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This past Saturday morning, I had the pleasure of attending the funeral of the incredible Peggy Bauer, mother of MCBA member & trustee, Bill Bauer. Bill and I both grew up on Seneca Parkway, attended our parish school of Sacred Heart Cathedral, and on Sunday’s we were all marched into church by our parents. My family consisted of 2 parents and 6 children–but in the Bauer family there were 2 parents and 9 children. Bill’s younger sister, Bernadette, affectionately known as “Bern”, was one of my best friends on the street.

As I returned to Sacred Heart on Saturday with my mom, Joan Loewenguth, and celebrated the life of Peggy & Bob Bauer (who passed several years ago), I could not help but think back to our life as children, and the many communities we experienced.

Our community began on our street, Seneca Parkway, where life was lived in the big lush parkway that ran down the center of the street, and where the parents hosted the Annual Seneca Parkway Family Picnic. Our community extended to our backyards, especially those with pools in the summer months. Our community extended to the vast playground in the Aquinas fields, or even “The Woods” behind the AQ fields, where we ventured as young kids. As we grew older, The Woods became the place you may have gone for your first beer with some friends. No, I was not one of them, of course!

Our community extended to when it was time to walk to Sacred Heart. There were no buses that picked us up. It was just over 1 mile from Seneca to Sacred Heart, and in those days, we went home for lunch. So each day we were walking, as a BIG pack, 4 miles a day. We were a community of Seneca Parkway kids, of all ages, and we looked out for each other. This was such an incredible community event.


Our community extended to Aquinas for the boys and Nazareth for the girls. The boys had the shortest hike, as they cut thru the many yards and driveways, our’s being one of them, that gave them the quick access to Aquinas. However, once again the girls had the longer, uphill walk. So Bern would walk down, meet up with me and our good friend Mary Crilly. The three of us would make our way up to Nazareth.

The Bauer Family, all 11 of them, were clearly their own community. A home that was filled with warmth, love and laughter. It was a place I found community growing up. Mrs. Bauer, described by one of her son’s on Saturday as “steel wrapped in velvet,” represented the extraordinary group of mothers that watched over us night and day. One never knew who might show up at the dinner table at night, as we were always in and out of each other’s homes.

Also present for the Bauer celebration on Saturday was the Woods Oviatt community — all there to support Bill and his entire clan.

As we drove away from this walk down memory lane, I had to rally my 84 year-old mom who was experiencing a bit of the sweet memory blues. Mom misses her old communities, especially her six children. Only two of us reside here in town; three brothers live out of town, and as many of you know, we lost my oldest brother, Peter, seven years ago to cancer. Our own Loewenguth community has changed forever. But a little lunch for mom, and the promise that we will be gathering next week around the Thanksgiving table at my brother Tom’s house, brought a smile to her face. We will have the majority of our community in one place.

Later that night I finally had the chance to catch up on the tragedy that had unfolded in Paris over night. Images streamed in of strangers helping strangers. The poignant photo of the pregnant woman hanging and screaming for assistance from a second floor window caught my attention along with reports of people in apartments opening their doors to people running for their lives. In recent days we have seen not only the Paris community, but our entire world community come together as a sign of solidarity with the Paris community, as they did with our country on September 11.


Then bringing this message of community back home again, we have our community of justice champions that come to work every day at the Telesca Center for Justice. We are taking care of the community of the poor and under-served, also fighting to care for their families. After 11 years as partners in the TCFJ, as partners, we come to decisions in a matter of hours on some big topics that many years ago would have taken us weeks to months. We have found our groove at the Telesca Center.

And then up on the 10th floor of the Telesca Center for Justice, is the home or the community space of the 2,000 members of the Monroe County Bar Association. The MCBA community is the place you come to for meeting with colleagues in your area of practice, but perhaps from another firm, where perspectives and differences can be debated. The MCBA community is the place lawyers and many of our fine judges come to teach and learn from more of your very smart colleagues. The MCBA community is the place lawyers can come to celebrate the holiday season together as we will on Thursday, December 3rd at the Annual MCBA Holiday Bench & Bar Party in the beautiful Wintergarden. This is where members of the bench and bar come together to enjoy some holiday cheer, and to celebrate the profession that we are all so dedicated to.

