BAEC Bulletin - May/June 2023

Volume 62, No. 6

Bar Association of Erie County Bulletin May/June 2023 | Volume 62 | No. 6

★ BAEC ELECTIONS 2023-2024 ★ Forging Ahead: Choose Your Leaders Voting is Now Open!

Jennifer “Jenna” Metzger Kimura Vice President Candidate

Lauren E. Breen Vice President Candidate

Andrew M. Wilson Deputy Treasurer Candidate

Vanessa C. Gabriele Deputy Treasurer Candidate

Elise L. Cassar Director Candidate

Carolyn L. DeVaughn Director Candidate

D. Charles Roberts, Jr. Director Candidate

Keri D. Callocchia Director Candidate

Meet your Candidates on Page 8

Geanne M. Zanatta Director Candidate

Joshua E. Dubs Director Candidate

Cheyenne N. Freely Director Candidate

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4 8 Bar Association of Erie County Bulletin Table of Contents Features Letter from the President 2023-2024 BAEC Elections: Meet Your Candidates 2023-2024 Voting Instructions

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20 22 24 27 28 30 33 34 35 38 In Every Issue BAEC Annual Meeting Registration A Farewell Letter from Sam Alba 2023 Law Day Luncheon Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Updates From The Erie County Bar Foundation Nichols Team Wins Statewide Mock Trial Competition BAEC Attends In-Person Admissions in D.C. In The Public Service: Volunteer Lawyers Project Death & Taxes 29th Annual 12 Step Weekend Save The Date Cocktails & Conversations at Giancarlos—Presented by Counsel Press Lawyers For Learning: Another Successful Bowling Tournament! A Few Words About the Murdaugh Murder Case

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BAEC Sponsors Member Assistance Program Upcoming CLE Programs Bench and Bar in The News BAEC New Members Contributions to the Foundation In Memoriam Western District Case Notes BAEC Life Members and Contributing Members Classifieds

Bulletin Advertisement Index Bulletin Submission Deadline

Bar Association of Erie County President Vice President Treasurer Jill K. Bond Timothy J. Graber Gayle T. Murphy Sarah M. Washington Anne M. Noble

Deputy Treasurer Executive Director Editor of the Bulletin

Chase A. Kalandia Board of Directors

Kara M. Addelman, Samuel A. Alba, Anne K. Bowling, Peter J. Crotty, Stephen C. Earnhart, Jamila A. Lee, Katie L. Kestel Martin, Sharon Nosenchuck, Maura O’Donnell, Kelly Barrett Sarama, Hon. Stephanie A. Saunders, Carmen L. Snell

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Bar Association of Erie County SPONSORS Proudly Announcing Our 2023 Sponsors! These organizations have partnered with the BAEC for 2023. We are tremendously grateful for their support and generosity!

Annual Law Firm Sponsors



Annual Corporate Sponsors

4 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin

Letter from the President

embeds diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in everything we do. All are welcome. All can have a seat at the table. All are valued. Everyone has a voice and we want to hear it. If you are an attorney in Erie County, you belong in this Association here. Period. In friendships: In the past two years, I have met and befriended so many attorneys and Association staff with whom I would never have crossed paths in the course of my work at Rich Products. Mostly, our Board, including Immediate Past President Hugh Russ who set the bar so high for me; Tim Graber, your President Elect, who knows and has stories about so many of you and never says a bad word about anyone; Gayle Murphy and Sarah Washington, both extraordinary women; the dedicated team of people that helped me with our strategic plan; Anne Noble, your Executive Director who positioned me for success this entire year, and Stephanie, Susan, Celeste, Heidi, Leslie, Chase, David, Alicia and Jackie. I am so grateful for these friendships and the opportunity to work with and get to know such extraordinary people. I end my presidency with a bigger “network” and a fuller heart than when I started. In criticism: Yeah, I got some of that too. I followed my heart and did what I thought was best for this organization. I know that not everyone agreed with every position I took. I am sorry if my words or actions offended anyone. That was never my intention and I take that feedback very seriously. In gratitude: I am grateful for the opportunity, the support, the friendships, the growth. All in all, I would say that this year was a lot of work, and also the best year of my career. I thank all you who put your trust in me to give me this position and all those who helped make this a year that I will look back on so fondly. I am honored to be joining this organization’s Past Presidents who continue to support the organization and its Presidents in profound ways. As with all my letters, I dedicate this letter. I have saved the best for last. Hugh Russ wrote in one of his letters that it is hard to be married to a lawyer. I think that’s especially true when two lawyers marry. I like to say no one ever wins a fight in my marriage. I fell in love with my husband Keith my first year of law school. He was my Research & Writing TA. I am sure that wouldn’t fly these days, but one of my classmates actually married a professor and several of us fell for our TAs! He was two years ahead of me in law school and had already accepted a job with the Manhattan DA’s office when we began dating second semester. We continued our relationship long distance with the help of People’s Express $19 flights between Newark and Buffalo. Keith returned to Buffalo after 3 years in NYC and he has been by my side ever since. Together we raised three amazing kids while balancing our careers. I have shared my mental health and alcohol struggles previously, and I know it was hard for Keith when I was no longer the person he had fallen in love with. But he never left and he supported me through my struggles and my recovery. Of course the move toward recovery is a positive one, but recovery is actually a stressful time for a marriage. When, through counseling, I started to feel better about myself, I questioned every aspect of my life, even the best parts. During that time, our whole dynamic changed, ultimately for the better, but the process was difficult—for both of us. But Keith did what he has always done and it is what I admire most about him. He continued to actively work on being a better husband, father, lawyer—a better man. I have never known anyone who was more dedicated to this concept than Keith. I have had my ups and downs, but Keith has always been a rock. I couldn’t ask for a better life partner. He has always been able to make me laugh, even on our darkest days. And we have had so many more wonderful days. So I dedicate this letter and everything I do to my best friend, soulmate and love of my life. I leave you all with words and wishes from my favorite song: I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,

