceeds 10, but I figure I may only have your attention for the top 10…

#10 – I am never bored — Throughout any given week, I meet with a variety of attorneys, judges, and community leaders, and work on various projects. While it means I need to keep organized to do lists, it also means I am never bored. I have never been a clock watcher, in fact, the wall clock in my office had a dead battery in it for over 2 years till one of the team changed it, because it was driving them crazy. I’m not sure how I would do with the same task, day in and day out. Luckily for me, that is one aspect that I don’t have to worry about while working here.

#9 – My office — I have a great office. I have always made it a point to ensure my space is bright, and inspires creativity for me. I need artwork, photographs of those that I love, photos of those that inspire me, resource books and magazines that I am always tapping into for inspiration. Latest addition, and the first desk that the MCBA has ever purchased for me in all these years, a standing desk. Spending more than 1/2 of my days in meetings in a seated position, it was time to start standing more, per some people that love me and care for me. If you have not stopped in recently, please do. When members and visitors to my office remark about the view, I respond, “What view?” I rarely have time to look out the window.

View from office
The view from the 10th floor.

#8 – Meeting extraordinary people — ABA, NYSBA, NABE, COMBA, GRAWA, RBBA, RDDC & RBA — I have had the luxury over the years to attend conferences and meet with other fantastic bar executives and community leaders from around the county, city, state and country. It is often a great melting pot of creativity, venting and productivity. After attending one of these conferences, I always return to the MCBA inspired and full of great ideas, and solutions.

#7 – T. Carl Nixon Board Room — I have seen many beautiful board rooms over the years, but I have to tell you, I think we have one of the most beautiful in town. I love walking in with someone that has never seen the room before, and listen for their response, “Oh Wow!” “This is incredible!” “That is one BIG table!” The best part of the T. Carl Nixon Board Room is that it is the Board Room for all of the legal service partners in the building as well as various committee and board meetings for our members.

#6 – Love working downtown — I am a believer in downtown Rochester! I love the energy of downtown, I love the ability to walk to various meetings or other events. I love engaging with members on the street as I walk. I love the smells, especially the Zweigle hots in the summer), and the diversity of the people on the streets. I make it a point of saying hello to everyone I meet. Some do not expect a greeting, and it seems to bring a smile to their face as they respond to me. Others don’t respond at all, but maybe they will next time. Perhaps I will spend more time at Main and State this summer during lunch so I can catch up with more of you. I sit on the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation Board of Directors, where I am a broken record on the topic of appreciation to the legal community in downtown Rochester. If the lawyers continue to leave downtown, the impact will be devastating and fatal to our Center City. There are exciting developments underway in our city, and I am confident they will happen and our DT world will be the hot, happening place to be. I have thought about moving downtown to one of the increasingly popular lofts, but I need to be able to buy, not rent (as I am WAY too young to give up a mortgage) and I need outdoor space to replace the porch. I don’t think a new owner of my house would appreciate  finding me out on their porch nights and weekends. I should get a legal opinion on whether or not we could write that into the sale contract.

#5 – Engagement with the Judges — We have terrific judges in all of our courts in Rochester and Monroe County. I really appreciate those that demonstrate their dedication to the MCBA by joining the Association, and being actively engaged with the bar. I also appreciate the open dialogue that I have with those that may not be members, and wish to discuss the reasons. Our dialogues are always open and honest. 

#4 – Telesca Center for Justice — After 10 years of co-location I still get a thrill when I walk into the incredible lobby, where I no longer have to stare at the broken and dusty escalator. I used to think about how I could fill the esclator with plants in an effort to hide the multi-ton eye-sore. So nice to now have my mind at ease on that topic. I still get a thrill coming off the elevator on 10, and walking into our beautiful space, and on 5 as well. We are all very fortunate!

#3 – Great Team — We have a great group of dedicated people that work at the MCBA. Diane Hill, Mark Swail, Dianne Nash, Dajaneé Parrish, Ginny LaCour (for 4 more months only as she is retiring), Merritt Smith, Louise Spinelli, Liz Novak and Kathy Fico. They are hardworking, they are fun to be with and all have a sense of humor (see today’s email exchange from me), they are dedicated to our Boards and to all of you, our volunteers. We ask a lot of them, over many hours, and they deliver.

Funny Email Cropped Mary

Funny Email Cropped ginny

#2 – The Presidents — I am often asked by those that don’t understand bar associations, “Why do they only serve for 1 year?” What the presidents take on in a single year is extraordinary, while maintaining their practice, and trying to be present to their very patient families. One of the tips I give every new president is, let’s not fill your dance card, as “stuff happens” and your dance card will be filled automatically. Some listen, some don’t. That is where I build on my flexibility skill set!

#1 – The ability to be creative — This job is challenging, and associations are evolving. The trends in the practice of law are dynamic and evolving at an amazing pace. With four generations of members, and new leadership each year, my mind does not rest as I am constantly thinking of ways to increase our value to you as members, how to engage you with your colleagues, how to make it impossible for you to work, live and practice without us. I also appreciate that you, our loyal members, are always up for some creative dialogue and brainstorming.The challenge is daily, and it is what drives me. Some days I actually think I dream that I sent emails, as I will ask Ginny in the morning about the email I sent her last night. She will look at me and raise the eyebrow, doubting me, we will both go in search of the mystery email that does not exist, and I will then begin to wonder — did I dream that email? How powerful would it be if we could transfer those dreams to accomplish items on our task list? I know, this is sad. I am working at putting down technology earlier in the evening, and picking up a book. Right now I am reading, Dead Wake by Eric Larson.

Whether you are celebrating Passover or Easter or just a quiet weekend, enjoy these early days of spring. I plan to be on the porch tonight, after the gym and a meditation class with GRAWA, even if I am sitting under a fleece blanket, and with the outdoor heater on, and a nice glass of red wine, the porch will be open this evening by 8pm. Feel free to pop over, but knock hard as the door bell is broke. I really need to get that fixed.

Thanks for checking in…