The MCBA community is also a place where legal professionals can come for support for either themselves, a colleague or perhaps a family member. As we all know, the legal community recently lost Jerry Murphy. Jerry and his wife, Bonnie, heard about our Solace Program, and were encouraged to allow our community to support them. With the careful hand of Paul Leclair, our SOLACE Caretaker, our legal community made an incredible difference in the lives of Jerry, Bonnie and their family in these final months. They were overwhelmed by the incredible outpouring of messages and other symbols of support they received  from people they did not know. This is the MCBA community.

And when life does become simply a bit too overwhelming, the MCBA has started a new program called Health & Well-Being. Having penned an agreement with the good folks over at The Tree of Hope, and established a direct number to our good friends at the Tree of Hope. We now have a place for any member of the legal community, both members and non-members, paralegals, legal assistants, judges, clerks, PDs and DAs, and the list goes on, to call 585-353-1541, and with no worries about confidentiality or concern for paying the bill, you will be taken care of.

So where do you find community?

Thanks for checking in,




The beginning and ending of careers…

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I really expected that with two of my three children (Brian in Jupiter, Florida and Claire in Boston) now living out of town and working, and one both working and finishing school (Aidan in Rochester) that the phone would ring less. I assumed that in time, because of their new and blessing careers and excitement over future careers, that I would hear less from them. As my own 84 year old mother, Joanie, would say: “Yes, they grow up and call less and less!” Mom says that with a raised brow sending me a clear message, “Yes, I am talking to you, young lady!!”


At this point they are calling for a variety of things:

  • “Mom, can you send me your ‘Kick Ass Chili’ recipe?”
  • “Mom, how do I get red wine out of a white blouse?” “Yes, Mom, I am 22 and can drink red wine!”
  • “Mom, what do I do with this bill from Dr. So & So?” To which I reply: “You pay it!”
  • “Mom, my house in Boston is really hilly, and I am terrified about the Boston winter, and how I will get up and down the hill, what do I do?” To which I replied: “Once the snow really starts falling, find a true Boston friend, and ask for some hilly-street lessons!”
  • “Mom, I had this email the other day at work about…what should I do?” To which I replied: “Get out from behind the email and go have a conversation.”
  • “Mom, I have this project team I have to work with on a class project, and they did not show up for our meeting, what do I do?” To which I replied: “Send them a message securing the next team meeting date, and if they fail to show up a second time, let them know, you will have to seek counsel from the Professor.”
  • “Mom, my money is a little tight this month, any ideas?” To which I replied: “Yes, stop going out, eat more cereal and be sure you take your multi-day vitamin.”
  • “Mom, do you have a minute?” To which I reply: “No, it is 10:30 pm and I was asleep. If you are safe, call me in the morning!”

I trust as the years go on, their careers progress, their lives become busier than they already are, they meet someone and fall in love, break-up (call Mom again for words of comfort and a hug or home-cooked meal for lucky Aidan), meet someone new again, really fall in love this time, and in time (many years from now because they are all way too young yet) perhaps marry and maybe even make me a grandmother (even more years from now) and the little ones will learn to call me, Marmi, after the beloved mother in Little Women.

Life goes by so incredibly fast. I was a young career woman once, and then a mom, and now I am still a “young at heart career woman” with many years of experience, and a much wiser mom to the young adults in my life. They are at the start of their lives, making career choices, making decisions (some with me; and most without me as I encourage their independence). It is a time of excitement and uncertainty — some of the best days of our lives, right?

