Volume 61, No. 2
Bar Association of Erie County Bulletin FALL 2021 | Volume 61 | No. 2 The 2021 Legends of Law
Bar Association of Erie County 134 th Annual Award Recipients
Robert M. Elardo LAWYER OF THE YEAR
Hon. Hugh B. Scott HON. JOHN T. CURTIN PROFILES IN COURAGE AWARD (POSTHUMOUSLY)
Hon. Paula L. Feroleto OUTSTANDING JURIST AWARD
Hon. E. Jeannette Ogden Andrew B. Isenberg Daniel J. Marren
CHARLES H. DOUGHERTY CIVILITY AWARD
AWARD OF MERIT
SPECIAL SERVICE AWARD
Join us at the Transit Drive-In Theatre for our 134 th Annual Awards Celebration on October 27! Learn more on Page 7 →
2 | Fall 2021 | BAEC Bulletin
Bar Association of Erie County Bulletin Table of Contents
Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9
Upcoming CLE Programs BAEC Sponsors Letter from the President
Legends of Law: The 2021 Annual Award Honorees A Message from Foundation President Michael Perley Ross Szabo Speaks to Legal Community Bench and Bar in The News 2020 and 2021 Law Day Awards BAEC New Members In The Public Service: Neighborhood Legal Services Lawyers for Learning Update BAEC Judicial Ratings and Judiciary Committee Committees of the Bar Association Nominations Sought for Bar Association Leaders Death & Taxes
Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 18-22
Page 22 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 34 Page 35 Page 37 Page 39 Page 41
NY Legislature Expands Speaking Agent Exception to the Hearsay Rule Andrea Tarshus Spearheads Adopt-A-Room Challenge For Kevin Guest House In Memoriam CLE OnDemand Featured Programs Red Mass Remarks Contributions to the Foundation US Court of Appeals Announcement for Bankruptcy Judgeship Press Release: Hurwitz & Fine Participates in Mansfield Rule Certification BAEC Life Members and Contributing Members Western District Case Notes Classifieds 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
BAEC Bulletin | Fall 2021 | 3
LIVE CLE PROGRAM CALENDAR
To accommodate public health concerns, Erie Institute of Law CLE programs are virtual unless otherwise noted. Access details will be sent to CLE registrants after registering. Please note that some program details are not final as of publication time. For additional program details and to register, visit our web site at www.eriebar.org/ CLE.
New York State Civil Practice and Procedure – Fall 2021 October 29, 2021 • 9am-12pm 3.0 CLE credits: Areas of Professional Practice (appropriate for all attorneys) $75 BAEC Member, $110 Non-Member 67 th Tax Institute (Available in-person and via webinar) Presented by the Erie Institute of Law, University at Buffalo School of Management and the NYS Society of CPAs November 5, 2021 • 8am-5pm 8.0 CLE credits: TBA (appropriate for all attorneys) $275 Early Bird (registrations through October 22), $300 Regular Business Divorce: What to do When a Marital Partnership Ends November 10, 2021 • 12-1 pm 1.0 CLE credit: Skills (appropriate for all attorneys) $25 BAEC Member, $30 Non-Member
Critical Ethics Issues for Employment Lawyers November 16, 2021 • 12pm-1:30pm 1.5 CLE credit: Ethics Maximizing Infant Settlements: Solutions for Children and Young Adults Sponsored by Paramount Settlement Planning and Precision Resolution LLC November 17, 2021 • 12-1 pm 1.0 CLE credit: Skills (appropriate for all attorneys) $25 BAEC Member, $30 Non-Member U.S. Supreme Court Review and Preview Presented by the Appellate Practice and Federal Practice Committees November 19, 2021 • 9am-1pm 4.0 CLE credits: Areas of Professional Practice (appropriate for all attorneys) $90 BAEC Member, $125 Non-Member, $45 Paralegal
CLICK TO VIEW CLE DETAILS AND TO REGISTER
ON-DEMAND OPTIONS AVAILABLE: VIEW ANYWHERE, ANY TIME! The Erie Institute of Law offers accessible and convenient OnDemand options. Visit www.eriebar.org/CLE to see our full catalogue. Questions? Contact Celeste Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 716.852.8687.
