2020-2021 BAEC Elections

The 2020 BAEC elections have come to an end and the results are in. Thank you to all our members to voted and let their voice be heard!

Election Results

VICE PRESIDENT

Hugh Russ
Hugh M. Russ, III

Hugh has been a member of the Bar Association of Erie County since 1987.  A graduate of Harvard and UB Law School, Hugh is a trial lawyer and a member of Hodgson Russ LLP.  Over the years, Hugh has served on the association’s Board of Directors, the Pro Bono Endowment Committee, and the Ethics Committee. He currently serves on the Continuing Legal Education Committee and the Judiciary Committee.  Hugh has worked on Bar Foundation campaigns, and served as Campaign Chair in 2014.  He has served as President and Director of Neighborhood Legal Services, and he is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates.

DEPUTY TREASURER

Kelley Omel
Kelley A. Omel

KELLEY A. OMEL is an adjunct professor at the University at Buffalo Law School, having recently retired from the Erie County District Attorney’s Office where she served under five administrations for nearly 30 years.  During her time at the DA’s Office she successfully prosecuted all types of general felonies, white collar crimes and vehicular felonies.  She was Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau for 9 years.

In January, she became an adjunct professor at the University at Buffalo Law School (her alma mater) and since COVID-19, has been zooming 55 students into her dining room.  She currently teaches Common Law 201 in the new undergraduate major program and works with the Family Violence and Women’s Rights Clinic assisting law students.  She will teach Criminal Law in the fall, which she hopes will be in a real classroom!

Omel has frequently instructed prosecutors and police throughout New York State, as well as members of the Bar Association on issues of Fraud and Vehicular Crimes.

While not working, Omel has been active with Lawyers for the Arts (LFA), where she sings with the all-attorney band, Precinct 4.  As LFA’s success grew through the years and as a classically trained singer, she felt that there were probably other classically-trained musicians that would like to have a forum in which to perform.  As a result, in 2019 she began Lawyers for the Arts/Classical Edition which showcased classically-trained attorney musicians and artists. 

In addition to her legal and musical endeavors, Omel has also had other community involvement.  She has served on the council of Crossroads Lutheran Church, coached the Amherst High School Mock Trial team (her alma mater) and has served as a director of the Bar Association of Erie County.   Currently, she is an English as a Second Language tutor, teaching a young woman from Eritrea how to speak English. 

DIRECTORS

Kara M. Addelman

Kara M. Addelman is a partner at Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak, LLP where she co-chairs the  Professional Liability Practice Group.  Addelman represents medical professionals, attorneys, insurance brokers, engineers and architects, and other professionals in litigated and licensing matters. In addition, Addelman specializes in municipal liability, commercial litigation, and personal injury matters in which she represents both defendants and plaintiffs in State and Federal Courts. Addelman frequently handles appeals and complex motions in high exposure matters. She also counsels clients regarding strategies to limit future exposure.

In addition to being a longtime member of the Bar Association of Eire County, Addelman spent a decade on the Board of Directors for the WNY Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY WNY), an organization devoted to the advancement of the status of women in society and in the legal profession and to the fair and equal administration of justice. Addelman served as WBASNY WNY’s 34th President, Treasurer, Secretary, State Director, Local Director and as Chair of the organization’s Awards, Membership, and Finance Committees. She is concluding her term as Immediate Past President and currently serves as Chair of the Nominations Committee. Addelman is also member of Minority Bar Association of WNY, Women Lawyers of WNY, New York State Bar Association, WNY Trial Lawyers, and the UB Law Alumni Association.

Addelman has been named to Buffalo Business First’s 40 Under 40, The Buffalo Law Journal’s Legal Elite Leaders, The Daily Record’s Top Women in Law, and Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars.

A lifelong resident of Western New York, Addelman graduated from UB School of Law in 2008 where she served on The Buffalo Law Review. Addelman resides in Amherst with her husband and law partner Jesse Baldwin, their three children, Sam, Lena, and Nate, and their dog, Gus.

Sam Alba
Samuel A. Alba

Sam Alba is a junior partner with Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C., where he has worked since March of 2015. His practice areas include labor & employment (with a focus on wage & hour), criminal defense, plaintiffs’ personal injury, matrimonial and family law, municipal law and Article 78 proceedings, litigation, and class actions.  Sam also works as the village attorney and deputy village prosecutor for the Village of Depew.