I have the annual privilege of a sneak peak at the incredible memorials that have been prepared for our MCBA Memorial Service to be held tomorrow, Friday, November 13th at 12:30 pm in Courtroom 404 in the Hall of Justice. The Honorable Craig Doran, our Administrative Judge, will be presiding over this session of Court, with tributes being read by the dedicated members of the Memorial Committee, chaired by the Honorable Dandrea Ruhlmann. This year we will be honoring 20 extraordinary members of the profession that we have lost this past year.

memorial honoree

Extraordinary is really the best word to describe this very special group of people. Having just celebrated Veteran’s Day yesterday, so many of this group of honorees are veterans. For example, Al Boylan. Al was in Harvard Law when WWII started, and he was allowed to complete his final year of law school and take the bar exam. Then Al was immediately sent to Officer Candidate School. Be sure to read Al’s memorial to see where he was assigned to guard, and that as a result of this assignment, it provided Al with great story telling opportunities over the years.

Another sign of the extraordinary times was Helen Brooks. Helen received her law degree from Cornell Law, most likely one of few women in law school in that time. She went on to spend her entire career at Lawyers Co-op in Rochester. Helen became a well-known and much sought after volunteer by the Landmark Society, Ellwanger Garden’s. If you want to know where Helen lived when she first re-located to Rochester, I would encourage you to come to tomorrow’s service.

Another giant in this group is Jay Friedman. I remember meeting Jay when I first arrived at the MCBA, and he told me that we needed to resurrect the famous MCBA and Monroe County Medical Society Clambake/Picnic. Jay loved that event, and was one of the active participants in its organization. Having spent many years on the physician side of the community, Jay was convinced we could make this happen. I am disappointed that we never did get that initiative restarted. Perhaps it is not too late, and we re-launch the picnic in Jay’s honor. To find out the “scariest and most exciting thing” that Jay ever did in his life, I again invite you to attend tomorrow’s service.

A fierce advocate for giving back, David Merkel, did not require any kind of mandate or encouragement on taking pro bono cases. It came naturally, but David performed this service very quietly. In a family known for their big personalities, it sounds like this commitment to pro bono was the only thing David did quietly. Though not a veteran himself, learn how David was honored by the American Legion. To find out why David was honored, please join us for tomorrow’s service.

I could go on and on and on with more stories, teases and reasons as to why you should attend tomorrow’s Memorial Service. You are not required to know anyone on the list to attend, simply come and listen. You are not required to be in your own sunset years to attend. If you are a young attorney, or a mid-career attorney, I would encourage you to come, listen and learn.

There will be extraordinary life and law lessons learned tomorrow from an even more extraordinary group of dedicated professionals that deserve to have their life celebrated. I am planning to send each of my young adults a copy of this incredible tribute book so they can learn some life lessons.

Please join us tomorrow in this one hour of gratitude. I promise, it will be worth canceling the lunch or rescheduling the not-so-critical meeting.

Thanks for checking in,


So many great bar moments…

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And one of the great moments is the weather right now! WOW — this weather is incredible! Today on Good Morning America  Rochester received a call-out on for hitting 78 degrees — which is the record in this area. We need to hold on to the memory of this week in our minds as we progress into the winter of 2016.

Yesterday morning, I was taking the quick route down the Pindle Alley. It was daylight, I felt very safe. But as I am exiting the Sister City Garage, walking on my cast and cane, another Sister City parker came up behind me, and said, “Mary? Are you Mary Loewenguth?” Of course I stopped, and was greeted with a warm smile and one of my favorite greetings, “I am one of your members, Reuben Ortenberg.” I had not met Reuben before, and am not sure how this had happened. But he shared that he had been with Fix Spindelman, and joined Woods Oviatt in the merger last year. Reuben told me that he had heard that Tony Palermo was going to be speaking to the Senior Attorneys Committee in November about his role in the story about the Abel case. This is the story that is now playing in theaters – Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks. Turns out Tony was one of the four Federal Prosecutors in this case.

Reuben mentioned that he has been thinking of joining the Senior Attorneys Committee, now chaired by the wonderful Joan Brimlow. Now with Tony, his law partner, one of the speakers, he was planning to attend this program. Reuben and I said farewell, and I thanked him for taking the time to introduce me. I was so grateful for the chance to meet Reuben. Thank you Reuben for making my day!

