Committee participation is one of the most important benefits of membership in the Bar Association of Erie County. Many of our active committees provide the clearest, fastest way to keep current with changes in your practice area. Joining a BAEC committee comes at no additional cost to members. To request joining a committee, click on the link below. Contact Celeste Walsh, at 716.852.8687 or by email for additional information or questions.

Our Committees

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee educates attorneys and the public about alternative processes that exist for the resolution of disputes without resort to litigation, and the resulting benefits and/or risks of using any such ADR procedures. This goal is accomplished by CLE programs sponsored annually by the committee, by public education programs, and by various special projects.
Chair and Board Liaison: Katie L. Kestel Martin

The Appellate Practice Committee focuses on the advancement and identification of issues of concern to members of the bar who are engaged in appellate practice in state and federal courts.
Chair: Erin A. Tresmond
Vice Chair: Robert C. Brucato, Jr.
Board Liaison: Cheyenne N. Freely

The Awards Committee is tasked with accepting nominations and selecting recipients for awards for the Bar Association of Erie County’s two major awards events: Law Day and the Annual Awards Celebration. The awardee selections this Committee makes are then presented to the Board of Directors for approval.
Chair: Gayle T. Murphy

The By-Laws Committee provides interpretations of the By-Laws of the Association and drafts proposed amendments at the request of the Board of Directors.
Chair: Michael A. de Freitas

The CLE Advisory Committee oversees continuing legal education programs for the Erie Institute of Law. The Committee monitors and evaluates programs to ensure that high quality, effective and timely programs are offered to meet the professional education needs of lawyers in Western New York, and works to maintain the Institute’s position as the primary provider of CLE in the surrounding legal community.
Dean: Hugh M. Russ, III
Board Liaison: Sarah M. Washington

The Commercial Litigation and Bankruptcy Law Committee deals with current substantive and procedural issues concerning bankruptcy law and the bankruptcy courts and commercial and business litigation in both state and federal courts. The committee provides ongoing legal education to its members in these areas, and each year also presents both a Noonday lecture and a CLE seminar on current topics. The committee also serves as a liaison for the local bar to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York.
Chair: Daniel F. Brown
Board Liaison: Sarah M. Washington

The Committee for the Disabled serves the interests of persons with disabilities by: 1) educating the legal community about the special needs of the disabled; 2) encouraging the legal representation of the disabled; 3) advocating for accessibility of services; and 4) advocating for the rights of disabled persons by monitoring legislative and judicial trends.
Chair: Ida M. Comerford
Board Liaison: Vanessa C. Gabriele

The Committee On Eminent Domain and Tax Certiorari updates members on changes in the law and procedures in the fields. The committee invites guest speakers to meetings and produces periodic CLE seminars for Bar members.
Chair: Mark R. McNamara
Board Liaison: Hon. Stephanie A. Sanders

The committee will create a network of lawyers knowledgeable in veteran and service members’ law and produce programs and publish articles to keep attorneys abreast of relevant legal issues. The committee will also coordinate community outreach to increase awareness of legal issues particular to veterans and service members.
Chair: Ryan P. Crawford
Board Liaison: Stephen C. Earnhart

The Committee will coordinate, assist and support activities and resources dedicated to assisting lawyers in the Association who suffer from depression.

The Criminal Law Committee are attorneys primarily engaged in criminal practice, both defense and prosecution, who consider matters which impact on the criminal justice system and the practice of criminal law. The committee considers matters referred to it by the Board of Directors. The committee also presents CLE programs through the Erie Institute of Law and provides lecturers for the Stop-DWI assemblies.
Chair: Nora B. Robshaw
Vice Chair: Sean P. Kelly
Board Liaison: Stephen C. Earnhart

The mission of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee is: (1) to educate our legal community concerning the importance of racial equity, diversity, and inclusion; (2) to support sustainable programs that foster, build, and develop a diverse legal community; and (3) to ensure the Bar Association of Erie County promotes inclusion and provides significant opportunities for personal and professional growth for all.
Chair: Stephanie J. Calhoun
Board Liaison: Maura O’Donnell

The Elder Law Committee shares information among members and the public regarding issues of major concern to the elderly and practitioners representing them. Such issues include access to health care, Medicaid, asset planning, housing, community resources and institutional placement, pension benefits, health care decision making, private and Medicare health insurance, administrative proceedings, attorneys’ fees, veterans’ benefits, and exploitation of the elderly.
Chair: Elizabeth A. Ingold
Board Liaison: Sharon Nosenchuck

