MCBA Member Summer Fun

Posted on Updated on

First off, thank you to everyone for sending in their photos! Feel free to keep them coming. We welcome the interaction and enjoy seeing what our members are up to. Two weeks ago, Liz mentioned that in my spare time I rehab houses. I am happy to report that house number 3 that I have been steadily assisting with is one week away from being put on the market! Not to monopolize this blog because it is about you but here are some pictures of my 4 year old, who monopolizes the rest of my time.


Now onto photos from our members.

Steve Modica:

Me & Annie Gofing at BLCCPast President, Steve Modica has been enjoying his summer with family and fun in the sun. Here is a photo with his daughter Annie (who recently passed the bar!) out on the golf course and having a great time.

Steve and his dog Maverick enjoying the Hot Tub

Me & Maverick in the Hot Tub

Jill Paperno:

Jill Paperno, President of GRAWA, had a relaxing vacation this summer in Ocean City, NJ. Here’s the view from her time on the beach.


Steven Feder:

Did you know that Steve Feder plays in a band? He does and spent some time this summer doing just that. Below is Steve playing at the Eagles tribute night at Nashville’s, in Henrietta.  *Plug Alert–He’ll be doing it again on Friday, September 11


Mark Moretti:

While in New Port, R.I. at a NYSBA meeting, Mark was able to enjoy a few days of vacation with his wife, Joyce.


Deborah Indivino:

In response to our request, Debbie wrote to us and said her summer has been monopolized by her  pup.Although I’m sure that it was an enjoyable time for her. 

Monty Pic

Lauren Fritz:

Lauren and her husband had a great summer backpacking in Ithaca and taking a hot air balloon ride! #romantic



Natalia Reinstein:

These photos are from Natalia’s latest trip to Ireland taken earlier this month. The first one was taken in Killarney National Park and the second one is from her trip to Dublin taken near St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Natalia, if your job was to make us envious of your summer—mission accomplished!



Scott MacPherson:

Being at one with nature was high on Scott’s list this summer. He enjoyed hiking at Castle Rock Mountain in the Adirondacks and at Letchworth State Park. Don’t worry folks, he wasn’t alone. He brought the adorable Ami.

FullSizeRender (2)ami

Amanda Dwyer:

Amanda, chair of the Lawyers for Learning Committee, welcomed a new member to the family this summer, who is now three months old. Look at the little budding lawyer!



Neil Rowe:

MCBA President Neil Rowe spent some quality time in Clayton(1000 Islands), NY celebrating his mother’s Birthday.

familyphoto (800x450)

Thanks for checking in,


Send Us Your Summer Photos…By Liz Novak

Posted on

At the end of last week’s blog, we put out a request for you to submit photos of what you have been doing this summer – to send us your family vacation photos or photos from gardening, tennis, golf, etc.

Alas, we heard from no one.

So we’re taking a different approach and making this request the focus of this week’s blog…with a few photos from our staff to show you how it’s done.

Request: Please send us photos from your summer so that we can include in a future blog or post in our social media posts.

For example…

Maybe you’re obsessed with growing your own vegetables…and like to post photos of them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook ALL the time.


These beauties are from my garden. #urbanfarming #imobsessed

…Or maybe this is the first summer you spent with the newest member of your family – like a beautiful baby girl named Charlotte.


Charlotte Smith, daughter of MCBA Marketing Specialist Merritt Smith and MCBA member Laura Smith, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, has been enjoying playing in the pool with daddy this summer. #yupimthiscute

…Or maybe you went on a week-long camping trip with your entire family in the Adirondacks.

2015 Family Pic

The above is a photo from Suzanne Ventress’ camping trip…she is the one in purple on the right side holding on to her husband Mark for dear life. Just kidding, Suzanne had a great time! #blackbearlodges #thefamilythatcampstogether

…Or maybe you’re new to your job, like Ben Freeland, and have not accrued any vacation time yet so you’re stuck helping your partner Jeremy tear down houses as part of his work during your downtime.


