By: Bennett Loudon//June 15, 2018
By: Bennett Loudon//June 15, 2018//
Jill Cicero, the outgoing president of the Monroe County Bar Association, on Thursday announced a new effort to confront gender bias in the legal profession.
During remarks at the MCBA’s annual dinner at the Hyatt Regency Rochester, Cicero said her “most lasting impact may well be a proposal approved by the MCBA board of trustees at our most recent meeting.”
“This proposal will affect nearly half of our membership and I believe those members are being underserved in this legal community,” she said.
“I’m proud to announce that our board voted unanimously to create a commission to advance and support women in the law. Its efforts will be focused on programming for, and recognition of, woman lawyers, as well as serving as a confidential resource for women who are experiencing gender bias, problems with the court, pay inequity or sexual harassment,” she told an audience of 270.
Incoming MCBA President Jon P. Getz asked Cicero to chair a steering committee that will draft a mission statement and propose a structure for the new commission.
Although the commission is an MCBA initiative, Cicero said the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys will designate a member to serve on the steering committee.
“And we expect to engage in many joint efforts with GRAWA and, I hope, the (Rochester Black Bar Association) in the future,” she said.
Cicero said that one of her major goals in the past year — completing a three-year strategic plan for the MCBA — has been completed.
“The MCBA internal team will continue to work on strategies for implementing the goals and priorities of the plan over the next 36 months,” she said.
The plan includes new bylaws and procedures for committees and sections and new mission statements for some programs and committees.
The plan also encourages all committees to designate a vice chair who will be expected to become the next chair.
“The idea was to better prepare our members for leadership and, by making this process more deliberate, to reach out to new and diverse members to be those leaders,” she said.
In addition to Getz taking over as president, Carolyn G. Nussbaum, a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, is president-elect. Cassandra C. Rich, a partner at Boylan Code, is treasurer. And Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Lee is secretary.
In his remarks, Getz said he will be focused on the goal of implementing the new strategic plan and the themes of community, communication and commitment.
“We all know how lonely the practice of law can feel, but we also know how strong we are when working on making our community better using the law to help and to do justice,” Getz said.
“The idea of community goes well beyond the practice of law. As I look around me I see leaders volunteer in every aspect of our community and in our lives throughout this region,” he said.
“I do believe that communicating about what we do as lawyers and what we do as an association is vitally important, especially in today’s world. We need to get the word out. We need to show our entire community what we do, and why we do it,” he said.
“My commitment to you, and every attorney and judge in our community, is that I will work my hardest to do my best and give my all while I have this privilege to serve,” he said.
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The following awards were presented at the MCBA dinner on Thursday: