Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

From the law to the links

By: Daily Record Staff , MATT CHANDLER//January 15, 2018

From the law to the links

By: Daily Record Staff , MATT CHANDLER//January 15, 2018

Joe Hanna is an equity partner at Goldberg Segalla LLP in Buffalo and president of Bunkers in Baghdad, a nonprofit he founded nearly a decade ago. (Provided)
Joe Hanna is an equity partner at Goldberg Segalla LLP in Buffalo and president of Bunkers in Baghdad, a nonprofit he founded nearly a decade ago. (Provided)

It’s Friday afternoon, New Year’s Eve weekend, and the temperature has dropped to sub-zero in Buffalo. It’s the trifecta of reasons to cut out of the office early, but at the headquarters of Goldberg Segalla LLP in downtown Buffalo, Joe Hanna is at his desk doing what he always does — grinding.

The Buffalo-born Hanna, who was named a partner in the law firm less than three years after graduating from the University at Buffalo School of Law, has built a reputation as one of the hardest-working attorneys in Buffalo, and it’s a reputation earned both inside and outside of the courtroom.

As the founder and chair of his firm’s Sports and Entertainment practice group, Hanna spends, by his estimation, more than 200 days each year on the road, crisscrossing the country on behalf of clients. He is also known for his tireless advocacy promoting diversity in the legal profession.

“I think that there was an uptick for many years in improving diversity in the profession, but I think it has started to fall off a bit,” Hanna says of the current climate in the legal profession. “We may still be improving, but not at the pace we should be. The legal profession on a whole is still failing to implement programs and efforts to fix what is wrong.”

Specifically, Hanna believes more needs to be done in terms of seeing a broader diversity of attorneys promoted from associate to partner in firms.

“I also think retention of minority attorneys is a problem,” he says. “And I think diversity within the students that pass the bar exam is still an issue that needs to be addressed.”

Hanna says the best way to address the challenges the legal profession faces with the lack of diversity is to change the perception among young people.

“There is no reason why when a young person is rattling off a list of things they want to be, they shouldn’t say attorney,” he says. “Working with kids at a young age, and nurturing their skills as good readers and good writers will go a long way to helping them believe they can be anything they want, including an attorney.”

Hanna says mock trial teams (which he has supported in the past) at the high school and college level can be an excellent way to encourage students to pursue the law.

“We need to do a better job of showing young people all of the benefits of being a lawyer, and then we need to be there along the way, beginning in grammar school, to support them,” he says.

Hanna is also the founder and president of Bunkers in Baghdad, a nonprofit he founded nearly a decade ago. The idea was simple — collect used golf balls and clubs and send them to troops serving in Iraq to offer some respite from the rigors of war. A decade later the modest idea has exploded into a global, award-winning charity.

“We have collected and distributed more than 8.4 million golf balls and 640,000 clubs to soldiers and veterans in all 50 states and 65 countries around the world,” he says. As he has grown the charity, Hanna has incorporated school children (Bunkers works with more than 500 public schools across the country) as well as more than 50 professional sports teams to collect and distribute equipment to active military and veterans.

It’s a mission Hanna takes so seriously, that, despite having a J.D. and a successful law career, he returned to school a few years ago to earn a master’s degree in nonprofit management to better position himself to operate the charity.

“I split my time between the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) and Bunkers in Baghdad. “Those are the two areas outside of my practice that I devote most of my time to.”

Whether talking about his legal practice, his nonprofit, or his extensive resume of charitable work, Hanna is quick to turn the spotlight back to his hometown of Buffalo.

“Buffalo has always been a great, collegial community to practice law in, and they are so supportive of things like Bunkers at a grassroots level,” he says.

With that kind of support, he sees a bright year ahead for both his firm and his nonprofit.

“In 2018, Bunkers is going to celebrate our 10th anniversary and collect and distribute our 9 millionth golf ball, and those are big milestones,” he says.  “On the practice side, Goldberg continues to grow. We are the largest Buffalo-based law firm with more than 350 attorneys, and being part of the leadership of the firm is exciting, and I’m looking forward to continuing to build on that.”

Matt Chandler is a freelance writer and children’s book author from Buffalo.

Joe Hanna

Title: Equity Partner, Goldberg Segalla LLP

Age: 37

Education: SUNY Buffalo Law School (J.D.), Syracuse University, M.P.A., Public and Non-Profit Management; SUNY at Buffalo, B.A., Middle Eastern Politics and Cultural Affairs

Family: Single

Residence: Amherst

Hobbies: Golf

Quote: “I’m a born and raised Buffalonian, and it’s a fun time to be in Buffalo!”

Case Digests

See all Case Digests

Law News

See All Law News


How Is My Site?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...