Poooor Ben. #donniedowner #whaWaaaa

Or maybe you’re spending your entire summer vacation recovering from a foot surgery that you had been putting off.

But at least Mary’s cast looks fabulous. #rogerthecastartist #piècederésistance

And if you’re friends with Louise Spinelli on Facebook, you will see many photos of fun times they have been having with family from Italy over the past couple of weeks. So go “friend” her on Facebook and check out her photos! #buondivertimento

Do you have some fun photos from this summer to send our way? Please send them to Ben…since we know he’ll be here and not on vacation… We’ll use them in another blog or post on Facebook – just send our way!

Thanks for checking in!


Simple lessons from my 2 weeks in a cast…

Posted on Updated on

The surgery was elective and one that I have held off for several years, but when it had begun to impact my workouts and become a serious annoyance in my life, I decided it was time to get it done. My doctor, Judith Baumhauer, the Foot Master of Rochester, scheduled surgery for Tuesday, August 11th. The doctor reconfirmed with me that it would mean 8 weeks in a non-weightbearing cast, followed by 4 weeks in a boot, assuming all goes well and heals as planned. Ugh!

Lessons Learned after 2 short weeks:

Good Doctor — Dr Baumhauer is not only a great surgeon, but a great surgeon with a sense of humor. She has wonderful bed side manner as represented today when the cast came off, she reviewed the foot, and said, “This looks great!! Stitches coming out.” I asked about some of my recent clumsy moments and she reassured I would be fine. “After 3 months though I am no longer responsible” she said with a grin. Lesson learned — find the best doctor with a sense of humor!!

Nerve blocks — if you ever have to have orthopedic surgery, ask for a nerve block. It puts you in a very happy place for almost 36 hours after the surgery. No pain!! Unfortunately, the block does wear off, about 36 hours later. But then you have the back-up meds to manage the rest. Lesson learned — always go for the nerve block.

Chatty nurse & cute doctor —  I had two nurses tending to me. I am sure it is no surprise to many of you, I really enjoy talking with people, getting to know them, and learning about their job and life. So I was chatting it up, asking detailed questions about my procedure when one of the two nurses cut me off and said, “It’s my turn to talk now!!” Ouch — that hurt more than the needles they just stuck me with. My anesthesiologist was an adorable doctor from England, Dr. Duncan McLean. Between his charming accent, his cute face, and his reassurance, I went off to la-la land with a smile on my face. Lesson learned — have the nerve block with nice people.

Listen to the doctor — Dr. Baumhauer had three things to say to me post-op. First, “I am happy we did this now, it was bad, your life will be much better.” This was great news considering what was to come. Second, “you are to put ABSOLUTELY NO WEIGHT on it for 8 weeks!” Third, “once the nerve block seems to be wearing off, and you will know that by the onset of the pain, start the pain meds…do not delay, or you won’t catch up.”

With regard to the final prognosis, I am looking forward to my new foot. With regard to non-weight bearing, what I failed to realize is how careful you have to be about tripping on the crutches because our natural reaction is to catch ourselves, with the bad foot, it hurts and causes a temporary set back. And I hate pain Meds and thought Tylenol could manage it. Wrong! Lesson learned — listen to the doctor on all counts, they know what they are talking about.

Beautiful cast creations — when the first trip occurred within 48 hours, they decided it was time to remove the splint and put me in a cast to keep me safer.  I was told to select a color, and of course, I did not want just one color, I wanted two. It is the child in me. When I was told they only allowed one color, I pressed and said, “Come on, I have had a really difficult 24 hours, this would make my day.” My guy, Roger, came through. When he said he might get fired for it, I reassured him that I would call his boss and send incredible kudos to Roger and the whole cast room team. Which Lesson learned — be open to the child in you and find other naughty people, like Roger, that gets it!

