A new year full of new possibilities…

Well the holidays were great!  I loved having all three kids back home and under the same roof on Christmas Eve. They no longer allow me to make them wait at the top of the steps while I go down to “investigate” whether or not Santa arrived. We arrive downstairs together where they, like me, are searching for that first cup of coffee before settling into our gift exchange.

Mary and Family at Christmastime

What I enjoy most about having the three of them together is listening to them talk about their own futures. Aidan will graduate from MCC in the spring, and is determining where he will go next in the fall. He is considering Brockport and still determining his major, while having a good discussion with his siblings about what he is thinking about focusing on. Claire appeared to be experiencing some Dublin-withdrawal as she began acclimating back to life at home. She is already looking for summer internships in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. Though searching primarily in Boston, she also tested me on how I would feel if she wound up back in Europe working for the summer. “Honey, that’s great as long as they pay you a good wage, plus room, board and air travel!” Brian is getting ready to attend his second session at the PGA School in Palm Beach in two weeks. His plan is to be PGA certified in the year ahead, and is looking forward to his own next steps. It was fun to hear them talk about their educational experiences and their plans for careers. And while I felt so hopeful that I had helped raised them to a successful adulthood, they soon dashed my hopes while they argued about who was going to clear the table, load the dishwasher and carry out the trash! Some things never change…

So while all were gone yesterday, and after a week of gatherings, shopping, cooking, and lots of family time, I sequestered myself for New Year’s Eve and quietly entertained a few friends for dinner. I did not leave my house until this morning as I bundled up and headed off to work. Yesterday I enjoyed a quiet day in my fleece and flannels, doing some planning in my head about the second half of the 2013-14 bar year. I always find this time of year exciting. President Diane Cecero is very focused as she recognizes that she is half-way through her term, and together we begin to plan for the next six months. At the same time, I begin to work with President-Elect Steve Modica for the start of his term in July. As is typical, we are having a busy bar year, and believe it or not, things get busier as we head toward spring and the end of the bar year.

Today at noon, the Nominating Committee will be gathering to begin the annual process of determining our next president-elect, secretary and 5 new trustees. One of the things we recognized in an earlier committee meeting, is that we need to increase the large firm representation on the MCBA Board of Trustees. So I was perusing some of the big law firm websites, and much to my dismay, I found many non-members on the firm websites. More troubling was that I found many non-members that are claiming in their bio’s that they are currently members. I know some may still be renewing for this bar year, but more troubling was that many have not been members in years, yet continue to list themselves as an MCBA member. Perhaps this was an innocent oversight, and lack of an update to the site; or perhaps their dues are in process.

Over the years when I explain to friends and family (all potential clients) that the MCBA is a “voluntary bar”, they are always dismayed to learn that attorneys have a choice to join. The question I repeatedly hear back is, “Why wouldn’t they be a member if they practice law in Rochester?” A good question.

So please take a look at your bios, and if you are a member, I invite you to include that in your firm bio if it is not already part of it. My hope is that you are proud of this affiliation, and want your clients and potential clients to know you are a member; it matters more than you may know. If you are not a member, but your bio claims you are a member, I encourage you to first consider joining the bar. Renewing your dues will be much simpler, and will provide a greater value, rather than tracking down your IT staffer to update your bio on the web.

Renewing is so easy, whether you are at at large firm, small firm or at the Hall of Justice, just visit http://www.mcba.org/Members/JointheMCBA/Renew/ You will need your username and password from your dues bill so if you don’t have that, please contact Liz Novak at mailto:lnovak@mcba.org

We are a better bar when we have a broader, more diverse membership. When I say diverse, I mean not only in gender, race, sexual orientation, but also diversity of thinking and opinions. Our focus as a bar requires your active participation to help us move to that next level of being a better bar.

Stay warm and safe during these cold days ahead.

Thanks for checking in!

Mary

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