JILL K. BOND President Bar Association of Erie County

“525,600 Minutes, How do you measure a year?” (“Seasons of Love” from Rent) This is my last letter for this Bulletin--the end of my year as BAEC President. It was a busy year, and it went so fast. How can I measure this year? In meetings, phone calls and events: I couldn’t have possibly kept count. There were a lot of meetings, but each was important as we endeavored to steer this organization in ways that best serve our members. We tried so hard to get people together, and when we did, people were reminded why it is so much better to be in the same room. At the Law Day Luncheon, we had 250 people and the mood in the room was electric! It felt so good to see people interacting like the old days. I hope this movement gains steam. The isolation of the pandemic exacerbated some of the mental health issues so prevalent in our profession. In speeches: A couple weeks ago, I moderated a panel for the Young Lawyers’ Committee’s Life After Law School. It was so much fun with an esteemed panel talking about what they have learned that they wish they had known early in their careers. It was inspiring and a reminder of what terrific people we have practicing law in Western New York. We had a preparatory meeting the day before the session, at which I asked, “oh, am I moderating this panel?” After the meeting, Anne Noble said that she had to laugh because the Director of CLE, Alicia Quebral, had said prior to the meeting that she wasn’t sure I realized that I was the moderator. Anne said that she knew I would be fine; something like, “She could do this in her sleep.” It was funny hearing that because , for a good part of my career, I had pretty severe anxiety about public speaking. I once asked for advice from someone whose speaking ability I admire. He told me his secret is to do a lot of it. After that advice, I never turned down an opportunity to speak in front of an audience, despite the anxiety. It took time, but it worked. Being President gave me the opportunity to “practice” 25 times or so. I still wish I were better, but I don’t get worked up like I did a few years ago. I am comfortable being my authentic self, even though I am no JFK, MLK or Kevin Spitler. And that’s a good thing. In accomplishments: The Association accomplished so much this year. What I am most proud of is our Strategic Plan. The organization was founded in 1887 and had a mission statement which reflected that era. Our Association looks different today and our members’ needs have changed 136 years later. Our Strategic Plan reflects what our members told us they need and want from the Association. The Plan will help our staff allocate time and our limited resources in ways that best support our mission. Some things haven’t changed—we still value the camaraderie that comes with practicing law in Erie County. We know our members rely on us for CLE. But this plan also focuses on wellness. I am quite sure this was a taboo topic in 1887 and we know how important it is in 2023. Healthy lawyers are better lawyers and practicing law causes stress and vicarious trauma. Our wellness services are crucial in addressing the work/ life stresses, depression, anxiety and substance use disorders plaguing our profession. Perhaps most importantly, our plan

You get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger, May you never take one single breath for granted, God forbid love ever leave you empty handed, I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean, When one door closes, I hope one more opens, Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance. And when you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance. Mark D. Sanders & Tia Sillers

With gratitude, Jill •

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Bar Association of Erie County Committees

Our Committee meetings are in full swing! Click the link below to view the calendar and request to join a new Committee!


The Erie Institute of Law offers a robust library of pre-recorded CLE programs that are easy to access and watch on your time! Get the CLE credits you need wherever, whenever!


Questions? Contact Alicia Quebral at or by telephone at 716.852.8687 x122 Watch for The Brief every Wednesday!

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2023-2024 BAEC Election Candidates 8 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin CANDIDATES FOR VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENT ELECT

Lauren E. Breen Executive Director, Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.

I am honored to be running for BAEC Vice President. Belonging to a bar association is one of the most valuable resources an attorney can have because bar associations create community. This is especially true here in WNY where our bar associations work so hard to connect and support us, whether we work at a firm, solo practice, law school, government agency or a free legal services office. During the pandemic’s very tough third year, the MBAWNY, BAEC and UB Law worked to host the first Empire State Legal Diversity Career Fair on UB’s North Campus. It was a beautiful, in-person, jampacked event that brought back a glimpse of normalcy and welcome camaraderie. Our bar associations made this possible. Come join us this year! I am aware of the invaluable behind the scenes work that the Erie County Bar Foundation performs for our friends and colleagues in the law, many of whom have no place to turn for support when in crisis. BAEC makes this possible and the Erie County Bar Foundation is there for us when in need. If your membership needs renewal, I urge you to return to the BAEC community to reconnect with other lawyers and celebrate the work that we all share as attorneys—helping people. If elected as BAEC Vice President, I pledge to work for all BAEC members to make this community even stronger. Win or lose, see you there, friends! Dear esteemed members, I’m honored to be a candidate for Vice President of the 2023-2024 Bar Association of Erie County (BAEC) Board of Directors, and I ask for your support. I recently served as a Director on the BAEC Board and serve as Chair of the Membership Committee. As Vice President, it’s my aim to further our diversity and inclusion efforts and promote initiatives that partner with other bar associations and increase our membership across Western New York. Importantly, I will also work to highlight and expand the work of our committees, as they are the heart of the BAEC, where lawyers foster engagement, camaraderie, and professional development. It’s my privilege to serve you and be a part of the BAEC with you. Outside of work, I enjoy playing tennis and spending time with family and friends. I reside in West Seneca and am a proud single parent of two beautiful boys. Beginning on May 15th, please cast your vote for me. Jennifer “Jenna” Metzger Kimura Assistant Attorney General, NYS Attorney General’s Office

