This Is Not About Baseball

By Kevin Ryan, Esq., Executive Director

I told Liz I’d write about baseball for the blog. Actually, I’ve told her and Ben for several weeks now that I’d write about baseball. Why baseball? Well, baseball has been a major part of my life and (I can see you rolling your eyes) it actually does teach us something about life. (Sure it does, Kev.) But as much as I wanted to write about baseball, as important as the game has been to me (hell, it paid for college!), I just couldn’t find the right angle.

So this is not about baseball.

It’s about the future. Do you know where you and your practice will be in five years? Are you just assuming that you and it will be more advanced versions of where you are today? Do you think all those changes you’ve heard about are not going to affect you, or will only affect you tangentially? Do you imagine that law practice will be pretty much the same in five years as it is today, as it was when you first started, as it was when your grandfather practiced?

I believe the changes affecting the practice of law are not just the latest fads. They are fundamental; they go to the root of the practice of law. And it’s not just about technology, though modern technological developments have had (and will continue to have) enormous implications for what we do as lawyers. Technology, no matter how powerful or earthshattering it may be, is still just a bunch of tools. No, the changes lie deeper; they go to the heart of things. And those changes mean that it is very likely that your practice in five years will either be different or floundering.

Why? For starters, we are going to be experiencing a major generational shift. My generation (my g-g-g-g-generation, baby) has dominated the landscape for decades now. But we’re getting older, and no matter how healthy we’ve become with our various all-natural, vitamin-laden diets and our addiction to exercise (it really can be an addiction – those endorphins lock into the same receptors as many of the substances we tried out in our late teens and early twenties), we aren’t going to be here on the professional scene forever and we’re already starting to wander (or jog or bike) off into the sunset of retirement. The next generation – Generation X, as it’s called – is considerably smaller, but the orientations of its members are by and large much the same as ours. It’s Generation Y – the “Millenials” – that will really replace us. And they bring a boatload of different attitudes, desires, concerns and expectations with them.

Just think about this: The next generation of your clients – they’re in their twenties and thirties now – live a life that is alien to the life we lived at their age. My daughter and my two sons (baseball players, by the way) live on their cellphones. Land line? What’s that? Mail? What’s that? They text constantly. They check their Facebook page and Twitter feed often (very often). When they want to buy something, they look for it online, compare options online, and buy online. (They send me links to products as suggestions for their birthday presents, expecting Debbie and I to buy online, too – and we do.) When they have a problem, they look it up online. When they want to learn about something – from the mundane to the philosophical or scientific – they do their “research” online. They opt for free options whenever possible – that’s why Wikipedia is such a big hit (and always asking for donations to stay in business), and it’s why newspapers are struggling. They often are burdened by enormous loan debts. They don’t intend to stay in the same job for more than five years (frequently much less) and they don’t expect to have to “wait their turn” when it comes to being treated like adults in their field. They believe strongly in equality and in their own ability to learn what they need to know to get what they want. They are committed to causes and disgusted with government and politics as it has been practiced by my g-g-g-generation (“meet the new boss, same as the old boss”). And when they want to listen to The Who (or whomever), they don’t head down to the record store (those places are mostly gone); they go to Spotify and play a song, more or less without paying for it.

We fool ourselves if we think they are going to change, to come around to our ways of doing things, to settle into what we see as responsible adulthood once they get a job and have a family. They might (and some surely will), but can we take that risk?

Are you ready for this next generation of clients (the next generation of lawyers, too)? Is your practice tuned to their wavelength, or are you imagining that they will be just like the last generation of clients (and lawyers)? Don’t bet on that. Are you where they are – online, in social media? Do you work in ways consistent with their expectations – easily available information, online interaction, 24/7 access, being treated as equals? Practicing like that will require some significant changes. Are you ready for that? Or are you resistant?

For years I coached with a guy – let’s call him Guido (everyone else did) – who used to tell the players that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We could expand that: for it is also insane to do the same things that worked ten, fifteen, twenty years ago over and over again in hopes that it will continue to work, even when the new pitcher has a different assortment of pitches. The next generation of clients and lawyers are throwing different pitches, and they aren’t going to switch back to older pitches just because that’s what we can hit. Will you strike out? Or will you compete? You can’t control the results (as guys who teach the mental game of baseball tell us), but you can control your attitude and your effort; you can prepare for what’s coming. Doing so will give you a better chance of success. Not doing so will . . . well, just think of the struggles of the one-time superstar at the end of his career, whiffing at pitches he once would have crushed. Or think of me in my glory days: pounded the fastball but just couldn’t hit the curveball.

