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2022-2023 BAEC Elections

Below are your newest additions to the 2022-2023 Board of Directors and Nominating Committee! Congratulations to all who won the election!

VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENT-ELECT

Tim Graber

Timothy J. Graber

Timothy J. Graber is a partner at Gibson, McAskill & Crosby, LLP.  The primary focus of Tim’s practice is business litigation.  He also has significant experience in other areas of litigation, business transactions and appellate practice.

Tim was raised in Western New York.  He is a graduate of Canisius High School, Fordham University and Wake Forest University School of Law. His major fields of study at Fordham were economics, political science and history.  In law school, he served on the Moot Court Board.

Tim is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and he is admitted to practice before all federal district courts within New York.  He is also admitted to practice before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. 

Tim is a member of the American and New York State Bar Associations.  He is also an active member of the Bar Association of Erie County, where he currently serves as the Chair of the Federal Practice Committee.  He also served on the Bar Association of Erie County as the Deputy Treasurer, the Treasurer and as member of the Nominating Committee.  He is a member of the Local Rules Committee for United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the Defense Research Institute, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, and the Western New York Trial Lawyers Association.  Tim has presented at continuing legal education seminars and has spoken on a variety of legal topics and current developments in the law. 

Tim volunteers his time to pro bono causes including the Federal Court Pro Se Assistance Program.  He is the primary coordinator of his firm’s involvement in the Say Yes Buffalo Legal Task Force and was the recipient of the 2020 Volunteer Lawyers Project Champions For Justice Award for the Say Yes Legal Clinic.  Tim is a past recipient of the Pro Bono Award given annually by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York.

DEPUTY TREASURER, TREASURER-ELECT

Sarah Washington

Sarah M. Washington

Sarah Marie Washington is a native of Buffalo, New York. She is a proud alumna of Nichols School. She pursued her undergraduate studies and juris doctorate degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is a 2016 graduate of SUNY Buffalo School of Law.

Sarah currently works as a Senior Attorney at National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation. She also serves as the inaugural chair of the Company’s Ethnically Diverse Group of Employees (EDGE) Employee Resource Group.  Prior to this role, Sarah was an Associate at Goldberg Segalla LLP where she practiced in the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Arbitration department as well as the firm’s Civil Litigation and Trial department. Prior to her time at Goldberg Segalla, Sarah was an Associate and Summer Law Clerk at Connors LLP. While at Connors LLP, her practice was devoted to medical malpractice defense work and civil litigation.

Sarah has been actively involved in our legal community. Most recently, in 2021, she served as the President of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY) and helped to continue MBAWNY’s work in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also served MBAWNY as Vice President-Elect (2020), as a Director (2019), and as Corresponding Secretary (2018). She also served as the Chair of MBAWNY’s Annual Holiday Toy Drive from 2016 to 2021. Sarah has also been actively involved in SUNY Buffalo’s Law Alumni Association’s Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Group. She currently serves as President. Prior to serving as President, Sarah served the following executive roles on the board, Vice President/President-Elect, Treasurer, and Treasurer-Elect.

She also currently serves as a committee member to help plan the Empire State Legal Diversity Career Fair that is being organized in conjunction with the Bar Association of Erie County, the MBAWNY, SUNY Buffalo School of Law, amongst other legal community stakeholders. Sarah has also been involved and an active participant with the Bar’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She also actively volunteers her time and talents with the Nichols School and Buffalo Prep.

Sarah is most proud of the professional recognition she has received from her peers and the legal community. She has been honored and recognized with the following awards and accolades: National Black Lawyers, Top 40 Under 40 (New York) (2021); Upstate New York Super Lawyers, Rising Star (2020, 2021); New York State Bar Association’s Honorable Judith S. Kaye Commercial and Federal Litigation Scholarship (2019); Buffalo Business First, 30 Under 30 (2019); The Daily Record’s Excellence in the Law, Up & Coming Attorney (2018); Changemakers 30 Under 30 Awardee (2017); Justice M. Dolores Denman Award (2016); SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni Association’s GOLD Group Award (2016); Order of the Barristers (2016); and the Minority Bar Association of Western New York’s John L. Hargrave Law Student Award (2014). 

Sarah resides in Lake View with her husband, Shawn, and their two children, Ashanti and Carter. She is the first person in her family to attain a professional degree and the second person in her family to attend college.

DIRECTOR

Carmen Snell

Carmen L. Snell

Carmen Smell is Vice President, Deputy General Counsel at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western and Northeastern New York. In this role, she oversees business strategies, policies, and programs to ensure they comply with all legal requirements and minimize company risk. She evaluates legal risks, assesses the merits of litigation involving the company and directs its overall litigation strategy. She also manages the provision of all legal services to the company and relationships with outside counsel.

Carmen joined the company in 1999, and most recently served as Assistant General Counsel. She previously served as an Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Attorney General’s Office and was also in private practice.

Licensed to practice law in New York and Connecticut, Carmen received her JD degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, and a BS degree from the University of Dayton.

Carmen is a recipient of the Buffalo Business First “Power 200 Women”, “Who’s Who in the Law, Legal Elite” and “40 Under 40” awards; an Eighth Judicial District Gender and Racial Fairness Committee honoree; a recipient of the Minority Bar Association Attorney of the Year award; and is a 2004 Leadership Buffalo graduate.