Sam is the only incumbent candidate, in that he currently sits as an Elected Director of the Erie County Bar Association, where he has served for the last year. In his time as a Bar Director, Sam has worked to foster the relationship between U.B. Law School and the Bar Association and worked to promote complimentary bar memberships to law students. Providing mentorship and resources for young lawyers and law students is an issue that Sam cares about immensely and hopes to continue work on expanding, if he is fortunate enough to earn your vote.

Sam grew up in Yonkers, New York but has lived in the Western New York area since 2008, first in the City of Buffalo and then in Amherst, New York. He earned his B.S. in Legal Studies & Theater (Cum Laude) in 2011 from S.U.N.Y. Buffalo State College. He then attended U.B. Law School and earned his J.D. in 2014 with a concentration in Civil Litigation.

Sam is currently a board member of the U.B. Law Alumni Association’s G.O.L.D. (Graduates of the Last Decade) Leadership Group, where he co-chairs the sponsorship committee and serves as Deputy Treasurer. Sam is also a member of the Bar Association of Erie County’s Young Lawyers’ Committee, Criminal Law Committee, and the Matrimonial and Family Law Committee. Sam is on the board of the W.N.Y. Media Professionals, where he sits on the committee overseeing the restoration of the Broadway Sattler Theater located at the intersection of Jefferson and Broadway on Buffalo’s East Side. He is a past president of the Williamsville P.T.S.A. Council and was the youngest person to ever hold this position.

During law school, Sam was the president of the Jewish Law Student Association (2013-2014), a member of two national trial teams, and a member of two Albert R. Mugel National Tax Moot Court teams. Sam also regularly volunteers as a mock trial judge for the New York State Bar Association’s high school mock trial competition.  He currently resides in Williamsville with his wife, three children, two cats, and one slightly overweight (but dieting) Black Labrador. In his free time, Sam loves to play with his children, play guitar, and also enjoys skiing.

The silver lining of Sam’s quarantine has been that, while working from home, he gets to see his children’s smiling faces every time he takes a break, likely, to eat cookies.

Peter Crotty
Peter J. Crotty

Peter J. Crotty is the Principal Law Clerk to Hon. Joseph R. Glownia, J.S.C., where he manages the litigation of all matters assigned to the Court.  He serves as the liaison between the Court and the litigants, overseeing cases from their inception throughout discovery, settlement negotiations, and  trial.  He advises the Court as to the factual circumstances, and legal merits of all matters pending before the Court.

Previously, Crotty served as Principal Law Clerk to Hon. Timothy J. Drury, J.S.C, where his responsibilities were similar to those described above.  Crotty also served for several years as Drury’s Confidential Law Clerk in Erie County Court, managing a robust docket of criminal cases.  In County Court, Crotty counseled the judge on various aspects of criminal matters ranging from arraignment and bail review, to pleas, suppression motions, discovery, trial procedure, and sentencing.  Crotty was also responsible for  the Court’s administration of NYS pistol permit applications, NYS Sex Offender Reclassification Act petitions, and the litigation of civil appeals from Buffalo City Court.

Crotty was also an Erie County Assistant District Attorney where he worked for several years as a prosecutor under District Attorney, Frank J. Clark, III.  As an ADA, Crotty took part in all phases of criminal prosecutions including felony trials ranging from grand larceny to homicide. He was co-chair in the trial and conviction of quadruple murderer Frank W. Murphy, who was sentenced to 50 years incarceration for a homicidal spree in 2001.  He also participated in  many training sessions as a student at the National District Attorneys Association in Columbia, South Carolina. 

Crotty lives with his wife, Amanda and three school-aged children in North Buffalo where he volunteered for many years with the Buffalo Bisons Hockey Organization as both a team manager and scorekeeper.  Crotty has also volunteered as a coach with Delaware Soccer Club, a mentor with Lawyers for Learning, and as a Moot Court Judge for competitions hosted by U.B. Law School.  He has also mentored numerous law students through his participation in the U.B. Law School summer law clerk internship program.

Prior to Law School, Crotty worked as a land surveyor, ironworker and college radio disc-jockey.  He is a guitarist, but has no illusions about leaving his day job, where he will continue to sharpen his focus on competent, professional and accommodating public service.