FullSizeRender        Being humbled and empathetic — the greatest lesson I have learned in just these two short weeks is about the challenges of living with one leg. When all limbs are fully functioning, life is pretty easy from getting ready in the morning to cooking, to driving, to trips to the store, to walking up the steps to the bathroom and to bed at night. We don’t have to think about it. With a cast and crutches, or a scooter, or wheel chair, you really need to plan every step you take, and determine where the barriers are in advance.

I am not handicapped. This is a temporary state of life for me. It will be over in another 10 weeks or so. But it has opened my eyes to the challenges faced by so many thousands of people with permanent handicaps of all kinds. Every move they make needs to be strategically managed in one way or another. I have been most fortunate to have a group of caretakers ready to jump in and help, good friends, my two boys (who actually cleaned and hosed the garage) and my mom who folds the laundry. My MCBA Team that have armed my scooter with a bell for everyone’s safety as I turn those corners. So I am have been lucky on this front. But there are so many that are less fortunate. I see so many of them on my way to work, at work, and going home each day. How do they manage on their own?

Just yesterday, I went to the office for the first time in two weeks for a few morning meetings. I was dropped off in front of the  Telesca Center by a friend, hopped on my scooter, and began my scoot into the building through our handicap doors.

scooter crossing

One of the immediate barriers I encountered was at the entrance to the door. The sidewalk at the entry point of the door is severely pock-marked, which I have noted for years now, but walking over the damaged sidewalk and trying to wheel over the damaged sidewalk are two very different experiences. This was one of many, I suspect, eye-opening moments I will discover in the coming months about the challenges of having one less limb to rely on. Lesson learned — keep learning and find a way to replace the sidewalk in the front of the Telesca Center for Justice where we are committed to ensuring access to justice. Repair of the sidewalk may require some new funds, if you are interested in donating to the “Improve Access to the TCFJ Sidewalk Fund”, please send your donation to the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar.

Thanks for checking in,


Five Things to Do Before Summer Ends

Posted on Updated on

As we begin to draw near to the end of summer it is important to remember that MCBA never sleeps (especially with Mary being away). Side note, she is doing well and the surgery went well. She should be better than ever and back to work soon! In the meantime we have ordered a keg, pizza, toga, a new 60” Flat Screen tv and we are throwing the world’s biggest party—just KIDDING! We are batting down the hatches and in focus mode. We still have a number of functions happening, so I (Ben) have created another list for your enjoyment.

Top five things to do before the apocalypse… I mean end of summer.

1. Come to Bar Stop next Thursday, August 20!  It is a great time with lots of great networking. The July Bar Stop included a good mix of attorneys and judges. This Month’s Bar Stop is at City Grill, 5-7 p.m. — we’ll have delicious appetizers, drinks specials and free valet parking. We’re scheduled to have Bar Stop over the next three months — third Thursday — so mark your calendars!

A wise man once said “If anything come for the company and the free food” – Me

2. Brush up on your golf swing and then participate in the Lawyers for Learning 22nd Annual Thomas & Solomon Golf Tournament. All proceeds go toward the benefit of school 29 in the Rochester City School District. This event provides funding for key services like the ability to attend camp, have adequate school supplies and instructional equipment, or being able to simply be a kid. School 29 houses the largest number of students with physical and developmental disabilities, though not all of the students are faced with those impairments. I cannot wait until our projects get under way. We have a ton of great initiatives coming up as well. Following the tournament, the week of September 8, we will be packing and distributing backpacks with school supplies and t-shirts enclosed ( a Big Thank you to LeClair Ryan for providing the supplies)! We also have mentoring available, which can be done per student, per class or you may volunteer per event. The school is under-staffed so any help is always appreciated. You can also find a partner attorney or legal professional and alternate weeks. To sign up or to learn more information, please click here.

In addition, Mary’s son Brian Corbitt, who is a pro at CCR, will be strategically placed at one of the holes, willing to hit the first drive for you….for a reasonable donation, of course!