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Bar Association of Erie County SPONSORS These organizations have partnered with the BAEC for 2021 We are tremendously grateful for their support and generosity! THE LAW OFFICES OF TIMOTHY M. O’MARA
A T T O R N E Y S
MSP Compliance Solutions
2021 PRESENTING SPONSOR
2021 THE WEEKLY PRESENTING SPONSOR
2021 CYBER CHAMPIONS
MSP Compliance Solutions
BAEC Bulletin | Fall 2021 | 5
Letter from the President
I have a confession to make: I am a racist. That I am a racist is hard for me to admit to you. That I am a racist is hard for me to admit to myself. It would be easier to deny my racism. But I am a racist. I write this letter, because I want to discuss my form of racism, what has been called white privilege, in the hope that my confession will foster conversation. No, I haven’t engaged in any hostile acts of aggression designed to degrade an individual or a group. My ancestors did not own slaves. I have never lynched or stomped anyone. I don’t ride around with a white hood on my head or flying a Confederate flag. I don’t take part in neo-Nazi skinhead meetings. I didn’t storm the Capitol on January 6, and I don’t condone the views of those who did. Although I have used the N word, I find it offensive. No, my racism is not deliberate, intentional, premeditated, overt, conspicuous, readily explainable, or even always conscious. I am certain that most lawyers embrace the American mythology of the self-made man. We believe that we have achieved success solely through our own talent and hard work. I know that “I worked my ass off in law school.” I still “work my ass off,” often seven days a week. I would contend that I have earned my success. We subscribe to the principle of meritocracy most recently espoused by Barack Obama, the view that talent and effort should determine one’s reward. We want to operate as if this meritocracy governs all of us. Despite maintaining this belief for many years, I must now be more honest with myself…and with you. I did receive a “boost” in life. I am a third-generation lawyer on my father’s side. I am a fifth-generation lawyer on my mother’s. I am the grandson of two former bar presidents (Hugh McMaster Russ 1946-47 and Willard Marsh Pottle 1965-66). That I would attend college (and probably law school) was just assumed. And, I attended one of the best colleges in the country, if not the world. I started with an unquestionable advantage. I now understand and today publicly acknowledge that advantage -- that boost-- as white privilege. White privilege masquerades as something else –something legitimate, accepted, and unremarkable. My skin color is white. It is assumed I can pay for my meals and that I belong in expensive places. I am included easily in what
some call the “power elite.” I was educated at schools that value legacy. I am a lawyer, and the exams I took to become one were written by white people. I own
Hugh M. Russ, III
my own house in a nice suburb, and it was easy to arrange a low-rate mortgage. I have means. I personally know leaders in business and industry and government. I can call a doctor when I am sick, and that doctor usually looks like me and listens to me. My children went to excellent schools, and their teachers cared about them as individuals. Now adults, they have good jobs, and they knew how to apply and interview for them. I am comfortable in places like the Buffalo Club, City Hall, and Federal Court. My original boost is now my children’s boost, more white privilege. Here’s where the boost extends into something harmful. My racism operates at the structural level of society, for my benefit, because my place is assured. Over 25 years ago, UB Professor Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. defined structural racism: Racism can also be covert and operate at the structural level. Structural Racism is usually subtle and refers to the operation of established institutions in such a way that African Americans are denied access to resources, and institutions are operated, so that Blacks are placed in a disadvantaged position vis-à-vis European Americans. This form of racism is systemic because it causes the very operation of societal institutions to erect barriers to Blacks’ securement of good jobs and opportunities, quality education, and healthcare and decent housing and neighborhoods. Structural racism is the most dangerous and insidious form of racism. In structural racism, policies are formulated and implemented with little or no regard for the impact that they have on the Black community. And even when it is discovered that certain activities are detrimental to Blacks, they are not stopped. Simply put, structural racism exists when issues are defined, policies formulated, decisions made, agendas set, resources allocated, and beliefs, values and attitudes promulgated and enshrined in such a way that Blacks are held back and permanently tied to the bottom of the economic ladder. Even 25 years after Taylor advised Buffalo of this phenomenon, we have not recognized its obvious impact. As Santayana warned, “those who do not remember the past
Continued on next page
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Letter from the President Continued from previous page
are condemned to repeat it.” Although my racism is not intentional or conscious, unless I choose to act otherwise, my everyday decisions and activities serve to reinforce systems that operate in our society and community to the detriment of people of color, systems that benefit my family and me, while simultaneously harming people of color. When I evaluate my extremely fortunate life position in this light, a position that I fail most often even to recognize, I find that my options and decisions afford me three luxuries not available to most people of color: (1) Access -- I have access to virtually anything I need in life, either immediately or in a short period of time. There really is no meaningful problem that I could face which I could not solve myself or with available help. (2) Policy -- I participate, consciously sometimes but mostly unconsciously, in the making of policy which adversely affects people of color in ways which I am not always aware. Basic life choices serve to reinforce this system of white privilege. (3) Perpetuation -- my decisions and actions perpetuate the inequitable circumstances faced by people of color, perpetuate the discriminatory status quo. Just as I benefited, my children benefit. My every day choices have an impact on the lives of others. As a person of privilege and power, what do I do -- on a daily-basis -- that serves to perpetuate the subtle system of structural racism? What can I -- just one person who thinks he is doing the best he can to care and provide for his family -- do to change the system of white privilege? If the problem is so invasive and pervasive, should I even try to help? Any solution to the continuing problem of racism in our society necessarily requires a three-pronged attack: education, empathy, and action. The education cannot start soon enough. We must teach our children to celebrate diversity, to respect each individual, and to make decisions that do not serve to the detriment of others. The education has to begin with our children, but we all need it, maybe especially those of us who have been around for a while. Empathy is a cultural value that sadly too often seems lost. Be kind; listen; understand. Empathy, like education, requires a commitment and an open mind. Finally, Action: I suppose that is the hardest question.
What can we do? How should we act? How can we change our families, our intuitions, our governments -- the BAEC -- to begin the process of ending structural racism? That is the challenge I would propose. Many of us are racists. Where do we, who are structural racists, who benefit from white privilege, begin to address this problem, which is so sinister that our everyday, unconscious, almost reflexive actions perpetuate the problem? Wouldn’t it be easier for us to ignore the problem? Wouldn’t it be easier for me to go on living as I have always lived? But how can I disregard the reality of structural racism, especially when friends, family, partners, and colleagues do not acknowledge that it even exists? I do not start this discussion lightly. I expect that this letter will not endear me to all who read it. I fear that friends, colleagues, and clients may reject my efforts and even me, personally. To rewrite one’s personal history and worldview is beyond difficult. But I believe sending this letter to you, now, is the right thing to do. I know that this letter is provocative, and I recognize it will be controversial. I intend that it spurs discussion in our bar association and beyond. I welcome your responses. I envision creating a forum for a discussion of this painful issue, and I invite all to participate. We have to start somewhere.
