Volume 61, No. 6
The Bulletin is proudly sponsored by
Bar Association of Erie County Bulletin MAY/JUNE 2022 | Volume 61 | No. 6
★ BAEC ELECTIONS 2022-2023 ★ Let Your Voice Be Heard! Voting begins May 23 rd for your Board of Directors
Meet your Candidates on Page 14
Katie Kestel Martin
2 | May/June 2022 | BAEC Bulletin
Bar Association of Erie County Bulletin Table of Contents The Features
Letter from the President A Message from Foundation President Michael Perley Voter Fraud: The Trial of Susan B. Anthony BAEC Election Information
13 14 15 21 22 27 28 30 39 3 4 6 11 24 31 33 35 36 40 41 42
Candidates for BAEC Board of Directors Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business In The Public Service: VLP Hon. Shirley Troutman Investiture Remarks BAEC’s 2022 Law Day Awards Notice: Request for Comments Regarding the Local Rules of the WDNY Susan B. Anthony Quiz In Every Issue
Upcoming CLE Programs BAEC Sponsors BAEC New Members Bench and Bar in The News Death & Taxes In Memoriam Contributions to the Foundation BAEC Life Members and Contributing Members Western District Case Notes Classifieds
Bulletin Submission Deadline Bulletin Advertisement Index
Bar Association of Erie County President Vice President Treasurer Hugh M. Russ, III Jill K. Bond Kelley A. Omel
Gayle T. Murphy Anne M. Noble Greg Hirtzel Board of Directors
Deputy Treasurer Executive Director Director of Marketing & Communications, Editor of the Bulletin
Robert C. Brucato, Jr., Colleen Curtin Gable, Krista Gottlieb, Karen Richardson, Kara M. Addelman, Samuel A. Alba, Peter J. Crotty, Jennifer Metzger Kimura, Kelly Barrett Sarama, Anne K. Bowling, Jamila A. Lee, Sharon Nosenchuck, Stephanie A. Saunders
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LIVE CLE PROGRAM CALENDAR
Erie Institute of Law CLE programs currently being held via Zoom web conferencing (unless otherwise noted). Registrants will receive course material and Zoom link via email 1-2 days in advance of a program. Please note that some program details are not final as of publication time. For additional program details and to register, visit our website at www.eriebar.org/CLE.
More Than a “Book Ban”: Advising Municipalities, Schools and Libraries During Book Challenges (Live webinar via Zoom) May 10, 2022 • 12-3:15pm 3.0 CLE credits: Skills $75 BAEC Members, $110 Non-Members Voter Fraud: The Trial of Susan B. Anthony Live event held at the Twentieth Century Club) Presented by the BAEC History Committee and the WBASNY – WNY Chapter’s Public Sector & Not-for-profit Committee Hosted and produced by the Second Generation Theatre Company May 11, 2022 • 3pm or 6pm 1.0 CLE credit available Life After Law School: Basic Practice 101 DAY TWO (Live webinar via Zoom) Presented by the Young Lawyers Committee Sponsored by Charles J. Sellers & Co, Inc., Counsel Press, Erie County Bar Foundation, Jack W. Hunt & Associates, Inc., and Stewart Title May 13, 2022 • 8:30am - 5:00pm 8.0 CLE credits: 1.0 Ethics, 4.5 Areas of Professional Practice, 0.5 Law Practice Management, 2.0 Skills $100 Newly Admitted Attorney, $120 Experienced Attorney, $50 Law Student Admitted to the Bar and Admitted in the Building: Practice Pointers for New Lawyers (Live webinar via Zoom) Presented by the Erie Institute of Law and Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, WNY Chapter May 20, 2021 • 9am - 1pm 4.0 CLE credits: 1.0 Ethics, 3.0 Skills $90 BAEC/WBASNY Member, $125 Non-Member Innovative Approaches to Disability Cases: From Witness Examination to Federal Appeal (Live webinar via Zoom) Presented by the Committee for the Disabled May 24, 2022 • 9am - 11:10am 2.0 CLE credits: 0.5 Areas of Professional Practice, 1.5 Skills $50 BAEC Members, $80 Non-Member, $30 Paralegal
Ethics CLE (Hybrid – in-person at the BAEC or via Zoom) Presented by the Committee on Grievances and the Professional Ethics Committee May 25, 2022 SAVE THE DATE AND WATCH OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION. Surrogate’s Court Guardian Ad Litem Training (Live webinar via Zoom) Presented by the Surrogate’s Court Committee May 26, 2022 • 8:45am - 1:20pm 4.5 CLE credits: 2.0 Areas of Professional Practice, 0.5 Ethics, 2.0 Skills $95 BAEC Member, $130 Non-Member Character & Fitness: The Impact of Question 26 on Bar Admission for Lawyers of Color (Hybrid – in-person at the BAEC or via Zoom) Presented by the Diversity & Inclusion Committee June 2, 2021 • 12pm - 1:30 pm 1.5 CLE credits: Diversity, Inclusion & Elimination of Bias $35 BAEC Members, $40 Non-Member 18th Annual WNY Bankruptcy Conference (Live webinar via Zoom) Presented by the Bankruptcy Committee of the Monroe County Bar Association and the Commercial Litigation and Bankruptcy Law Committee of the Bar Association of Erie County June 7 and 8, 2022 • 12pm - 5pm BAEC/MCBA Members - Both Days - $150, 1 Day Only – $100 Non-Members - Both Days – $235, 1 Day Only – $140 Labor and Employment Law Update (Hybrid – in-person at the BAEC or via Zoom) Presented by the BAEC Labor Law Committee and WBASNY WNY Employment Law Committee Lunch sponsored by Wilder & Linneball LLP June 16, 2022 • 9am - 12pm 3.0 CLE credits: Areas of Professional Practice $75 BAEC/WBASNY Member, $110 Non-Member Workers’ Compensation Law Update Presented by the Workers’ Compensation Committee July 15, 2022 SAVE THE DATE. FURTHER DETAILS COMING SOON.