The Environmental Law Committee provides environmental practitioners and other attorneys with a forum for discussion of current environmental legal trends, DEC/EPA regulatory, statutory, and enforcement initiatives, and current or emerging case law. It also provides education and community/academic outreach programs. The committee has frequent speakers on a wide variety of environmental topics.
Chair: Henry A. Zomerfeld
Board Liaison: Anne K. Bowling

The Federal Practice Committee fosters an ongoing dialogue with the members of the federal judiciary who sit in this district. Each fall, the committee holds a dinner attended by all district, magistrate and bankruptcy judges from both Buffalo and Rochester. Meetings often consist of an informal discussion with one of the members of the federal bench. The committee provides regular input with respect to proposed changes to the Local Rules of Practice for the district, and conducts one major seminar each year.
Chair: Daniel J. Brady
Board Liaison: Maura O’Donnell

The History Committee is dedicated to the publicizing and preservation of the rich history of the Western New York legal community.
Chair: Michelle Parker
Board Liaison: Jamila A. Lee

The Human Rights Committee is concerned with human rights of people. In the past, the committee has examined the conditions of local jails, followed local cases that have human rights implications and heard from experts on the problems of refugees.
Chair and Board Liaison: Sharon Nosenchuck
Vice Chair: Heather R. Abraham

Intellectual Property, Computer and Entertainment Law Committee shares information about contract issues in music, film and sports industries; publicity rights; Internet and computer law issues; copyrights; trademarks; patents; trade secrets; and unfair competition. About half of each meeting is devoted to a presentation from a committee member or guest speaker on a current topic of legal interest.
Chair: Melissa N. Subjeck
Vice Chair: Nathaniel W. Lucek
Board Liaison: Anne K. Bowling

The International Law Committee promotes the practice and study of international law. In today’s global environment, cross- border and international issues impact nearly all areas of the law, including business transactions, litigation, intellectual property, tax, employment, estate planning, and family law. This is especially true in Erie County given the area’s close proximity to Canada. The committee brings together local attorneys spanning various practice areas to learn about and discuss a broad range of international topics, including cross-border investment transactions, international arbitration, foreign judgment enforcement, trade and immigration. The committee also collaborates with attorneys and bar associations in Canada.
Chair: Jeffrey D. Coren
Vice Chair: Jill A. Apa
Board Liaison: Anne K. Bowling

The Judges’ Committee promotes discussion and interchange of ideas in connection with issues of interest and concern to the judiciary.
Chair: Hon. Deborah A. Chimes
Board Liaison: Hon. Stephanie A. Saunders

The Judiciary Committee investigates and evaluates the qualifications of candidates for judicial office in Erie County. The ratings are made public to assist voters in selecting their choices in the general election each November.
Chair: Daniel M. Killelea
Vice Chair: James P. Harrington
Board Liaison: Maura O’Donnell

Click to view Judicial Ratings

The Labor Law Committee consists of attorneys involved in all aspects of labor and employment law. This includes employment discrimination law and private and public sector labor and management relations. The monthly meetings tend to be educational, usually featuring a presentation by a committee member or an outside guest speaker.
Chair: Kinsey A. O’Brien
Vice Chair: Christina Akers-DiCenzo
Board Liaison: Elise L. Cassar

The Matrimonial and Family Law Committee is one of the largest and most active committees of the Bar Association. Committee activities include monthly meetings featuring discussions of new substantive law, court rules and guest speakers on topics relevant to the practice. Seminars featuring presentations by experts on issues important to matrimonial practitioners are held annually.
Chair: Daniel J. Schuller
Vice Chair: Michael J. Colletta
Board Liaison: Vanessa C. Gabriele

The primary focus of the Membership Committee is ensuring that each and every member of the BAEC feels welcome and connected to their fellow members and to the work the BAEC is doing. They are committed to ensuring members get the most out of their membership.
Chair: Jennifer M. Kimura
Board Liaison: Lauren E. Breen

The Mock Trial Program is tasked with organizing and facilitating the Erie County High School Mock Trial Competition. Each year, mock trial teams from various local high schools compete in mock trials. The local champion then goes on to compete on the state level.
Chair: Matthew J. Fitzgerald
Vice Chair: Tatiana Robinson