BAEC Bulletin | Fall 2021 | 7
Legends of Law: The 2021 Annual Award Honorees We are very excited to recognize our 2021 Annual Award Recipients. Our Annual Awards Celebration will be on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 beginning at 6pm. We will be at the Transit Drive-In Theatre in Lockport, NY with tailgating at 6pm and the awards video presentation at 7pm. All BAEC members are invited! More details are below. This year’s theme is “Legends of Law” and our awardees this year are truly legends! Join us on October 27 to celebrate with us! LAWYER OF THE YEAR Robert M. Elardo , CEO, Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc. (ret.) HON. JOHN T. CURTIN PROFILES IN COURAGE AWARD Hon. Hugh B. Scott , United States Magistrate Judge, Western District of New York (posthumously) OUTSTANDING JURIST AWARD Hon. Paula L. Feroleto , New York State Supreme Court Justice CHARLES H. DOUGHERTY CIVILITY AWARD Hon. E. Jeannette Ogden , New York State Supreme Court Justice AWARD OF MERIT Daniel J. Marren , Confidential Law Clerk to Hon. Paula Feroleto Andrew B. Isenberg , District Executive, 8 th Judicial District SPECIAL SERVICE AWARD Daniel Barry , Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo - Criminal Defense Unit (ret.)
Bar Association of Erie County 134 th Annual Awards Featuring the 2021 Legends of Law
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 6pm - Tailgating 7pm - Awards Video Presentation
Transit Drive-In Theatre 6655 Transit Rd., Lockport, NY 14094 Cost: $25 per car Law students get free admission
REGISTER AT: eriebar.org/events/annualawards
Create an awesome tailgating party at your vehicle and win some prizes! President Hugh Russ will be officiating the tailgating, awarding the top 3 tailgating set-ups! Be creative and have some fun! Top prize is 2 tickets to the Bills v. Patriots game on December 6! Thank you to Hugh Russ and Jill Bond for generously donating the prizes!
JOIN THE TAILGATING PARTY!
8 | Fall 2021 | BAEC Bulletin
FROM THE ERIE COUNTY BAR FOUNDATION Your physical and mental health matters. It matters to you, your family, your friends, colleagues, and clients. As attorneys, we have been trained to zealously protect our clients’ interest, sometimes adding considerable stress to our personal lives. Certainly, this is our duty when our client’s interest is involved; however, you can be of little help to your clients if you become incapacitated by illness, exhaustion, substance use or mental health issues. You are a less effective advocate for your client if any of these issues affect you. So self-care matters if you are committed to placing your client first. Self-care is not a choice but a necessity. I began the practice of law in the relative “stone age” of the profession. I conducted legal research exclusively in books (remember those?), dictated documents on recording belts for transcription by a legal assistant on a typewriter. Copy machines we in their infancy. Fax machines, personal computers, email, voicemail, overnight mail, and even the most rudimentary form of word processing did not exist. We communicated with our clients, colleagues and the courts by phone and regular mail. In short, the pace was slower and more manageable. The advent of these
Michael F. Perley President, Erie County Bar Foundation
technological advances has increased the pace of our practice exponentially. Throughout, I have been the proverbial “frog in the frying pan” somewhat oblivious to the increased pressure brought about by hundreds of emails per day, and the need for “immediate response” to clients and courts. Studies have shown that the increased stress is damaging to an individual’s physical and mental health. It can and does push individuals into seeking relief though alcohol or other substances. That is why the rate of alcoholism among attorneys is roughly twice the national average. Similarly, mental health issues exist at a much higher rate for attorneys than the general population. While I do not have statistics in hand regarding physical health, I remember well what one of my law school professors told us, “If you are a trial attorney you will have your first heart attack by age 45.” He was only half joking, and remember, this was in the “stone age.” Why do I bring this up? Simply, because the Erie County Bar Foundation exists precisely to help you as you face these issues. In addition to providing assistance to attorneys in need, the Foundation, in partnership with the Bar Association, is working proactively to provide resources to assist all of our brothers and sisters at the bar in addressing these issues. We eagerly sponsored the “Safety Nets” CLE last spring and, on October 4th we were thrilled to sponsor “Challenging the Stigma” with keynote speaker, Ross Szabo. In addition, in partnership with the Bar Association, we are putting the final touches on a Member Assistance Program to serve as a resource for Association members experiencing difficulty in their lives and challenges in their practice. One of our Past Presidents, PamThibodeau, worked tirelessly during the onset of the pandemic to bring BAEC members an assortment of programs on financial assistance and wellbeing. As we have for the past 64 years, the Foundation stands ready, willing, and able to provide confidential assistance to attorneys who need our help. Over the last three years the Foundation has discreetly provided over a half million dollars in direct aid to attorneys in need. All of this was accomplished so successfully and confidentially that some attorneys in Buffalo did not even know we exist! If you know of a colleague who could benefit from our help, let us know and, more importantly, let them know to call us in confidence at 716-852-1777. If you need help, please reach out! WE’RE HERE!
BAEC Bulletin | Fall 2021 | 9 Nationally Recognized Mental Health Speaker Ross Szabo Speaks with
Legal Community On October 4, 2021, the Bar Association of Erie County collaborated with the Erie County Bar Foundation, the Minority Bar Association of WNY, and One Last Goal Foundation in hosting Ross Szabo, an award-winning mental health speaker, writer, trainer and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Ross spoke with lawyers, law students, and other members of the legal community virtually, sharing a compelling and thought-provoking presentation on mental health and wellbeing. During his time in Buffalo, Ross not only shared with the local attorneys, he also spent time with students at Nichols School, Hamburg High School, and with athletes at University at Buffalo. A huge thank you to Ross Szabo for coming to Western New York and speaking with us! We learned much and hope that your message sparked a fresh desire in all of us to work on being well. We are also so grateful for the thoughtful and productive collaboration with Anne Benedict and the One Last Goal Foundation. For those in the legal community who were unable to attend the program, we are able to share with you the recorded presentation. Please email email@example.com to request access to the recording.