CLICK TO VIEW CLE DETAILS AND TO REGISTER
4 | May/June 2022 | BAEC Bulletin
Bar Association of Erie County SPONSORS Proudly Announcing Our 2022 Sponsors! These organizations have partnered with the BAEC for 2022. We are tremendously grateful for their support and generosity!
Law Firm Sponsors
AT T O R N E Y S
THE LAW OFFICES OF TIMOTHY M. O’MARA
BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2022 | 5
Letter from the President
Since this is my last newsletter to you before returning to my status as a civilian, I feel compelled to give you some important and meaningful advice. I once attended a CLE with a nationally- known trial lawyer. The expert trial lawyer said that, in any closing argument, we should tell the jury three things — not two, not four, but three. Arguing three points to the jury would be the secret to our success, he preached. I attempted this approach in the first trial I had after the seminar. In my closing argument I held up three fingers and counted off the three points I had to make. We won. A few days later, I saw the court reporter, an old friend, who told me that she had discussed the verdict, which was somewhat unexpected, with a few of the jurors after the trial. “Was it my three-pronged closing argument that carried the day?”, I asked. “No,” she said. “they liked your long fingers.” Whether it is the power of three or my long fingers counting to three, I leave you with these three thoughts: Think long, not short. I’ve read that many of the problems faced by corporations today stem from an overreliance on management by quarterly profit statements. In trying to squeeze out every penny of profit, every quarter, businesses fail to anticipate or to adequately plan for the future. I see the same trend in our law firms. Not everything can be measured or counted. In trying to make the most money we can right now, we deemphasize or ignore all together some really important processes — mentoring, training, diversity, culture, collegiality, service, commitment to the community. Yes, our young people need fair compensation, but they also need these non- financial lessons we can facilitate. Yes, our more established lawyers merit fair compensation, but they also need to give back, to return to doing what makes this a noble profession. We don’t need to wring every last penny out of this business. Find something beyond your strict legal work that engages you. When I was our firm’s hiring partner, I was frequently asked what I sought in a candidate. I often answered that I was looking for an individual who was passionate — passionate about something, passionate about anything — it didn’t have to be law-related. Now I am often asked what makes a good lawyer. While I can’t provide the entire list of qualities necessary in this limited letter, part of the answer includes being engaged in something bigger than ones-self. My engagement this year has involved racial justice. The struggle for
HUGH M. RUSS, III President Bar Association of Erie County
6 | May/June 2022 | BAEC Bulletin racial justice has given me purpose; it has energized me in my private life. But it has also created in me new enthusiasm for the practice of law. It has made me a better lawyer. Pour yourself into your passion. You will find purpose. You will be a better lawyer. Have some fun; see some people. I feel as if the pandemic has sucked much of the life out of my practice. To quote your next President, Jill Bond, “working remotely is all the work of work, without any of the fun of work.” I need to interact with real people, live, on a daily basis. The Zoom/ Teams/WebEx meetings we’ve endured are purely transactional. While I understand that some remote
proceedings will persist in the future — as the omniscient pundits suggest, we all need to pivot to the new normal — I hope that in-person human interaction will persist, as well. I am scheduled to start a trial in federal court on May 2, and I cannot wait to talk to the jury. Most of us went to law school to help people. We are a people profession. As we emerge from the pandemic, let’s remember our roots.
Bring back the fun.
So there you have my three things (or my long fingers counting them.) Thank you for the incredible privilege and honor you have given me. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. I wish you the best. Cheers. •
Bar Association of Erie County NEW MEMBERS
The Bar Association of Erie County is pleased to welcome the following new members:
Daylyn Blackman Thomas K. Caraher Alyssa LoGrasso Jenna R. Mastronardo Nathaniel Ploetz Claudia Rafi Emily M. Slifkin Keifer Scott Tehan Jason J. Tipton Rebecca A. Valentine Alexa L. Veronica Joseph D. Walsh
BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2022 | 7
Erie County Bar Foundation 2021-2022 FOUNDATION CAMPAIGN
The Foundation needs your help. We are funded almost exclusively by private donations from the legal community. Let’s come together to help our colleagues in their time of need. The Foundation’s mission is to assist lawyers and their families in times of crisis. The Foundation steps in when attorneys face illness, disability, job loss, mental health issues, substance use disorder, or financial hardship. Donate today.
ANNUAL MEETING Friday, June 10, 2022 5pm at BAEC Headquarters 438 Main St., 6th Floor, Buffalo, NY 14202
All BAEC members are invited to our Annual Meeting! Come find out the results of the elections for Board of Directors, hear the State of the Bar address from outgoing President Hugh Russ, and witness the passing of the gavel to incoming President Jill Bond. Refreshments will be served.
CLICK TO REGISTER
There is no cost to attend the Annual Meeting but registration is required.
BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2022 | 9
FROM THE ERIE COUNTY BAR FOUNDATION
It was about one year ago when David Pfalzgraf, my predecessor, looked to raise the profile of the Erie County Bar Foundation by increasing our reach and finding ways to provide programming that would reach our entire bar – not just those in need. To accomplish this, we had to not only expand our vision, but we also needed to expand our Board. As a result of these adjustments, I have had the privilege of presiding over and working with sixteen other attorneys committed to assisting attorneys in need, which has been the experience of a lifetime. Without exception, every member of our Board has been directly engaged in the work of the Foundation. At times, it can be emotionally taxing; however, that has not affected any member’s willingness to remain involved and committed to their fellow bar members. At our board meetings, every member has been actively engaged in developing strategies to maximize the possibility of our charges’ success in returning as contributing members of the bar. This energy and effort has never waned and is even evident in between board meetings. This has simply been the best board with which I have ever been associated – and that is saying a lot. With their help, and through the leadership of our Executive Director, Anne Noble, and the efforts of her staff, particularly, Greg Hirtzel (who always reminds me that these letters are overdue), who all work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that we remain on course. They have each been vital to the implementation of the programs we have undertaken and in reaching out to the legal community. None of these programs would have been possible without partners outside the Foundation. In our first conversations as presidents of our respective organizations, Hugh Russ and I discovered our mutual goal – to promote attorneys’ mental health and well-being. Hugh invited our participation in the Member Assistance Program, ensuring that it would provide the best possible service to the members of the Bar Association and their families. Likewise, our outreach program with the University at Buffalo Law School would not have been possible without the commitment of Law School Dean, Aviva Abramovsky, and Vice Dean for Student Affairs, Bernadette Gargano, whose commitment to and guidance of our efforts resulted in successful programs on the Law School campus. I am sure these partnerships will continue to flourish. This is always a bittersweet time. Board members leave while others arrive. For those who are departing, it is only au revoir, not goodbye. I have yet to meet a former member of the Foundation who has not carried that commitment-to-others with them. They will always
MICHAEL F. PERLEY President Erie County Bar Foundation
10 | May/June 2022 | BAEC Bulletin be a part of our work. That said, we say acknowledge with gratitude our departing board members, past President, David Pfalzgraf, and Judge Mary Carney. Their contributions are extraordinary. At the same time, we are pleased that current board members, John Richmond, Penny Selmonsky, and Mark Worrell have agreed to a second three-year term on the Board. We also welcome back Pamela Thibodeau whose creativity as a past board member will, I am sure, inspire us again. We are thrilled that Terry Connors has agreed to join the Foundation Board. His commitment to service and his insight into the practice of law are legendary. Over the past year, I have been committed to raising the profile of the Foundation so that we can better help our colleagues in need. To the extent that we have been successful, special thanks are overdue to the Foundation Vice-President, Judge Mary Carney, with whom I have had the honor of working with closely throughout this past year. She listened to, and sometimes agreed with my ideas, always making sure that we were focused on both our short-term and long-term objectives, while always being a source of inspiration. Likewise, our Executive Director, Anne Noble, has been a guide through the journey of the
last year, offering perspective to our decisions and keeping me, and the Foundation on its true path. Her contributions are immeasurable. I also asked a great deal from our Secretary, Jeffrey Priore, and Treasurer, Tiffany Perry, and neither disappointed. Thank you all for making my job much easier. As an organization, the Foundation is almost entirely dependent on the generosity of our bar. The efforts of John Richmond, the chair of this year’s campaign, has brought new energy and ideas to this role. I thank John for his efforts. Equally important, I offer my heartfelt thanks to my colleagues and the judiciary for your generosity that provides the Foundation with the resources necessary to fulfill its mission. Without your support none of our work would be possible. Finally, I was pleased to hand over the reins to our current President, Jeffrey Priore, and his team including Vice-President, Kevin Spitler; Treasurer, Penny Selmonsky; and Secretary, Tiffany Perry. The Foundation is in excellent hands so reach out if you are in need. I can say, without equivocation, WE’RE HERE TO STAY! •
ARBITRATE OR MEDIATE YOUR CASE
Since 2001, I have been honored to have been chosen to serve as a mediator or neutral arbitrator in over 3,000 claims which were pending in our court system. The vast majority of the non-binding mediations were successfully resolved. In addition to having over 30 years of experience in the litigation and trial of personal injury claims, I have lectured on behalf of the Bar Association of Erie County’s Erie Institute of Law and have given in-house presentations on
ST. THOMAS MORE GUILD LUNCHEON SAVE THE DATE
May 11, 2022 12:00 PM at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center Honoring:
the topic of ADR. I am a past President of the Western New York Trial Lawyers Association, and a charter member of the NYSBA’s Dispute Resolution Section. I am also a Certified Federal Court Mediator. My fees are extremely reasonable, certainly a more cost effective alternative than a trial. I will be as flexible as possible in terms of scheduling and location, resulting in a quicker and more convenient resolution of your claim. MICHAEL MENARD 69 Delaware Ave., Suite 705, Buffalo, NY 14202 (716) 842-6700 | FAX: (716) 842-6707
Hon. H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr., United States Magistrate Judge of the Western District of New York With Guest Speaker: Rev. Matt Malone, S.J., President and Editor in Chief of America Media Individual Ticket: $35 Sponsorship: $350 (includes table of 10) For event details and information about grade school, high school, college, and law school scholarships, please visit: www.stthomasmorewny.org
BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2022 | 11
Bench and Bar In the News