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Andrew M. Wilson Partner & Team Co-Leader - Immigration, Lippes Mathias LLP

Thank you for your time in reviewing my candidate statement and considering me for the role of Deputy Treasurer for the Bar Association of Erie County (BAEC). We all have limited time within our professional and personal schedules. Within those time constraints, it is important to choose initiatives that fill our buckets and energize our spirits. I am always searching for activities that reside at that elusive intersection of good citizenship and personal fulfillment. Why am I running for Deputy Treasurer? I am hopeful to become a member of the BAEC Officer Group for both altruistic and selfish reasons. For you , I hope that I can utilize strategies I have learned from others over the past 25 years of practice and translate them into improved services and programs. The foundation has already been laid by many selfless, dedicated attorneys before me in establishing high standards for our bar. I simply hope to learn more and identify areas for continued improvement. For me , it is a great opportunity to learn from other attorneys, work more closely with Sarah Washington and fill my personal bucket by feeling like an asset providing a service to our bar. I have enjoyed working with many stalwart individuals from the BAEC, MBWNY and UB over the past two years planning our Empire State Legal Diversity Career Fair. I hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with many others in this Deputy Treasurer role. I am honored to run for Deputy Treasurer of the Bar Association of Erie County. As a graduate of the University at Buffalo’s School of Management and a recent graduate of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, I bring a unique perspective to the financial management of our esteemed Bar Association. With a deep understanding of the financial principles essential to any organization, I am equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage budgets, track expenses, and analyze financial data with precision and accuracy. Additionally, my education in entrepreneurship and innovative problem-solving will allow me to find new ways to support the financial health of the Bar Association of Erie County. As Deputy Treasurer, I will tirelessly ensure our organization’s financial resources are used effectively and efficiently. My commitment to transparency and accountability means I will closely work with the Bar Association staff, Treasurer, Vice President, President and Board of Directors to identify new revenue streams and cost-saving opportunities. I am deeply committed to the legal profession and believe that the Bar Association of Erie County plays a critical role in advancing justice and the rule of law in our community. As a leader in the organization, I look forward to working collaboratively with the Bar Association staff, the Board and our members to achieve our shared goals. Thank you for considering my candidacy for Deputy Treasurer of the Bar Association of Erie County. I respectfully ask for your vote and the opportunity to serve in this role. Vanessa C. Gabriele Managing Attorney, Gabriele Law PLLC

CANDIDATES FOR DIRECTOR 10 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin

Elise L. Cassar Senior Associate, Duke Holzman Photiadis & Gresens LLP

One of the greatest joys of my professional career has been my involvement with the legal community of Erie County. I am running for a position on the Board of Directors to strengthen that connection and continue my dedication to the profession. Through my service as President of the WNY Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, I understand the direct benefit that bar associations provide through relevant programming, networking opportunities and support. As a member of the Board of Directors, I would work to continue the Bar Association of Erie County’s mission of furthering the administration of justice and camaraderie in our legal community. The practice of law is both gratifying and challenging. We as lawyers are constantly searching for that perfect balance of professional success and personal wellbeing. This can be both rewarding and difficult as we juggle parenting, caretaking, and other personal obligations, while also striving to provide the best results for our clients. As a mother, wife, sister, and friend, I am continuously looking for ways to achieve this. Together, we can continue to work to support each other in our legal practice and I hope to have the opportunity to do so through service on the Board of Directors. I am honored to be running for a position on the Bar Association of Erie County Board of Directors. When I think of the Bar Association of Erie County, I think of a community that has welcomed me in and supports my success. During my participation on the BAEC Strategic Planning Task Force, I joined highly esteemed lawyers to assess the goals, mission, values, and future of the Bar Association of Erie County. I am humbled to have participated in those efforts, and am more excited than ever to be a member of the Bar Association and a part of its future. As a member of the Board of Directors, I would strive to learn all that I can from a wide range of voices and perspectives, and would advocate for the advancement of justice, diversity, inclusion, and professionalism in our community. I would direct my passion and efforts toward balancing the foundation upon which the Bar Association was built with the opportunity for progress and advancement in our future. Carolyn L. Devaughn Associate Attorney, Gross Shuman P.C.

Thank you for considering me for this position.

