2021-2022 BAEC Elections
You may vote online, in-person, or by mail-in ballot. Instructions to vote will be mailed to you. Voting will begin Monday, May 24, 2021, and conclude Friday, June 11, 2021 at 2pm. In-person voting can be done by visiting the BAEC between 10am and 2pm Monday, May 24th until Friday, June 11th at 2pm. Online voting opens at 9am on May 24, 2021 and closes at 2pm on June 11, 2021. Please request a mail-in ballot by clicking here.
Here are your candidates for election for the 2021-2022 BAEC Board of Directors and Nominating Committee
Sophie Feal is the Supervising Attorney of the WNY Regional Immigration Assistance Center (RIAC) at the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, where she has also practiced as a public defender. She provides training, technical assistance and legal support to attorneys in the 7th and 8th Judicial Districts who provide mandated representation in criminal and family court so they can fully advise their noncitizen clients as to the immigration consequences pleas.
Prior to her tenure at Legal Aid, Sophie was Director of the Immigration Program at the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), where, in addition to supervising the WNYRIAC when it was there, she launched innovative programs: a representation program for indigent noncitizens detained at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility, and a legal rights orientation and pro se training program for the detained. She also supervised initiatives that served unaccompanied immigrant youth, survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking; as well as recruited, trained and mentored pro bono attorneys to represent immigrants before the Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Sophie serves as a co-chair to the Immigration Committee of the Women’s Bar Association of New York (WBASNY), and was on the Board of the WNY Chapter in 2017-2018. She has also served the Bar Association of Erie County. She was on the Judiciary Committee for the 2017 term; she was elected to the Board of Directors from 2014 to 2017; and has been Chair of the Human Rights and (now defunct) Immigration Law Committees. Sophie served on the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Immigration Representation in 2017-2018; was appointed to the Special Immigration Representation Committee from 2011 to 2013; and coached the Holy Angels Academy team in the NYSBA High School Mock Trial Competition in 2012 and 2013.
A 1988 graduate of UB Law School, Sophie immigrated to the U.S. as a child, and was raised speaking her parents’ native languages, French and Spanish. She lives in North Buffalo where she raised two daughters.
Jill K. Bond
Jill Bond, is Senior Vice President, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Rich Products Corporation, where she has worked for more than 30 years. After beginning her career at Hurwitz and Fine, she joined Rich’s as Corporate Counsel and has had numerous roles in the Legal Department, including General Counsel, and in Human Resources leadership before focusing her efforts on establishing a Global Compliance Function. In addition to her compliance related work, Jill continues to practice in the areas of Labor and Employment and Food Law. Jill also has a leadership role on Rich’s Crisis Management Team and led Rich’s women’s affinity group for more than ten years.
She has previously served on the Board of Directors and the Judiciary Committee of the Bar Association and also has served on the Board of the Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers’ Project.
Jill graduated from Canisius College and the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law. She has remained active in both schools having served as a member of the Board of Regents at Canisius and the Dean’s Advisory Council at UB Law School. She has been honored as a Distinguished Alumna by both Canisius and the UB Law Alumni Association.
Jill is currently Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Elder Law and Justice, serves as an Officer on the Board of Directors of Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute and is a Board Member of Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.
Jill and her husband, Keith Bond, also a lawyer, will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary this year. They have three grown children. They are active in the Newman Center at UB, and enjoy traveling and continuing to explore all the wonderful things their beloved Buffalo has to offer.
Gayle T. Murphy
Gayle Towne Murphy is the lead attorney/project manager for the Crime Victims Justice Project at Child & Family Services Center for Resolution & Justice. Since January 2019, Gayle has lead this groundbreaking collaborative effort that provides enhanced, holistic legal services and ADR for crime victims in Erie, Niagara and Genesee County with partners from the Center for Elder Law & Justice and Neighborhood Legal Services.
Prior to this role, where Gayle and her team work to expand the definition of Access to Justice to better meet the civil legal needs of crime victims, Gayle was the Pro Bono Manager at the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project. At VLP Gayle oversaw all pro bono activities, promoting pro bono legal services and connecting volunteers to appropriate and meaningful activities. Gayle’s efforts at VLP focused on increasing the visibility of pro bono legal services for low income people in danger of losing the essentials of life. At VLP, Gayle administered the award winning limited scope legal assistance programs in Erie County Family Court and WDNY Federal Court, along with supervising Say Yes Buffalo Legal Clinics housed in the Buffalo Public schools.
