Partner and Leader of Diversity Compliance Practice Group, Harris Beach PLLC
Years in current role:14
What do you enjoy most about being a litigator?
I enjoy interacting with my clients, analyzing issues and developing evidence to steer them toward an effective resolution.
What do you consider your biggest success in navigating the litigation process during the pandemic?
The pandemic changed everything. Similar to my colleagues, I had to develop the skill sets and flexibility to be adaptable to the new way of conducting litigation.
What do you see as the biggest changes in the legal industry in the next 3-5 years?
The importance of technology and the need to be broadly computer literate will continue to shape our industry. I believe that technology offers some advantages in efficiencies, but at the same time, brings clear inefficiencies. Like many attorneys, I have had to participate virtually in arguments and hearings. It’s been very interesting and challenging. After practicing for 34 years, it is difficult to transfer the communication strategies most useful in a courtroom to apply to a virtual environment. The nuances of being live in a courtroom are not present. This is a very fascinating time.
What trial are you most proud of in your career?
After practicing for 34 years, it’s hard to choose one. One that does come to mind is an Article 78 hearing/trial before Judge Ark involving Rural Metro Ambulance and the procurement of a city ambulance contract. I worked as co-counsel with my partner Phil Spellane on this case; it was an interesting trial involving the Freedom of Information Law. I also had a trial before Judge Reed where we represented the city of Geneva when it was sued by the Town of Geneva over sewer rates. I recall that (now federal judge) Wolford was opposing counsel.
What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?
I was recently elected to the Board of Governors of Hillside Children’s Center, an extraordinary organization that provides child welfare and youth development programs and support here and in Maryland. I also work with Action for a Better Community, which focuses on helping individuals and families build independence and self-sufficiency. Over my career, I have focused my time on impact, looking for organizations that help people—especially those in underserved communities.