So maybe this was about baseball after all.

— Kevin

Is Justice Ginsburg Out of Line?

By Kevin Ryan, Esq.

Three times in the past week Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has offered strong opinions on the presidential race and her views of Donald Trump as a presidential hopeful. “I can’t imagine what the country would be with Donald Trump as our president,” she told an interviewer from The New York Times. Previously, in an interview with The Associated Press, she said she didn’t “want to think about the possibility [of a Trump victory],” because then “everything would be up for grabs.” She has labeled Mr. Trump as an inconsistent “faker” who “says whatever comes into his head,” noting “he really has an ego.”

Now, no matter what one thinks about Mr. Trump or his candidacy, such comments from a sitting Supreme Court justice seem to cross the line. Historically, justices on the Court have shied away from making political statements – and they certainly have refused to take a public position on candidates for national election. That does not mean, of course, that they did not have such positions – only that they didn’t state them bluntly in public as Justice Ginsburg has done. Many (including the Times editorial page) see Ginsburg’s remarks as unwise, unethical, damaging to the prestige of the Court, and (in Trump’s own words) “highly inappropriate.” An article in Slate talks of Ginsburg risking her legacy. More conservative news and opinion sources have heaped abuse on her.

And there’s something to all that criticism. Her entry into the political mudslinging festival may well damage her reputation and it may backfire, aiding rather than impeding Trump’s candidacy. Should the litigious Mr. Trump ever bring a case to the Court, her comments provide strong reasons for recusal – what are the chances that she can be impartial in such a case, given the vehemence of her comments? The possibility of a Trump victory in November only makes this problem worse, for then there will undoubtedly be a host of cases before the Court involving his administration. Many have hinted that Ginsburg’s forays into political commentary are unethical, though I have yet to see a clear case presented for exactly why this rises to the level of a violation of judicial ethics. (The ABA Journal contains a decent discussion of the arguments each way.) And her comments will surely accelerate the increasing tendency for the public to see the Court as a political body that decides matters not on the basis of law as such, but on the basis of firmly held political views loosely papered-over with legal argument. Highly inappropriate? At least strikingly out of the ordinary and contrary to the ways the game has previously been played.

The controversy raises important questions (in addition to the questions about the merits or demerits of a particular candidate). What is meant by “the rule of law”? What is the proper relation between the political branches and the (supposedly non-political) judiciary? What kinds of behavior do we (should we) expect from our judges? Does a citizen check her freedom of speech at the courthouse door when she assumes a seat on the bench? Is the Supreme Court a body of wise women and men, a kind of Platonic guardian class conducting a philosophy seminar, in which Truth and Justice emerge from objective discussion and mundane politics are set aside? And what if someone (a judge or any other public servant) truly and deeply believes that a particular candidate or political position constitutes a threat to the nation or the principles upon which the nation is founded? Should they simply shut up because speaking would undermine the dignity of their institution? (Ginsburg supporters, and perhaps Ginsburg herself, will point to the caving in – the refusal to stop, think, speak, and act – of German and Soviet judges not all that long ago.)

These questions are fundamental. They should be asked, thought about, debated. Justice Ginsburg’s actions may initiate a healthy public conversation about the answers – if only we can get past our penchant for wild assertions and over-the-top claims, a penchant that seems to be growing worse. No, I don’t know the answers. (My students always hated that about me: they wanted answers and I had only questions.) Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living, and that means we need to grapple with the tough questions about how we live, personally and as a people. In that regard perhaps Justice Ginsburg has been the gadfly we need at a critical moment in our history.

What do you think?

Thanks for checking in,


Off to Greener Pastures By Liz Novak Henderson


Last week I was able to take some much needed time away from the office. I did pretty well on not checking my emails – I only checked a few times while I was away. During one of those times, I opened an email from Ben Freeland, our enthusiastic communications coordinator. Now, I’m not sure if it is better or not to receive bad news after a day of relaxing at the beach, but that is when the following news arrived in my inbox: Ben is leaving the MCBA for “greener pastures,” with his last day being July 12

I returned to work on Tuesday, knowing our management team would be discussing next steps on how to handle the open position and Ben’s specific job duties. At one point during the day on my way back from our workroom, I saw Robin head into Kevin’s office and close the door. Alas, this week Robin DePoint, our diligent registrar, also gave her notice, with her last day being July 18.

