The Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys hosted a members-only cocktail party to honor the recent appointment of Judge Debra Martin to the Court of Claims bench. Friends, colleagues and members of Judge Martin’s family mingled at the Rochester Area Foundation parlor and library on Tuesday.
GRAWA President-elect Pam Reynolds welcomed everyone, and introduced past GRAWA Presidents Kate Callery and Elaine Cole, who provided some insights into their long-term friendships with Judge Martin, recalling her various professional positions and past GRAWA presidency.
Originally from Syracuse, Judge Martin completed her law degree at the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America in 1978, and came to Rochester in 1980 as an associate with Harris Beach PLLC.
From Harris Beach, Judge Martin followed an opportunity at Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. as in-house counsel, leaving there in 1988 to start her own practice, primarily handling insurance defense cases. She and Janice Iati were together more than 20 years in the firm Judge Martin founded, until she accepted a position as attorney general in charge of the Rochester Office in 2008.
Doug Merrill, Judge Martin’s husband of 36 years, is actually the guy responsible for bringing Judge Martin to Rochester back in 1980 when he accepted a position at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Judge Martin expressed her delight at being in a position to truly administer justice, and joked about the size of judicial robes, suggesting an entrepreneurship opportunity for someone to come up with better robe designs and sizing.
— Photos by Nora A. Jones