Phillips Lytle LLP has announced that Kimberly R. Nason has been appointed Practice Group Leader for the Land, Environment & Energy Practice Group. Ms. Nason focuses her practice on land use and zoning, environmental law and energy matters. She appears before municipalities across the State on behalf of business owners and developers regarding applications for zoning permits and approvals, and before the Department of State on applications for variances from the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. Her land use and development practice includes extensive knowledge regarding compliance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Her experience in Energy Law includes matters relating to the development and permitting of solar energy facilities. Additionally, Ms. Nason has experience in the area of telecommunications relating to the development, modification, and operation of cell towers and other communications facilities. Ms. Nason received her J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2011 and her B.A., magna cum laude, from The George Washington University in 2008. Phillips Lytle LLP has announced that Angela Zwirecki Miller has been appointed Practice Group Leader for the Banking & Financial Services Practice Group. Ms. Miller concentrates her practice in banking and financial services, including loan restructurings and workouts, as well as bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. Ms. Miller received her J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School in 1998, her M.B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Management in 1990 and her B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1988. Bond, Schoeneck & King is pleased to announce that Seth F. Gilbertson , an experienced labor and higher education attorney, has joined the firm in its Buffalo office as Senior Counsel. Prior to joining Bond, Gilbertson served as senior counsel to several higher education institutions in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Gilbertson brings direct experience in all aspects of student affairs, labor and employment matters to his clients. Gilbertson is a graduate of Saginaw Valley State University (B.A., cum laude, 2003) and Albany Law School of Union University (J.D., cum laude, 2006), where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Albany Law Review. Phillips Lytle LLP has announced that Holly A. Beecher has been appointed Practice Group Leader for the Family Wealth Planning Practice Group. Ms. Beecher practices in the areas of estate planning, estate and trust administration, elder law, estate and gift taxation and Medicaid planning. Her experience includes preparation of customized estate plan documents for clients including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care forms and living wills focused on the tax and non-tax needs of clients. Ms. Beecher received her J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School in 1997, her M.S.W. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1991 and her B.S. from Michigan State University in 1988.
If you are a BAEC member in good standing and you’ve moved, been promoted, hired an associate, taken on a partner, or received an award, we’d like to hear from you. Notices must be submitted in writing and limited to 100 words. They are printed at no cost to members and are subject to editing. Email your notice and high resolution photo (300 dpi) to Greg Hirtzel at email@example.com . Talks, speeches (unless they are of international stature), CLE presentations, and political announcements are not accepted. HOW TO PLACE A BENCH & BAR ANNOUNCEMENT
12 | May/June 2022 | BAEC Bulletin
Bar Association of Erie County Committees
www.eriebar.org/Committees Not yet a part of a Committee? As a BAEC member, Committees are free to join! Join a Committee today! See the full Committee meeting calendar online:
BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2022 | 13
VOTER FRAUD THE TRIAL OF SUSAN B. ANTHONY The Bar Association of Erie County and the Womenʼs Bar Association of the State of New York, WNY Chapter present
Bar Association of Erie County and the Women’s Bar Association Present Voter Fraud: The Trial of Susan B. Anthony
The Bar Association of Erie County’s History Committee and the Women’s Bar Association of the State of NY, WNY Chapter’s Public Sector & Not-for-profit Committee have partnered with Second Generation Theatre Company to recreate the story of the illegal vote cast by Susan B. Anthony in the presidential election of 1872. The production will be shown on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at the Twentieth Century Club in Buffalo, NY. This one-hour production will examine what led to her vote, the arrest, and the trial. It is directed by Kyle LoConti and features Tina Rausa, a 40-year veteran of the Buffalo stage, whose resume features many historic characters. Local attorneys will play the remaining parts, and there will be a discussion of the Fourteenth Amendment and
other legal issues –including the lack of credit to African American suffragists –brought to mind by this historic Western New York trial. There is a 3pm and a 6pm presentation; the 6pm presentation is limited to 150 attendees (21+) and will be followed by a cocktail party with the cast. Ticket options will include Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit provided by the Erie Institute of Law. You could receive 1 credit in Areas of Professional Practice for attending the show! Cost is discounted for BAEC members.
Click the button below to purchase tickets. •
CLICK TO PURCHASE TICKETS
THE CAST Christina (“Tina”) Rausa…………………………………………..............…………………………………… Susan B. Anthony Christina (“Tina”) Rausa, a 40-year veteran of the Buffalo Stage, with a resume featuring Historic Characters. Among those roles are Emily Dickson in The Belle Of Amherst with Actors Workshop of Western NY; Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony; Lillian Hellman in Lillian with Jewish Repertory Theatre; and Amelia in Amelia Earhart with Theatre of Youth. She has toured extensively throughout New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio with her one woman show Susan B. Anthony Alive! Is it a crime to vote? Jeffrey Stone……………………………………………………….............…………………………………. Hon. Richard Crowley Glenn Murray…………………………………………………………………..........………………………………. Hon. Ward Hunt Frank Housh……………………………………………………………………………............…………….. Hon. Henry R. Shelen John Feroleto……………………………………………………………………………………..............…... Beverly Waugh Jones Timothy Graber……………………………………………………………………………………………...........….… John E. Pound Craig Bucki…………………………………………….............…………………………………………….. John Van Voorhis, Esq. Matt Powers……………………………………………………................……………….. John Boyle O’Reilly and E.J. Kinney Michelle Parker…………………………………………………………….........…………………………………………….. Narrator
Test your Susan B. Anthony knowledge! Take the quiz found on Page 39 and see how much you know!