Ross Szabo with President Hugh Russ and Vice President Jill Bond
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10 | Fall 2021 | BAEC Bulletin
Bench and Bar In the News
Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham LLC has brought on Aaron Knights as Partner. Knights, who was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, built his 20+ year legal career in Washington, DC at one of the world’s largest law firms, Squire Patton Boggs. He will be the newest Partner running their Commercial Litigation practice group. Katy M. Hedges is now a member of the Law Firm of Chelus, Herdzik, Speyer and Monte, P.C. Katy M. Hedges joined the firm as an associate in February 2008. She earned her Juris Doctor at SUNY Buffalo School of Law. Ms. Hedges earned a Bachelor in Health Science from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. As an associate with the firm, she has diligently defended insureds through their insurance carriers. She contributes to the legal knowledge of the firm with her experiences in other areas of the law such as residential and commercial real estate, construction litigation, products liability, business and corporate law, and estate planning and administration. Katie L. Renda is now a member of the Law Firm of Chelus, Herdzik, Speyer and Monte, P.C. Ms. Renda earned her Juris Doctor at SUNY Buffalo School of Law, graduating cum laude. Ms. Renda completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Niagara University. As an associate with the firm, she has diligently defended insureds through their insurance carriers. She contributes to the legal knowledge of the firm with her experiences in other areas of the law such as residential and commercial real estate, construction litigation, products liability, business and corporate law, and estate planning and administration. Bennett Schechter Arcuri & Will, LLP announces Samantha Rubino , associate, has joined Bennett Schechter Arcuri & Will, LLP’s Family and Matrimonial law Practice Areas in the Larkinville offices. Attorney Rubino is a graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Law and is a current member of the Erie County Bar Association and the Women’s Bar Association of Western New York. Lippes Mathias is pleased to announce that it has promoted attorney Courtney Donahue Tasner to Partner. Courtney Donahue Tasner concentrates her practice in all areas of estate administration, probate, and related Surrogate Court proceedings. Courtney is qualified to receive Part 36 appointments and serves as Guardian ad Litem in Surrogate’s Court, Court Evaluator, Attorney for Incapacitated Persons and Guardian under Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 in Supreme Court. Additionally, Courtney has extensive experience with working with a variety of clients and families on estate plans. Lippes Mathias is pleased to announce that it has promoted attorney Ryan V. Stearns to Partner. Ryan V. Stearns’ practice focuses on commercial real estate, including the representation of public REITs, private equity groups, and investors in connection with the acquisition, sale, development, leasing, ground leasing, and financing of a variety of asset classes. Additionally, Ryan serves as the Co-Leader for the Firm’s Cannabis Practice Team where he advises cannabis companies and related businesses, including hemp and CBD-based companies, with issues related to legal cannabis business activities and real estate transactions.
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
BAEC Bulletin | Fall 2021 | 11 BAEC Recognizes 2020 and 2021 Law Day Award Recipients The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to pause our in-person events, including our annual Law Day Celebration. Each year, we recognize people in WNY who are doing incredible work in fighting for equality and justice, upholding the rule of law, and whose actions have truly improved our community.This fall, we were finally able to bring our Law Day honorees together and present them with their awards. Congratulations to all! Thank you for your great work! 2020 Law Day Award Recipients
Alicia M. Tabliago Special Service Award
Hon. Kevin M. Carter and Hon. Brenda M. Freedman Liberty Bell Award
Chief D.J. Granville Police Officer Award
Aimee L. Neri, LMSW Justice Award
Margaret M. Sullivan Media Award
Joshua Dubs Rev. A. Joseph Bissonette Pro Bono Award
2021 Law Day Award Recipients
Minority Bar Association of WNY Criminal Justice Reform Task Force Liberty Bell Award
Stephanie Peete Liberty Bell Award
Anne M. Noble and the BAEC Staff Special Service Award
Officer Anthony LeBron and Captain Steven Nichols Police Officer Award
Hon. Robert T. Russell, Jr. Justice Award
Investigative Post Media Award
Robert S. Stephenson Rev. A. Joseph Bissonette Pro Bono Award
Learn more about our Law Day awardees by visiting: eriebar.org/lawday
12 | Fall 2021 | BAEC Bulletin Bar Association of Erie County NEW MEMBERS
The Bar Association of Erie County is pleased to welcome the following new members:
Lensa Abdukadir Bamisope Adenyanju Ashley Asanjarani Richard K. Barney III Madeline Becker Aliza Berger Olivia A. Binda Mathew Biondolillo Racquel Bozzelli Sydney Brason Matthew Budzinski TJ Bullock Stephanie Bunce Zachary Buncy Steve Burke Madison Burns Teresa Cappiello Haley Case Carly J. Cazer Alex Blanco Katie Bodie Chris Borgatti William P. Christ Juliana Cipolla Alexis Close Grey Cohen Nora Colley Chloe Combs Ida M. Comerford Kathryn E. Cornell Amy T. Crosier Joseph Crozier Ariyana Dewitt