Perhaps I need to spend more time walking around the Four Corners, and greet more members, and invite them personally to attend a program, or to join a committee or section. A great bar moment…

Two weeks ago, I was in attendance at the Rochester Business Journal’s Small Business of the Year Award. As I was walking toward my seat at the D4 table, to celebrate John Holland, I saw Robert Galbraith, Davidson Fink. Rob and I stopped and talked for a few minutes, and with great enthusiasm he shared with me some exciting changes going on over at his firm. New thinking, new business strategy, new branding. I suggested to Rob that he take the time to attend a CLE that we were offering on that Friday in an ABA Leadership on Demand simulcast. I suggested to Rob that he make time on his calendar to join in this great program, and I walked in that Friday morning to be greeted by Rob saying, “See Mary, I took your advice, and am here!” It was an outstanding program on building your leadership skills for yourself, your clients, your firm and your community.

Leadership CLE

To learn more about a video replay of this program, contact Louise Spinelli at This program was so incredible especially because we had two incredible women co-chairs, Carolyn Nussbaum, Managing Partner at Nixon Peabody, and Gail Norris, Vice President & General Counsel at the University of Rochester. Another great bar moment…

Last week I joined our incredible Young Lawyers Section for their Annual Halloween Party at The Cub Room, one of Rochester’s cool & hip new restaurants. Guests were invited to bring a costume to donate, and from what I have heard from Curt Johnson, Section Chair, we collected more costumes than ever before.


One of the very cool experiences that night was learning that the good folks over at Leclair Korona have formed this wonderful connection with the good folks over at Pullano & Farrow. On several occasions, they have come together to hang-out, to celebrate the practice of law, to network and simply to have fun. I really loved this idea! And later in the evening, after their gathering, several of them came back to The Cub Room to join the YLS Celebration. Paul Leclair from Leclair came in as did Jason Livingston from Pullano & Farrow. I had never met Jason before, so enjoyed getting to know him, and hearing of the success of this great firm. Another great bar moment…

I know I am jumpin’ around a lot in this, but stay with me to hear about more great bar moments. Perhaps you are mentioned in one!

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of sitting in with the Solo & Small Firm Committee, energized by the Brad “The Energizer Bunny” Kammholz. Once again a great meeting planned by Brad. The Nixon Board Room was standing room only, with another action-packed agenda. These meetings are all about sharing ideas, tips, suggestions, practice management ideas, referrals, technology tools, and friendship. Another great bar moment…

This time of year I am busy working with members that have not yet renewed. Our membership invoices get lost on their desks or the desks of their assistants, or in their email backlog. I know you have heard this from me before. This time of year, we are chasing down members that have not yet renewed, members that may have an issue with us, or members that tell me they are either no longer practicing, so why join, or I rally don’t benefit from the MCBA. As you can imagine, some of these really break my heart. I do take it personally. How have I failed if I cannot demonstrate the value to members to join. For some members, we tend to be on more of a calendar renewal for them. One of my favorite every year is the chase for Vince Buzard, former MCBA and NYSBA President. Vince ALWAYS JOINS, but he does require a few reminders. Vince, a very dedicated bar leader, the kind of guy that bar executives love because he is devoted to the world of bar associations.


So the other afternoon, I happened to catch Vince at his computer and said that we really needed him to renew because without him we can’t be the MCBA without him. To which Vince acknowledged my gift of persuasion and that I got to him with that comment. I meant it! I do not use words like that lightly. I suggested that he call Liz Novak directly, who was standing by ready to take his call. In typical Vince humor he responded is this the MCBA or WXXI? Within moments Vince called Liz, and he not only renewed his MCBA membership, but he also joined the Presidents Circle, which is an additional contribution of $250.00 by many of our bar leaders. Vince is now serving on the Board of Governors for the American Bar Association. Thank you Vince for being such a good bar leader. Another great bar moment…