3. Sign up for the 25th Annual Western District of NY Federal Court Dinner at the end of September. Each year, this event alternates between the Monroe County Bar Association and  the Bar Association of Erie County. This year, the event is being hosted by Erie County and taking place in Buffalo. Register for the event and come network with attorneys and U.S. District Judges in other areas of New York State.  The event will be on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at the Lexus Club in Buffalo with drinks starting at 5:30 p.m. The address is as follows: First Niagara Center’s 100 Level, One Seymour Knox III Plaza, Buffalo NY. Here is a great side note, parking is free! Click here to download the registration flyer.

4. Mark your calendars for Sean Carter!  The Harvard humorist is back on October 1 with two back-to-back Ethics sessions –one in the morning and the other in the afternoon .  If you are not familiar with him visit Google. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1992. His ten years of legal practice focused on corporate securities and mergers and acquisitions. During this time, he represented such clients as GNC, Experian, The Boston Beer Company Homeside Lending, Safelite Auto Glass, J. Crew and many others.

In 2002, Sean left the practice of law to pursue a career as the country’s foremost Humorist at Law.  He travels all over the county speaking about ethics and has  found his way to Rochester on several occasions and we’re happy to be hosting him once again this fall. For more details on the two sessions (which are 2.0 Ethics credits each!), click here and here.

 5. RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP! OK, so Liz specifically asked me to put this one in, but really, we cannot succeed without you! We are always hoping to gain new members but the current ones are just as important! When you get a chance, call us or email us and pay those dues please! If you have any questions, please contact Liz Novak at

Do you think you have an idea or a suggestion to help MCBA bigger and better? Email me( Ben) at

***We are starting a new feature for next week’s blog! Send us your family vacation photos or photos from the summer (e.g. gardens) and you could be featured. We’d really like to see what everyone has been up to this summer. Please email your pictures to with a caption and description.

Until next time,


A week of young, smart, successful, engaging women…

Posted on Updated on

It is Sunday morning following a long week at the ABA Annual Meeting. Another wonderful conference that re-energizes me and fills my head with new ideas or new ways to look at things. I extended my travels a few days, and made a stop in Boston to check on my youngest, Claire Corbitt. I woke early this morning, started the writing of this blog, then grew tired again, so went back to bed for another 90 minutes, only to wake with a Iced Latte from Starbucks at my bedside delivered by Claire. Wow, this kid REALLY is growing up!!

mary and daughter

From the moment Claire pulled up in her car, looking like quite the young Boston hip kid that she is, I felt a mixture of pride, lonesomeness and nostalgia. I remember experiencing the same feeling on my first trip to Nashville to see Brian when he was just 22, and he pulled up in his car to greet me at the airport. In that instant, my mind can so clearly go back to the moment that I held them for the first time, and the immediacy of the love affair with this tiny little being, as you wrap them forever into your protective arms. And now they are living hundreds of miles away in large cities, driving cars, and starting their lives. All of that flashes in front of me in those moments before I once again hold her in my arms for a long hug.

This young millennial had our afternoon planned starting with sushi on a rooftop restaurant in the heart of Boston’s Seaport neighborhood. It was wonderful to sit there with Claire, and hear the stories of work and roommates in person and not via the phone. She looks happy and relaxed on this Saturday afternoon; it did my heart good to see her thriving.

Once back to the apartment, I was greeted warmly by the 2 roommates, Kristin “Kooie” Scime, Claire’s roommate and best buddy from college, and Kristin Karl, one of Claire’s best friends from high school, and as it happens, MCBA member Kate Karl’s niece. We were also joined by Kooie’s friend, Rachel. While Kooie and Rachel made their very healthy dinner, the rest of us sat at their kitchen table talking over a glass of wine.

