So many great bar moments…

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…


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