And last but not least, I had a highly energized Foundation Development Committee meeting this morning with President-Elect Elaine Cole, Development Co-Chairs Laura Myers and John Williams, along with fundraising guru Karen Higman, who is enlightening us on several levels. The passion that exists around the creation of the Telesca Center for Justice, the Foundation’s support of the Center, and the many other entities that the Foundation supports through its annual grants program is heartfelt. Each year they are raising more money, thanks to so many of you, and making a difference with so many programs that directly benefit members of the community, as well as our own attorneys, such as the Health & Well Being Program. Another great bar moment…

Continued thanks to all of you, that continue to give me so many great bar moments. These really are the moments that make me LOVE this gig!

Thanks for checking in…


Hal-LAW-een by Ben Freeland

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In my family, Halloween wasn’t just a night for the kids to go out and gather candy from the neighbors. It was also a night for my parents to gallivant around to costume parties of their own. My brother Andy and my sister Ashley would habitually plan for Halloween in September. They would choose everything from our travel route, food supplies for the night, scary movies to watch after trick or treating and, of course, the costume. I was the youngest and couldn’t travel on my own, so I was left choosing a hand-me down outfit or creating one using various items from around the house (never worked out). One year, I wore my grandma’s dress stuffed with pillows with a few other attachments…my prognosis—A sofa. That year my brother was a superhero and probably his favorite year trick or treating (he had a place to sit when he was tired). I don’t remember a lot of “bad” or “strange” things happening but I definitely saw my fair share of questionable shenanigans.


This made think of the laws that surround Halloween and what cases are Halloween related, so without further ado, let’s get into it.

  1. I appreciate a house with character and history but… I can only imagine how a haunted house would be on All Hallows Eve. Many of you may be familiar with the case of Stambovsky v. Ackley, known as the Ghostbusters ruling, which involved a New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, declaring that a house was in fact haunted. The plaintiff filed an action to rescind a real estate purchase after he discovered that the house he bought was possessed by ghosts. The trial court dismissed the complaint saying that there was no proof of it. Arguably, the Appellate Court found that the “unusual facts . . . clearly warrant a grant of equitable relief to the buyer.” As a result, the Appellate Court found that as a matter of law, the house is haunted. The real estate transaction was then overturned.
  2. In certain towns, jurisdictions and cities in NY, the rules pertaining to adult trick or treaters vary. However, there are age restrictions in other places. For example, St. Louis has banned anyone with an education level above 8th grade from asking people for candy! In Westchester, NY and in White Plains, NY anyone over the age of 14 is not permitted to walk around town asking for candy.
  3. This next case was funny to me but I can see where it might cause an issue – Smith v. Taunton High School. This matter involved a mother and father that sued the High School after their son was scared by the science teacher. The teacher asked the 15-year-old student to answer a knock on the classroom door. The boy was startled when he came face to face with a man in a mask, who was carrying a running chainsaw. The student fell back, tripped and fractured a kneecap. The case is still ongoing because the parents are seeking damages amounting to more than $100,000 and the state cap on such law suits is $100,000.
  4. Be careful of those pesky haunted houses! An infamous case involving a scared haunted house-goer ended well for the attraction but left the customer with a fractured nose and lots of medical expenses. An attraction in NY was so great at their job of scaring people, that an attendee leapt back from the mangled-corpse-actor and ran into the cement block wall. The end result- a judge declared on the side of the attraction. Haunted house visitors “are expected to be surprised, startled and scared by the exhibits and the operator does not have a duty to guard against patrons reacting in bizarre, frightened and unpredictable ways,” according to the court.
  5. Granted you assume the risk of bumping in to things, getting grabbed and scared out of your wits upon entering a haunted house, but what if it is State-run for toddlers? In the case of Holman v. Illinois, The plaintiff was a 68-year old grandmother of two, who decided to take the age appropriate toddler to the State-run Museum “Haunted House.” The event is designed not as a frightful place but to allow toddlers and children under seven a safe way to gather candy. The dimly light museum was arranged so travelers would walk through rooms and have a cauldron of candy at each stop. The venue offered free flash lights to the public as well. Under normal conditions the room is arranged with tables and low-seated benches for children to use in the museum’s regular displays. These tables and benches had been moved into the upper-right-hand corner of the Discovery Room next to the wall. On this particular evening the grandmother, who is accustomed to the museum was making her way through the event when her grandson ran off to gather his candy and she ran to the opposite side to corral him. Upon doing so, she tripped over a bench, fell on her left arm and hit her head. She was rushed to the emergency room, sued the state of Illinois and won her case. The court decided that “The State did not exercise its duty of reasonable care. For the foregoing reasons, the Claimant is granted an award of $ 20,000.”