Cooking Class

As we sat there, I asked the question that all parents want to know — are you enjoying your lives as young working professionals? Almost simultaneously, they all responded, “Yes, but I miss college!” Not sure why I was surprised by this response — Bentley was a magical place for Claire and her crew. When I asked why the answer was again unanimous, “the adjustment to lives that are 9-5pm, and missing their college families/friends.” All of them are already experiencing the pressure of deadlines, bosses and, as a result, overtime. But they do love coming home to each other to enjoy dinner together, or meeting up after work to go to a local pub for some down time. After all, it is Boston and there is no short supply of pubs and restaurants

They shared their angst about learning how to budget, make their rent payments, loan payments, car payments, phone bills, etc. I shared with them the decision making power of determining “want vs. need” when it came to shopping. I shared with them my own learning on this process over the years, and my best suggestion was to establish a budget. So together we opened our smart phones, and agreed on a highly rated app called, Mint. Mint allows you to build your budget, send bill reminders, plan for savings, emergencies, and retirement. But it also allows them to budget for their groceries, entertainment, beer supply, clothes, or even paying Mom back on a small loan! As they sat there discussing the app and its many capabilities, I suggested that perhaps they want to plan for a group dinner one night a week, with their laptops on hand, pay their bills, review and adjust their budgets, and plan for their week. Can we eat out once this week? Can we eat out and go to the beach this weekend? If you do this planning together, you will be supporting one another. All agreed and seemed to feel better as a result.

It was a wonderful 36 hours with Claire. I cherished our time alone to simply sit and listen to her talk about her life from bosses, co-workers and learning about her job, to friends in her life, to beaches and bars. I left with my arms once again wrapped protectively around her to keep her safe in her new world.

Last night, I hosted a group of women, both members of the Young Lawyer Section, and now alums of the Section on the porch. I had been promising this gathering for way too long, and so last night it finally happened. The group consisted of Penny Dentinger, Christin Cornetta, Laura Myers, Wende Knapp, Melanie Wolk and Carey Ann Denefrio. It was a perfect night on the porch to have this very special group of women over. Like my experience with Claire over the weekend, I could not help but sit and watch this group of dynamic women, and think back to the days when I first met them. They were young, eager go-getters, and I immediately latched on to them knowing that this group had the potential as future leaders, and in time, future presidents. Laura Myers was the YL Chair that really managed to get things moving, by capturing her friends to take on the work of the Section, where they made new friends, and began building new leaders.


As I looked at this group of six last night here is the tally:  Melanie has been on both the Board of Trustees, and resigned to assume the role of GRAWA President several years ago; Wende, also a former YL Chair, is now on the Board of Trustees, bringing her voice and making a difference; Laura, Penny and Carey Ann are all on the Foundation Board, where Penny is serving as Secretary; and Christin has just started her first term on the Foundation Board. All of them have supported in a BIG way, the Foundation’s Jazz For Justice over the past five years, ensuring the event’s success.

I sat there listening to them and recognizing that I was so right all those years ago. They are young bar leaders being recognized for their active engagement and participation in so many directions. In order to not be accused of not acknowledging the great young male bar leaders, Jim Paulino, along with Tim Lyster and now Curt Johnson, have all been integral in the success of the YL Section. Prior to Curt, it was Jenn Lunsford.

What really struck me though is that not only are these women great volunteers, but they are great lawyers. They are so smart, making their marks as litigators, law clerks, and corporate counsel attorneys. They are talking about the attorneys that trained them, mentored them, and yes, scared them along the way, but not afraid of speaking with their strong voices. When it comes to their MCBA involvement, they now wish to transition into more of the substantive committees and sections in terms of leadership opportunities. They want to learn how to work toward a seat on the Litigation or Business Law Section Counsels. I assured them that I would see the nomination process for the Sections would be circulated far and wide, for their applications. Please be ready to welcome these extraordinary members. As they departed, I realized that each and everyone of them have the potential to be nominated president one day of the MCBA because all of them are that good! YLShangout

In the end, it was another wonderful night on the porch with some amazing women, culminating a wonderful week with even more amazing young women in Boston.