While we are happy for their new opportunities in their careers, we are sad for us. After all, it is all about us!

Here just a little over a year, Ben has been an energetic, creative contributor on the communications team, handling social media, eblasts, event materials and so much more! He has accepted a position doing public relations work at Trillium Health.

During her time here, Robin has been a diligent and dedicated member of our team, handling dues processing, event registrations, and pitching in when needed! She has accepted a full-time position as a Patent Prosecution Assistant at LeClairRyan. Patent work is Robin’s real love and the area in which she has the most experience.

Both Ben and Robin are “moving up,” taking a step forward in their careers. We will miss both of them and feel fortunate to have worked with them. I hope you will all extend your own congratulations to them

At least for now, we will not be replacing either Ben or Robin. Our management team is taking a close, hard look at our staffing, at what we are doing and how we might do it more efficiently and effectively, and at our needs going forward in the changing legal and association market. Stay tuned for more details.

I look forward to seeing you all soon, and hope you have a wonderful summer


P.S. And because I can’t help myself – if you haven’t renewed your dues, please do so today!



That Smooth Jazz

Rochester_International_Jazz_Festival_logoThis week, I am lamenting the fact that I just bought a house outside of Rochester. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my house and my independence and yes, the fact that I am #adulting now, but I miss the charm of the City. I have lived in the South Wedge/Highland Park Neighborhood for five years and my favorite part was my nightly walk—particularly around this time of the year. We are very lucky to live in Rochester. We are a city rooted in culture, diversity and the arts, and I cannot wait to see the amazing transitions that are set to come. Yes, our inner-loop may be destroyed and our commutes may be longer as a result but our city will be growing and introducing many new, cutting-edge developments. At any given time, I can see fireworks, I can hear live jazz music, I can walk downtown and enjoy a great bar or restaurant or I can walk to The Little and watch a documentary.

Years ago, I worked with the event planners and helped to produce the Jazz Fest and I never really knew how great an impact it has had on the Rochester community. You don’t even have to like jazz! That may seem trivial to some of you, but to me it’s not. I love the atmosphere and the feel that the jazz festival brings; it’s the smell of brewing kettle corn, the loud-jazzy sforzando, the sense of community and the happy people that make me feel at home. This is the true Rochester that I know and love.

All of you, who attended the 2016 Annual Installation Dinner last week heard Curt’s shameless plug for the YLS end of the year bash at the jazz festival. Yes, you may have missed both events (tisk, tisk), but you still have time to enjoy Rochester and visit the festival. You can see a list of performers by following this link: I urge you to be spontaneous–simply walk downtown and discover a new artist or create an adventure; that’s always my unconventional method of choice.

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Also, while you’re picking out performers and being won over by the musical swing or light airy jazz musician, do me a favor–get out your phone and save this date- Friday October 21@ 5:30p.m. If you’re reading this blog then I assume the Rochester legal community is important to you and, if it is, then you’ll at least consider attending our Jazz For Justice event. Jazz For Justice is an evening of great jazz, fine food and fun in collaboration with the Eastman School of Music to benefit the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar and the programs that matter the most to you as a legal professional.

When you’re out and about this weekend and you’re loving your newly discovered jazz flutist, listen carefully to the sounds of the jazz festival. Who knows? You may be hearing the same smooth sounds in October but you’ll never know unless you purchase a ticket to Jazz For Justice.

Until next time,


What Do You Want Us to Be?

“So, if you want to reinvigorate the blog, you’ll need to write something regularly. How about starting this week?” She meant last week, and she gave me a look that carefully hid her recognition that this was unlikely. I said, foolishly, “Sure, I can do that” – not at all getting the irony of her question. Well, as it turned out, that first post was late in starting and Ben rode to the rescue with a fun post on the MCBA staff – and I was left to come up with something this week.

But that’s easy. I want to share a vision of the future of bar associations in general – and of this bar association in particular. I believe strongly that the bar association of the future will differ significantly from the bar association we know today. This is in part due to larger changes in economy and society, and in part due to generational shift. The fast pace of technological development means that bar associations need to be nimble and, if they are to keep their members, they must ride on the crest of the wave of change rather than trailing behind. And everyone who has studied the characteristics of Generation Y – our next generation of lawyers – has concluded that they expect different things from their association than do the Baby Boomers and Generation X. If we are to survive as a professional association, we need to begin now to provide those things, and do so in the manner expected by a generation reared on the Internet, used to having things work online quickly and efficiently, and seeking a wider range of benefits from their associational activity than continuing education and a handful of price reductions on services and products.

