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DEI DEI at Barclay Damon Voices of Excellence Awards and Honors Recruitment HATCH Program for Attorneys Community DEI News & Events

Barclay Damon’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) encourages firm-wide participation in diversity-related work and initiatives by infusing DEI principles in business and strategic planning at every level. Barclay Damon’s diversity partner oversees all diversity initiatives, including the Diversity Partner Committee, Diversity Leadership Teams resident in each office, and the employee affinity networks.

We invite you to view this video to learn more about Barclay Damon’s approach to DEI.


Anti-Racism Resources

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Diversity Partner Committee

Diversity Partner Committee Chair
New York
At Large
Pro Bono At Large
Of Counsel
New Haven
Emeritus Member

We at Barclay Damon value and embrace all identities and life experiences. We strive to cultivate an environment that provides everyone in our community with an equal opportunity to thrive. Our commitment to fostering a workplace that appreciates diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging informs two of our most important goals: providing the highest level of client service and achieving work fulfillment. Through mutual respect, collaboration, active engagement in education and dialogue, and on-going recruitment and retention efforts, we seek to realize a diverse firm community that empowers us to bring our authentic selves to work.

All attorneys and staff participate in a DEI orientation when they join the firm. Barclay Damon routinely offers a variety of internal DEI training sessions and hosts lunch ‘n’ learn presentations by community speakers open to all attorneys and staff members. Presentations have included “Bias Interrupters,” “Microaggressions,” “Implicit and Unintentional Bias,” “Understanding Power and Privilege,” “Fundamental Concepts for Understanding Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity,” and “NYS GENDA Law Overview.”

Barclay Damon communicates our support of DEI with our lunch ‘n’ learn presentations and our quarterly Voices of Excellence publication, which highlights the firm's efforts and initiatives and is distributed firm wide and is available here. Firm-wide “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion State of the Firm” videoconferences are also held regularly with all attorneys and staff to highlight the firm’s commitment to DEI and progress made on various initiatives.

The firm’s frequently updated “Anti-Racism Resources” document, which you can access above, is available to all employees and helps individuals looking to take intentional action to better understand and combat systemic racism, oppression, and prejudice based on gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, homophobia, and ability status, among others.

The theme for this edition of Voices of Excellence is “Isms: Be Aware” and it focuses on isms (oppressive and especially discriminatory attitudes or beliefs) and how they can be hurtful and disrespectful to our peers. Most people are familiar with racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism. Two articles in this edition, authored by members of Barclay Damon’s Major Market Offices Diversity Leadership Team, explore ableism and colorism. We invite you to consider additional isms of which we should all be aware.

Past Issues:

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Monique E. Emdin Memorial Award at University at Buffalo

Monique Emdin was a summer associate at our firm in 2006 and joined the following year as an associate. Tragically, soon after graduating from University at Buffalo School of Law, Monique was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. After a hard battle, Monique passed away in March 2008.

Shortly after her death, the firm, in partnership with Monique’s church, Bethesda World Harvest International, and University at Buffalo School of Law, created the Monique E. Emdin Memorial Award, which is given annually at the law school’s Students of Color Dinner to “one or more University at Buffalo School of Law’s graduating seniors who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession and who demonstrate a commitment to community service, including significant service in faith-based communities, or have made significant contributions to the law school through involvement in student groups,” with preference given to students who demonstrate financial need. 

Sheila A. Gaddis Law School Bar Review Scholarship

The Sheila A. Gaddis Law School Bar Review Scholarship, named for the firm’s former diversity partner, is provided annually to a Barclay Damon summer associate who represents an ethnically and racially diverse population. African or African American heritage, first-generation law student status, merit, and financial need are taken into consideration and given priority. The scholarship is primarily designed to increase the number of diverse law students interested in summer and long-term employment with Barclay Damon.

