My MCBA life as your very proud Executive Director for 14 years has been pretty incredible. It has been full of great staff, great volunteers, great bar leaders, great friends, great causes, great moments and memories. I would be lying if I said there have not been any challenges along the way – there have been plenty. But challenges, debates, disagreements and roadblocks mean we are passionate for what we care about.
Let me clarify for so many that have asked the question, “Was I looking?” No, I was not looking. I was asked if I was interested in applying for the Clerk of the Court for the Western District of New York from someone that thought I might have both potential and interest.
My initial reactions were:
“I think you sent this to the wrong person?”
“Wish to remind you that though I like to play one sometimes, and I clearly have learned some of their best lines, I am not a lawyer!”
“Oh, so you think I could do this, hmmm?”
So from here, I talked with a few close friends, both in and out of the bar world; a few of my lifetime mentors; my brother, Tom; and Wally, the dog next door that wanders into my yard and just sits while I am out on the porch. I figure, if he is sitting, he can listen to my thoughts. Most of all, I have listened to my own heart and head. What an amazing new opportunity, with the chance to remain in the legal community in a new role with the ability to join the fabulous judges, clerks and staff in the Western District of New York, was simply something I should pursue.
I believe in risk-taking, not at a level of foolishness, but instead when it is well thought-out, and when you can be certain that, if you do not take the risk, you may live with self-doubt forever.
I knew I would totally be fine if I applied and did not get the job because I love what I currently do and totally envisioned my retirement another 10 or so years down the road. However, I was not certain I would be fine if I did not try. Would I be disappointed in myself for not testing my potential? I did not want to spend my future wondering.
So I applied, I interviewed, and then much to my incredible surprise, I received “the call”. “Mary, this is Judge Geraci, do you have a minute…”
As of January 4, 2016, I will be the Clerk of the Court for the Western District of New York. My primary base will be in the Jackson Courthouse in Buffalo, where I will spend at least 3-4 days per week. My second office will be down the street at the Keating Courthouse. Yes, I am planning to commute at least for now. My primary focus will be on the job in this first year. I think the 120-mile round-trip commute will bring some good quiet planning time coming and going. However, if I decide it is time to commute less, then I will consider a relocation to Buffalo, but for now, I am not taking on that decision. I’m just taking things one day at a time!
My 84 year old mom, Joan, is trying to grasp the change, as she is a little worried about the travel, and I decided that when she calls, I am merely going to say, “Yes Mom, I am downtown at the Courthouse…”, she will never know.
The other great aspect of all this is that I will be applying for an affiliate membership within both the MCBA and Bar Association of Erie County. Not sure what the Court will cover, but that is not important to me. I think this is most important for me in my new role as Clerk of the Court, and one way I plan to remain in touch with many of you, that is assuming both bars accept my membership application. 😉
It has been an incredible ride for 14 years. Thank you for the honor of working and playing hard in your incredible association. Thank you for allowing me to be both creative and passionate about what we believe in.
This will not be the final blog from me before I go. Today, I just wanted to answer the question.
Thanks for checking in,