As executive director of the Monroe County Bar Association I want to find ways to make the bar central to your success as a lawyer. This means a wide range of things. When you want legal education about the latest developments in your field of practice, you know the MCBA will provide that education. When you need basic training in a new practice area, you can find that training through the bar association. When you need training on office systems or new technological tools, the MCBA provides that training. When you have a question about how to manage your practice, the MCBA has the answer. When you need advice on what systems and technologies you should adopt in your practice, you can get that advice from the MCBA. When you need to do legal research, the MCBA provides a platform for you to do that research easily and at little or no cost. When you need forms or other resources to make your practice go more smoothly and meet your clients’ needs, you can find those forms and resources via the MCBA. When you need information or have concerns about your mental or physical health, you can turn to the MCBA for useful, timely, and accurate information and assistance. When you have concerns about the welfare of our community, you can count on the association to share those concerns and offer opportunities for you to address together with other professionals. When you want to explore new ways to advance your career, you can count on the MCBA to let you know what’s out there and help you take advantage of your chances. When you are looking for ways to expand your practice, the MCBA is the place you turn for help. And when you want to connect with other legal professionals, whether to network or just to have fun, the MCBA offers ways to make that possible.

I hope you will let us know how we can best help you in your professional (and to some extent your personal) life. We are open to all ideas, no matter how big, no matter how “out of the box” (a cliché I don’t usually employ, but it fits here), no matter how unusual or weird they might be at first glance. What do YOU want from the MCBA? How can we make you more successful? How can we make your life easier? I urge you particularly to think out into the future – for the profession and the nature of law practice are changing, and in order to be successful you need to accept that fact and, to the extent you can, step into the flowing stream.

So please tell us what we can do to help you achieve your goals in the coming years. Every member of the MCBA team – all those folks Ben introduced you to in our last post – is open to your ideas and will bring them to the rest of the group for discussion and planning. Of course we can’t promise to do everything you ask of us, budgets and time being what they are. But we can guarantee that your suggestions and ideas will be taken very, very seriously and that, if we can do so within the constraints provided by our overall mission, our budget, and our schedules, we will do what we can to make the Monroe County Bar Association all that you want and need it to be. We look forward to working with you in the days, months, and years to come.

So there, Liz, I wrote a blog post. We’ll keep this up, regular posts being the sine qua non of successful blogging. Oops, Latin. Must be that Jesuit education, which pokes its head up now and again. I used to tell my students (no matter what course it was) that one of the benefits of the class was they got to learn Latin. Same goes for readers of this blog.



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Get To Know The MCBA Internal Team

It has been a while since our last post, and we’re excited to be bringing back the Bar View blog. Since our last installment, there have been a few changes, but we’re looking forward to the year to come. Due to the changes with our team, we thought that introducing you to our newest members and reminding you of the ones still here, would be a great place to start.

Mary Beth Feindt


First and foremost, please join me in welcoming Mary Beth Feindt, Esq. to the MCBA!

Mary Beth received her BA in History in 1986 from Wittenberg University. She attended the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School, graduating in 1990. Mary Beth’s legal experience is divided between criminal law and family law, specifically in the area of Law Guardian/child advocacy.  She spent 11 years in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor where she focused on cases of domestic violence and child abuse. In 2015, the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office presented her with the Excellence in Representation of Adult Indigent Clients in Family Court award. She is also an adjunct professor at Nazareth College.

In her new role as the Programs Manager, Mary Beth will work with the Academy of Law and MCBA sections and committees to deliver quality live and online educational programs.

Fun Fact: She has traveled to Novgorod, Russia six times to teach at seminars on various legal topics including jury selection, child witnesses, juvenile delinquency proceedings, and family court.

Kevin Ryan

Ryan_Kevin_7493_ppKevin Ryan, Esq., comes to us from the Vermont Bar Association, where he served as the Assistant Executive Director. He is the outgoing chair of the Webinar Committee at NABE, a former professor of law at Vermont Law school and of political science at Norwich University, and an avid (two options: reader or Broncos fan)….. You will notice that I typed the abbreviation Esq. next to his name (not a typo). Kevin has his undergrad from Regis University, his Masters from Princeton University and his J.D. from University of Denver and is a member of the Colorado Bar.

