BAEC Bulletin - May/June 2023

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

Powered by