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The MCBA Board of Trustees in collaboration with the MCBA's Diversity Committee have taken the 2021-21 year of pause to focus on racial equity and anti-racism, particularly as our organization affects and is affected by others.

Here are some of the association's ongoing diversity and inclusion initiatives:

Call for Diverse Speakers for the MCBA Directory

Do you want the opportunity to be viewed by hundreds of MCBA members as they plan programming, publications, and CLEs? Do you identify as being a person from a diverse background? Fill out your Diverse Speaker Profile today!

Thank you for your interest in creating a profile in the Monroe County Bar Association’s Diverse Speaker Directory. The MCBA Directory is modeled after the American Bar Association’s Diverse Speaker Directory. The Directory’s purpose is to create a comprehensive database of diverse legal experts who self-identify their race or ethnicity, gender & gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability status. Individuals are also able to provide information on location, willingness to travel, and areas of expertise/interest, in addition to a CV/bio.

In order to set up your profile, please be prepared to share the following information:

  1. A brief bio (half-page to one page) on your work, education, and legal background.
  2. Demographic information, including Gender/Gender Identity, Race/Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, and Disability Status.
    1. Note: Unless you choose to reveal your demographic information in another part of your profile (such as your bio or photo), only MCBA site administrators will have access to this sensitive and personally identifiable information.
    2. There is no requirement to share this information; it is completely optional. However, sharing it does support your opportunities to be connected to more speaking engagements/events and supports the MCBA in advancing the goal of eliminating bias & enhancing diversity and inclusion.
  3. A photo, ideally. While a photo is not required, you are more likely to have your profile viewed if you have a photo.
  4. Information about previous speaking engagements/experiences (including year, city, state, topic), and/or links to presentations if available.

Click here to fill out the Diverse Speakers and Authors Form if you are interested in being a part of the MCBA Directory.


President's Commission on Anti-Racism

The MCBA recently created the President's Commission on Anti-Racism and invited its members, attorneys and members of the community to apply to be on the Commission. Thank you to everyone who expressed an interest in being part of the Commission and this important endeavor!

We are pleased to announce the following members of the 2021-22 President's Commission on Anti-Racism:

  • Duwaine Bascoe, Esq., Abrams Fensterman
  • Robert Benz, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives
  • James Bourdeau, Esq., Constellation Brands
  • Glen Jeter, Former Chair of the Board of the Urban League of Rochester
  • Erin Elmouji, Esq., Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP
  • Taren Greenidge, Esq., Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete
  • Bradley Kammholz, Esq., Kammholz Rossi PLLC
  • Langston McFadden, Esq., Pullano & Farrow PLLC
  • Jill Paperno, Esq., Monroe County Public Defender’s Office
  • Cassandra Rich, Esq. Barclay Damon LLP
  • Maggie Robb, Esq., Empire Justice Center

The creation of this Commission will ensure that the MCBA is having the difficult conversations, taking the hard looks, and focusing on the issues that many of us who are white often fail to see. This Commission will help guide MCBA into becoming a more equitable organization. The document setting out the composition of the Commission, its purpose and goals is linked here.


Diversity Clerkship

The Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship Program is co-sponsored by the MCBA (through its Diversity Committee), the Rochester Black Bar Association, and the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys. The program aims to increase diversity in the legal profession in the Rochester area by attracting qualified first-year law students from under-represented groups within the legal profession to work in paid positions with Rochester area law firms and other legal employers.
More information here.


Featured Continuing Education Programs

Racial Disparities in Housing: How Municipalities, Homeowners, Brokers and Banks Can Help
A discussion of historical and continuing racial disparities in housing, and how all stakeholders can help combat and correct these disparities. SPEAKERS: • Ruhi Maker, Attorney with Empire Justice Center’s Consumer, Finance and Housing Unit, - co-founder Community Development Block Grant Coalition, Greater Rochester Community Reinvestment Coalition. • Melissa Marquez, CEO of Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union, Board Member of the Community Land Trust, co-founder—Greater Rochester Community Reinvestment Coalition. • Shane Wiegand, Educator, co-lead—Anti-racist Curriculum Project being implemented in certain local school districts. Moderated by Cassandra Rich, Special Counsel at Barclay Damon and MCBA Real Estate Council Member.

Liberalism and the Rule of Law

The MCBA's 2021 Law Day CLE, “Liberalism and the Rule of Law.” The American legal system is founded on the rule of law - the idea that the only legitimate source of official authority is the duly enacted measures of the people’s authorized representatives. Featured speaker: James Gardener, Esq., University at Buffalo School of Law Thank you to our sponsors: Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, The Daily Record, Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP
Law Enforcement and Legal Immunity: Exploring a Complex Problem from All Sides
A distinguished panel of experts explores the legal issues relating to criminal and civil liability of law enforcement in the discharge of their duties. The panel will explore the legal issues of qualified immunity, personal and employer liability for police conduct, civil rights implications and other topics in this controversial area. Speakers: Anna Marie Richmond, Esq., moderator, Law Office of Anna Marie Richmond, Buffalo NY Frederick K. Brewington, Esq., The Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington, Hempstead NY John V. Elmore, Esq. Law Offices of Stephen Boyd/John Elmore, Buffalo NY James L. Nobles, Esq., Nobles & DeCarolis, Rochester NY Stephen G. Schwarz, Esq., Faraci Lange, LLP, Rochester NY

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