Jenna Metzger Kimura
Jennifer Metzger Kimura

Jennifer Metzger Kimura is a Staff Attorney in the Civil Unit at the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc. where she serves as public defender in Buffalo City Housing Court. Jennifer defends homeowners against code violation citations, and defends homeowners throughout Erie County.  Additionally, Jennifer defends homeowners in the City of Buffalo’s In Rem Tax Foreclosure process and practices in the areas of landlord/tenant law and fair housing law. Prior to joining the Legal Aid Bureau, she was a Staff Attorney at Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc. (HOME), a non-profit fair housing organization fighting housing discrimination in Western New York.  Jennifer is invested and passionate about preserving affordable housing throughout Western New York and often collaborates with other municipalities, nonprofit entities and advocacy organizations to educate and encourage development of affordable housing in local neighborhoods. 

Jennifer is a strong advocate for diversity. She collaborated to co-found a Diversity and Inclusion Committee at the Legal Aid Bureau where she currently sits as Vice-Chair. She is an active member of the Bar Association of Erie County and is a member of the ECBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee.  Her ECBA Committee work further includes serving as chair to the Diversity & Inclusion Committee’s pipeline initiative efforts.  To that end, Jennifer helped develop a subcommittee to address pipeline initiatives that can prepare, steer and encourage minority students to seek careers in the field and practice of law. Jennifer’s board activities come from her years of experience in serving the Minority Bar Association of WNY where she held multiple positions, including serving as a previous Vice-President and Chair of the organization’s Judicial Ratings Committee. 

Jennifer was named one of WNY’s 40 under 40 by Buffalo Business First in 2017 and was recipient of the NYSBA’s prestigious Denison Ray Civil Awards for her exemplary work in civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers.

Jennifer resides in Lancaster, New York with her husband Kenji, and their two adorable sons, Benjamin and Andrew.  Outside of her legal work, Jennifer enjoys playing tennis, running, and spending time with family and friends.

Barrett Sarama
Kelly Barrett Sarama

Kelly is a Supervising Attorney at the Center for Elder Law & Justice in the Healthcare Advocacy Unit. She represents clients in appeals and grievances involving Medicaid, Medicaid Managed Long Term Care, Medicare, and private health insurance companies. Kelly also serves in number of coalitions that advocate for clients’ healthcare rights in New York State. She has been an active member of the Bar Association of Erie County since 2015 and has served as Chair of the Elder Law Committee since 2018. Kelly is also a member of the New York State Bar Association where she participates in the Heath Law and the Elder Law and Special Needs Committees and is a member of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York.

Kelly grew up in Western New York and earned her Bachelor of Arts from SUNY at Buffalo, and her Juris Doctor from SUNY Buffalo Law School. She was highlighted in the Buffalo News 2019 Prospectus issue as a “next generation” leader in her field. Kelly was also honored as a member of Buffalo Business First’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2018 and has been selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers® Rising Stars from 2019 – 2020.

Outside of the office, Kelly is an active fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s annual Out of the Darkness Walk in Buffalo and previously sat on the Board of Directors for Preventionfocus, Inc. from 2017 – 2020.

NOMINATING COMMITTEE

Michael Kooshoian
Michael H. Kooshoian
Cheryl Meyers Buth
Cheryl Meyers-Buth

Proposal to Amend BAEC By-Laws Has Been Approved

After review by the BAEC’s Bylaw’s Committee, and upon resolution of the Board of April 14, 2020, the Association proposes and advances principally technical changes to various provisions of the BAEC Bylaws. Members will be asked to vote on these changes during the spring election for 2021 Board Candidates and Officers. The specific Bylaw changes can be viewed in their entirety by clicking the button below. A summary of the changes is set forth below.

The changes to the Bylaws conform the Bylaws to the most up to date not for profit legal standards in New York. These changes principally relate to how meetings are conducted and are generally technical in nature. The proposed Bylaws formally identify the role and composition of the Association’s Executive and Finance Committees The Bylaws also identify and provide a role for the Association’s immediate Past President to sit as an ex- officio non-voting member of the Executive and Finance Committees. Finally, the proposed Bylaws eliminate the duties of the Judiciary Committee to receive, consider and investigate complaints about the Judiciary.

The membership has voted to approve the amendments to the bylaws.