Brenden Diaz Alexis DiCarlo Amanda Delle Donne Ciara Donohue Madeline Drecusel Ashley Drzymala Matthew Duke Jordan Eaton Marissa C. Egloff Tia Elliston Jamie Englerth Elif Ersan Katherine Fierle Eliza Jean Frank Emma L. Fusco Matthew Gabalski Gail Galfo Alexandra Galus Glenae R. Garlock Emily Gemello Isaac George Harman Gill Alexander Gilzon-Lazares
Clint Hassett Rachel Hayton Victoria Heist Marina L. Heppner Alec Herbert Eric Herrmann Leah Higgins Daniela Hoegene Rachel Hoff Claire Hofmeister Tyler Hogan Ian Hoock Lindsey Hornung Peter J. Howell Elizabeth Hughes Matthew Jacobson Isabella Jankowski Megan Jepson Michael J. Johnson Ann Marie Jones Jacob Kantor Jane Kent Ryan Hughes Sarah Hulbert Ella Humphrey Seth Klemenich Kelly Kulakowski Sophia Lambiotte Meredith Lance Amy Lanighan Veronica LaPort Nadia Khan Tyler Kiblin
Jodaliza Gloder Rachel Golden Josh Gmerek Deja Graham Maura Graham Jack Grant Nicholas Guarino
Marc Gull Ziran Guo Kelly Hall
BAEC Bulletin | Fall 2021 | 13
Anna Lawrence Nathaniel Lent Michael Lieberman David Lim Mary C. Loewenguth Iliana Lukasik Ashleigh Lymburner William Macci Jerome Machynski Antoinette Marcoccia Deanna Jo McConnell Robert John McDonald Bud Miles Juliette Miranda Matthew Mitchell Chloe Moorlag Cameron Moreano Mohamad Navi Miranda Neyerlin Mary Nichols Michael Dean O’Brien Shelby Majda Gia Marciniak Gabrielle Palisano Amelia Palka-Mikes Cassidy Palumbo Jela Paul Shelley Payne Alessandra Pecora Jacob Pelcrossi Nichola Ogam Elisa Onowski Bryan Overland
Jessica Petteys Taylor Phelps Carrie A. Phillips Matthew Pickard Erin Pierchala Elyse Ponterio Olivia Proia Daniel Pszonak Anna Reale Michaela Reisdorf Maison Ross Beatrice Ruce Lakshika Sachdev Robert Sands Jeremy Saunders Haley Saunders Jordyn E. Schenk Liliia Schevchenko Nicholas Schmitt Shawn Schuler David Sell Delaney Shaw Brandon Small Brittania Smead Clare Smokowski Christine Soto Madeline Stamm Andrew Stewart Madeline Stoklosa
Marissa Vahue Analiese Vasciannie Stephen Vasquez Margaret Vassar Mackenzie Vergason Caila Wagar Jared Waldron Matthew Walker Jeffrey Weingrad Jack Weisbeck Erin Welsh Alexis White Christopher Wideman Ian Wojcik Jenna Wojdan
Tyler Wood Alina Young Sara Zaprowski
Madelyn Storms Kristine Sutton Autumn Ariel Tonnesen Carlos M. Uribe
14 | Fall 2021 | BAEC Bulletin In the Public Service Neighborhood Legal Services
Neighborhood Legal Services and Medical Legal Partnerships in our Community
COVID-19 has placed a spotlight not only on the United States’ health care system nationally, but also has placed a spotlight on the disparities of health care across demographics including race, ethnicity, and economic status. In addition, COVID-19 has renewed the conversation about the social determinants of health, which are defined as the “conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality of life risks and outcomes.” While the COVID-19 global pandemic is an unprecedented event in modern times, the disparities in health care and the social determinants of health unfortunately are not. A person’s health is affected by more than the quality of health care they receive. A person’s environment, level of income, insurance, access to food, utilities, housing, education, and employment account for more than 60 percent of their health. These social determinants of health have an enormous impact on a person’s health outcome, and cannot necessarily be treated by a health care provider, no matter the quality of care. Due to deep-rooted inequitable economic and societal systems, low-income communities face even greater obstacles obtaining basic needs such as food, shelter, employment, housing, and education, all of which adversely affect their health outcomes. Health care providers have started to attempt to address these issues by, among other things, screening patients for social problems in an attempt to uncover factors that influence the patient’s health. Once these problems are identified, the issue remains – what can be done now to address them? This is where Medical Legal Partnerships (“MLP”) like those implemented by Neighborhood Legal Services (“NLS”) can play such an important role in the positive health outcomes of many patients living with low incomes and disabilities in our community. Medical Legal Partnerships are about building an integrated health care system that better addresses health-harming legal needs by embedding attorneys on-site and leveraging legal services and expertise to advance individual and population health. NLS has brought Medical Legal Partnerships to Western New York through its work with Evergreen Health Services and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. NLS attorneys help to address upstream issues that allow the health care team to do their jobs more efficiently. When embedded at a health care provider, NLS lawyers can directly resolve specific problems for individual patients, while also helping staff navigate policy/legal barriers, transform practices, and identify systemic issues that can often be mired in federal, state, and local laws and require legal expertise to resolve.