Firm Honors

Recent honors from community organizations include the following:

  • Barclay Damon was honored as an Albany Business Review Leader in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • The firm was recently recognized with the Law Firm Commitment Award from the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project and has been recognized in past years for our support of Buffalo’s Say Yes to Education program.
  • A number of the firm’s attorneys have been awarded Empire State Counsel® recognition by the New York State Bar Association for providing 50 hours or more of legal services in a calendar year to people of limited means.
  • Barclay Damon was awarded the Partnership of the Year Award by Partners for Education and Business, a division of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, for the firm’s participation and sponsorship of the internship program with Central Tech High School.
  • Barclay Damon has been acknowledged as an American Bar Association Free Legal Answers Pro Bono Leader.

The firm is a workplace of choice to attorneys and staff from all backgrounds, cultures, orientations, and experiences. Our recruiting efforts include the following activities:

  • Utilizing a diversity-recruiting matrix of 20 organizations to expand our reach to advertise attorney positions within the firm
  • Working with professional recruiters to identify diverse candidates as a special focus and part of the firm’s overall recruiting efforts
  • Posting employment opportunities with HBCUs and the New York State Department of Labor and participation in pre- and post-graduate career awareness days, job fairs, and job exploration days

Barclay Damon’s pioneering 1L Summer Associate Program presents a unique, paid opportunity first-year law students with a demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in their communities and/or within the legal profession to gain professional experience typically not offered by firms until students' second year of study. Over the course of their internship, students work with attorneys across the firm's practice areas to deeply experience the firm's services, culture, and business operations. The students gain valuable insight into legal areas they may want to practice after law school. Our 2L summer associates join specific practice areas, allowing them to develop experience and deep knowledge in a particular area of the law.

The firm’s Women’s Forum helped develop our innovative HATCH program for attorneys, which provides enhanced support for attorneys who are new parents. HATCH, an acronym for Helping Attorneys and Their Children, increases the amount of paid parental leave for eligible attorneys, reduces attorneys’ billable-hour requirements before or after parental leave while ensuring a seamless transition of matters, provides enhanced wellness support, and more. HATCH complements the firm’s excellent benefit packages.

Consistent with Barclay Damon’s dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential elements of the firm’s culture and business initiatives, the firm’s Women’s Forum helped develop our innovative HATCH program for attorneys. An acronym for Helping Attorneys and Their Children, HATCH provides enhanced support for attorneys who are new parents regarding their parental leave.
HATCH increases the amount of paid time off for eligible attorneys, allowing more time to bond with an adopted, fostered, or newly born child. HATCH also reduces an attorney’s billable-hour requirement for designated time periods before or after parental leave (known as “ramp-up” and “ramp-down” periods). 
Attorneys taking parental leave are provided with enhanced wellness support under HATCH. There are coordinated efforts between firm attorneys and clients to ensure work is transitioned seamlessly prior to an attorney’s leave. Barclay Damon has designated firm partners, including members of the Women’s Forum and the firm’s management, to oversee and assist in the transition. There are also coordinated efforts to support attorneys returning from parental leave as they adjust to the life changes associated with welcoming a new child, and a HATCH affinity group has been formed for attorneys who take part in the program.
Resources available under HATCH are designed to help attorneys achieve and maintain good health, wellness, resilience, productivity, and work-life balance. 

  • “Barclay Damon’s HATCH program provided me with flexibility and comfort while transitioning out on maternity leave and then back into practice. From pregnancy to motherhood as a practicing attorney, I felt supported by my firm and a commitment to my continued growth.” –Carolyn Marcotte Crowley, Partner and HATCH Program Co-Coordinator
  • “HATCH increased the paid time off that I had with each of my children. I am forever grateful for the additional time I had to bond with my children in their first few months of life, and I will cherish the memories forever.” –Brittany Lawrence, Partner and HATCH Program Co-Coordinator
  • “When my daughter was born, the HATCH program allowed me to spend meaningful time with my family that I could never get back. I did not feel at all discouraged to take time away from work, which is proof that the firm is serious about its commitment to respect its employees.” –Scott Fleischer, Counsel

Report From the NEBLSA Annual Regional Convention 
Sharon Brown and Kyra Ganswith attended a job fair at the Northeast Black Law Students Association’s (NEBLSA) 56th Annual Regional Convention in Buffalo to interview 1Ls for the Summer Associate Program. Sharon and Kyra also attended NEBLSA’s awards gala, accepting a sponsor award on behalf of the firm. Sharon noted that the event was well attended, and she and Kyra saw law clerk Amie Mbye and incoming 2L summer associate Joshua Maddox. Another waywe’re involved: Kyra judged NEBLSA’s two-day Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Appellate Competition in 2023, and Earl Storrs III was a judge this year. This year, the Syracuse University College of Law’s trial team, which includes Amie, won first place in the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition.