So there you have it folks, whether you’re a sofa, a superhero, or something else, there are always things to be aware of on Halloween.

That’s all for now,

Ben Freeland.


Paving the way…by Liz Novak Henderson

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Do you ever feel like going on vacation is more work than it’s worth? Or even worse, you toy with canceling your vacation because you’re already anticipating the post-vacation slam? Sound familiar?

On September 27, I was fortunate enough to get married to a wonderful man. It was a beautiful day filled with joy. But I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some stress along the way – mostly those last couple of weeks leading up to the big day. By that time all the fun things like picking out your registry, your dress, bridal showers, bachelorette gatherings, etc. were done. It was all about the nitty-gritty details – like sitting in front of the TV tying 100 burlap sacks filled with coffee or paying the final food bill or finalizing the seating arrangements – ugh…seating arrangements. Plus, in the midst of this, work was quite busy—and I was getting ready to be out of the office for almost two weeks – my longest “out of office” ever.

I’m  someone who puts a lot of pressure upon myself. The result is usually sleepless nights going over every detail in my head and some overindulgence on the food side – neither of which are healthy solutions and only exasperate the problem. I have to look elsewhere for help despite being both tired and hungry – not a good combination. During periods of stress, I sometimes try to get in more exercise; attempted to eat nutrient-dense food; talked with friends, family, and others; but often what works the best is taking a break– even if it was just long enough to walk around the block and take a deep breath. During those walks, I have a few minutes to meditate and be mindful of how lucky I was with the “good things” in my life.

But the truth is, some days, I did have to remind myself – simply because I was on a hamster wheel inside my head going 90 mph. Just because things are seemingly going well, doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of stress, anxiety or feeling overwhelmed; and it certainly doesn’t mean those feelings aren’t valid. Maybe you’re starting a new job; have your first big case coming up; expecting a child; moving into your dream house; are up for partnership; are branching out on your own; or are simply feeling in a rut for reasons you can’t explain – all of these things can create stress, anxiety, fear and more.

As MCBA President Neil Rowe wrote about in his column on October 9 in The Daily Record, as a result of a task force last year under the leadership of then President Steve Modica, the MCBA has a number of initiatives in the works, including a signed agreement with Tree of Hope Counseling to provide confidential mental health related services as well as the Health & Well Being Programming Committee, chaired by Kim Duguay, to develop a variety of programs and educational opportunities aimed at overall well-being.

tree of hope

Tree of Hope Counseling is a collaborative network of private practitioners offering personal, group and family therapy, psychiatry, training, education and consultation. Its goal is to provide professional person-centered services focused on recovery and wellness. Tree of Hope will maintain a MCBA-dedicated telephone number, where members of the legal profession who are faced with mental health concerns will be able to find preliminary help and follow-up service.

Although early in its development, the Health & Well-Being Programming Committee already has several initiatives in the works, with two programs scheduled for December 11 and January 29 over the noon hour at the Telesca Center for Justice.

With the holidays, stressful situations in both our personal and professional lives can become even more magnified. These programs will give attendees the opportunity to build an increased awareness of the experience of stress and its sources, and to develop coping strategies to manage it.   The first one will be more instructional to help pave the way for self-care and well-being, with the second one being more of a skills workshop with some focus on relaxation and mindfulness techniques. We will be circulating registration flyers with more information to register.