14 | May/June 2022 | BAEC Bulletin
Let your voice be heard! Voting opens Monday, May 23, 2022
We are excited to announce our upcoming elections! Your candidates are highlighted on the next several pages. We are holding virtual town halls to give you an opportunity to meet the candidates. The Director Candidates’ Virtual Town Hall is on Thursday, May 12. The Officer Candidates’ Virtual Town Hall will be on Thursday, May 19. Watch your email for official invitations to these events.
Help set the course for the future of our Bar Association!
All candidates for Bar office have been encouraged to campaign actively. Please thoughtfully consider their words and ideas before casting your ballot in this year’s election. The results of the election will be announced at our Annual Meeting on June 5, 2022 at 5pm. All members are invited to attend the Meeting.
More info found at: eriebar.org/elections
The polls will open on Monday, May 23, 2022. The polls will close at 2pm on Friday, June 10, 2022. There are three ways you can vote: VOTING INSTRUCTIONS • Online • In-person • Mail-in ballot
Voting Online Online voting will commence Monday, May 23, 2022 at 9am, and will conclude at 2pm on Friday, June 10, 2022. Online voting instructions will be mailed out and can also be found at eriebar.org/elections . Voting In Person Members may come to the BAEC offices during open office hours to vote in person. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm. Our office is located at 438 Main St., 6th Floor, Buffalo, NY 14202. Voting By Mail Any member may vote by using a proxy. Please contact us to request a proxy no more than thirty days prior to the voting end date (June 10, 2022). Mailed-in ballots must be received at the office of the Association, either by hand delivery or U.S. mail not later than 5pm on Thursday, June 9, 2022. NOTE: YOU MUST BE A BAEC MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING TO VOTE. YOUR DUES MUST BE PAID IN FULL TO VOTE. TO PAY YOUR DUES, VISIT OUR WEBSITE, ERIEBAR.ORG.
BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2022 | 15
Candidates for Vice President, President-Elect
My name is Tim Graber. I am running for Vice President of the Bar Association of Erie County. I have been a member of the Bar Association since the beginning of my legal career. Lawyers I respected and looked up to as a young professional recommended that I become a member, so I joined shortly after graduating from law school. After joining, I took advantage of the many services and opportunities the Bar Association provides. I attended educational events, which deepened my knowledge of the law and helped me develop the skills to become an effective advocate. I attended social events, which allowed me to meet attorneys in the community and forge valuable friendships, both professionally and personally. When I was approached by the Bar Association about becoming a committee chair, I jumped at the opportunity to serve. When I was approached about running for office, I jumped again. As Having served as Deputy Treasurer in 2018-19 and Treasurer in 2019-20, I ask for your vote this year for Vice President and President- Elect of the Bar Association of Erie County. The Association’s strength lies in its diverse membership. If elected, I shall prioritize ensuring our Association welcomes, includes, and benefits all attorneys in Erie County, whether by offering helpful products and services for running the business of law, enhancing continuing legal education offerings, or sponsoring more opportunities to connect remotely and in person as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. I shall listen to and value your ideas, because effective communication between members and leadership prevents and solves problems, and makes a better Association. Having competed for Canisius High School in the Association’s High School Mock Trial Tournament, and later administered the Tournament in Erie County for eight years, I have also experienced how the Association can marshal its membership’s professional
a long-time member, I can personally attest to the many ways that the Bar Association supports it members, as they have affected my own growth and development as an attorney and as an individual. The Bar Association of Erie County is central to this legal community. It does so much to serve its members, both publicly and behind the scenes, but it also has a longstanding commitment to serve the larger community, which is evidenced by the public services it provides. I want to work to continue this tradition, to give back to an organization that has helped me and I’m sure many of you. I am honored to have been nominated to run for Vice President of the Bar Association of Erie County and I congratulate my long-time colleague, Craig Bucki, on his nomination. I welcome the opportunity to serve and would be honored to receive your support. Thank you. expertise to encourage the next generation of attorneys. As your President, I would seek to expand the Association’s outreach to Western New York, such as by publicizing members’ availability to speak about careers in the law, and sponsoring contests for students to learn about Americans’ rights and responsibilities under our Constitution. The Association cannot achieve any of these objectives without your participation in governance. Exercise your right to vote this year anytime from May 23 through June 10, and when you do, please cast your ballot for Craig Bucki for Vice President. I would be honored by your support.