We <3 Heart Health 
In honor of National Wear Red Day, the American Heart Association’s annual campaign to raise awareness of women’s heart disease, Barclay Damon colleagues across the firm donned red! Barclay Damon Tower in downtown Syracuse was also decked out in red to show heartfelt support.

Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day 
Attorneys and staff in many offices across our platform celebrated World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) by donning mismatched, brightly colored socks as part of the Lots of Socks campaign. March 21—3/21—was selected for WDSD because people with Down syndrome have three rather than the usual two of their 21st chromosome. Lots of Socks plays off the sock shape of all of our chromosomes to raise awareness about Down syndrome and honor people who have the syndrome in a lighthearted and colorful way. Barclay Damon Tower was lit up blue and yellow in honor of WDSD.

Sharing Experience 
Sharon Brown gave a presentation to the Black Law Students Association at Albany Law School, “Breaking Boundaries and Shattering Barriers: Black Women in Law.” After the event, the president of the organization wrote, “A heartfelt thank you for taking the time to speak with our members and sharing your invaluable insights on navigating the legal field as a Black woman. 
Your perspective and experiences provided immense value and inspiration to everyone present.... Your wisdom and guidance have undoubtedly left a lasting impact on our organization’s members, and we are immensely grateful for your contribution.”

Acknowledging Black History Month 
At the invitation of Bob Heary, the Buffalo office Diversity Leadership Team attended a talk sponsored by the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor celebrating Black History Month. The talk, part of a free series, was held at the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library in Buffalo. “Uncovering the History of the Underground Railroad in Central New York” was presented by Gerard Aching, a retired Cornell University professor, who discussed several of the Underground Railroad research projects he led that focused on Central New York and the Finger Lakes Region. It was followed by a discussion on the importance, challenges, and limits to creating Underground Railroad projects, comparing experiences with work around the St. James AME Zion Church in Ithaca and the Michigan Street Baptist Church of Buffalo. Here’s a photo of some of our attendees with the speaker.

Learning More About Racism in Our World
Penny Mason represented the firm at a Racial Equity Institute training webinar, “The Groundwater Approach to Racism,” sponsored by the Greater New Haven Community Foundation. Penny said, “This meaningful presentation used statistics to demonstrate how the many systems in our world—[like] health care, education, incarceration, housing, and wealth—are impacted by racism.”

LEAPing in New Haven  
Penny also represented the firm at an annual fundraising event for LEAP (Leadership Education & Athletics in Partnership), an organization that provides tutoring, after-school, and summer programs for children, teens, and young adults of color in the New Haven area.

Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen Fundraiser 
Penny represented the firm at a fundraiser for Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, where colleagues from the New Haven office volunteer for their community day.

Stonewall Award Updates

As reported in the last issue of Voices of Excellence, Janice Grubin received an American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Stonewall Award. To read Janice’s acceptance speech, click here. 
Janice was featured in a Law360 article about her Stonewall Award, “ABA Honors Three Who Made Law a Safer Place to Be LGBTQ.” Read more about the article here. She was also interviewed by the American Bar Association for a video with the other 2024 Stonewall Award recipients. Watch the video and read more on our website News page, here.

WOIS Senior Capstone Project Participation 
On behalf of the Rochester Diversity Leadership Team and as part of the DLT’s continuing pipeline initiative, Patrick Burke, Rochester office manager, and Terry Emmens participated in the senior capstone project at the World of Inquiry School. During the capstone project, pre-graduation high school seniors complete an in-depth exploration of a topic of interest to them. They then develop a project around that topic that contributes to the community, which they initially present to a volunteer committee for review and approval. Barclay Damon will continue our involvement in the World of Inquiry School capstone projects as they develop throughout the school year, culminating in the students’ final presentations in April.