D. Charles Roberts, Jr. Owner, Roberts Law PLLC

In my twenty-five years of practice, I have had the opportunity to work with attorneys all over the country, ranging from Am Law 100 firms to solo practitioners, in cities large and small. When I view our legal community in Western New York through this experience, I appreciate how fortunate we are to practice here. Our community has many intelligent and skilled attorneys, while at the same time we maintain a notable level of civility. At the heart of our legal community is the Bar Association of Erie County, with its numerous committees and events. The BAEC – most recently through the leadership of Jill Bond and Hugh Russ – has helped guide us through challenging times, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the tragic mass shooting at Tops, and racial and social justice issues. The BAEC’s commitment to mental health and wellness is personally meaningful. Mental health and wellness and the associated stigma are significant issues for our community. It’s okay to not be okay. And to talk about it. We are fortunate to have the BAEC’s leadership in this area through its Member Assistance Program, the Committee to Assist Lawyers with Depression, and the Erie County Bar Foundation. Servant leadership. Focusing on the growth and well-being of others. This is why I am seeking to take on a more active role in the BAEC. Thank you.

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Keri D. Callocchia Partner, Callocchia Law Firm, PLLC I am grateful to be nominated for this prestigious opportunity to serve on the Bar Association of Erie County’s Board of Directors. I am a hard-working attorney, entrepreneur and mother who gives her all every day and I’ll do the same for the Bar Association. I will seek to increase attendance and involvement at events we host throughout the year. Originally with a prestigious law firm in downtown Buffalo, I started my own solo practice in 2006 following the birth of my first child. Tackling motherhood and solo practice would have been impossible if it weren’t for the learning, growth, and leadership opportunities I found as a member, and later Chair the Bar Association’s Real Property Committee. Over the years, my practice and family have grown, and I am excited about what the future holds for our profession. Having a larger leadership role would enable me to give back to the organization that gave me so much. Over the past twenty years I have held many outside leadership positions that have complemented my law practice including as a Committee Member for Lawyers for the Arts, Committee Member for the Citizen Commission for Reapportionment for the City of Buffalo, Board Member for the Elmwood Village Association, and Judiciary Committee Member for the Women’s Bar Association. In addition to serving these organizations, I also founded Suits for the Troops with the BAEC, Erie County Clerk and City of Buffalo and founded a Playground Development group within my neighborhood and regularly speak for non-profit organizations and real estate brokerages to promote home ownership in our great city. I have a great deal of energy and enthusiasm for all of us in this profession. I am asking for your vote and your commitment to get more involved in BAEC events this coming year. Together, we can strengthen the profession and one another. It is an honor to be considered for the position of Director of the BAEC. I am a first-generation Latina-American and moved to Buffalo nearly 20 years ago to attend UB Law School. After spending almost a decade in private practice (at the law firms of Hodgson Russ and Phillips Lytle), I joined Rich Products in 2015 and today serve as VP, Deputy General Counsel. In this role, I oversee legal matters for Rich’s and its subsidiaries in various business sectors, including food, manufacturing, transportation, travel, hospitality, and entertainment. Despite growing up on a tropical island, I am a Buffalonian at heart and have been active in our community for years. I served as Board member and/or volunteer at various local charities, including The Kevin Guest House, Zonta Club of Buffalo, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Family Promise of WNY. I have also done a fair share of pro bono work, especially in the non-profit law area, and was recognized as a “40 under 40” by Buffalo Business First in 2019. If elected, I hope to bring enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to the Board. As a business counselor to a multi-billion-dollar enterprise and busy hockey mom of two, I value practicality and efficiency, which are principles I tend to prioritize in evaluating business and personal matters. I am passionate about expanding resources available to area attorneys, such as increasing the accessibility of continuing education, professional skill training, practice management resources, and wellness/ mental health assistance. Geanne M. Zanatta Associate Attorney, Gross Shuman P.C. Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for your consideration.

Joshua E. Dubs Partner, Webster & Dubs, PC

“Pay it forward,” is what my mentor, Jennifer Stergion, told me when I asked her how I could repay her for the kindness she showed me as I began my fledging legal career. One of the best pieces of advice I was given was to join the Bar Association of Erie County. “The opportunities for education, networking, and professional development would be of immeasurable value” people told me, and they were right. I do not hail from Western New York originally; I had few professional contacts when I went solo right out of law school. The Bar Association provided me with guidance without which I would never have been able to begin my career, let alone get where I am today. I am running for Director of the Bar Association so that I can pay the community back for its kindness, and to pay it forward, not only to the experienced members of the Western New York Bar but to younger, less seasoned members as well. Thank you for your consideration and your vote!

CANDIDATES FOR DIRECTOR 12 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin

Cheyenne N. Freely Associate, Hodgson Russ LLP

The legal profession has some shining qualities that make it prestigious and just, but it is also an imperfect system with glaring flaws and inequalities. Together, I believe we can work to reform the system and improve our profession. That is why I am running for a position on the Board of Directors for the Bar Association of Erie County. By leading with an emphasis on inclusivity, I will work to bring as many voices to the table as possible in pursuit of a brighter future for our community. My goals are three-fold. First, I would work to increase membership, particularly amongst attorneys from underrepresented backgrounds and attorneys in the early stages of their careers. By bringing new faces to the Bar, we bring new ideas, fresh perspectives, and new opportunities for all members. Second, I will work with my fellow directors to engage in targeted outreach to attorneys within our community to seek as many perspectives as possible. From local bar associations to law firms, solo practitioners, non-profits, and more, we will develop a plan to establish open lines of communication with those we have the privilege of serving. Finally, plans mean nothing without action. I would call upon my experiences in advocacy and implementation to effect change to empower our attorneys and advance justice within the legal system. I would be honored to serve as one of your next BAEC Directors and encourage you to cast your votes anytime between May 15 and June 2.