NLS attorneys take a holistic approach and screen individuals for a variety of legal issues with the goal of eliminating health harming legal issues so that patients can better focus on their health outcomes. NLS’ MLP attorneys work with social work teams, care coordinators and medical professionals who make referrals and help identify recurring issues and common problems to provide efficient solutions for patients. NLS helps patients combat
Larry E. Waters, Jr.
health harming legal needs such as food insecurity, housing insecurity, access to health care and many others by providing legal assistance with: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance eligibility/application denials; Medicaid denials (transportation, durable medical equipment requests, e.g.); Social Security Disability (“SSD”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits denials and overpayments; Family Law matters, evictions; advanced directives; simple wills; powers of attorneys; name changes and more. If a Neighborhood Legal Services attorney can: -prevent or delay an eviction, that patient has access to consistent housing on their terms and a safe place to maintain their treatment regimen, instead of living in constant fear of not having a roof over their head; -overturn a SNAP denial, that patient now has access to food and can then utilize their monthly income to purchase needed medication and other necessities; -obtain a student loan discharge based on a disability, that patient can now plan their financial and medical decisions without the weight of large consumer debt hanging over them; -obtain a gender affirming name change, that patient is now able to change legal documents to match their identity so they can attend medical appointments and/or other health related services with ID which matches their identity; -assist a patient with appointing a power of attorney and health care proxy, that patient can now focus on their treatment plan
Continued on Page 17
BAEC Bulletin | Fall 2021 | 15
Volunteer to Tutor A Student!
Lawyers for Learning is designed to assist our community’s young people in improving their academic performance, self-esteem, and self-confidence, primarily through one-on-one tutoring. In light of the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that tutors are needed now more than ever. Tutoring is open to all members of the Erie County legal community, including judges, attorneys, legal secretaries, paralegals, law students, and retirees. This school year, tutoring will take place in the morning, from 8am to 9am, at Buffalo School #18, 750 West Avenue in Buffalo beginning the week of October 25, 2021. Tutoring is a one-hour-per-week commitment. You may also sign up to tutor with other colleagues if you want to share the weekly commitment. If you would like to volunteer to tutor a child, please visit www.lawyersforlearning.org to submit your application. We will work with tutors, students, and the school to address any questions and concerns and facilitate keeping this important program in place. For more information or questions, please contact the Lawyers for Learning tutoring coordinator, Taylor Schubauer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-235-2287.
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16 | Fall 2021 | BAEC Bulletin
Bar Association of Erie County Issues Ratings for Additional Judicial Candidates PRESS RELEASE
The Bar Association of Erie County has completed additional 2021 ratings of judicial candidates for New York State Supreme Court and Buffalo City Court. Ratings are done annually to assist the public in making informed voting decisions. The additional ratings are as follows:
Well Qualified, Qualified, and Not Recommended. Judiciary Committee is Nonpartisan. Ratings are done by a committee of 29 lawyers, with no more than 14 from a single political party. At least 9 new lawyers join the Committee each year. No member of the Committee may seek election to judicial office or publicly endorse or oppose any candidate for judicial office. A similar prohibition applies to BAEC Board Directors. Criteria and Process are Comprehensive. Judicial candidates are evaluated on criteria necessary to hold judicial office, including integrity, experience, professional ability, education, reputation, industry, temperament, fairness, statutory standards, attitude, punctuality, and knowledge of the law. Judicial candidates are asked to complete a written questionnaire and are also interviewed as part of a multi-faceted rating process. Interviews with lawyers and judges who have interacted with the candidates are also considered in determining the rating for judicial office, as well as a membership survey. Please visit Joan Casilio Adams, Kristin Langdon Arcuri, Jeffrey F. Baase, Scott Bizub, Laurie Styka Bloom, Robert L. Boreanaz, Marc W. Brown, Michele A. Brown, Vicky-Marie J. Brunette, Howard B. Cohen, Lisa A. Coppola, Robert J. Cutting, Laura C. Doolittle, Hon. Timothy J. Drury, Paul F. Jones, Daniel M. Killelea, Joseph A. Matteliano, Elizabeth M. Midgley (Chair), James P. Milbrand, Timothy M. O’Mara, Gregory V. Pajak, Michael F. Perley, Scott M. Philbin, Amber R. Poulos, Scott M. Schwartz, Kristopher M. Sigeti, Kevin W. Spitler, Joseph J. Terranova, Pamela H. Thibodeau eriebar.org for further information. Judiciary Committee Members
New York State Supreme Court Raymond W. Walter – Qualified Buffalo City Court Carrie A. Phillips – Well Qualified
The Bar Association of Erie County has also rated the other judicial candidates on this year’s ballot and published those ratings earlier this year.The ratings are as follows:
New York State Supreme Court Hon. Frank Caruso – Outstanding Grace M. Hanlon – Well Qualified
John Licata – Well Qualified Erie County Family Court Hon. Sharon M. LoVallo – Outstanding Buffalo City Court Hon. Phillip Dabney, Jr. – Qualified Joseph T. Jarzembek – Not Recommended Joel C. Moore – Not Recommended Rebecca Town – Qualified Hon. Diane Y. Wray – Not Recommended The Association uses a four-level rating system of Outstanding,
THE COMPANY OF FRIENDS. THE SUPPORT OF COLLEAGUES. Learn More At: eriebar.org/foundation
BAEC Bulletin | Fall 2021 | 17
In The Public Service rather than worrying about who will make decisions for them if they cannot or worrying if someone will respect their choices if they are unable to make medical choices at that time. Over the last year alone, NLS attorneys have helped more than 400 patients in legal matters such as income maintenance, housing, family, health, consumer, and disability law. By addressing these health-harming legal issues for patients, Neighborhood Legal Services clients can focus on their health and health outcomes as barriers, such as food insecurity, housing insecurity, economic insecurity and access to health care, are eliminated by the work of Neighborhood Legal Services MLP Continued from Page 14
attorneys. If you are interested in learning more about Neighborhood Legal Services and Medical Legal Partnerships, please reach out to us at 716-847-0650.