Rochester DLT Lunch ‘n’ Learn: Anti-Semitism 
The Rochester Diversity Leadership Team hosted a diversity, equity, and inclusion lunch ‘n’ learn on the topic of anti-Semitism with speaker Miriam Elman. Miriam is the executive director of the Academic Engagement Network, an independently run not-for-profit organization headquartered in Washington DC that mobilizes networks of university faculty and administrators to counter anti-Semitism, oppose the denigration of Jewish and Zionist identities, promote academic freedom, and advance education about Israel.

DEI Potluck 
The Rochester office hosted a DEI spring potluck feast. The food theme focused on cultural diversity, and colleagues brought ethnic dishes to share with everyone. Patrick Burke said, “Foods with origins from all over the world (and some from Wegmans) were sampled, stories were told, and recipes were shared.”

Mentorship at Syracuse Law 
Zach Forward gave a presentation on behavioral interviewing, prepping for interviews, and opportunities at Barclay Damon to Syracuse University College of Law. 
The firm is again offering the Syracuse Law 1L Diversity Mentor Program, which pairs our attorneys with 1Ls during the spring semester. Attorney mentors this year are Danielle Katz, Zach Forward, Kayla Arias, John Cook, Jon McSherry, Margaret Talt, Karina Shahine, Buster Melvin, Genevieve Halpenny, Ross Greenky, John Langan, Denis Sullivan, Nick Constantino, and Jeff Davis.

Competing in Houston 
The Syracuse University College of Law Black Law Students Association Mock Trial Team, which includes law clerk Amie Mbye, competed at the National Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition in Houston, Texas.

A CLE Addressing Implicit Bias
Barclay Damon was proud to host a DEI CLE program featuring guest speaker Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson, who presented “Practicing the Pause.” Chief Justice Robinson’s presentation educated attendees about how to become aware of and reduce the effects of implicit bias in decision-making processes. Pictured with Chief Justice Robinson are Lizz Acee and Penny Mason; Penny facilitated the CLE. The presentation was well attended and highly praised both for its substance and for the judge’s use of common examples to make the program relatable for staff and attorneys alike.

DEI State of the Firm
The winner of the 2023 Barclay Damon Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award was Sheila Gaddis. On behalf of Barclay Damon’s Diversity Partner Committee, John Langan, assisted by Mark Whitford and Sanjeev Devabhakthuni, presented the award to Sheila.

Raising Awareness for Breast Cancer
Barclay Damon Tower was lit pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

NYSBA Annual Meeting
Sharon Brown was the lead partner for the firm’s Diversity Program contributing sponsorship and Women and Law Section program sponsorship. Dena DeFazio attended DEI Committee events; Dena is a co-chair of the committee.

Speaking Engagements to Raise Awareness for Issues Faced by the LGBTQIA+ Community
Dena DeFazio participated in the Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association’s “Pro Bono Training: Trying a Civil Rights Case” CLE program. Her presentation, “Representing LGBTQIA+ Clients in Federal Court,” covered topics such as terms and language, the federal legal protections landscape, ethics issues, and best practices for working with the LGBTQIA+ community. A few days later, Dena participated in an Albany Law School panel as part of the school’s Professional Identity Formation class for 1Ls, which focuses on cultivating values, behaviors, and ethics. Then, Dena took part in another Albany Law School panel, this one for its Government Law Center. The panel, “Transcending Gender, Sex, and the Law: Legal Issues Facing TGNCI Adults,” is part of a series exploring legal issues facing transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGNCI) people in New York State. This panel focused on existing laws that affect the TBNCI population and what role the legal community has in upholding their legal protections, especially in health care decision making, privacy rights, access to public spaces, and discrimination.

MBAWNY Meeting
The Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY) November general meeting was hosted by Barclay Damon at the Buffalo office. About 20 people attended in person with another dozen or so online. Corey Auerbach said, “Among the in-person attendees were a former 2018 1L summer associate, Sam Borbor-Sawyer, now at Philips Lytle, and Alicia Artis, the 2023 Monique Emdin Award winner. Alicia gave a first-hand account of how the award money helped pay for her bar prep and shared the exciting news that she passed the NYS bar and is pending admission.” Corey added, “The president of MBAWNY was very appreciative.”

