By Kevin Ryan, Esq., Executive Director

T.S. Eliot thought April is the cruelest month, but I think it’s November, when everything is dead or dying, the days grow shorter and darker, and the temperatures dip below freezing while flurries dance in the air. Maybe that’s why Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday.

Thanksgiving Day gravitates around cooking, sharing food with family and friends, and relaxing (read: falling asleep after eating too much). When you get right down to it, there’s not much more than that happening on Thanksgiving. There’s the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while you’re getting the turkey in the oven. Later, there’s a string of football games in the background. But the parade can be tedious if you’re not seeing it live (then, it’s fun even when it’s cold) and the games rarely mean much and generally involve teams we neither love nor hate (though I admit to always rooting against the Dallas Cowboys). There might be a drink or two – New York Gewürztraminer is especially good with turkey – or, for teetotalers, some special non-alcoholic concoction. And oh so much food! Hors d’oeuvres, side dishes, things you don’t eat the rest of the year. The smell of turkey roasting away in the oven pervades the house.


Later, after way too much turkey and stuffing and potatoes, desserts abound. We end up stuffed, rotund, and deeply gratified. Best of all, there’s not really anything else you have to do: no piles of gifts to unwrap, no particular reason to get all dressed up (‘cuz there’s no place to go), no religious services demanding attendance, no requirements to do much more than praise the cook(s) and eat (more than we should) of their offerings. Just put your feet up and nod off, defying the effects of the caffeine and sugar you dumped into your system just moments before. Altogether a happy, relaxing sort of day, just the thing for the cruel hours of November.

Yes, of course, we are supposed to be “thankful” on this day – for the love and food we share with others, for the other joys in our lives, for the fact that we do not live in want. We do not agree about the recipient of our thanks, but the feeling (and isn’t thankfulness a feeling more than anything else?) is much the same, I suspect, whether we thank a divinity, a nation, our parents, families, and friends, or children and grandchildren, or all those around us who contribute to making our lives what they are. We feel that for nearly all of what makes life worth living, we are beholden to others. And we are. We should never, ever, forget that.

Thank you. For everything.


Happy Thanksgiving!



How do you define gratitude?

According to Webster, the definition of GRATITUDE is the acknowledgement of having received something good from another. So I started thinking about what I am grateful for in my own life, and here it is:

Grateful to be loved.

Grateful for my 3 children, my mom, and 4 brothers and large, large family.

Grateful for all my friends.

Grateful for all of our incredible volunteers, and especially the MCBA President Steve Modica and Foundation President Bruce Lawrence.

Grateful for my porch (I know you know that one!).

Grateful for our incredible team here at the MCBA: Ginny, Dajaneé, Dianne, Diane, Mark, Merritt, Liz, Louise and Kathy, and I am grateful they put up with me.

Grateful that I found my snow boots and that my garage is super clean and ready for my car at night.

Grateful for the influx of creative and fascinating technology in our world.

Grateful for red wine on cold nights.

Grateful for new found peace and quiet in my life when I want and need to claim it.

So now you know what I am grateful for.

What are you grateful for?

Steve Modica, MCBA President:

The list is LONG, however, here are my top 5:

  1. My immediate and extended family and my dogs.
  1. My hardworking and talented co-workers.
  1. My clients and those who kindly refer their friends and family to me.
  1. Our extraordinary legal community.
  1. Our MCBA staff and members.  I am especially grateful for the privilege to serve as your President.

John Crowe:

I am most grateful for having saved and supported a number of lawyers from alcohol disaster through Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. In some instances, we not only made them feel better, we actually saved them. And for my beautiful wife, Mary, for her love and support of me.

Laura Myers, The Wolford Law Firm LLP:

I am thankful that I am back in Rochester surrounded by family, friends, a wonderful legal community, and have a great fiancé!

Merritt Smith, MCBA:

I am thankful for my family, especially Charlotte.

Neil Rowe, MCBA President-Elect:

That the Lake Erie snow belt ends 10 miles west of Rochester.

Dianne Nash, MCBA:

I am thankful for family, friends, home and job.

Brad Kammholz, Kammholz Messina, LLP:

I am thankful for our wonderful community … I came here 25 years ago after growing up in another city, and Rochester has blessed me and my family with a marvelous life ever since. I’m also very thankful for my lovely wife, my fabulous children, and the chance to use the gifts that God has given me every day of the week.

Richard Link, The Law Office of Richard Link:

I’m thankful for the MCBA Solo and Small Firm Committee and the help it’s providing me in my practice.

Karen Bailey Turner, Law Office of Karen Bailey Turner, Esq.:

I’m thankful for all the support that I’ve received in starting my new law practice. Thanks to my husband Robert and my other law office suitemates Rhian Jones and Shaina Kavolsky. I’m also thankful to my former firm Brown Hutchinson LLP and MCBA & RBBA for their continued support. Frankly, I’m thankful to be blessed every day in a million ways!!

Diane Hill, MCBA:

I am thankful, grateful and blessed to have my family together for this season of Thanksgiving (especially my Mom).

Christin Cornetta, U.S. District Court:

I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by people who constantly encourage, support and inspire me, including my friends, my family and my colleagues.  I am so thankful to have such amazing people in my life and am looking forward to spending time with them during the upcoming holiday season.  And of course, I am thankful to live and work in a legal community that has an innovative and dedicated bar association like the MCBA!

Mark Swail, MCBA:

I am thankful for my wonderful children, my girlfriend, my coworkers and a job that I enjoy. I am thankful for my health and faith.

Tiffany Lee, GRAWA President:

In addition to the usual list of things that I am always thankful for (health, family and friends), I am especially thankful this year for the opportunity to serve GRAWA as President, to work with GRAWA’s incredible board, and to witness the recognition of GRAWA’s amazing members.  I am also thankful for the opportunity to work with the bar leadership in our community: GRAWA’s President Elect Jill Paperno, the RBBA’s President Fatimat Reid and President-Elect Aaron Frazier, and the MCBA’s President Steve Modica and President-Elect Neil Rowe.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, we work in a great legal community!  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Thank you for checking in and for being grateful this holiday season. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,