Click here to learn more about Mock Trial

The Negligence Committee fosters cooperation between the plaintiff and defense bar in order to encourage the efficient administration of justice; updates and educates the general bar about recent developments in the field of negligence law through CLE seminars; and considers, and makes recommendations about proposed legislation affecting the practice of negligence law.
Chair: David M. Goodman
Vice Chair: Stephanie R. Messina
Board Liaison: Joshua E. Dubs

The Practice and Procedure in Family Court Committee serves as a communication link between the Bar Association and the bench, striving to better the quality of the practice of lawyers before the Family Court bench. The Committee features guest speakers at its meetings and produces Noonday lectures and CLE seminars. The Forum, the monthly newsletter of the committee, is now available online.
Chairs:  Todd J. Potter, Jr.
Vice Chair:  Yvonne Vertlieb
Board Liaison: Katie L. Kestel Martin

The Professional Continuity Committee assists clients in obtaining other counsel when that attorney’s practice is interrupted without an appropriate successor.
Chair: Kevin D. Walsh

The Professional Ethics Committee investigates and answers inquiries concerning the Rules of Professional Conduct. The results of the investigations and a proposed opinion are reported to the Board of Directors, who make the final decision. Opinions are published in The Bulletin to provide guidance to the legal community.
Chair: Craig R. Bucki

Click to view Opinions

The Real Property Law Committee considers the development and practical workings of the law relating to real property, conveyancing, mortgages, foreclosures, receiverships and other related subjects.
Chair: Eric T. Vallone
Board Liaison: Keri D. Callocchia

Click here for Real Property Forms

The corporate regulatory environment has undergone unprecedented growth in recent years. Small businesses and large corporations are subjected to more governmental oversight than ever before. Currently, massive statutes such as Dodd Frank are written in a vague manner, which results in many uncertainties and challenges in connection with their implementation. As a result, administrative regulations play a larger role, as they are supposed to provide the rules that were not addressed in the enabling legislation. The Regulatory Compliance Committee’s goal is to address and explore the pressing regulatory issues and uncertainties of the current business environment. The Committee will provide a forum for compliance attorneys to effectively strategize and solve these complex legal and regulatory issues.
Chair: Anne K. Bowling
Board Liaison: Carmen L. Snell

The Solo and Small Law Firm Practice Committee is designed to provide sole practitioners and those in small law firms with a forum to discuss their practice, to discuss the day to day challenges facing today’s solo/small law firm practitioners, and to address how other solo/ small firms are meeting current challenges. Topics include business development, law practice management, technology, practice area focus/specialization, human resources, and CLE programming – among others. Members of the committee enjoy a unique opportunity to network and to build and develop their practice.
Chair: Kara M. Addelman
Vice Chair: Jessica Kulpit
Board Liaison: Joshua E. Dubs

The Surrogate’s Court Committee meets monthly to discuss topics of interest that affect Surrogate’s practice. The Committee provides educational seminars on trust and estate issues as well as an annual Noonday Lecture. In addition, the Liaison subcommittee meets with Erie County Surrogate Acea Mosey and her court staff throughout the year to address issues of importance in Surrogate’s practice.
Chair: Linda S. Grear
Board Liaison: Jamila A. Lee

The Unlawful Practice of Law Committee seeks to protect the public against the unlawful practice of law by investigating allegations of unlawful practice. It may receive complaints, take evidence, and upon Board approval, present complaints to the State Attorney General and have charge of actions instituted by the Association for the unlawful practice of law.
Chair: Oliver C. Young
Board Liaison: Vanessa C. Gabriele

The Workers’ Compensation Committee meets periodically to discuss issues affecting practice before the Workers’ Compensation Board. The Committee takes an active role in working with the Board’s administration by presenting ideas and concerns of the bar as well as responding to proposed legislation and Board rules.
Chair: Samuel S. Feuerstein
Board Liaison: Elise L. Cassar

The Young Lawyers Committee consists of lawyers who have been practicing for 10 years or less. The Committee provides leadership, networking and social opportunities and periodically produces educational programs on topics of interest to young lawyers.
Chair: Catherine McCulle
Vice Chair: Steven B. Salcedo
Board Liaisons: Joshua E. Dubs & Cheyenne N. Freely

*Committees by invitation only. Please contact Committee Coordinator, Celeste Walsh, to make a request to join.

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