Friendsgiving in Buffalo
The Buffalo Diversity Leadership Team hosted a Friendsgiving potluck lunch celebrating attorney and staff’s multicultural and diverse traditions. Colleagues were invited to bring a dish representative of their family heritage, ethnicity, or culture, or just something good to eat if they were able. In the spirit of the holidays, attendees were also asked to donate a nonperishable item to support FeedMore WNY. Corey Auerbach, in his welcoming remarks, eloquently shared that we were grateful to gather as part of the Barclay Damon family at this festive get-together launched by Bob Heary. 

A Time to Give 
The Buffalo Diversity Leadership Team sponsored its “Share the Warmth Mitten, Hat, and Scarf Drive” for the benefit of Buffalo Public School #45, also known as the International School. Colleagues brought in items to donate, which they hung on a “giving tree,” shown in the photo, and also made monetary donations to the drive.

The Importance of Diversity in Hiring
Corey Auerbach was featured in an in-depth report in Buffalo Business First, “Reflecting on the Past Year and Considerations for 2024: Publisher’s Dinner.” Corey was part of a panel joining the publication’s publisher for a wide-ranging conversation, which was reported in the publication, and one of the topics Corey is quoted on is diversity in hiring. “‘Barclay Damon is eagerly awaiting a gifted third-year student who was introduced to the firm and cultivated through our diversity initiative.... He is truly remarkable, and I am lucky to have his energy and excitement and to be able to cultivate that from an early stage,’ Auerbach said [referring to Brenden Diaz]. ‘I probably would not have had the opportunity to hire him if I first met him when he was a third-year law student.’”

DEI in New Haven
Penny Mason attended the Connecticut Bar Association’s Annual DEI Summit on behalf of the firm. Barclay Damon was a sponsor of the event.

Speaking Out About Authenticity

Janice Grubin was a speaker at the Tri-State Authentic Leadership Summit, presented by the Tri-State Chapter of the National Diversity Council. Janice’s presentation was “Living and Acting Authentically: LGBTQ+ Identity and Impact,” and she responded to questions as part of a panel. The firm was a sponsor of the event.

A Well-Deserved Award
Janice Grubin has been selected to receive the American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’s (SOGI) 2024 Stonewall Award. The Stonewall Award recognizes lawyers, members of the judiciary, and legal academics who have effected real change to remove barriers on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression in the legal profession.

Rochester Community Day Wrap-up
Colleagues from the Rochester office took part in a community day to assist Homesteads for Hope Community Farm. Sanjeev Devabhakthuni, on behalf of the Rochester Diversity Leadership Team, thanked everyone who participated, saying, “Homesteads expressed gratitude for the work from our volunteers, which included feeding chickens, gardening, landscaping, and setting up lights and furniture for their upcoming block party.” Daniel Martucci identified and coordinated this event. Sanjeev added, “We provided a lot of help to a worthy cause that needed it.”

Helping Women With Angels of Mercy
The Rochester Diversity Leadership Team hosted a DEI lunch ‘n’ learn. The speaker, Lauren VanCott, board member of Angels of Mercy, presented on the subject of human trafficking. Angels of Mercy is an organization dedicated to helping women in need locally, across the nation, and around the world.

A Walk for Down Syndrome
Lisa Arrington attended the Flower City Down Syndrome Network’s event Buddy Walk and shared information about the firm. Lisa is shown here with legal assistant Georgia Streeter’s son Quentin.

Seasonal Fun to Support a Good Cause
Barclay Damon once again sponsored the Bivona Holiday Lights Tour in the Rochester area. Over the last few years, we have enjoyed participating in this popular event, during which the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, a client of the firm, partners with some of the brightest and most festively decorated homes in the area to create a fun, family-centered tour. The center provides support and services for children experiencing child abuse.

Adopt a Family, With Elves
One of the Rochester Diversity Leadership Team’s holiday season initiatives to support the community was adopting a family through Cameron Community Ministries. The organization matched the office with a family with four children, each of whom had a wish list. Barclay Damon participants signed up to provide a gift, which, said Patrick Burke, “our merry staff of Barclay Damon elves helped wrap.” The helpful elves included Barb Evert, Michele Porter, and Vanezza Negron. The great news: all the wish lists were completely fulfilled. “Thanks to the many who helped make the season a little brighter for a family in our community,” said Patrick.