Gayle also held a number of meaningful legal positions throughout her career, including a solo practice dedicated to ensuring the rights of children and individuals with disabilities, where she was also a frequent presenter and consultant on issues related to the education of students with disabilities, disability law, and guardianship. Gayle was also an instructor at UB Law School in the Legal Services for the Elderly Clinic, supervising law student attorneys placed at the Center for Elder Law and Justice (formerly Legal Services for the Elderly). Gayle’s successful legal career began as a litigation associate at Damon and Morey.
Gayle is most proud of the professional recognition she received from her peers. Gayle was honored with the Justice Award from the Bar Association of Erie County in 2018 for her substantial contributions to the improvement of our system of justice. She was also honored by the Women Lawyers of WNY in 2016 as their Lawyer of the Year, for her commitment to mentoring women in the practice of law, fostering diversity in the legal profession, and increasing the numbers of attorneys who provide pro bono legal services. Additionally, in 2020, Gayle was selected for Upstate NY Superlawyers for legal aid/pro bono.
As a member of the BAEC, Gayle serves as the Chair of the BAEC Awards Committee. She is also a member of the WNY Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, and Women Lawyers of Western New York. She is excited to be volunteering for the second year with Habitat for Humanity Women Build. Gayle was a UB Law School 1L mentor, and a mentor for the UB Law School Discover Law Program. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Presbyterian Senior Care of WNY; she was a member of the Town of Hamburg Domestic Violence Advisory Board; and she served as a director and member of the development committee for the Center for Elder Law and Justice.
William F. Savino
Since 2014, Bill Savino has been a partner in the litigation department for the Buffalo office of Woods Oviatt Gilman. His practice focuses on construction, corporate and partnership dissolution, accounting malpractice, and Uniform Commercial Code disputes.
In 2019, Bill received the Ken Joyce Excellence in Teaching Award by the University at Buffalo School of Law. In 2014, he was honored as a Distinguished Alumni for Business at the 52nd annual University at Buffalo Law School alumni dinner.
Bill has been published by the Journal of Accountancy, West’s UCC Bulletin, and, repeatedly, by the Syracuse Law Review. He is frequently quoted in local media as well as the New York Times, ESPN, and Crain’s New York..
A 1975 law graduate of the University of Buffalo, Bill is a former president of its national alumni association. He has also served as a director of the BAEC.
Bill’s wife, Liz, and daughter, Emma, are both law graduates of UB and are practicing attorneys in Buffalo. His son, Will, records soundtracks for video games. Bill has played bass for numerous local rock, jazz and soul bands and took classes at Eastman while attending the University of Rochester pursuing a degree in history.
Sharon Nosenchuck is a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS), providing civil legal assistance to low income clients. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sharon received her J.D. from the University at Buffalo School of Law. Sharon has an M.B.A. from the U.B. School of Management. Prior to her employment at NLS, Sharon was in private practice as an associate with the law firm of Birzon and Davis.
A long-time member of the Bar Association of Erie County, Sharon is chair of the BAEC’s Human Rights Committee. During Sharon’s tenure as chair, the Human Rights Committee has put on CLE’s on a wide variety of topics including “The Intersection of Human Rights and the Environment,” “Medical Ethics and the Holocaust,” and “Race, Law & Justice Reimagined: A Panel Conversation about Law, Equity & Justice.” Additionally, Sharon is a member of the Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education, Diversity and Inclusion, and ADR Committees and is a fee dispute arbitrator for the BAEC.
Sharon is a member of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York and the NYS Academy of Trial Lawyers. Sharon served on the Board of Women Lawyers of Western New York and was president of Woman Lawyers of Western New York from 2004-2005. Sharon previously served on the Board of UB Law’s GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Group.
Sharon volunteers with the Center for Resolution and Justice as a mediator and conflict coach. She previously served on the Advisory Board for Locust Street Art and on the Board of Preventionfocus. Sharon is a member of the Junior League of Buffalo and volunteers with the PTSA at her daughter’s high school.
Outside of her professional life, Sharon enjoys spending time with family and friends and stretching her Spanish language conversation skills over Zoom. Sharon lives in Amherst with her teen-aged daughter.