Footnotes 1 Social Determinants of Health: Know What Affects Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/ socialdeterminants/index.htm 2 The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More Is Getting Us Less. Elizabeth H. Bradley and Lauren A. Taylor. 272 pp. New York, NY, PublicAffairs, 2013. ISBN 978-61309-209-9 (hbk.: alk. paper); 978-1-61309-210-5 (e-book). About the Authors Michael Reiser graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Law in 2016, and was admitted to the NYS Bar in 2017. Mi- chael began his legal career in private practice prior to joining NLS in November of 2019. Larry E. Waters, Jr. graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Law in 2017 and was admitted to the New York State Bar in January 2018. Larry is a staff attorney in the Neighborhood Legal Services’ Medical Legal Partnership initiative.
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18 | Fall 2021 | BAEC Bulletin
Committees of the Bar Association
Our committees are an integral part of the Association. We are incredibly thankful to our committee chairs for the hard work and time they put into their committees. We are also grateful to all our members who participate in these committees, striving to improve and strengthen the legal profession.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION COMMITTEE Chair: Katie L. Kestel Martin | Board Liaison: Krista Gottlieb
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee educates attorneys and the public about alternative processes that exist for the resolution of disputes without resort to litigation, and the resulting benefits and/or risks of using any such ADR procedures.This goal is accomplished by CLE programs sponsored annually by the committee, by public education programs, and by various special projects. APPELLATE PRACTICE COMMITTEE Chairs: Ashley R. Lowry and Nicholas Texido | Board Liaison: Robert C. Brucato, Jr. The Appellate Practice Committee focuses on the advancement and identification of issues of concern to members of the bar who are engaged in appellate practice in state and federal courts. BY-LAWS COMMITTEE Chair: Michael A. de Freitas The By-Laws Committee provides interpretations of the By-Laws of the Association and drafts proposed amendments at the request of the Board of Directors. CLE ADVISORY COMMITTEE Chair: Chanel T. McCarthy | Board Liaison: Karen Richardson The CLE Advisory Committee oversees continuing legal education programs for the Erie Institute of Law.The Committee monitors and evaluates programs to ensure that high quality, effective and timely programs are offered to meet the professional education needs of lawyers in Western New York, and works to maintain the Institute's position as the primary provider of CLE in the surrounding legal community. The Commercial Litigation and Bankruptcy Law Committee deals with current substantive and procedural issues concerning bankruptcy law and the bankruptcy courts and commercial and business litigation in both state and federal courts.The committee provides ongoing legal education to its members in these areas, and each year also presents both a Noonday lecture and a CLE seminar on current topics.The committee also serves as a liaison for the local bar to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York. COMMITTEE FOR THE DISABLED Chairs: Kenneth R. Hiller and Ida M. Comerford | Board Liaison: Kelly Barrett Sarama COMMERCIAL LITIGATION AND BANKRUPTCY LAW COMMITTEE Chairs: Amber E. Storr and Daniel F. Brown | Board Liaison: Kara M. Addelman The Committee for the Disabled serves the interests of mentally and physically disabled persons by: 1) educating the legal community about the special needs of the disabled; 2) encouraging the legal representation of the disabled; 3) advocating for accessibility of services; and 4) advocating for the rights of disabled persons by monitoring legislative and judicial trends. COMMITTEE ON EMINENT DOMAIN AND TAX CERTIORARI Chair: Mark R. McNamara | Board Liaison: Peter J. Crotty The Committee On Eminent Domain and Tax Certiorari updates members on changes in the law and procedures in the fields.The committee
invites guest speakers to meetings and produces periodic CLE seminars for Bar members. COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' & SERVICE-MEMBERS' LEGAL ISSUES Chair: Anthony J. Kuhn | Board Liaison: Sharon Nosenchuck
The committee will create a network of lawyers knowledgeable in veteran and service members' law and produce programs and publish articles to keep attorneys abreast of relevant legal issues.The committee will also coordinate community outreach to increase awareness of legal issues particular to veterans and service members. COMMITTEE TO ASSIST LAWYERS WITH DEPRESSION The Committee will coordinate, assist and support activities and resources dedicated to assisting lawyers in the Association who suffer from depression.
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Committees of the Bar Association
CRIMINAL LAW COMMITTEE Chairs: Daniel P. Grasso and Nora B. Robshaw | Board Liaison: Robert C. Brucato, Jr.
The Criminal Law Committee are attorneys primarily engaged in criminal practice, both defense and prosecution, who consider matters which impact on the criminal justice system and the practice of criminal law.The committee considers matters referred to it by the Board of Directors.The committee also presents CLE programs through the Erie Institute of Law and provides lecturers for the Stop-DWI assemblies.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION COMMITTEE Chair: Stephanie J. Calhoun | Board Liaison: Hugh M. Russ, III
The mission of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee is: (1) to educate our legal community concerning the importance of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion; (2) to support sustainable programs that foster, build, and develop a diverse legal community; and (3) to ensure the Bar Association of Erie County promotes inclusion and provides significant opportunities for personal and professional growth for all.