Timothy J. Graber Partner Gibson, McAskill & Crosby, LLP
Craig R. Bucki Partner Phillips Lytle LLP
16 | May/June 2022 | BAEC Bulletin
Candidates for Deputy Treasurer, Treasurer-Elect
Since completing his clerkship with the late Judge John T. Elfvin more than two decades ago, John Horn has been a lawyer with Harter Secrest & Emery. A Chambers USA-ranked Band 1 litigator, John has handled complex commercial, construction, Indian law, and environmental matters throughout New York State and beyond. Among John’s most notable litigation achievements has been making new contract, environmental, and land use law in the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. John has led HSE’s growth in Western New York through his role as Partner in Charge of the firm’s Buffalo office since 2009. John’s community contributions have included service on the boards of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hauptman- Woodward Medical Research Institute, the Minority Bar Foundation, and the National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York. Among the service recognitions of which he is proudest are the NFJC’s If elected, I would bring a diverse perspective to the Board of Directors as an in-house attorney, as a minority, as a working mother, and as a first-generation attorney. I currently work as a Senior Attorney at National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation. Prior to my current role, I was an Associate at Connors LLP and Goldberg Segalla LLP. I am actively involved in the planning of the Empire State Legal Diversity Career Fair as a committee member. I have also been an active participant with the Bar’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. In 2021, I served as President of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY). I also served MBAWNY as Vice President-Elect (2020), as a Director (2019), and as Corresponding Secretary (2018). I have also been actively involved in SUNY Buffalo’s Law Alumni Association’s Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Group. I am currently serving as President. Prior to serving as
Community Leader Legal Award, the New York State Bar Association’s Empire Counsel Pro Bono Award, the United States District Court for the Western District of New York’s Pro Bono Special Service Award, and the NYSBA’s Young Lawyer of the Year Award. A 1985 graduate of City Honors High School, John went on to earn degrees from the University of Rochester, Northwestern University, and Loyola University Chicago School of Law. In 2001, he was a founding board member and tutor in Erie County’s Lawyers for Learning program at P.S. 17, and today he mentors UB Law School students through the Minority Bar Association of Western New York’s mentoring program. John and his wife Janice, a Vice President of Human Resources at Rich Products, are the proud parents of twin daughters Ava and Brooke, who are finishing up their first years of college at George Washington University and the University of Miami. President, I served the following executive roles on the board, Vice President/President- Elect, Treasurer, and Treasurer-Elect. I am also a Director on the board for the Defense Trial Layers Association of Western New York. Aside from volunteering in the Western New York Legal community, I also volunteer for Nichols School and Buffalo Prep. I would encourage BAEC activities that (1) foster justice and fairness, (2) engage diverse voices/perspectives, and (3) improve our profession. I believe I have earned the trust and respect of my peers, and I respectfully ask for your support.
John G. Horn
Partner Harter Secrest & Emery, LLP
Sarah M. Washington Senior Attorney National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation
New Perspective, New Day, Vote Washington!
BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2022 | 17
Candidates for Director
Carmen Smell is Vice President, Deputy General Counsel at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western and Northeastern New York. In this role, she oversees business strategies, policies, and programs to ensure they comply with all legal requirements and minimize company risk. She evaluates legal risks, assesses the merits of litigation involving the company and directs its overall litigation strategy. She also manages the provision of all legal services to the company and relationships with outside counsel. Carmen joined the company in 1999, and most recently served as Assistant General Counsel. She previously served as an Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Attorney General’s Office and was also in private practice. Licensed to practice law in New York and Connecticut, Carmen received her JD degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, and a BS degree from the University of Dayton.
Carmen is a recipient of the Buffalo Business First “Power 200 Women”, “Who’s Who in the Law, Legal Elite” and “40 Under 40” awards; an Eighth Judicial District Gender and Racial Fairness Committee honoree; a recipient of the Minority Bar Association Attorney of the Year award; and is a 2004 Leadership Buffalo graduate. Carmen is the immediate past President of the Minority Bar Foundation, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Read to Succeed Buffalo and serves on the Diversity & Inclusion Council for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. She is in her sixth year as the Parliamentarian for the Gamma Phi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Carmen is also a member of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, Bar Association of Erie County, American Health Lawyers Association, and the Association of Corporate Counsel. Additionally, she is a past President of the Niagara Frontier Corporate Counsel Association, and the Minority Bar Association of Western New York. carrying these strong traditions forward, while seeking ways to increase outreach and participation in BAEC events and committees to ensure that all members of our community have the chance to benefit from and contribute to our mission. I am extremely grateful to be part of the Western New York legal community and would be honored to serve our community more deeply as BAEC director. I welcome you to read more about my professional background and past service to BAEC in my bio on the website and to reach out to me at ODonnell4Director@gmail.com with questions and ideas. Please vote for me beginning May 23.
Carmen L. Snell Vice President, Deputy General Counsel Highmark Western and Northeastern New York
I respectfully ask that you support my candidacy for Director. For nearly 20 years, I have practiced law in Courts throughout Erie County and have had the opportunity to serve our community and BAEC in a variety of ways. Through that experience, I have gained an appreciation of the unique challenges and opportunities facing members of our profession and the valuable role BAEC plays in helping us to confront those challenges and opportunities together. At the heart of BAEC’s mission is the elevation of the “standard of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession;” and cherishing the “spirit of camaraderie” among its members. I find it heartening that these values, articulated in 1887, continue to define our local legal community and what we strive for. As Director, l would be committed to
Maura O’Donnell Buffalo Regional Director NYS Office of Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
Sincerely, Maura O’Donnell
18 | May/June 2022 | BAEC Bulletin
Candidates for Director (continued)
It is an honor to be a candidate for election to the Bar Association of Erie County Board of Directors. I welcome the chance to serve the bar association community. For the past seven years, I have served Erie County as an Assistant District Attorney. As the Buffalo City Court Bureau Chief, I lead a team of fourteen prosecutors. Our days in court are very busy, sometimes very meaningful and sometimes very frustrating. Like you, we have a lot on our plates. We always have another file to work on, another phone call to return and another day in court for which to prepare. One of the lessons I have learned from the COVID pandemic is one I share with my team on a weekly basis: You cannot take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. I want to continue the very important work of this bar association in developing pathways of personal wellness for Henry A. Zomerfeld is a senior associate at Hodgson Russ LLP where he focuses his practice on environmental, energy, and municipal law. His practice includes representing businesses and municipalities in a variety of commercial and contract- based litigation, as well as advising clients on regulatory compliance, regulatory enforcement actions, and environmental risk assessment issues. As part of his practice, Henry litigates property tax assessment matters under Article 7 of the Real Property Tax Law and represents taxpayers, including renewable energy developers, as well as municipalities and school districts in these proceedings. Henry also represents municipalities in a variety of matters, including those related to takings, zoning, land use, code enforcement, the Freedom of Information Law, and the Open Meetings Law. As part of his professional and community engagement, Henry is the chair of the Bar Association’s Environmental Law Committee,
our community. I would relish the opportunity to work with the board to expand wellness activities to include bicycling, yoga, tennis, hiking, community clean up events and urban gardening experiences that would complement some of the existing outdoor and movement- based bar association activities. I hope you to see you at a Bar Association of Erie County event very soon. Take care of yourself.