Thank you!


Joseph S. Brown Partner, Goldberg Segalla

Helen Ferraro-Zaffram Managing Attorney, Center for Elder Law & Justice

Samantha I.V. White Staff Attorney, Western New York Law Center

Henry A. Zomerfeld Senior Associate, Hodgson Russ LLP

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14 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin

A Farewell Letter By Sam Alba

been knighted. It also sometimes felt like I was too lucky to be there. Even as a successful lawyer I have always felt like a bit of an imposter. What the Board of Directors showed me is that all of the lawyers in our community feel like imposters sometimes. We do not always have the internal confidence we exhibit on the outside. In November of 2021, I had the courage to stop drinking. Alcoholism runs in my family, but aside from my college drinking days, I thought I was a responsible drinker. I would have whiskey or three after work or on the weekend. In October of 2021, during a virtual conference with colleagues, I showed some colleagues a bottle of whiskey I had just purchased from a company called “Wyoming Whiskey,” with a Buffalo for a logo. I proclaimed it looked like “Josh Allen themed whiskey.” A week later, with a similar mix of colleagues I showed the bottle again and one said “Sam, wasn’t that bottle full last week.” It was time to take a break. With the help of my amazing wife and some close friends, that short break suddenly turned into a month, which turned into a year. In November of 2022, I posted on social media that I was celebrating a year sober, and the outpouring of support I received was incredible. Unexpected, was all of the people who told me my sobriety helped them. The most meaningful of whom was Bar Association of Erie County President, Jill Bond, who told me in confidence that my story of sobriety in part helped give her the confidence to publish her monumental, award-winning November 2022 Thanksgiving message, which detailed her journey to sobriety and so eloquently explained: I have kept this story and my struggle private. Today, I share it because I know that the brave people that shared their stories before me had planted in me apath out of the darkness and when I was ready, I knew to whom I could turn for help. And they were there then, and they are still there to this day. And I am here, and I am offering my hand to anyone who needs help out of their own personal darkness. If you can’t see that glimmer of hope, I ask you to take a leap of faith. What do you have to lose? I know you have so much to gain. Are you kidding me? My little year of sobriety helped put such an incredible message into the world? We have greatness thrust upon us in groups like the Bar Association of Erie County. The thing is, none of us realize our importance in a room of exceptional individuals. But there’s a reason you have a seat at the table. And those who are on the ballot this year deserve the time and attention it takes to try to earn your vote. I wish I had done more for the Bar Association of Erie County in my time on the Board and I wish I had more time on the Board. I know there are members of our legal community who would have accomplished more than I did. But I am proud of my service to the Bar. Thank you for trusting me to be a member of the Board of Directors for the last four years. It truly was, great. We are all volunteers who care deeply about our legal community and I am asking you for one thing in return for the countless hours we have all committed: Vote!

The Polls are open! That’s what the email I glanced at said to me the other day. The election for the Bar Association of Erie County President, Treasurer, and the Board of Directors is happening now! There are many of you who will glance at this email and forget to vote. There are some of you who will choose to not vote because you feel the Bar Association does not have your interests as their focus. There are some of you who may be so busy this letter is the first time you learned the polls are open and you do not even know how to vote. I do not care your reason for not voting, you are wrong. You need to vote. For the past four years, I have served on the Board of Directors for the Bar Association of Erie County. Usually, a director is elected for three years, but, thanks to an unexpected resignation, I got four. This meant attending 8:00 a.m. meetings (sometimes after attending 8:00 p.m. meetings the night before), providing committee reports, and otherwise doing my best to meet the expectations of my Board of Directors. As my time comes to an end, I need to emphasize to our legal community how special this Board can be. The duties I described do not exemplify the special and rare Bar Association we enjoy in Erie County. And if you want to keep it that way – VOTE! At Buffalo State College, back when I was still in my “rock star” phase (which I will never fully outgrow), I was in the Shakespeare classic, Twelfth Night. I understood little of the language but one quote stuck with me and exemplifies this opportunity: Some are born great – Some achieve greatness – And some have greatness thrust upon them. The Bar Association Board of Directors is the epitome of having greatness thrust upon you. As a young lawyer, I was suddenly invited to sit with the legal titans of our community. I was invited to contribute, to be heard, to work with the most collegial lawyers in the area. I witnessed a group of creative individuals work to advance the quality of our legal community. I felt lucky to be at that table. It was like I had

BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2023 | 15

2023 LAW DAY AWARDS Thank you to everyone who attended the 2023 Bar Association of Erie County’s Law Day Awards and Luncheon! These events wouldn’t be what they are without our members and your willingness to come out and support colleagues and the WNY Legal Community. Your participation helped us more than double attendance over last year’s Law Day Awards.