Stephanie A. Saunders
Stephanie A. Saunders is a Buffalo native employed as the Principal Law Clerk to the Honorable E. Jeannette Ogden in Erie County Supreme Court. She proudly credits her parents, the late Richard A. Williams and Mary Williams, and education for providing a paradigm of success personally and professionally.
After graduating from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Stephanie worked for several years in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area where she had a thriving career in government contracting and sales.
Upon her return to Buffalo, she started at Hiscock & Barclay, LLP (now Barclay Damon, LLP) as a word processor, promoted to legal secretary/paralegal where her talents caught the attention of mentor Hon. Salvatore R. Martoche. Judge Martoche challenged Stephanie to become a lawyer and after some prodding, she accepted the game-changing task.
After graduating from the University at Buffalo Law School with her juris doctorate, Stephanie worked for Hodgson Russ, LLP and returned to Hiscock & Barclay LLP as an attorney. Using her skills to step outside of the practice of law, Stephanie accepted a post as the director of medical affairs for Kaleida Health for several years. In 2014 Stephanie joined the Buffalo Board of Education as an Assistant Legal Counsel. In 2017, Justice Ogden presented Stephanie with the opportunity of joining her staff as a Principal Law Clerk.
Stephanie is well-known for sharing treasured adages from her late paternal grandmother, Ora Lee Murray, that help guide her and others through this remarkable life. A lover of good times and good people, you will find her spending quality time after hours with friends and family who keep her grounded and focused on what matters.
Stephanie is married to Kerry L. Saunders, they have three children: Lacey, Eddie and Gylan and two grandchildren, Eddie Jr. and Ryian.
Jamila A. Lee
Jamila A. Lee is the Deputy Chief Clerk of Erie County Surrogate’s Court where she works as a manager and a court attorney. Prior to joining Erie County Surrogate’s Court, Ms. Lee’s legal experience included insurance defense, foreclosure law, and real estate law.
Ms. Lee earned her Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut before going to earn her Juris Doctor from the SUNY at Buffalo’s School of Law. During her career at UB, Ms. Lee served as the President of the Black Law Student’s Association and was an active member of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York and the Women’s Bar Association of Western New York. In 2020, Ms. Lee proudly served as President of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY).
In 2019, Ms. Lee was appointed to the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge’s Diversity Task Force for Courts outside of New York City. As a member of the Diversity Task Force, she helps implement plans to increase diversity and equitable opportunities for marginalized groups throughout the court system.
Ms. Lee is very active in her community and loves helping others. She holds two non-profit organizations close to her heart: Buffalo Prep and the Foundry. Ms. Lee is also active in the First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church ARISE ministry group where she helps organize activities and workshops for young adults in the community.
Recently, Ms. Lee was honored with the distinction of being named Business First’s Legal Elite in Western New York, Marquis’ Who’s Who in America 2020, and a 2020 Black Achiever. She attributes her accomplishments to her loving parents and brothers who have provided constant support to her over the years. Her family means everything to her.
Beverley S. Braun
Beverley S. Braun is presently Senior Legal Counsel at HSBC Bank where she has been since 2015. She started her career out of law school in 2007 at Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel, LLP where she attained partner before transitioning in-house. Her career has been focused mostly on commercial and federal civil litigation, including extensive appellate work. As in-house counsel, she oversees complex commercial litigation and frequently works on international matters, including an extended assignment in London focused specifically on legal risk.
A native of Western New York, Ms. Braun attained her Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Geneseo in 1993, a Master of Science from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1996, and her Juris Doctor, Magna Cum Laude, from the University at Buffalo in 2007. She was admitted to the bar in 2008.
Since 2007, Ms. Braun has been a member of the Bar Association of Eric County, the Women’s Bar Association of Western New York and the New York State Bar Association. She has been most active with the New York State Bar Association, where she presently serves on the Ethics Committee and she was appointed to the Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct in 2019. She frequently serves on ethics panels in connection with both of these committees.
Ms. Braun is the 2014 recipient of the Western District of New York Federal Pro Bono Award and is an active member in the volunteer community. She recently concluded 12 years as a board member, including several as Vice President, for the Aquarium of Niagara. Presently she is a Trustee and Secretary for the Frank G. Raichle Foundation and a board member of the Cantalician Center for Learning.
Michael E. Hickey
Mike is a labor and employment attorney with Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, where he was named a member in 2019. Mike is the current Chair of the Bar Association of Erie County’s Labor Law Committee. In that role, he has been actively involved in the Bar Association’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including both presenting and coordinating timely CLEs related to the everchanging state of the law over the past year.