In terms of my vacation this summer, I am getting ready to undertake a “Make Mary Better & Faster Improvement”, with an impending foot surgery next week. I have been delaying this surgery for several years now, and it has become a problem, slowing me down at the gym, unnecessary pain, etc. I decided the summer of 2015 was the time, before the snow began to fall again in late September, since I will be in a non-weight-bearing cast for 8 weeks, and a boot for 4 more. The real tragedy in all of this is that my contract as a shoe model has been revoked. They are not willing to work with shoe models that have had foot surgery. Can I get a legal opinion on this one folks — can they do this to me?

The gang from last night has told me to let them know when I am off the pain pills, and they will revisit the porch with wine in hand. In efforts to plan ahead for when I do return to work, I will have one of those scooters that you kneel on to help me zoom around and to give my arms a rest from the crutches. It has been suggested from some of my smart-aleck staff, that I might want to add a bicycle bell or horn since it resembles a little bike and for the safety of others at the office since we have many corners that I can be zipping around. I thought that idea was actually both funny and practical.


Please be careful driving down the corner of Main and State, go slow in case you see me on my scooter. I may be moving slow now, but wait for the new and improved Mary, coming very soon to a bar association near you.

Thanks for checking in,


Reporting in from the ABA Annual Meeting…

Posted on Updated on

On Tuesday, I arrived in Chicago for the ABA Annual Meeting. The first two days of the meeting is spent with my bar executive colleagues from the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE). As always, the program has been very good. We cover a lot of ground in just about a day and a half of programming. Yesterday morning was a TedTalk format on a variety of topics including a short program by our good friend, Elizabeth Derrico on “preparing to lead.” I have good takeaways from her short program that I will be exploring further.


Next I facilitated a session on collaboration with other bar associations and law related groups. We had a great 90 minute discussion about working with other bar associations. When I had my own opportunity to speak, I was very pleased to report to my colleagues about our own work with GRAWA, RBBA, the Bar Association of Erie County, the Onondaga Bar Association, as well as the New York State Bar Association. My takeaway is that we are playing nice with all the kids in the sand-box, not everyone else at the table could say that. And when I asked the question about working with legal service agencies in their towns, most were reporting challenges. Once again, I was happy to report that we have created the Telesca Center for Justice, and just celebrated our 10th Anniversary. Many are familiar with what we have done in Rochester, and all agree, they are not certain they would want the same model, but they are curious about it. Our Rochester accomplishment is well-known on a national level; I am always eager and proud to talk about it.

NABE roundtable

I spent 90 minutes in a session about member retention. A well known fact in the association world is that it costs 7-9 times more to secure a new member, than it costs to retain a member. Membership engagement and satisfaction is not simply the responsibility of the membership team, or me as Executive Director, but instead, it is the shared responsibility of the entire team, as well as the Board of Trustees. This session was pretty powerful and I walked away with good ideas that I will be reviewing with the MCBA team next week when I get back. Member retention should not be an event, instead  it should be a strategy, and in fact, it needs to be a shared strategy.

One of the best sessions was about leadership development. This should not be something we think about once a year as the Nominating Committee convenes to prepare a slate or ballot. We should be “building our bench of leaders” all year long. Again the key word here is about member engagement. Are we delivering to you, as the member, the value you need, knowing each of you may define that value in a different way.


One of the favorite topics of these NABE meetings are about “the graying of the profession”. The reality is we are all facing significant retirements from membership in the coming 5-10 years, and the fear is that we are not filling this potential membership gap with the next generations of future bar leaders. You have heard me speak about this before, so this concern is not new. I am always ready to boast of our success with our outstanding Young Lawyers Section. This year, the Section is being lead by Curtis Johnson, a dedicated young lawyer and associate at Davidson Fink. Curt has been an active member of the Section since his arrival in Rochester. With more than 200 members in our YL Section, this group of young lawyers is not merely about happy hours and fun times, but have an extraordinary commitment to community service as evidenced in their commitment to Teen Court, including participation in the Court, as well as active fundraising for the program for more than 6 years now. In addition, we are now talking with them about partnering up to support Lawyers for Learning. In addition, they have community groups outside of the legal profession they support as well.