BAEC President Jill K. Bond welcoming attendees

2023 Mock Trial Winners - Nichols School

NYSBA Senior Attorney Award Recipient - Eileen Katz, Staff Attorney, Neighborhood Legal Services

2023 LAW DAY AWARDS 16 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin

Police Officer Award Winner: Clint Winters, FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Safe Streets Task Force

Justice Award Winner: Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, Assembly District 141 Accepting the award on her behalf is Leah Halton-Pope, Sr. Advisor to the Majority Leader

Media Award Winner: Buffalo, What’s Next? Podcast Accepting the award is Angelea Preston, WBFO Multimedia Reporter

Rev. A. Joseph Bissonette Pro Bono Award Winner: Raymond N. McCabe, Esq., Partner, Barclay Damon LLP

BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2023 | 17 2023 LAW DAY AWARDS

Special Service Award Winner: Ilene R. Fleischmann, Vice Dean, UB School of Law, Executive Director, UB Law Alumni Association

Special Service Award Winner: Kelly Bainbridge, Erie County Bar Foundation, Resource Counselor

Liberty Bell Award Winner: Marianne Mariano, Esq., Federal Public Defender, WDNY

18 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin


Marianne Mariano, Esq., Federal Public Defender, WDNY & Nancy Mariano

Law Day Keynote Speaker: Kevin W. Spitler, Esq.

Police Officer Award Winner Clint Winters, his team & The Honorable Trini Ross, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York

BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2023 | 19 2023 LAW DAY AWARDS

BAEC 2023 Law Day Award Winners with BAEC President Jill K. Bond

Liberty Bell Award Winner Federal Public Defender Marianne Mariano & employees of the office of Public Defender

20 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin Diversity, Equity & Inclusion UPDATES


Minority Bar Association of WNY


Minority Bar Association of WNY

Minority Bar Association of WNY

BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2023 | 21

Erie Institute of Law CLE programs are either being held via Zoom web conferencing or in person. For virtual programs, 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 LIVE CLE PROGRAM CALENDAR

UPCOMING LIVE PROGRAMS 1st Annual Medical-Legal Institute June 7 th , 14 th , & 21 st | 12-1:30pm | Via Zoom 4.5 CLE Credits: Skills The First Annual Medical-Legal Institute is a partnership between the Daemen University Physical Therapy Department, the Daemen University Paralegal Studies Program, and the Bar Association of Erie County aiming to develop lawyers’ medical-legal knowledge. Each session will be held in a question-and-answer format between Daemen University Physical Therapists and attorneys with an aim to introduce and explain medical reasoning as it pertains to medical issues in the law — proving or defending damages claims in personal injury or medical malpractice. Sign up for one, two, or all three sessions!


Substance Use Disorders & Addiction: Understanding & Addressing the Problem 1.0 CLE credit: 1.0 Areas of Professional Practice OnDemand: $40 members (Promo Code: member2017) Attorneys are more likely than the rest of the population to experience alcoholism, substance use disorders, and mental health concerns. Learn how you can recognize these issues within our legal community, and how you can access resources for yourself or a colleague when struggling with addiction. Representing an SSA Claimant After an ALJ Denial 1.5 CLE credits: 1.5 Skills OnDemand: $45 members (Promo Code: member2017) Denials happen, but there are concrete steps you can take to advocate for your client. Our Committee for the Disabled walks you through: • Fee agreements • Request for Appeals Council review/representing and advocating before the AC • Filing initial applications while simultaneously appealing and SSR 11-1p • Federal Court procedures, filings, appearances, etc. 33rd Annual Real Estate Conference 4.0 CLE credits: 3.0 Areas of Professional Practice, 0.5 Ethics, 0.5 DEI OnDemand: $100 members (Promo Code: member2017) Our Real Property Committee’s annual conference covers: • Recent Changes in Erie County Septic System Laws & Ordinances • Ethical Considerations of Recordkeeping, Etc. • An Introduction to BNAR’s DEI/Fair Housing Work • Recent Changes in Notary Public Regulations • DFS Data Calls for Title Insurance Agents & ECs • Case Studies in Cyber Fraud • Considerations Involving LLCs in a Real Estate Transaction • Post-Closing Items


19th Annual WNY Bankruptcy Conference June 9th | 8:30am-4:00pm | Genessee Community College, Batavia, NY 6.0 CLE Credits Along with our colleagues from the Monroe County Bar Association, we are back in person for our 19th year in Batavia! With panel options for both business and consumer concentrations, and national speaker Hon. Keith Lundin (Ret.) on Chapter 13! See registration page for agenda and details.