Outside of his law practice, Mike is a strong supporter of the arts community in Western New York. He sits on the Artpark & Company Board of Directors and, in addition to serving on the Lawyers for the Arts planning committee, he has played drums and sang in the band “Backhanded Compliments” at the Lawyers for the Arts annual concert at the Tralf.
Mike is originally from Rochester, New York, and he attended Ithaca College (Class of ’06) as well as the University at Buffalo Law School (Class of ’09). He met his wife, Darice, as a 1L at UB (Section B!), and they now live in Snyder with their two amazing daughters, Grace and Eleanor, as well as their mischievous puppy, Rosie Noodles.
Rashied H. McDuffie
Rashied H. McDuffie is Assistant Corporation Counsel II and the Founding Partner of RHM Consulting LLC. He is a multidisciplinary attorney with experience in government and elected positions, representing municipalities, corporations, public authorities or local development corporations, and non-profit organizations, and individuals in legislative, regulatory, government, compliance, real estate, matrimonial, environmental and probate matters.
As a leading public interest advocate, Rashied has more than a decade of experience working with municipalities, individuals and businesses to navigate ethics guidelines, local rules or procedures; and works closely with state and local governments to best represent the public at large. His intricate understanding of New York State and municipal law is highly sought after, with him currently serving as Assistant Corporation Counsel II for the City of Buffalo and previously as Associate Counsel to the New York State Senate’s Majority Whip.
Mr. McDuffie is Lead Prosecutor in the Corporation Counsel’s Housing Court Division and is responsible for the City’s and the LLC’s real estate transactions, landlord tenant disputes, and licensing litigation practice in the City of Buffalo. He appears regularly in Housing Court in the Erie County, Cheektowaga, and Lackawanna.
Mr. McDuffie often defends the City against lawsuits brought by landlords in Article 78 proceedings concerning code infractions issued by the City of Buffalo Division of Permits and Inspections, Department of Public Works, and Division of Administrative Adjudication.
He routinely counsels clients in the public and private sectors on human rights lawsuits, diversity, equity, and inclusion and implicit bias matters. Mr. McDuffie is committed to promoting adaptation and environmental justice activities that ensure fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people – regardless of race, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity or income – with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Prior to joining the Buffalo Law Department and founding RHM Consulting, LLC, Rashied held positions with the City of Buffalo Common Council, Democratic Congressional Finance Committee, New York State Senate, and the New York State Democratic Committee. He also previously co-managed a Florida Congressman’s fundraising operations in successfully raised over $300,000 for his 2012 re-election campaign and served as a chief strategist for political campaigns in Iowa, South Florida, and Upstate New York.
Mr. McDuffie is a founding member and is currently serving his first term as a member of the Landlord Tenant Advisory Committee of the Housing Court of Buffalo. This committee is responsible for screening applications from those who seek Federal Cares Act funding or other supportive services to bring arrears current during the global health emergency.
Mr. McDuffie, in partnership with other city attorneys and not for profit organization attorneys, has created a 211 landlord and tenant resolution hotline to provide free legal advice to landlords and tenants dealing with complex housing issues. He recently presented County Wide Lectures for all Landlords and Tenants in Western New York on the Federal Cares Act and Other Public Assistance During the Pandemic (2020).
Rashied is a native of Buffalo, New York. He volunteers his time working with civil rights enforcement agencies interested in Community Policing in the 21st Century and Crime Prevention through Environmental Design; presenting to elected officials and public officers about conflicts of interest and ethics; advocating for grief recovery services; working to expand safe and affordable birth control devices and information and serving as a liaison to LGBTQ and other minorities facing social integration struggles in Upstate New York.
Mr. McDuffie has been recognized by numerous organizations for his outstanding leadership skills, philanthropic efforts, and superior legal work, including, but not limited to, Buffalo First 40 Under 40, Western New York’s Legal Elite, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Community Action Organization, Grassroots Political Organization, Utopian Euphoria, LLC, and the University at Buffalo’s CSTEP Program, and the Black Tie for Black History.
Rashied is an attorney in good standing and licensed to practice law in Florida and New York.