Holiday Collaboration to Tackle ALS
Tim Green and Steve Gleason, a former safety with the New Orleans Saints, teamed up with Massachusetts General Hospital to continue the fight to tackle ALS. At games in Atlanta and New Orleans, fans contributed to help fight the disease by participating in a 50/50 raffle with all proceeds benefiting the organizations Tackle ALS and Team Gleason.

Share the Warmth
The Syracuse Diversity Leadership Team also held its annual collection event, this year called “Share the Warmth From Head to Toe Holiday Drive.” The office collected essential items such as hats, gloves, scarves, other outerwear, and travel-size toiletries for distribution at the Samaritan Center, a not-for-profit that serves the hungry and those in need to promote their welfare, dignity, and self-sufficiency.

Summer Associate PGL Panel and Cocktail Party
In July, we hosted our annual panel discussion with the firm’s practice group leaders (PGLs), followed by a cocktail party in honor of this year’s summer associates. During the panel, the PGLs provided insights into their practice areas and individual career paths. The summer associates then had the opportunity to network with attorneys and professionals from offices across the firm’s platform at a party at Allison and John Langan’s home in Cazenovia, New York. Through these informative and fun activities, summer associates were able to gain a better understanding of Barclay Damon’s practices and culture. 

Lit in Honor and Support
Barclay Damon Tower was majestically lit red, white, and blue for Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11 and purple and teal for Suicide Prevention Month on September 12.

Helping MWBE Clients
Kyra Ganswith, with guidance from David Burch, successfully appealed a determination by the NYS Department of Economic Development, which is overseen by Empire State Development (ESD), denying the client’s application for certification as a woman-owned business enterprise. After appeal, Kyra and David worked closely with the company’s accountant to understand financial documents and the corporate structure in order to persuade ESD to reverse the denial before the hearing. The certification is important for the client to significantly increase their revenue by providing the ability to reach a broader network of customers and resources. The client was thrilled to receive recertification after a three-year battle. This is Kyra and David’s third successful settlement of an MWBE-certification appeal this year.

Affirmative Action’s Impact on Diversity Initiatives
An article by Dena DeFazio, “The Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Cases and the Impact on Diversity Initiatives,” was published in the summer issue of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s newsletter Stride. Dena is co-chair of the committee.

Alyssa Carbone Honored
Summer associate Alyssa Carbone is a recipient of a USLAW NETWORK Law School Diversity Scholarship. The scholarship program is part of the organization’s commitment to helping eligible diverse law students achieve their academic and professional dreams.

Tabling for Awareness
Bill Busler and Susan Benz participated in a vendor fair at the 2023 Developmental Disability Awareness Day Conference, sponsored by Person Centered Services, in Niagara Falls, New York.

Backpacks for Buffalo Kids
The Buffalo office Diversity Leadership Team sponsored a school supply and backpack collection drive for community youth to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo annual school supply drive, 2 Pack a Backpack. This year, the organization distributed school supplies to approximately 4,000 school-aged children in and around Buffalo. The drive was coordinated by Meghan Dwyer, who was interviewed on WGRZ about Barclay Damon’s participation.

Out and Proud
Janice Grubin was interviewed by Law360 Pulse, and the article, “LGBT Bar of NY Vice President Talks Pride and Backlash,” was featured as the lead story in their New York Pulse newsletter. See our News-page item about Janice’s interview here, including a link to the full article for Law360 Pulse subscribers.

Sharon Brown Honored
Sharon Brown has become a fellow of the American Bar Foundation following her nomination to the group by peers. Sharon’s inclusion makes her part of a global honorary society of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the profession and service to society. Membership is limited to 1 percent of US attorneys. In addition, Sharon was appointed to the executive board of the New York State Bar Association’s Women in Law Section and serves as the co-chair of the Committee for Awards and Honors.