22 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin

FROM THE Erie County Bar Foundation

Dear Friends,

It is hard to believe that a full year has passed since I became President of the Erie County Bar Foundation. My time as President came at a unique point in history, the first full year after the pandemic. The year saw a great increase in applicants. I am pleased to say that the Foundation was able to help all of them through the unwavering support of our Board members and donors. The MAP program which is now one year old has been widely used. It has been a fantastic tool and resource for all of our members. I am also pleased to say that the Foundation is financially healthy thanks not only to all of you who have donated but to the guidance of our wonderful staff, without whom the Foundation would not function. This year also saw the continuation of our involvement with UB Law School. We held several events for the students, introducing them to both the Bar Association and the Foundation. The challenges facing the legal community are great and we are here to help. As always, the interaction with the Foundation is confidential and provides a safe haven for attorneys in need. In closing, I would like to thank the entire Board and staff of the Foundation who have made this a memorable year for me and without whom I would not have been able to do my job. It is with gratitude and a bit of melancholy that I say goodbye to this chapter and wish your incoming President, Kevin Spitler, all the best.

JEFFREY PRIORE Immediate Past President Erie County Bar Foundation


Thank you,

Jeffrey M. Priore Immediate Past President, ECBF

BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2023 | 23

Fastcase include case law, statutes, rules, codes, secondary materials, and more for all 50 states as well as the federal system. It’s easy to use in your office or on the go. As a member, you have full access to Fastcase. Easily access the platform via the BAEC website! Not a BAEC member? Visit to join the Bar Association and utilize Fastcase today!

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Western New York for over 35 years. In addition, I have successfully resolved over 100 cases as a mediator, arbitrator, or counsel representing parties. Being certified as a mediator by the New York Unified Court System for the Eighth Judicial District, and with over 14 years in-house experience with a global insurance carrier, I bring a unique perspective to the successful resolution of matters.

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24 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin Nichols School Wins Statewide Mock Trial Competition Once again, this year, the Bar Association of Erie County was pleased to present the annual High School Mock Trial Competition, in which 19 teams representing high schools throughout Erie and Niagara Counties tested their skills in courtroom advocacy. Congratulations to the mock trial team from Nichols School, who won the championship for Erie and Niagara Counties in the final round of the competition. The competition took place on April 14, 2023 in the Elma Town Court before New York State Supreme Court Judge Daniel J. Furlong. Also earning special recognition in the Erie and Niagara County competition was the finalist team from Orchard Park High School. The New York State High School Mock Trial Finals were held at the James T. Foley Courthouse, 445 Broadway, Albany New York on May 22 & 23, 2023. Abraham Joshua Heschel prevailed after a very competitive round. Information about the 2024 edition of the Mock Trial Competition will be forthcoming in the fall of 2023. If you would be interested in judging one or more competition rounds next year or serving as an attorney advisor to a team, please contact Susan L. Kohlbacher at

NICHOLS SCHOOL TAKES TOP HONORS IN FINALS – Pictured above is the winning team from Nichols School. Pictured from L to R: Attorney Advisor James J. Graber, Mia Bedenko, Charles Amdur, Ian Rupp, Honorable Daniel J. Furlong, who presided over the round, Fiona Brown, Honora Corso, Abby Zhu, and Attorney Advisor Tony Rupp. Not pictured are Elise Glahe, Logan Bork, Addison Basile, Cate West, as well as teacher coaches Aranya Maritime & Nicholas Brown.

BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2023 | 25

Bench and Bar In the News

Goldberg Segalla added Alexandra Heinz to the firm’s Workers’ Compensation practice group in Buffalo. Heinz was previously with Tully Rinckey in Buffalo. Heinz focuses her practice on counseling and defending employers, insurers, and third-party administrators in workers’ compensation matters. She handles all stages of the claims process from inception through resolution. Clients today benefit from her prior experience representing plaintiffs in workers’ compensation matters, where she litigated claims and negotiated settlements. In addition to workers’ compensation, Heinz also has experience with both federal and New York State labor and employment law. Heinz earned her B.A. from Canisius College and her J.D. from the University at Buffalo School of Law

Scott J. Whitbeck has joined Hurwitz P.C. as Special Counsel, focusing his practice on the defense of product and premises liability claims. Mr. Whitbeck is a skilled litigator with substantial courtroom experience. He received his J.D. from University at Buffalo School of Law, his M.P.A. from University of Southern California and his B.S. from SUNY College at Buffalo.

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 Chase Kalandia at ckalandia@eriebar. org. Talks, speeches (unless they are of international stature), CLE presentations, and political announcements are not accepted. HOW TO PLACE A BENCH & BAR ANNOUNCEMENT

Let Us Assist You With Your SSD & SSI Cases

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Administrative Office: 424 Main St., Suite 622 Buffalo, NY 14202 | Prior results do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future matter.

26 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin

Bar Association of Erie County NEW MEMBERS

The Bar Association of Erie County is pleased to welcome the following new members:

Deborah Jessey Beall Melanie J. Bailey Anna-Lesa Calvert Alexander Downing Aimana ElBahtity Kristen Elmore-Garcia Asia R. Evans Bethany R. Farrell Scot J. Foley Tyler C. Garvey Teresa Griffith Brooke Keller Alexis J. Logsdon Nicholas Jack Marino Julia Mikolajczak Courtney Peterkin Sarah Rosenbluth Candace L. Sena Olivia C. Senko Anthony J. Serianni Joseph Tantillo