On the morning of Day 3, I had an early morning breakfast with colleagues, when we have a great opportunity to do some one on one catch up with close friends about life in their bar, updates on their families, and vacation plans if any.

The first morning session was by Sharon E. Jones, President and CEO of Jones Diversity Group. Sharon delivered a really good message about understanding and responding to implicit bias. Exploring our unconscious attitudes and actions to the people we interact with in our day to day work and life, both personal and professional. Sharon was asked about “diversity fatigue”, and respectfully dismissed the idea that we are done with this conversation.


Innovation within the CLE World was one of the early morning programs today. Bar associations are well-positioned to continue to teach attorneys for their future. At the State Bar of Wisconsin, they are spending a significant amount of time meeting the needs of young lawyers being forced to start a law practice due to lack of jobs. Wisconsin acknowledged that law schools did not provide business acumen when it came to starting a law practice. The Wisconsin Bar convened a focus group of small, solo and successful practitioners together to develop the curriculum. The end result was a new program called: Business School for Lawyers — Get the Business Concepts to Grow Your Practice. The program appeals to both new and seasoned lawyers that may be leaving a big firm, and forging out on their own. The successful program incorporates roundtables, just in time learning, networking, panel groups, impromptu learning, practical materials, and successful business people both inside and outside the practice of law. I really like this idea, and look forward to talking with the Academy of Law in more detail about this potential.

Several other great ideas came out of this program. We need to change the mindset that professional development is ALL about securing CLE credits. It is not! Professional development goes beyond what the mandating organizations require, and as bar associations, though we have a responsibility in delivering those CLE credits, we need to explore other types of adult learning. An example provided today is that a program on marketing is not credit worthy, however, if you wish to grow your practice, you do need to know how to market your practice, even if it means, no CLE credit.

The Colorado Bar is willing to work with us to offer a collaboration on CLE & Ski! What do you think about a week long program in Vail, for some daily CLE and skiing while meeting great lawyers from around the country? May not appeal to everyone, but what a great opportunity for a group that might be interested. Those seeking CLE & Sun, there are plenty of bars that we could collaborate with on a CLE Cruise. What do you think?

Now in the final session of the NABE portion of the conference. Once again, we are hearing a series of smart speakers on short topics. Technology, technology, technology…we need to find a way to support you more on this. One speaker suggested that we need to be supporting you better in your practices. We have a very successful Solo & Small Bar Committee, chaired by Brad Kammholz, and bringing incredible energy to this growing population of members. I would like to invite more dialogue on this topic. What more can we do? Whether you are a solo or a large firm, how can the MCBA help you be more successful in your practice? Please talk to me, talk to Neil, talk to Liz, Louise or Kathy. We are all here to help. If you have an idea, please reach out. If we have missed your willingness to be more engaged, please, please, please, call me. I want to hear from you.buddies

As this session wraps up, I will be awaiting the arrival of my president-elect, Mark Moretti, Phillips Lytle. Mark’s portion of the program begins this evening with a gathering of Metro Bar Associations, followed by dinner with the bar leaders from the Bar Association of Erie County. This annual dinner is a great opportunity to meet with our neighbors to talk about opportunities for collaboration, and issues facing upstate lawyers. In the days ahead, Mark will learn about the changes in the legal landscape, and the role of bar associations in those changes. Always a session on strategic planning, another on improving the perception of lawyers, unbundling of legal services in order to improve access for clients, micro-volunteering, and these are only a few.