Thanks to the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar, cost will not be a barrier for getting the help that we need in these areas– either with the programs mentioned above or Tree of Hope Counseling services.

I hope you will consider coming to one of the upcoming wellness programs, or getting involved by being part of the planning process and joining the Health & Well Being Programming Committee. Please also look for more information soon about Tree of Hope’s services, a confidential number, and dedicated area on our website with updated information.

Thanks for checking in…


We listened and we tried…

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Since the very beginning of my time at the MCBA, I have heard about the “glory days” of the Bar when members would meet up at the Powers Grill. At the end of their day lawyers would gather to share stories from their days, meet friends, make new ones and to celebrate the collegiality of the profession. I understand that those were the days when attorneys would talk about a case, and perhaps even with a handshake, settle on a mutually favorable outcome for their clients. I would have loved to have been witness to this generation of the practice.

As a member association, we periodically do member surveys and will ask, “what other programs or services would you like to see the bar establish?” One of the primary responses received every time we ask this question is a request for more networking and social events.

Great! I love socializing and networking. It’s one of  my favorite activities in life. So our solution was to create an event that would accomplish three things:

  1. Be informal — no advanced registration required
  2. Be free or affordable for members — free munchies and discounted beverages
  3. Be super casual — which meant no speeches

The solution staff developed with insight and enthusiasm from our Membership Committee at the time was the creation of BarSTOP.

We established this monthly gathering for the third Thursday of every month from 5:00 – 7:00 pm to catch folks on their way home. Stop in for some downtime at the end of the day, enjoy free appetizers, compliments of our loyal sponsors each month, plus drink specials. Initially we gathered at The Hyatt for downtown convenience, but as the weather improved, we sought a variety of new locations including Label 7, City Grill, etc. We thought by moving it around town it would offer more appeal and show members the cool new venues that exist in Rochester. The establishments were always happy to welcome us.

december barstop blog photo           IMG_9222

Initially, we had a pretty good show of members, acknowledging it would take time to get launched, so in the early days, we may have hit 30 or even 40. And despite our very best efforts, the number began to dwindle. Some recent BarSTOPs were as low as 10-15, with our consistent regulars continuing to show up (which we appreciate).

As your bar executive, I am asked to look at resources that I put into all of our events, both human resources, and resources such as underwriting dollars. In recent months, and not just the summer BarSTOPs, I must question the commitment to this single event that clearly is not viewed as important by the super majority of the members. Following consultation with the MCBA Team, we have made the decision to discontinue the BarSTOPs. Though we regret this decision for the few loyalists that have attended over the last 2 years, we simply were not accomplishing our objective.

My struggle with this decision takes me back to the survey responses from you — we want more social and networking events. So help me understand, I think we accomplished that challenge in the form of BarSTOPs, but clearly so many of you did not. I am not certain we could have made it any cheaper.

Please talk to me, why did the BarSTOPs not make it? What could we have done different? Instead of monthly, is quarterly better? Is Thursday too busy with other activities? Was the beer not cold?

I work very hard, as does the whole MCBA team, to meet as many of your expectations as possible. If not a BarSTOP, then how do you wish to socialize and network?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for checking in,


Keep Your Eyes Open for Fall Legal TV

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“A blog from  Ben Freeland, Communications Coordinator at MCBA”

I personally like starting my Blogs with disclaimers because we are in some way connected to the legal field and it just feels right, so here goes nothing.

Disclaimer: The Monroe County Bar Association does not endorse any of the information that is contained in this post. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ready, Set, Go….

My favorite season is Fall. Not only do I enjoy the gorgeous colors and picturesque views of Western NY, but I am a sucker for Fall TV. The network creators and decision makers are incredibly intelligent! This time of year people are beginning to slow down with outdoor activity, settle in more and maybe even sit by the fire on a chilly night, contemplating a Florida timeshare, like me.

But what you may not know about Fall television and the constant trends in television is that Law is in! Some of you are thinking to yourselves “Woowhoo!” And others may be thinking “big whoop, we’ve had law shows before.”

