Bar Association of Erie County Issues Ratings for Judicial Candidates

The Bar Association of Erie County has completed its 2021 ratings of judicial candidates for New York State Supreme Court, Erie County Family Court, and Buffalo City Court. Ratings are done annually to assist the public in making informed voting decisions.

The 2021 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, 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 for further information.

About the BAEC

The Bar Association of Erie County has been rating candidates for judicial office since 1993. With more than 3,000 members, the not-for-profit professional association was founded in 1887 to advance the administration of justice through programs and services for the legal profession and the public. The BAEC is a nonpartisan association made up of lawyers from varied practices and backgrounds, including lawyers in civil and criminal practice, corporate and trial lawyers, defense counsel, in house counsel and those working in government, educational and nonprofit settings.