Community Care in Rochester
The Rochester office sponsored an August school supply drive for Pencils & Paper, a program of Jewish Family Services, that serves the educational and creative needs of children in the Greater Rochester area by providing free supplies to teachers in high-poverty schools. This year, supporting organizations were assigned to collect a specific supply, and Barclay Damon was responsible for Crayola crayons and markers. Sanjeev Devabhakthuni and Patrick Burke organized our participation in the drive.

Barclay Damon was a team care sponsor for Jordan Health Foundation’s Patients First Annual Luncheon, held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Ray McCabe, Traci Boris, and Sheila Gaddis were among the Barclay Damon attendees.

The Importance of Diversity in the Insurance Industry 
Sanjeev Devabhakthuni and Joe Wilson presented at Rochester I-Day, an insurance industry event. The titles of their presentations were “Diversity, Inclusion, and Elimination of Bias in the Insurance Industry” and “Insurance Law: Issues in Unfair Claim Settlement Practices and Litigation.”

Doing Good in the Community
Syracuse colleagues hosted PEACE, Inc.’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s Annual Back to School Supplies Giveaway and Field Day, including setting up games for the kids. The event also featured lunch, Skippy’s ice cream truck, and fun prizes. At the end, the kids in attendance picked out backpacks and were invited to fill them with school supplies. Helping out and in attendance were Alexis Peckham, Mitch Katz, Payne Horning, Angie Lange, Leah Wolf, Deb Little, Margaret Talt, Alexandra Dimon, Zach Forward, Jon McSherry, Karina Shahine, Lauren Bianchi, Jess Kalahar, Heather Lamendola, Christopher Babiarz, John Sindoni, Kristie King, and summer associates Amie Mbye and Elias Gantos.

Diversity in Mentoring
Renato Smith is a mentor for the Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator® and participated in its “mentor swarm” activity to meet with the program’s startup cohort members. Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator invests $100,000 each and mentoring in up to ten companies per year led by Black founders.

Arriba, Arias! Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
Kayla Arias was invited to participate in a panel during a “Hispanic (and Latino/a/e/x) Heritage Month” celebration sponsored by Arriba, a new committee of the Puerto Rican Bar Association. It was held at the Central New York Philanthropy Center in Syracuse.

Passing the DEI Baton
Sharon Brown has been appointed Barclay Damon’s diversity partner and chair of the Diversity Partner Committee, effective April 3, 2023. Sharon takes over the role from Sheila Gaddis. Read the firm’s press release to learn more.

On a Mission to Review Our DEI Mission Statement
Barclay Damon has formed a Mission Statement Committee to review the firm’s DEI mission statement. The statement was last reviewed five years ago.

New Talent, New Perspectives
Barclay Damon has filled all five of its 1L summer associate positions. The five highly qualified students comprise an interesting and impressive group. The firm will also welcome 10 2L summer associates this year. Meghan Dwyer, co–summer associate partner, noted that we are doing well with our goal of increasing diversity in the summer-associate ranks. Of the 15 2023 summer associates, 11 are diverse—an impressive 73 percent. We’re excited for them to join us! 

NYSBA Happenings
Sharon Brown, Oliver Young, and Dena DeFazio were part of a task force that created the New York State Bar Association’s recently released “Report and Recommendations of the New York State Bar Association Task Force on Racism, Social Equity, and the Law.”

Barclay Damon was a sponsor of the Constance Baker Motley Symposium, “Fitisemanu v. United States: The Argument That Could Have Been,” and the Diversity Awards Program at the 2023 New York State Bar Association annual meeting, which was sponsored in part by the Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Dena DeFazio was a program chair for the event, which explored how the applicability of the Constitution to US territories impacts US nationals and the rights of US citizens. The program was presented by the Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Task Force on US Territories. Here are links to view videos of the symposium and the ceremony. Two law students, who represented the United States and American Samoa, received awards for best arguments.

Gaining Invaluable Experience
Olimata Jobe successfully completed the Albany County Bar Association program and gained considerable experience in regulatory and land use law. Olimata also contributed to the firm’s Albany office Diversity Leadership Team.

Applying CRT to Patent Law
Naresh Kannan was invited as a speaker at the Critical Race Theory Dialogue at Albany Law School on April 14, 2023. Naresh presented “Racial Disparities & Patent Law” and was part of a panel discussion.