But, we have never had this may law shows in one season or within this close timeframe! Gone are the days of J.A.G, L.A Law, Boston Legal and Ally McBeal. While those shows were great, it’s time to find a new Fall favorite.

My go-to list!

  1. The Grinder

This show is beautifully annoying. I cannot quite put my finger on it but it makes me mad and laugh hysterically at the same time. I decided to give it a chance and so far, I like it.

In a nutshell, the show is about two brothers. One of the brothers, played by Fred Savage is an actual lawyer and his brother, played by Rob Lowe is an actor, who made his career by portraying an attorney in a law drama. While Rob Lowe is visiting his family in Idaho, he decides to stay and become an actual lawyer, after getting himself involved in his brother’s actual law cases. The show appears on Fox Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.

  1. My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

This CW series centers on a high-strung overachiever who walks away from a high powered legal career in New York City to chase a high school ex-boyfriend who dumped her years ago. According to the script, she attended both Yale and Harvard but none of that matters anymore! Personally, I think this show looks fun, quirky and very well written. Oh yeah, and it’s a musical comedy, with a showstopping a cast that has some serious Broadway credits. This show appears October 12 crazy-ex-girlfriend

  1. The Good Wife

This show is in its seventh season for a reason. It is an excellent show about a defense attorney, who has to get past all of her personal drama and scandal to rebuild her career.  Julianna Margulies is a room-commanding, diva, who brings the script to life and makes me feel as if I am right there and we are best friends. If you love a show with powerful female leads, you will love this show but first, go back and watch the previous seasons on hulu! This show is on CBS on Sundays at 9:00 p.m.

FOR TV WEEK - DO NOT PURGE! -- The cast of THE GOOD WIFE: from left to right: Makenzie Vega as Grace Florick, Mary Beth Peil as Jackie Florick, Graham Phillips as Zach Florick, Alan Cumming as Eli Gold, Chris Noth as Peter Florick, Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florick, Christine Baranski Diane Lockhart, Josh Charles as Will Gardner, Matt Czuchry as Cary Agos, and Archie Panjabi Kalinda Sharma Photo: Justin Stephens/CBS ©2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc, All Rights Reserved. *********** IMAGE EMBARGO. THIS PHOTO MUST NOT BE USED UNTIL AFTER 9/12/2010 Tv Week Fall Preview *************

      4. Suits

I have not seen this show yet but Mary says it is an excellent show and I tend to listen to Mary. Also, it has been nominated for 6 AVN Awards, won a People’s Choice Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and a few others. Suits is set at a fictional law firm in New York City. The focal point of the show follows talented college dropout Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), who initially works as a law associate for Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) despite never actually attending law school. The show focuses on Harvey and Mike managing to close cases while maintaining Mike’s secret. It appears on Wednesday nights on USA and is in the middle of its fifth season, so there is plenty of time to binge! *Plus, one of the stars went to Liz’s college — Hamilton.

  1. How to Get Away With Murder (#HTGAWM)

First off let me tell you that I avoid making plans on Thursday evenings just so that I will not miss any of my Shondaland shows. And although AP Style has not officially adopted the term Shondaland, I am all for referencing it. For those of you that don’t know what that phrase means, it derives from the show creator Shonda Rhimes, who has three television shows back to back on ABC Thursdays. Anyway, HTGAWM is a show about a prominent defense attorney, who also teaches at one of the nation’s best law schools. The classes that she teach are a Criminal Law series called “How to get away with murder 100, 102,” and so on. As a part of her class, she gives five students an internship experience of a lifetime. Along the way, several murders occur and Annalise Keating (Oscar-nominated, Tony-winning actress Viola Davis) is tasked with defending the cases. Many questionable and ethical events happen throughout that make this show my number one (although number five) for fall law TV.

That’s all for this week’s blog. Please check out these shows and feel free to comment on the blog. Let me know your opinions of them too!

-Thanks for stopping by, Ben