Carmen is the immediate past President of the Minority Bar Foundation, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Read to Succeed Buffalo and serves on the Diversity & Inclusion Council for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. She is in her sixth year as the Parliamentarian for the Gamma Phi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Carmen is also a member of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, Bar Association of Erie County, American Health Lawyers Association, and the Association of Corporate Counsel. Additionally, she is a past President of the Niagara Frontier Corporate Counsel Association, and the Minority Bar Association of Western New York.

Maura O'Donnell

Maura O'Donnell

Maura O’Donnell currently serves as the Buffalo Regional Director of the New York State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, where she leads a team of attorneys, analysts, and detectives in investigating allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse within the state’s healthcare system. 

Prior to joining the New York Attorney General’s Office in 2020, she spent ten years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, where she investigated and prosecuted complex financial and healthcare fraud cases, civil rights violations, public corruption, cybercrime, and crimes against children. She is a 2015 recipient of the FBI Director’s Award for Excellence. 

Maura began her legal career in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and has tried cases in a variety of New York State Courts and in United States District Court.  She serves the Bar Association of Erie County (BAEC) as chair of the Education Subcommittee of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and member of the Criminal Law Committee, and has contributed to the BAEC as a judge at the annual high school mock trial competition and past coordinator of the Stop DWI program.  She is also a member of the Women’s Bar Association of Western New York.

            A long-standing board member of the West Side Rowing Club, Maura is heavily involved in youth rowing, and is a frequent regatta volunteer and former high school rowing coach.  Maura received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin and remains an avid Badger fan and member of the Wisconsin varsity letterwinner club.  Maura and her husband, Kevin Corbett – a teacher and musician – live in the City of Buffalo with their three energetic children.  Maura actively supports her children’s many athletic and artistic endeavors and serves on several committees at their school.

Maura seeks the role of Director because she appreciates the importance of the BAEC and its emphasis on collegiality, mentorship, and professionalism.  She is committed to ensuring that these traditions continue to define our legal community and are made equally available to all.

Steve Earnhart

Stephen C. Earnhart

Stephen C. Earnhart is an Erie County Assistant District Attorney. Steve currently serves as the Chief of the Buffalo City Court Bureau which employs fourteen prosecuting attorneys and handles thousands of criminal cases each year.  Over the last seven years, Steve has prosecuted homicide, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and domestic violence cases throughout Erie County. Steve has extensive experience in Erie County’s Integrated Domestic Violence Court as well as Buffalo City Court’s Veteran’s and Drug Treatment Courts. Additionally, Steve is a member of the Erie County District Attorney’s Community Outreach Committee and CLE Committee.

Steve is a proud member of the Bar Association of Erie County and is an active participant in the Criminal Law Committee’s monthly meetings.

Prior to his legal career, Steve served in the United States Army for five years. His first assignment was working for the U.S. Army Chief of Staff at the Pentagon and then for NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia. Steve entered the Department of Defense’s “Troops to Teachers” program which launched his next career as a public high school social studies teacher in Virginia. As a teacher, Steve taught World History, American History and Government, European History and Introduction to Philosophy. In addition to teaching, Steve coached debate and tennis.

In 2010, Steve and his wife, Jennifer J. Barbee, relocated from Norfolk, Virginia to Western New York for Jen’s career as the Associate Executive Director for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. During this time, Steve left classroom teaching for his new role as a stay-at-home Dad with their daughter Amelia. In 2014, Steve graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Law where he remains an active volunteer with the Advocacy Institute and the 1L Mentor Program.

Steve currently serves as a board member for the Elmwood Village Association and enjoys assisting with the Summer Concert Series, Porch Fest and neighborhood clean ups. Steve has also served as the Vice President for the Allentown Association and as the President of the Colonial Place – Riverview Civic League in Norfolk, Virginia.

Katie Kestel Martin

Katie L. Kestel Martin

I am a partner with Pusatier, Sherman, Abbott & Sugarman, LLP, where I have been practicing since 2017. I am a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo with a joint BA in Psychology/Sociology, Masters in Social Work, and Juris Doctor. Immediately after law school in 2013, I served the community through the AmeriCorps Opportunity Corp Program, working in the foreclosure prevention program with Western New York Law Center. After my year of service, I joined the Mental Health Association in their Legal Services and Advocacy department representing community members with mental health conditions in a myriad of civil legal issues including disability law, evictions and family law. I currently focus my practice in matrimonial and family law litigation with a specialty practice in divorce and family mediation.

I am an active member of the Bar Association of Erie County, currently as chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee. I volunteer with the Center for Resolution and Justice as a Family Court mediator. I also sit on the Boards for the Women Lawyers of Western New York and the local division of the American Cancer Society. I have been an advocate and ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for 14 years, advocating state and federal policy reform for cancer patients and caregivers. 

Outside of my professional and community work, I perform as a singer and songwriter at local coffee shops. 

I believe in the power and importance of community. The Bar Association of Erie County has been a place of community that helps me develop into a better attorney and professional, and where I have met mentors and peers who inspire me daily. I’m honored to be considered for a position on the Board of Directors. If elected, I would strive to nurture and help grow the community of our Bar Association by supporting programs that provide tools and resources for mental health/well-being, professional skill development, and networking within the Bar, especially to help create opportunity and equity within our profession for all who aspire to practice. 

NOMINATING COMMITTEE

Elizabeth Kraengel

Elizabeth Kraengel

Melinda R. Saran