In his new role as the Executive Director, he is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the MCBA and the Foundation of the MCB. Other key duties include fundraising, marketing, community outreach, and strategic vision.

Fun Fact: Kevin was assistant varsity baseball coach at Northfield High School for 14 years, during which time the team won 7 state championships!


So here is information about the rest of us:

Robin DePoint 







Robin collects, records and organizes registrations for CLE programs and MCBA events.  She also assists staff with CLE programs as needed.

Fun Fact: Robin grew up on the waterfront and loves boating, water-skiing, and camping!

Kathy Fico




Kathy is responsible for oversight of all financial operations of the MCBA, MCBCFE and MCBF.  She handles human resource functions and office management.  Kathy is responsible for supervision of the Lawyer Referral Service, DEAFund and Lawyer Succession Registry among other programs.

Fun Fact: She loves the summer months because it means she can break out her Harley and ride her motorcycle.


Ben Freeland





I execute the various bar communications, including the three eDockets, eblasts, website updates,  social media as well as  event materials, such as programs, presentations and posters.. I’d like to think that all facts about me are fun, but the true

Fun Fact that I am willing to share: I had the opportunity to sing for Pope Benedict while at an Easter ceremony at Vatican Square.


Diane Hill




Diane is normally stationed at the reception desk and is responsible for scheduling meetings in the various MCBA conference rooms, processing Foundation donations and Attorney and Court Directory sales. You will immediately feel welcomed by her effervescent personality upon entering the 10th floor.

Fun Fact –She makes the best rum cake in the world–this has been proven accurate on 4 Floors of the Telesca Center and has yet to be tested nationwide.

Liz Novak Henderson




Liz oversees the MCBA’s membership renewal process and communicating member benefits and events to members.  In addition, she manages the logistics of the various member events throughout the year, such as the Bench & Bar Holiday Party, Law Day and the Installation Dinner, and is the primary liaison for the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar.

Fun Fact: In her spare time, she loves taking photos of her adorable beagle Zakk and of her garden.

Dianne Nash






Dianne supports the CLE Programs Manager to produce each CLE event from creating the flyer, compiling speakers and summarizing evaluations, through uploading the recorded program for online viewing.

Fun Fact: I am told that she “allegedly” has two of the cutest grandchildren on the planet.

Merritt Smith






Merritt is responsible for sales, advertisings and sponsorships that support MCBA programs, publications, and events, and is the staff liaison to multiple sections and committees.

Fun facts: Merritt plays the bagpipes and is an avid woodworker.


Mark Swail





Mark coordinates the Lawyer Referral Service, grievances and is the administrator of the fee dispute resolution program. He is also the Liaison to the President’s commission on Access to Justice, the lawyers concerned for lawyers committee and the newly formed Veterans Committee.

Fun Fact: Mark loves traveling and snow-boarding with his daughter!

Suzanne Ventress


Trying to sum up what Suzanne does in a few sentences is like trying to fit the glass slipper on an ugly stepsister’s fat foot.

She is the Executive Assistant to our new Executive Director, Kevin Ryan working closely with our Board of Trustees, Judiciary Committee and Senior Attorneys Committee. Suzanne also supports Kathy Fico, our Operations & Finance Manager, and is your go-to-person if you need your information updated in our database.

Fun Fact: She loves to photograph nature because it calms her and makes her appreciate the basic beauty of life.


I hope this helps you get better acquainted with us!

Until next week,


Thoughts From Our Incoming Leaders

Hello Bar View readers! I know that it has been a while since our last post but things have been busy.

There are only a few months remaining until we pass the torch and swear in our new MCBA and Foundation leadership… but who is counting, right? We have been through many changes this year and are looking forward to our working with the MCBA’s new Executive Director (that blog is coming soon).

Many of you may already know our incoming MCBA President Mark Moretti and our incoming Foundation President Elaine Cole, but this post should help you learn a bit more about them and their vision for the MCBA and the Foundation.

Mark Moretti, 2016-17 MCBA President


Mark Moretti received his Juris Doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School in 1978 and currently practices in the areas of commercial, tort, construction and real property litigation, and property tax, title issues and condemnation. Moretti joined Phillips Lytle in 1980 and since then has been listed on Best Lawyer’s in America and Upstate New York, Super Lawyers and was named as Best Lawyer of the Year for 2012 in Construction Litigation. He also serves in the NYSBA House of Delegates and is a fellow of the American Bar and New York State Bar Foundations.

