Many years ago when I interviewed to become your Executive Director, I asked Michael Dwyer, President at the time, to identify one of the primary functions of the MCBA. He responded, judicial candidate evaluations. What I learned that day, and in the 13+ years since, is that the Monroe County Bar Association views the judicial candidate evaluation process as a resource to inform the political parties as they determine their candidates and for the public as they cast their votes.

So in case you missed it, the judicial evaluation survey is out there right now. It was released to more than 3,000 attorneys in the 7th Judicial District, on February 10th. It will remain open and accessible until February 24th at 5:00 pm.

screen shot Judicial Eval

It is a significant year: 6 candidates for Supreme Court, 3 candidates for Family and 1 candidate for City Court.

Those judges and attorneys being evaluated (in alphabetical order by Court) are the following:

NYS Supreme Court
Hon. Craig J. Doran
Gary Muldoon, Esq.
Matthew D. Nafus, Esq.
Hon. James J. Piampiano
Judith A. Sinclair, Esq.
Hon. William K. Taylor

Monroe County Family Court
Maritza C. Buitrago, Esq.
Gary Muldoon, Esq.
James A. Vazzana, Esq.

Rochester City Court
Hon. Stephen T. Miller

The response to the survey to date has been strong. To encourage all to participate, we have provided several reminders, links in the eDocket, notice in the Daily Record, 2 additional releases since the original release on the 10th, and now this blog. By the time this blog hits, a 3rd release will have happened this morning, with the final scheduled for next Monday.

In addition, we have notified the administrative offices within the mid-to-large firms, as well as the Courts, to communicate to their employees that the survey is out there, and if anyone has not yet received it, and is interested in responding, that they check their SPAM files, and if still not able, to contact Liz Novak, Communications & Membership Manager, at, who is able to assist everyone that calls her. Staff is on high-alert to respond promptly to members and non-members that want to complete the survey. We take this process very seriously, and are most attentive to it.

The Judiciary Committee, chaired by the dedicated Jennifer Sommers, will then convene to do their part, results will be made public, and we will begin the communication phase of getting the word out to the media, and through social media.

But I wish to remind you that you as practicing attorneys also have a role in this process. First, if you practice in the courts, then you should take the time to respond to the survey. If for any reason, your email address is not current with us, or your firewall blocked the survey, keep us updated on your email changes. In addition, talk to your IT folks about firewall issues. On these two points, the issues are out of our control.

Second, we need your assistance on spreading the word once the ratings are final, as well as before the elections. Our “Crack Communications Team” works very hard at putting the results out through the media and repeatedly through our many social media outlets. As the saying goes, “Like It Forward” to your family, friends, non-attorney colleagues, neighbors, butchers, accountants, sitters, doctors, dentists, in-laws, and the list is long. Please help us spread the word. The MCBA has a great team of communicators, but quite honestly, it cannot all be left to a 2-person team.

If you agree with me, then “Like It Forward” with this blog, and in the future on this topic. If you don’t agree with me, then call me and tell me what you think. I am committed to this process but I am asking for your help. Your role needs to go beyond spending 5 minutes completing the evaluation.

Please join me in “Liking It Forward”…

Stay warm and safe during these beautiful snowy days! I feel spring in the air…


Guest Post by Liz Novak: MCBA Website — Where do we go from here?

We’re looking at revamping, re-skinning, redoing our website. Whatever you want to call it, the bottom line is that we’re looking at making some significant changes to it.

The last redo of our website was about 4 years ago and it suited what we were trying to accomplish at that time. But I think websites might age like dogs – so that means that redesign was nearly a lifetime ago.


Sure we’ve made some tweeks and additions over the years but it’s always good to look at a website every few years and reevaluate – are we providing a resource to our members?

I was doing a little research on website trends, and words like responsive design, parallax scrolling, flat web design, and others that sound good in theory, but like skinny jeans, don’t translate into my actual daily life.

While I agree (as an iphone/ipad junkie) that being responsive to various devices – smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop – is important for folks to access a website and not get completely annoyed with the super small type that you have to manually (literally) enlarge, I also believe we overcomplicate things and that simpler is better.

What’s the information our members want from our website on a regular basis? What do they need? And what aren’t we providing that maybe we can be providing?

But maybe I’m wrong…I’m no tech guru. I live with one, but I’m not one. (Actually, he wants to be referred to as a tech guru genius, but I can only take it so far). My best answer to all things technology related – whether it’s a website not working properly, my email, etc – is to reboot.

So rather than us assume or simply go with the trends being published, we want to hear from you. And Mary takes it personal that no one responds to our blog – so I’m asking, can you please respond to the survey below. The survey will also be posted on Facebook and our homepage.

Click here to take survey

It’s 10 questions that takes less than 5 minutes, and I appreciate you taking the time to do so!

Thanks for checking in…


P.S. And if you never want to miss an installment of the Bar View, feel free to click the orange “follow” button at the bottom left (which means it will show up in your email inbox) or make it a favorite.