The Future is Now: Guest Post by Liz Novak

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt, Address at University of Pennsylvania (September 20, 1940)

A crop of more than 60 new Rochester lawyers will be admitted tomorrow, January 16, 2014, at 2 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency downtown with their family and friends cheering them on. I have attended this ceremony for the past several years since I’ve been the Membership Manager at the Association. We use the new admittee ceremony as a recruitment tool. We also make it a habit to encourage new lawyers to get involved with the Young Lawyers as a great way to meet other young lawyers, leaders and to get their toes wet with the Young Lawyers and dive off into the rest of the Association.


Here at the MCBA, we recognize that the new admittees also represent the future of the profession and of the Bar Association. There are not too many inevitables or certainties about the future – except getting older and maybe paying taxes – but whatever the future of the legal profession holds, there’s a good chance that this group of lawyers, and those who are part of the Young Lawyers, will be part of it.

As I think about some of our current leaders and active members, I think about how they began here at the MCBA. Take, for example, our President Diane Cecero, who will be speaking at tomorrow’s ceremony. Diane, who is General Counsel at MCC, has spoken to me about when she was admitted, joining the MCBA was simply what you did. She has been active from the start, joining the Young Lawyers Section and eventually became its Chair. From there she served in other leadership positions with the bar, secretary of the MCBA Board of Trustees, as well as the legal community as she was a founding member of Greater Association for Women Attorneys (GRAWA) and also served as President. And today she is President of the MCBA. She became involved young – a future leader who became one.


Another example is Amy Varel, a partner at McConville Considine Cooman Morin, P.C. Amy joined the MCBA when she was admitted and became involved in the Young Lawyers Section. Like Diane, she also chaired the section. Since then, Amy continued to stay involved in the MCBA and its committees and sections. She became Membership Committee chair, Business Law and today serves on the MCBA Board of Trustees as its Secretary.

In 2006, Tim Lyster, clerk to the Hon. Paul Warren, was admitted to the bar…he joined the Young Lawyers Section, met some folks, became involved and last year served as the Section’s Chair. Today, he is a member of the MCBA Board of Trustees.

Bar Stop Promo January

Tomorrow night marks our third BarSTOP to date at the Hyatt Regency’s Scene on Main, and with it falling on the day of the new admittee ceremony, we’re encouraging new admittees to attend. We’ve reached out those who are not members encouraging them to join the MCBA and attend BarSTOP, but if you have new admittees at your firms or in your courts, encourage them to attend – and head over with them. If you can’t attend tomorrow, no worries as over the next several months, there will many events at which you will meet new admittees or green young lawyers. At those events, I would encourage to you to reach out your hand, introduce yourself, find out what they’re interested in and talk to them about the path you took to get where you are and the path that you’re still walking on. Heck, you could even “friend” them on Facebook. Help them; encourage them; know them — they are the future of the profession.

The Young Lawyers Section is a busy, active group and today it boasts 185 members — a huge number. They are a section that always welcomes other bar members (young or seasoned) to its events so take advantage and come to one of their events – whether it’s a happy hour, community event or their signature Silent Auction for Teen Court. I’m not saying you have to go to all – but maybe there is one you can stop by at. For more information, go to the Young Lawyers Section’s webpage to find out what they’re up to:


Or if you’re part of a committee or section and have an idea for collaborating with the Young Lawyers, send an email to Chair Wende Knapp at Look around the table at your meetings, are there young lawyers represented? They offer a variety of backgrounds, cultures and, yes, even experience that could be helpful – with a little bit of coaching or mentoring. Add your name to our Mentoring for a Moment list in case a young attorney needs someone to call.

I’m sure Diane, Amy and Tim had at least one person who helped them along the way when they were first admitted – maybe you can be that for one of tomorrow’s new admittees.

Thanks for checking in…


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