Stephen C. Earnhart Erie County Assistant District Attorney
the president of the Volunteer Lawyers Project Rising Champions for Justice board, and a director on the UB Law Graduates of the Last Decade (“GOLD”) Group. Additionally, Henry is a member of the Community Council at the Buffalo State Newman Center, where he is also a Eucharistic minister and lector. Henry serves as a mentor to students at Buffalo State and UB Law School. Originally from Brooklyn, Henry came to Buffalo in 2007 to study at Buffalo State, where he met his wife, Nicole. He then went on to UB Law, and began setting his roots here in Buffalo. In true Buffalo fashion, Henry and his wife enjoy rooting for the Bills (and their kids frequently request the “Shout” song). Henry lives in Kenmore with his wife and their two daughters, Ella and Emery. Aside from spending time with his family, in his spare time, Henry enjoys playing guitar—albeit not very well. He enjoys rock, blues, and jazz, and his favorite guitarist is Eric Clapton.
Henry A. Zomerfeld Senior Associate Hodgson Russ LLP
BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2022 | 19
Candidates for Director (continued)
The Legal Profession is growing and changing – let’s get ready for it. I am running for a position on the Board of Directors for the Bar Association of Erie County to ensure we are attorney focused, mission focused, and future focused. I want to make sure that the BAEC continues to create and develop programs and events that encourage attorneys of various stages of their careers and from all life experiences to perfect their skills – maybe even like it! This honorable profession can come with much heartache and strife which means we cannot ignore the need to not only celebrate our wins but be there for each other and re-enforce a sense of community. I also want to make sure the BAEC stays true to its mission and pushes for improvements in our legal system and our professional. There are many opportunities for reform where the Bar can continue to
be a positive, collective voice for change. And with that, we can work towards a future that is outwardly seeking for more voices, more ideas, and more perspectives – from learned practitioners and new attorneys, from underrepresented attorneys and attorneys for the underrepresented, from non-profits and private practices. As a member of the Board, I’d take my advocacy experience- from the community and in litigation- and turn it towards growing a strong, connected Bar.
Katie L. Kestel Martin Partner Pusatier Sherman Abbott & Sugarman, LLP
The Bar Association of Erie County has been an integral part of my professional development since I began practicing a decade ago, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to assist in the continuation of that tradition as a Director, if I am elected. I believe that the high caliber of legal work and integrity that exists in the Western New York legal community is often due to the personal relationships that attorneys have developed with one another, and the Bar Association of Erie County often provides the forum where those relationships are forged. If elected, I will apply the skills I have developed
as an Associate Attorney at Hurwitz & Fine, as a Local Director and Co-chair of the Working Parents’ Committee for the Western New York Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of New York, and as the President of the Board of Lawyers for Learning in service of the Bar Association of Erie County’s mission.
Kara M. Eyre Associate Attorney Hurwitz & Fine, P.C.
20 | May/June 2022 | BAEC Bulletin
Candidates for Director (continued)
Jill is a partner with Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham LLC, where she specializes in high-exposure tort and commercial matters, as well as matters affecting school districts and students. Jill counsels schools and students on issues such as Title IX, general discipline, and other academic and athletic issues. She previously oversaw an educational service that assisted nearly 400 school districts throughout New York with policy, code of conduct, and other matters. Jill has worked in the Buffalo legal community since 1999. An upstate New Yorker for her entire life, Jill graduated from Syracuse University College of Law and SUNY Geneseo. She continues her passionate support of SUNY Geneseo today as a member of the Geneseo College Council, which provides advisory, regulatory, and advocacy services on a number of matters affecting the campus community. Jill also continued her participation in college athletic
governance by joining Geneseo’s Roundtable Athletic Association as an alumna. The RAA is a group dedicated to supporting the college’s student athletes. Jill was a direct benefactor of the RAA while a student athlete at Geneseo. Jill was fortunate to have a number of meaningful mentors during her professional life, which prompted her to serve as both a mentor and as a leader of her firm’s mentoring committee. She has served as a mentor for students at SUNY Geneseo and UB Law School, too. She is currently a member of Rupp Baase’s diversity-and-inclusion committee. Jill lives in Lancaster with her husband, John Emmons, and their twin boys. When she is not at a sporting, musical, or event for her sons, Jill enjoys reading, walking her dog, cheering on the Bills and the Bisons, and spending time with friends and family.
Jill Yonkers Partner Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham LLC
Candidates for Nominating Committee
Anastasia M. McCarthy
Rashied H. McDuffie
Melinda R. Saran
THE BYLAWS REQUIRE THAT DUES BE PAID FOR FISCAL YEAR 2022-2023 BEFORE MEMBERS ARE ALLOWED TO VOTE IN THE ANNUAL ELECTION.
BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2022 | 21
Suicide Prevention Is Everyone's Business
Suicide rates are highest during the spring and early summer months of April, May, and June. This may seem hard to believe, but statistics over the last many years bear this out. It is a myth that the winter months lead to more suicides. In fact, December the darkest and one of the coldest months of the year, has the lowest suicide rate. Why Do Suicide Rates Rise in the Spring? For Adults, theories include: • People who’ve struggled with depression during the winter continue to be depressed in the spring. Exposure to more daylight in the springtime increases energy and motivation which could turn someone who is passively suicidal into someone who is a danger to themselves. • Depressed people are isolated during the winter months. When spring begins there is an expectation that people will spend time outdoors and socialize with friends. Missing out on this experience can worsen feelings of loneliness and disappointment and make people more likely to act on suicidal thoughts. • There is an association between inflammation in the brain and mood disorders. Spring brings pollen and allergic reactions to some, and this results in an inflammatory response. It is hypothesized that inflammation may lead to depression or exacerbate the symptoms of those already experiencing depression. Suicide is the Second Leading Cause of Death in Teenagers, Ages 15-19 For Teenagers, the reasons are clearer. The seasonal
pattern relates to school issues. In the spring, high school seniors learn about college acceptances/rejections and are making the difficult decision about which college to attend. Other high school students who have struggled with their grades may be learning they are going to summer school or repeating an academic year. These stressful situations can worsen already existing symptoms of anxiety and depression, possibly increasing the risk of suicidal behaviors. Noticeable changes in behavior in teenagers may include irritability, isolation, and impulsivity. When parents become aware of these behavioral changes, they should speak with their children. Warning Signs of Suicide If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of the following behaviors, he or she may be thinking about suicide. Don’t ignore these warning signs. Get help immediately! • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself • Looking for a way to kill oneself • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain • Talking about being a burden to others • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs • Acting anxious or agitated, behaving recklessly
• Sleeping too little or too much • Withdrawing or feeling isolate • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge • Displaying extreme mood swings
Resources for Help If you or someone you know needs help, listed below are 24/7 Suicide Hotlines to call.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 /// SuicidePreventionLifeline.org
The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 Press 1 /// www.veteranscrisisline.net/
Free, 24/7, confidential support is a call away. The Veterans Crisis Line can help even if you’re not enrolled in VA benefits or health care. TREVOR LGBTQ Crisis Hotline 1-866-488-7386 /// www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help/#trevorChat If you are thinking about harming yourself — get immediate support. Connect to a crisis counselor 24/7, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the U.S. It is 100% confidential, and 100% free.
22 | May/June 2022 | BAEC Bulletin In the Public Service ECBA VOLUNTEER LAWYERS PROJECT
VLP’s Housing and Family Units Answer the Calls BY CHRISTINE MCMENAMIN AND LORI ROMAN GENOVESE We knew it was coming . . . the wave of eviction cases post moratorium. They’re here and hundreds of low-income clients are calling the Housing Helpline or appearing at Buffalo City Court weekly in need of help. As for our Family Court Help Desk, while still operating remotely, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing since March of 2020. Here’s a look at how our staff attorneys and attorney volunteers are responding to the needs of so many and information on how you can help. Attorney of the Morning Program The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed landlord- tenant law. Although many tenant protections such as the eviction moratorium have ended, many changes remain. Landlord-tenant court procedures now look significantly different than pre-pandemic times. Eviction cases are moving forward again due to the end of the New York State eviction moratorium on January 15, 2022. Now that evictions are forging ahead, the number of court cases has dramatically increased. The Attorney of the Morning Program is busier than ever, handling a backlog of cases previously adjourned due to the pandemic as well as new filings since January 15, 2022. In December 2021, the newly created Erie County Landlord-Tenant HUB Court launched. This innovative new project combined all Erie County town and village landlord tenant proceedings into one part housed at Buffalo City Court. Cases are heard virtually by the Primary Landlord- Tenant Hearing Officer in Buffalo City Court. HUB Court is in session Monday through Thursday afternoons, with 30 cases heard daily. Historically, lack of resources has led to a severe shortage of attorneys available to represent tenants outside the city of Buffalo. VLP, Neighborhood Legal Service, Center for Elder Law and Justice and the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo
have joined forces to provide representation to eligible tenants with cases in HUB court. Additionally, because all town and village cases will be heard by the same hearing officer, HUB court will provide consistency in outcomes across the County. VLP is excited to be on the forefront of this new endeavor. In addition to the backlog of eviction cases, the pandemic has caused many tenants to fall behind in their rent. The New York State Emergency Rent Assistance Program (ERAP), opened in June 2021, allowed tenants and landlords to apply for rent arrears assistance for up to fifteen (15) months. Over 42 million dollars in rental arrears have been paid through the ERAP program. Unfortunately, ERAP has announced they have run out of funds to pay rent arrears for anyone who applied after September 21, 2021. We remain hopeful that the program will be revived this budget year. In the absence of new ERAP funds, there are local programs that are continuing to assist tenants with rent arrears. Stand Up Buffalo for City of Buffalo residents and the COVID-19 Assistance and Living Management (CALM) programs for Erie County residents, continue to assist tenants with up to six (6) months of rent arrears to prevent eviction. The Erie County Department of Social Services also helps tenants with emergency rent assistance. Now, more than ever, VLP needs attorney volunteers to assist tenants. Our most immediate need is attorneys to volunteer at our Attorney of the Morning Program on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at Buffalo City Court. Attorney volunteers receive free pro bono CLE credits for volunteering and are covered by VLP’s malpractice insurance. No prior experience in landlord-tenant law is necessary. To sign up, please contact Christine McMenamin, Housing Senior Staff Attorney, at (716) 847- 0662 ext. 348 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Family Court Help Desk Nothing could be more stressful than believing your
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