BAEC Bulletin | May/June 2023 | 27

Washington Lawyer magazine has listed “observing oral arguments at the Supreme Court” as the number one alternative for “expanding the mind and improving one’s practice.” The U.S. Supreme Court is “distinctly American in concept and function,”,as former Chief Justice Hughes has observed. Rarely can one observe an entire branch of the Federal Government in action. Under the guidance of Dennis J. Bischof, organizes and schedules in person admissions to the United States Supreme Court Bar. Bar Association members are admitted in open Court before all nine Justices and listen to oral argument. This year’s excursion to Washington, D.C. was set for Monday, April 17, 2023. Jennifer Beckage, Scott Lupiani, Jane Yoon, Jennifer Metzger Kimura, and Melissa Thore were admitted in open Court before all Justices. Members listened to oral argument in Pugin v. Garland. The issue: to qualify as “an offense relating to obstruction of justice,” 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43) (S), must a predicate offense require a nexus with a pending or ongoing investigation or judicial proceeding? The experience was enjoyed by all who attended. Dennis J. Bischof, Esq., coordinates Admissions Program for the Bar Association. BAEC Members Attend In-Person Admissions in D.C.

28 | May/June 2023 | BAEC Bulletin In the Public Service Serving the Whole Client Late on an autumn afternoon sometime after the worst of the VOLUNTEER LAWYERS PROJECT

commercial matters; discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations; name changes; and more. If we cannot handle it in-house, we often can find a volunteer attorney to assist. My program even has a social work component. None of this is unique to our DOH grant. The legal services model is a model of serving the whole client. I have gone through clients’ mail with them, helped them navigate government bureaucracy, helped them set up online accounts for government services, sat with them to obtain credit reports, helped make police reports and identity theft reports, and assisted with finding community services. If I think the client will struggle, I do not just give them a phone number, website, or pamphlet and send them on their way. I sit with them; we work through it together. Some of my client’s issues that fall evening were legal matters. Some required non-legal assistance, but still benefited from the practical problem solving at which lawyers excel. My role is to serve the whole client as best I can. No one can solve everything for another person, but giving my time and focus to my client’s needs allows me to identify where I can make a difference. It is not “going the extra mile.” Rather, it is walking with the client, taking each person on their own terms when they are ready. A trauma-informed approach teaches practitioners of all professions not to ask, “what’s wrong with this person?” but “what happened to this person?” The only way to answer that question is to listen and learn to ask the right questions myself at the right time. This approach builds trust, cements the attorney-client relationship, and facilitates the gathering of information needed in legal representation. Most importantly, however, an empathetic, trauma- informed approach of serving the whole person gives clients the respect they deserve. For more information on building a trauma-informed practice, reach out to Maria Valerie at VLP at If you know of anyone who has HIV or AIDS and may benefit from our legal services, please contact me at • “When a trauma survivor relays their stories, it is not unusual for police, lawyers, and judges to doubt their truthfulness because of missing details, unclear timelines, and backfilled information.”

COVID-19 pandemic, I did something I have done on literally dozens of occasions during my law career: I waited for a client to arrive at my office to sign paperwork. Like most of my colleagues in the office at that time, I was wrapping up and preparing to go home. I had big plans that night to make sure my daughters’ homework was done, heat the dinner I had made the previous night after the kids (finally) went to bed, and start my shift as one half the family chauffer team. The client was right on time, and so, we sat across from each other at a conference room table where I explained what he was signing and why he was signing it. I had the entire process running on schedule, the papers tabbed and organized, and had prepared for a quick meeting. But then he asked some questions that were not routine, questions that raised red flags, questions I answered with my own questions. After an hour, I called our after-school babysitter and asked her to start dinner. A while later, I texted my wife to let her know I could not drive the kids to soccer, swimming, and girl scouts. Later still, I called to explain I would not be able to help pick them up, either. Under the circumstances, I did not mind those sacrifices. My client, with whom I had been dealing for over a month, had what I thought was a relatively straightforward legal problem. But that evening he opened up and talked in detail about a lifetime of hardship and abuse, and how so many events had circled back throughout his life as they often do, with things that had happened in his childhood getting repeated in his adulthood. Before that day, I had held several long conversations with this individual but had never before drilled down this deep. He had not been withholding critical information. He had trauma, and for the uninitiated, trauma impacts memory in unique and unpredictable ways. When a trauma survivor relays their stories, it is not unusual for police, lawyers, and judges to doubt their truthfulness because of missing details, unclear timelines, and backfilled information. These things breed ambiguity and while lawyers are very good at dealing with ambiguity – indeed, it is a critical part of the profession – a client leading with it presents special challenges. The brain stores traumatic memories different than other memories. For that and other reasons, trauma can interfere with short and long-term memory, impair working memory, and increase anxiety. My client’s stories were fully credible, but the timeline meandered, which is common with trauma survivors. By taking detailed notes, asking open-ended questions, giving him plenty of breaks, allowing him to take the lead, and being patient, I crafted the timeline. Using those notes, and reengaging with the client over the coming weeks, I developed plans to help him. I am a staff attorney at Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project. I work under a program called Legal Services for Positive Families and Individuals, which serves individuals and their families affected by HIV and AIDS. The New York State Department of Health funds the grant, and under it I can pretty much handle anything in my wheelhouse: family court matters such as custody, visitation, and support; divorces; end-of-life and estate planning; housing and landlord-tenant matters; creditor-debtor law; small


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