Please take a look at our Question and answer session below:

What is your Vision for the Bar?
My vision for the MCBA is one where all members of our legal community work together collaborating for the good of the profession we have chosen; making this community one in which justice for all is served; and to make the profession respected and appreciated by our community.

What do you think is the biggest challenge to the MCBA in the coming year and how do you plan to improve it?
Certainly one of the biggest challenges is to integrate our new Executive Director into the MCBA. After having Mary Loewenguth as Executive Director for more than 14 highly successful years, we are very pleased to welcome Kevin Ryan as our new Executive Director. It’s always a challenge to follow a highly accomplished leader, but I’m confident that Kevin brings his own unique skills and strengths to the table, and will be very successful. One of my main goals is to lay the foundation to put him in a position to succeed for many years to come.

Why did you decide to take this role at the MCBA?
I’m one of those individuals who has for many years been interested in the work of Bar Associations, both the NYSBA (where I formerly served as Chair of the Trial Section and continue to serve on its Executive Committee and for many years in the House of Delegates) and in work of the MCBA where I have served as Chair of several Committees and as a Trustee, Treasurer, and President-Elect. I enjoy it because lawyers and judges are involved, not for personal financial gain, but rather because they understand and appreciate the fact that the practice of law is a very special and distinguished profession and the vehicle by which each of us, in performing our own roles, serves justice and the greater good of our society.

What do you like to do outside of the Bar for fun?
I enjoy poker, swimming, pickleball, boating, fishing and reading as activities outside of the Bar Association and work. But, I must admit that I also still enjoy the excitement of representing people and entities in solving problems and developing and implementing a litigation strategy which prevails for them.

Elaine Cole, Foundation of the Monroe County Bar, President, 2016-17

Cole, Elaine
Elaine Cole attended the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and was admitted to practice in 1978. Cole served as the District Tax Attorney at the New York State Department of Taxation for over 22 years, and retired from this position in 2012. She is a past Chair of GRAWA’s Nominating and CLE Committees, a past Co-Chair of GRAWA’s Program Committee and championed the Foundation’s Jazz for Justice Campaign in both 2011 and 2012.

Read the Question and answer session below to learn more about Elaine:

What do you hope to happen during your time as President on the Foundation?
Thanks to the great leadership of Bruce Lawrence, the Foundation has completely rewritten its bylaws, launched a planned-giving initiative with all the other Telesca Center partners, and refocused our investment strategy.  That incredible list of accomplishments clears the way for our Directors to concentrate on our mission:  raise money to fill the unmet legal needs of our community.  The Foundation receives very generous contributions from approximately 10% of MCBA members.  But we need the support of the other 90%.  We know they are equally generous, but they are not receiving the message about the impact the Foundation’s grants have made.  So, my goal is to dramatically increase the number of supporters by getting our message out there.

What excites you about your new role at the Foundation?
Does being terrified constitute excitement?  I am following recent dynamic presidents, such as Judge Elizabeth Wolford, Audrey Peartree, and Bruce Lawrence.  While I feel that I cannot come close to their accomplishments, I am excited to take the Foundation to a higher level of awareness and participation by our terrific Bar members.

How would you encourage creative thinking within the Foundation?
Our Directors are talented and committed, but we’re not expert fundraisers.  So, we have begun to use outside consultants to give us the guidance we need to do our best work.   We will use the advice we receive to stimulate ourselves, and encourage each other, to think of approaches unique to each of us, to reach our colleagues.

What do you do outside of the Bar for fun?
Working with the incredibly talented people in our Bar is fun!  But, now that my husband I are retired, we travel both in and outside the country, often in the company of our family and friends.  We spend much of the winter in Florida, and love the fresh seafood all around us.  I golf VERY BADLY, so the company of my golfing buddies has to supply the fun on the course.

Thank you to Mark and Elaine for sharing some of their thoughts on their upcoming leadership roles. We look forward to seeing many of you on Thursday, June 23 in the evening when both Mark and Elaine will be installed as Presidents of their respective organizations.