ELDER LAW COMMITTEE Chair and Board Liaison: Kelly Barrett Sarama
The Elder Law Committee shares information among members and the public regarding issues of major concern to the elderly and practitioners representing them. Such issues include access to health care, Medicaid, asset planning, housing, community resources and institutional placement, pension benefits, health care decision making, private and Medicare health insurance, administrative proceedings, attorneys' fees, veterans' benefits, and exploitation of the elderly. ENVIRONMENTAL LAW COMMITTEE Chair: Henry A. Zomerfeld | Board Liaison: Anne K. Bowling The Environmental Law Committee provides environmental practitioners and other attorneys with a forum for discussion of current environmental legal trends, DEC/EPA regulatory, statutory, and enforcement initiatives, and current or emerging case law. It also provides education and community/academic outreach programs.The committee has frequent speakers on a wide variety of environmental topics. FEDERAL PRACTICE COMMITTEE Chair:Timothy J. Graber | Board Liaison: Karen Richardson The Federal Practice Committee fosters an ongoing dialogue with the members of the federal judiciary who sit in this district. Each fall, the committee holds a dinner attended by all district, magistrate and bankruptcy judges from both Buffalo and Rochester. Meetings often consist of an informal discussion with one of the members of the federal bench.The committee provides regular input with respect to proposed changes to the Local Rules of Practice for the district, and conducts one major seminar each year. HEALTH CARE LAW COMMITTEE Chair: Jennifer R. Scharf | Board Liaison: Kelly Barrett Sarama The Health Care Law Committee educates members and others about developments and trends in the field through CLE seminars and speakers at monthly meetings. Consideration is given to all legal and ethical issues affecting physicians, hospitals and other providers of health care services. A Liaison Committee between the Health Law Committee and the Medical Society of the County of Erie has developed guidelines for interprofessional relations between physicians and attorneys. HISTORY COMMITTEE Chair: Michelle Parker The History Committee is dedicated to the publicizing and preservation of the rich history of the Western New York legal community. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE Chair: Sharon Nosenchuck | Board Liaison: Jennifer Metzger Kimura The Human Rights Committee is concerned with human rights of people. In the past, the committee has examined the conditions of local jails, followed local cases that have human rights implications and heard from experts on the problems of refugees. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, COMPUTER AND ENTERTAINMENT LAW COMMITTEE Chairs: Melissa N. Subjeck and Nathaniel W. Lucek | Board Liaison: Peter J. Crotty Intellectual Property, Computer and Entertainment Law Committee shares information about contract issues in music, film and sports industries; publicity rights; Internet and computer law issues; copyrights; trademarks; patents; trade secrets; and unfair competition. About half of each meeting is devoted to a presentation from a committee member or guest speaker on a current topic of legal interest.
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Committees of the Bar Association
INTERNATIONAL LAW COMMITTEE Chairs: Jeffrey D. Coren and Jill A. Apa | Board Liaison: Sharon Nosenchuck
The International Law Committee promotes the practice and study of international law. In today’s global environment, cross-border and international issues impact nearly all areas of the law, including business transactions, litigation, intellectual property, tax, employment, estate planning, and family law. This is especially true in Erie County given the area’s close proximity to Canada. The committee brings together local attorneys spanning various practice areas to learn about and discuss a broad range of international topics, including cross-border investment transactions, international arbitration, foreign judgment enforcement, trade and immigration. The committee also collaborates with attorneys and bar associations in Canada. JUDGES' COMMITTEE Chair: Hon. Deborah A. Chimes | Board Liaison: Samuel A. Alba The Judges' Committee promotes discussion and interchange of ideas in connection with issues of interest and concern to the judiciary. JUDICIARY COMMITTEE Chair: Elizabeth M. Midgley | Board Liaison: Karen Richardson The Judiciary Committee investigates and evaluates the qualifications of candidates for judicial office in Erie County.The ratings are made public to assist voters in selecting their choices in the general election each November. JUSTICE COURTS COMMITTEE Chair: Michael H. Kooshoian | Board Liaison: Gayle T. Murphy The Justice Courts Committee offers members the opportunity to discuss current Justice Courts issues with attorneys practicing in the towns and villages, as well as with many of the judges who are members of this committee. LABOR LAW COMMITTEE Chair: Kinsey A. O’Brien | Board Liaison: Colleen Curtin Gable The Labor Law Committee consists of attorneys involved in all aspects of labor and employment law.This includes employment discrimination law and private and public sector labor and management relations.The monthly meetings tend to be educational, usually featuring a presentation by a committee member or an outside guest speaker. LAWYER REFERRAL & INFORMATION SERVICE COMMITTEE Chair: Robert A. Fiordaliso The Lawyer Referral & Information Service Committee monitors and reviews the operation of the LRIS and recommends improvements in service or modifications in policies and procedures to staff and the Board of Directors. MATRIMONIAL AND FAMILY LAW COMMITTEE Chairs: Vanessa C. Gabriele and Daniel J. Schuller | Board Liaison: Kelley A. Omel The Matrimonial and Family Law Committee is one of the largest and most active committees of the Bar Association. Committee activities include monthly meetings featuring discussions of new substantive law, court rules and guest speakers on topics relevant to the practice. Seminars featuring presentations by experts on issues important to matrimonial practitioners are held annually. The primary focus of the Membership Committee is ensuring that each and every member of the BAEC feels welcome and connected to their fellow members and to the work the BAEC is doing.They are committed to ensuring members get the most out of their membership. MOCK TRIAL COMMITTEE Chair: Matthew J. Fitzgerald The Mock Trial Committee is tasked with organizing and facilitating the Erie County High School Mock Trial Competition. Each year, mock trial teams from various local high schools compete in mock trials.The local champion then goes on to compete on the state level. MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE Chair: Jennifer Metzger Kimura
NEGLIGENCE COMMITTEE Chair: James J. Nash | Board Liaison: Samuel A. Alba
The Negligence Committee fosters cooperation between the plaintiff and defense bar in order to encourage the efficient administration of justice; updates and educates the general bar about recent developments in the field of negligence law through CLE seminars; and considers, and makes recommendations about proposed legislation affecting the practice of negligence law.Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41
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