Tomorrow evening, the New York State Bar Association hosts a dinner for all of the NYS bar leaders, and this is a wonderful time to join our colleagues from around the state. The dinner will be hosted by NYSBA President, David Miranda, and is a great opportunity to meet the new bar leaders that are coming into leadership.

Once Saturday afternoon arrives, I will turn off the bar-mode, and switch over to the mom-mode, as I fly from Chicago to Boston to visit with Claire for a few days. She has now been a working woman for 2 full months, and we are both in need of hugs, and no doubt, a trip to replenish to the cupboards.

Though only part way through the week, it has been a great week already. Even after the sessions end, and over a glass of wine, our talk as we gather is about new ideas and innovations, challenges and solutions. This group of people that have become friends and colleagues over the last 14 years have become my go-to people with questions, and I play the same role for many of them. These opportunities for engagement and learning have been one of the best aspects of my role because I have a network that I can call on day or night to pose a question and gain a solution. We support each other through list serves, emails, texts, phone calls, webinars, and video chats.

The single common denominator is that we are all extremely dedicated, some might say, addicted, to what we do as bar executives. We love what we do. We love to observe the trends and challenges that we face each year. We love the people we work with both volunteers and staff. We love that our single purpose is really quite simple — ensuring a strong and fair justice system for our communities.

Continued thanks for allowing me this incredible opportunity to be YOUR bar executive. I am proud of this title, and proud of all of you, and all that you bring to the MCBA.

Thanks for checking in…


The Community was loving the lawyers on Saturday…

Posted on

For far too long lawyers have felt the dislike and distrust of the public, but not on Saturday as the LGBT Committee, with LGBT members and allies of the Monroe County Bar Association, joined in the Pride Festival and Parade in Rochester.

I had the pleasure of walking with a great group of people, including a wonderful team of supporters, and our sponsor, Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC. The BSK team was represented by Ed and Bridget Hourihan, Bethany Centrone, David Pieterse, and Allyn Van Dusen. In addition, we were joined by Peter Pullano, and members of his family, as well as Scott MacPherson, our LGBT Committee Co-Chair, and others. If anyone is interested in joining the LGBT committee, as an ally or as an LGBT community member, please let us know!

We had a booth at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, that was staffed by MCBA members Richard Link and Greg Franklin, with information about the MCBA and our Lawyer Referral Service. There were lots of great supporters; fellow lawyers, large businesses; and other non-LGBT centered non-profits that were there in the parade and standing along the route. Some of the folks that we saw were: RIT, University of Rochester, LawNY, Mayor Lovely Warren, Supreme Court Candidate, Excellus BCBS, Family Court Candidate Maritza Buitrago, Time Warner, Canandaigua National Bank, Wegmans, Thomson Reuters and others.

Christians for Gayslawnypride14524922867_898e3af463IMG_4314

The route stretched from Park Ave to The Strong and lasted about an hour for those of you that do not know, that is 1.7 miles (Thank God my orthopedic was not there). It was amazing to see the crowds of people that lined both sides of the streets. What was even more amazing was to witness the community reaction as we marched down the streets with Ben leading us in chants: love your lawyers, standing up for justice, lawyers love pride (a Bond favorite) and other phrases. Who knew that this public event or any event could create this much of an impact?


People were standing and applauding, “high-fiving” us and creating uproars of cheer. One parade viewer yelled out her lawyers name and said “I do! I love my lawyer. She is Awesome!” And the team at Bond, once again was very engaging and took great care of all of us. Bethany, thank you for bringing brownies to hand out, and Bridget and Ed, I could not have made it without that water. Ben-good job getting everyone active and animated! I knew we would put those cheerleading skills to work.

Whatever the reaction, we had a great presence at an event where more than 10,000 people were in attendance and we got people talking about us, which is excellent.

I know that I have already said it at least a dozen times, but Ben prefers a baker’s dozen, so here is one more thank you to Bond for underwriting everything; helping us raise public awareness of MCBA; and for showing that lawyers DO care about the community.

Thanks for checking in,