Rodger P. Doyle
In early 1992, I was sworn in at the Fourth Department. It does not seem like almost three decades have passed, but I now look back at literally hundreds of cases litigated in state and federal courts across New York. In the process, I have met a multitude of judges, jurors, attorneys, law firm staff and court personnel. I have made many great friends both personally and professionally. It has been quite an interesting ride.
I love being a lawyer in Buffalo. The legal community here is large, but very collegial. I still enjoy the challenges of a lawsuit whether it be a claim involving negligence, commercial law, or civil rights, and I still look forward to coming to work (almost) every day. This profession has given me the camaraderie and friendship of my peers, as well as a good salary and a comfortable life.
But it is time that I gave back to the legal community that has given me so much. As a Director, I would focus my efforts in three main areas.
First, because of COVID-19 the last year has been challenging for so many of us: the transition from office to home, changing or disappearing client bases, and difficulty in collecting on bills, covering rent and payroll, not to speak of the specter of illness and isolation. The pandemic has exacerbated the levels of stress, depression and anxiety in our profession that so many of us deal with, and negatively impacted our quality of life. The Bar Association and the Bar Foundation have many programs that assist attorneys in need with issues related to depression, substance abuse, and financial hardship. I would seek to increase funding and publicization for these programs to provide even greater assistance given the pandemic.
Second, our profession has a significant number of “baby boomers” who are transitioning into retirement or who are facing health issues. This presents difficulties in many areas including the transfer of active files and clients, closing offices, and handling affairs for attorneys no longer able to practice. The Bar Association has several committees to aid lawyers and clients facing such issues, and I would advocate for those committees given the increasing number of attorneys in the “boomer” category, myself included.
Third, I would advocate for greater participation in the legal community for people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, the economically disadvantaged, and the LGBTQIA community. My alma mater, UB Law, provides an interesting reference point: the student body is only 6% black whereas Erie County is 13% black and New York State is 16% black. The reasons for this disparity are complex, as are the solutions, but the issue simply cannot be ignored any longer. The legal community and the Bar Association have made efforts to increase participation in the law. But I believe that the Bar Association could take a more public role in addressing the underlying problems that have resulted in low participation rates of many groups in the legal justice system.
Anne K. Bowling
Anne is a partner with Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham, LLC, where she specializes in complex business litigation and environmental regulatory and litigation matters. Anne handles the firm’s most complex business disputes, ranging from contractual disputes to securities law violations to federal civil enforcement actions. In addition, Anne advises clients who are under investigation for violations of state and federal laws. Anne is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and practiced white collar criminal defense and telecommunications regulatory law in Washington, D.C. prior to returning home to Buffalo.
Anne is the chair of the Bar Association’s Regulatory Committee and an active participant in both the Adapting to Practice in a Pandemic and Diversity and Inclusion Committees. As a mother of two young children, Anne is dedicated to ensuring that working women have the opportunity to succeed in the legal profession. Anne was instrumental in creating the Bar Association’s Pledge to raise awareness of the adverse effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the careers of working mothers and people of color. Anne is a member of the Western New York Women’s Foundation Advocacy Committee and co-chair of her firm’s diversity and inclusion committee. In addition, Anne is a member of the legal advisory committee of the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and is an active member of the parents’ associations for her children’s schools.
Anne lives in North Buffalo with her husband and two young children. In her spare time, Anne enjoys reading novels and biographies, running long-distances while exploring Buffalo’s parks, hiking and kayaking in the Adirondacks, and trying out new recipes with her kids.
Marc W. Brown
Ashley R. Lowry
James J. Nash
Meet the Candidates
We will be holding a series of virtual town halls to give our candidates an opportunity to connect with BAEC members and outline their vision for the Association during their time on the Board. Town Hall dates are below. There is no cost to attend the town halls but registration is required to receive Zoom access information. Click “Register” next to each of these events to sign up.
Online voting begins 9am on Monday, May 24, 2021 and concludes at 5pm on Thursday, June 10, 2021. BAEC members can also vote via a mail-in ballot. Request a ballot by emailing the Bar Association. Click here to email. Mail-in ballots must be received by 5pm on Thursday, June 10, 2021 to be counted. You will receive instructions on how to vote online in the mail prior to May 24.
To be eligible to vote, you must be a member of the Bar Association of Erie County in good standing. If you have yet to renew your dues, click here to renew now.
If you have any questions about voting or your membership status, email Sue Kohlbacher by clicking here.