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Forsyth takes over as MCBA Foundation president


Scott Forsyth

Here? Meet there. Getting from A to B is merely a day’s work for Scott A. Forsyth, Esq. The attorney was sworn in as board president of the Foundation of Monroe County Bar on June 14 and officially launched his term on July 1.

“I see myself as being an agent of successful outcomes,” said Forsyth. “I like to move people from Point A to Point B — helping them overcome obstacles, despite the detours along the way.

“(I take them) from Point A along this path, which is never straight,” he explained, “until we reach Point B. That’s my view, metaphorically, of the service I provide my clients with. We’re talking transactional law versus litigation, too much of which (seems) confrontational. If you’re not moving people forward, you stymie (them).”

A partner at Forsyth & Forsyth Attorneys and Counselors at Law, Forsyth’s practice focuses on estate planning and administration, individual income tax planning and contract review. He said he most appreciates “the interaction with people in a variety of situations and helping them to achieve successful outcomes.”

The Phillips Academy, Princeton University and Boston University School of Law alum has practiced since 1976 and is licensed in New York, Florida and Massachusetts. People are often surprised to learn, he noted, that he has no judicial aspirations.

“I never had a desire to be a judge,” said Forsyth. “(The assumption) is a compliment, supposedly, because people say I would be a ‘good’ judge.”

His outgoing nature and desire to help others will no doubt benefit the foundation. Based in the Telesca Center for Justice, the MCBA’s charitable arm provides support for ACT for the Children, Rochester Teen Court, the Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship (RLDC) Program and the DEAFund, among others.

The DEAFund was set up “years ago,” Forsyth said, to assist the local deaf community with legal services by reimbursing lawyers for translators.

“We, in Rochester, have a large community of deaf persons,” Forsythe noted. “When a deaf person visits an attorney for a consultation and/or to engage their services, that person usually needs a translator. By law, the attorney must provide (one at their own expense).”

Last year, he said, the fund ran out of money within nine months and was issued another grant.

“I like serving not-for-profits, and the Foundation supports the law-related activities of several groups,” Forsyth said of his new role, “Much of my prior not-for-profit experience has been in fundraising. For the Foundation to be successful, it must raise funds and diversify its fundraising (activities).”

Serving on boards, pursuing special projects and leading entire groups from A to B is something the Monroe County, New York and Florida Bar Association member said he does during and after work hours. A past chairman of the MCBA Trusts & Estates Section, Forsyth also serves as counsel to the Genesee Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

“In my downtime,” he added, “I like to work out, bike, hike, cross country ski, snow shoe — outdoor activities.”

He has been partnered with Margie Spence for more than two years. The two met “on a blind date” set up by mutual friends, and Spence volunteers her time in the community as well. Forsyth’s daughter, Caitlin Kireker, is an associate at Harter, Secrest & Emery, LLP, and is the fifth generation Forsyth to practice law in the Rochester area.

“I did go off to prep school,” Forsyth, a Webster native, said. “But I came back here after law school, so my roots are deep. (My law partner and brother), George, is 14 months younger than I am. We have another brother younger than both of us (who handles) equipment leasing for Wells Fargo.”

The MCBA Foundation awards grants to bar-sponsored programs and not-for-profits. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, it made a total of $35,520 in grants funded by income streams and an endowment. Roughly half, or $17,000, went directly to the RLDC program. Another $12,000 was earmarked for Center for Youth Services, Inc., in support of an RTC peer-sentencing alter­native process for defendants charged with non-violent offenses.

In addition to its “Raise the Bar” annual appeal, major fundraisers for the foundation include Jazz for Justice, an evening of live music, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. This year’s event will be held Nov. 9 at Harro East Ballroom from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Forsyth and Spence will be there, easing their way from Points A to B for a cause they believe in.

Christine G. Adamo is a Rochester-area freelance writer.