Thanks for checking in

Ben Freeland


Authored by Mark J. Moretti and Chad Flansburg of Phillips Lytle LLP

While legal professionals are well familiar with the aphorism, “less is more,” with the publication of Robert L. Haig’s Fourth Edition of Commercial Litigation in New York, more is undoubtedly better.  Building on the first three editions, published in 1995, 2005, and 2010, respectively, the Fourth Edition of Commercial Litigation in New York has grown into an encyclopedic collection of 127 chapters written by 182 principal authors, including 29 distinguished judges of the federal and state courts, as well as a who’s who of New York’s commercial litigation bar.  The Fourth Edition contains eight volumes (there were six volumes in the third edition).  Notably, twenty-two new chapters have been added in the Fourth Edition.  The following is a list of some of these new chapter titles: Internal Investigations; Mediation and Other Nonbinding ADR; International Arbitration; Social Media; Land Use Regulation; and Commercial Leasing.  In addition, the chapters carried forward from the Third Edition have been substantially expanded.

Commercial Litigation in New York provides in-depth treatment of practice and procedure in New York State courts, together with the substantive law most commonly encountered by commercial litigators. For example, the treatise contains 53 substantive law chapters, including contracts, insurance, sale of goods, banking, intellectual property, business torts, and many more commercial law topics.  This treatise is well organized and the chapters contain useful strategies, practice guides, checklists, sample forms, and jury charges.  All of which are contained on a CD-ROM that comes with the treatise, as does a separate Appendix (to be replaced annually) containing a table of laws and rules, table of cases, and an index.  Commercial Litigation in New York is organized to follow the life of a commercial case throughout its ligation, and then turns to substantive topics. These features make this treatise not only a valuable research tool, but a book filed with helpful practice wisdom and perspective that is only gained by years of experience in handling commercial cases.

The fact that this treatise is intended to be utilized as a practical aid in every day practice, rather than being an academic treatise is immediately apparent.  For example, Chapter 48 (Compensatory Damages) contains a detailed discussion of the various forms of compensatory damages recoverable in actions for breach of contract, including expectancy damages, reliance damages, and restitution.  The treatise also provides a unique discussion on the many ethical issues involved in commercial litigation, including chapters entitled ethical issues in commercial cases (Chapter 70) and civility (Chapter 71).  Another example of the significant practice aid offered by the treatise is Chapter 44 (Graphics and Other Demonstrative Evidence), which provides a wonderful overview regarding use and the foundational prerequisites for these often underutilized exhibits.

These few examples are only a sampling of what awaits the commercial litigator that turns to this edition.  It is hard to imagine anyone litigating in the Commercial Division without first consulting and seeking assistance from Commercial Litigation in New York.  In sum, this treatise is a must have for both experienced and new commercial litigators.  It provides a very thorough and detailed analysis on substantive and procedural aspects of New York commercial law.

Lend Me a Tenor…or a Lawyer

When I was a toddler, I fell in love with music and began taking piano lessons. It may be difficult to imagine me, a 6’5 guy sitting on a piano bench with my feet dangling and having a difficult time reaching the pedals, but I assure you that it happened–I was tiny at one point. Fast-forwarding to my teenage/early adulthood years, I joined a traveling choir and had the pleasure of singing in Italy for Pope Benedict as well as touring throughout Europe. Upon my senior year of high school, I enrolled at Eastman School of Music and set out on my way to becoming a vocalist. I’ve met some amazing people, including Renee Fleming and her entire family, who are all talented musicians. Since those days, I have given up on my musical endeavors but it may surprise you that many of our members have not! So for this week’s blog, we have decided to feature some of our musically inclined Bar members.

  1. John Williams:

Since the age of five, John Williams has been playing the piano.  John, a former attorney with Thomson Reuters and its predecessor companies and a Board member of the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar, enjoys playing the piano for Rochester audiences.  He performs at local clubs, private homes, and senior residences, providing background music or giving recitals.  John remarked: “It is a great joy to be able to share my music with others.  Live music makes an event something special.  Performing for all audiences, especially senior audiences, provides a unique opportunity to recall a memory through music.”

IMG_0171Piano Little

  1. Mary F. Ognibene:

During the day, you will find Mary putting 100% effort into her career at McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. as a corporate attorney, but when the time comes to set down the law books and pick up a microphone, she is more than happy to oblige. She has a long music history, singing over the years in various chorales and fronting local bands. Currently, Mary has two local projects in play -a jazz standards duo and an indie group by the name of Never Events, as well as a third NYC-based project by the name of The Lovely Intangibles. The Lovely Intangibles, also comprised of Stephen Masucci, Michael Williams and Tony Mann of The Lost Patrol as well as bass virtuoso Jon Camp of Renaissance fame, issued its debut release “Tomorrow Is Never” last Summer to critical acclaim (eg. PopMatters; The Big Takeover). The Lovely Intangibles genres include rock, goth, surf and shoegaze. Together they continue to write new material and are in the process of recording a second release!

  1. Steven Feder:

During the week, you can find Steven at Pirrello, Personte & Feder, but he is no stranger to night clubs and concert venues. Before law school, Steve attended SUNY Fredonia and obtained a degree in music. You could often find him playing live at clubs and events throughout the nation. At the age of 27, he entered law school but continued to perform outside of class. He played mostly acoustic back then; mostly electric since the late 1980s; and now about half and half. After graduation, he continued to perform while practicing law and averaged 75 dates in one year! Now, Steve books about 35 dates per year and plays lead and rhythm guitar, acoustic fingerstyle (that’s really his “thing”), and sings lead. On any night, you can find Steve practicing with his band, Time Bandits, which he started in the 1990s.

  1. Jonathan Feldman:

Jonathan, a vocalist and pianist, studied jazz piano at the Oberlin Conservatory with noted jazz pianist Allen Farnham, which led to a gig playing solo jazz piano in New York City. His big break, however, came with the Philadelphia-based Floyd Hunter Blues Band. That group often performed at national festivals, sharing the bill with such blues legends as B.B. King and Albert Collins. Upon moving to Rochester in 1997, Jonathan formed the Jonathan Feldman Trio, a jazz and blues combo that often performs at various legal functions in town. The group issued two well-received CDs, and its most acclaimed release, “Straight Ahead and Blue,” was recently made available on iTunes, where it has been downloaded by jazz and blues fans from around the world. Aside from discovering him at the piano, you can look for Jonathan at Empire Justice Center, where he is a senior staff attorney with the Civil Rights, Employment and Education Unit.


If any of you have hidden artistic talents — from music, to writing, to painting and more — please let me know, and maybe we’ll feature you in upcoming Bar View.

Thanks for checking in!


Great Programs at the MCBA…Such as Lawyers for Learning

There are many great things happening right now at the Bar! Last night, we had our YLS New Admittee Night at the Amerks  I got the go-ahead to change up the design of the blog a bit; we’re in the midst of recruitment for our Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship Program; and we have kicked up the Lawyers for Learning program!

For those of you who participated in the winter drive, thank you! So far a big need for hats, gloves and scarves has been filled as I was able to cart several bags and boxes to School 29 to those in need. The committee has also been able to grant more than $5,000 to School 29 for special education materials, physical education equipment and classroom supplies, thanks to the proceeds from this year’s Lawyers for Learning Golf Tournament.

L4L backpacks2015 001Christine Turnquist, our School 29 liaison, is passionate about the students, the school, the teachers and everything about Lawyers for Learning.  She continually proves to be a valuable asset when deciding how to allocate grant funding. The students and staff are always so friendly and grateful for all of the support that School 29 receives from the MCBA. And, for those of you who may not know, School 29 houses the majority of special needs children in the Rochester City School District. Many of the special education teachers purchase equipment and supplies from their own paychecks because the school does not have enough money to provide additional materials.


The needs are overwhelming, and here’s how you can help: While we are growing with mentors, we are still only at 36 to date. We need more, and continue to accept new mentors. Signing up as a mentor now gives you the opportunity to see what it is like before the end of the year. To sign up to become a mentor, click here.  And if you’re not sure about being a mentor, send me an email and I can set you up to visit the school with another mentor.

As one of the key volunteer opportunities here at the MCBA, Lawyers for Learning is always looking for volunteers to help at events or simply being part of the committee. In the spring, we hope to gain traction on a memorial garden to be built on the school property. It will house a fenced off area with herbs, vegetables and fruits. There will also be handicap accessible tables for those, who are unable to get down and dirty in the soil. Although part of my job here is as the liaison for the Lawyers for Learning committee, and I’m also planning to volunteer some of my time to help with the garden. If you are interested in volunteering at any events, field trips, performances or the garden, please reach out to me at

And, before I forget, we are still hoping to collect pictures for our next blog about the winter! If you have any photos of your winter hibernating or you’re like Louise and you were able to escape to Mexico, email me with your photos and a caption and I’ll feature you!



Until next time, Ben