By Nora A. Jones, originally published in The Daily Record on 6/27/16.

MCBA celebrates in style: Mark Moretti installed as 121st president

“When we started the executive director search, I learned just how nationally respected our local bar is,” said Mark Moretti, the Monroe County Bar Association’s newly installed president, on June 23 at the annual MCBA Dinner.

“We’ve served as a role model with our Telesca Center for Justice and other initiatives. Candidates from multiple states were interested in coming to Rochester.”

Moretti thanked Mary Loewenguth for hiring and training a bar association staff that could carry the load while a new executive director was being recruited. He applauded the MCBA staff for their teamwork and thanked committee chairs, volunteers and all the active members.

“What sets us apart are the individual judges and attorneys who make up the legal community here,” Moretti continued. “I am excited about Kevin Ryan’s selection as the new ED and I am confident he will build great relationships with our members.”

Upcoming MCBA year

Moretti , who heads the Construction Litigation Practice Team at Phillips Lytle LLP, also serves in the New York State Bar Association’s House of Delegates and is a former chair of the NYSBA’s Trial Section.

He noted that 2016-2017 is the final year of a three-year MCBA strategic plan. He also talked about establishing a committee to reach out to high school students regarding underage drinking.

“I also want to develop better ties with the University of Rochester, as it is such a great resource in our community,” Moretti added. He also addressed the fact that the bar’s judicial evaluation process needs to be redeveloped, and named a task force, to be chaired by Steve Modica, to take on this issue.

Recognition

The annual MCBA event is also the venue to acknowledge the local attorneys who have passed in the previous year. Monroe County Family Court Judge Dandrea L. Ruhlmann read the list of 36 attorneys and judges who died since last June.

The officers of the Young Lawyers Section of the MCBA took the stage to congratulate the 50-year honorees. The class of 1966 includes: Richard N. Chapman, Joel J. Goldman, Howard J. Greenwald, Frederick J. Holbrook, Gordon A. Howe II, Joel N. Krane, Gerald Manioci, John Philippone, Jon H. Porter, Norman J. Reich, and Jonathan H. Trost.

In recognition of the end of MCBA 2015-2016 President Neil Rowe’s term, Moretti and Ryan presented Rowe with a commemorative chair.

Awards

Paul E. Richardson was the recipient of The Justice L. Vigdor Senior Attorney Award for Service. Richardson’s long career with Allstate Insurance actually started in Illinois, but his commitment to Rochester has been far-reaching both in the legal community and beyond. A loyal supporter of Volunteer Legal Services Project, Inc., the Campaign for Justice, the Rochester Black Bar Association, and the MCBA, he has also served as a tremendous mentor for the black community.

Mark D. Hosken was presented this year’s Charles F. Crimi Memorial Award. Most of his career has been in public service, working as a public defender in the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, the Genesee County Public Defender’s Office, and ultimately moving up to Supervisory Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Western District of New York in the Rochester office.

The Emerging Bar Leader Award went to Curtis A. Johnson who practices complex corporate litigation at Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC. He currently serves as the chair of the Young Lawyers Section of the bar and joined the MCBA board of trustees for 2016-2017.

Jill Paperno, First Assistant Public Defender at the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, accepted this year’s Raymond J. Pauley Award on behalf of the PD’s office, headed by Tim Donaher. Under Donaher’s leadership, the office became an accredited CLE provider. In announcing the award, Cynthia L. Snodgrass shared the fact that the office provided 33 continuing education programs in 2015.

Connie O. Walker, retired from a career as a law clerk with the NYS courts, received the President’s Award for Professional from outgoing MCBA President Neil Rowe for her outstanding work on the Executive Director Search Committee, along with numerous other contributions to all three local bars: MCBA, RBBA, and the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys.

Anita L. Pelletier, counsel in Nixon Peabody’s nonprofit group, was the recipient of the President’s Award by Rowe, acknowledging her loyal and significant contributions to the bar association in her 14-year career thus-far.

MCBA board of trustees

MCBA President-elect is Jill M. Cicero, Jill Cicero & Associates LLP. Eileen Buholtz is treasurer, and Timothy P. Lyster is secretary for the upcoming year. New York State Supreme Court Judge Craig Doran administered the oath of office to the MCBA board.

Cicero took the podium to talk about the Telesca Center for Justice Legacy Society, briefly reviewing history of the Telesca Center and the millions raised to make it happen. Five years ago, an endowment fund was established with the idea of soliciting planned gifts that would carry the Foundation forward.

“The Legacy Society Founder’s Circle for the Telesca Center for Justice now has 25 members,” Cicero shared.

Table tents on each table listed the Founder’s Circle: G. James Blatt, Jr.; A. Vincent Buzard; Jim M. Cicero and Paul D. MacAulay; Elaine Z. Cole; Barbara and Lauren Frank in memory of Buzz Frank; Bryan and Susan Hetherington; C. Bruce Lawrence; Mary C. Loewenguth; Edwin J. Lopez-Soto; Steve Modica; Mary and Joyce Moretti; Lori M. O’Brien and Joan de R. O’Byrne.

Founder’s Circle members also include: Anthony Robert Palermo; Carl M. Palumbo; David and Audrey Peartree; Rene’ H. Reixach; Richard D. Rosenbloom; Mary E. Ross; Sharon Kelly Sayers; David M. Schraver; Tomas G. Smith; Michael T. Tomaino; Don. H. Twietmeyer; Hon. Elizabeth Wolford; and Michael Wolford.

Foundation

Elaine Z. Cole was sworn in as the president of the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar, succeeding C. Bruce Lawrence. Recently retired from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Cole is one of the founding mothers of GRAWA and continues to stay active in GRAWA committees.

When Cole joined the Foundation board of directors six years ago, her first job was to chair the inaugural Jazz for Justice Fundraiser, and she has been actively involved ever since.

Harold A. Kurland of Ward Greenberg was sworn in as the Foundation’s president-elect, along with Michael S. Schnittman as Treasurer and Penny A. Dentinger as secretary.

New York State Court of Claims Judge Debra A. Martin administered the oath of office

Cole thanked Bruce Lawrence for his mentorship. “I learned from the best,” she said, going on to explain: “Our bar association has over 2,000 members, yet only 10 percent of them contribute to the Foundation. The Foundation supports many wonderful programs; include Peace Camp for fifth graders at School 29. For many of them, it is the first time they have been away from the inner city for one night.”

In her good humored manor, Cole pointed out that every place setting had a contribution envelop to make a Foundation gift easy.

Kevin Ryan

To complete the night, new MCBA Executive Director Kevin Ryan spoke briefly, expressing his appreciation for the MCBA staff that exemplifies team work.

“We want to be what you want us to be,” Ryan said. “We want to hear your ideas and make your membership exceptional.”