Summer Associate Program News
As part of the 2023 summer associate recruitment efforts coordinated by Sharon Brown and Meghan Dwyer. Meghan and Andrew Carroll represented the firm at the University at Buffalo School of Law 2023 Law Career Fair, where they met with UB law students—1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls—looking for immediate and summer positions. Shared Meghan, “It was the first time the fair has been in person since the pandemic, and there was a wait list for employers. We did not sit down or stop talking for two hours and spoke with so many students—I want to say in the neighborhood of 200.”

Promoting Diversity: 2022 Hot List
Sarah Capungan was named to the Lawyers of Color 2022 Hot List, which recognizes junior- and mid-level attorneys who exemplify integrity, high achievement, leadership, and a passion for diversity. See our website News item about it here, including a link to Sarah’s profile in the list.

2023 LEAP Year Event
Barclay Damon sponsored the 2023 LEAP Year Event on February 23, 2023. The event is Leadership, Education & Athletics in Partnership’s (LEAP’s) annual fundraiser, where the community comes together to make LEAP’s free after-school and summer programs for youth from underserved New Haven neighborhoods possible. The event raised over $350,000 in support of LEAP’s mission to create a New Haven for our children.

DESK Networking
Penny Mason attended a fundraiser for the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK), an organization where the New Haven Diversity Leadership Team and others from the New Haven office regularly volunteer. “The event was an excellent opportunity to mingle with influential people from the area,” reported Penny afterward. “I sat next to a promising mayoral candidate and across from a DESK board member who is also active in the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association. During the course of the event, I was able to share information with other attendees about Barclay Damon and our major markets presence.”

Increasing Diversity in Tax Law
Sharon Brown presented “Diversity in Tax Practice” for law students at New York Law School.

Helping Feed Neighbors
Over the course of three days, attorneys and staff from Barclay Damon’s New York City office volunteered at a soup kitchen hosted at St. Bartholomew’s Church setting up and serving meals. On the first day, volunteers included Naomi Levin, Keith Costa, James Ko; on the second day, volunteers included Sara Dorchak and Meghan Tuma; and, on the third day, volunteers included Sharon Brown, Carolyn Trespasz, Gabrielle Figueroa, and Merrill Bergenfeld. There were also donations made, including by Michael Lane. Thanks to Megan Glynn for organizing the event.

New Haven colleagues also volunteered in shifts at Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK) participating in food prep, clean up, restocking, and distribution. Those volunteering included Lizz Acee, Charles Andres, Karen Francis, Megan Glynn, Chanda Kauffman-Harley, Ilan Markus, Penny Mason, Sherrie Monaco, and Brian Rich.

World of Inquiry Capstone Project 
Volunteers from Barclay Damon—Patrick Burke, Terry Emmens, Paul Sanders, and Jessica Tariq—were present for the morning panel session of the senior capstone project at Rochester’s World of Inquiry School. Each senior presented their proposal for review and approval to a committee that included a community member, a teacher, and a junior or two from the high school. Barclay Damon will be further involved in the capstone project as it develops throughout the school year, culminating in a final presentation of each project in April.

Preparing Law Students for Job Interviews
On January 26, 2023, Meghan Dwyer, Zach Forward, and Sharon Brown gave a presentation on behavioral-based interviewing for students at Syracuse University Law School.

NYSBA Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Sharon Brown and Dena DeFazio are members of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Dena was appointed co-chair of the Programming Subcommittee, and Sharon was appointed chair of the Events Subcommittee.

DEI State of the Firm Awardees
Congratulations to David Burch and Megan Glynn on their well-deserved DEI awards, which were announced during the DEI State of the Firm presentation.

Albany Office Community Day
The Albany Office had its annual Community Day with firm client Northern Rivers in August, during which it helped demolish and remove an old shed and performed gardening work on the Northern 
Rivers campus.

Legal Aid Society’s Justice for All Kickoff Event
Members of the Albany office attended the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York’s Justice for All Kickoff Event for a campaign to raise money to support free legal services to those who cannot afford them.

New York State Bar Association Pro Bono Panel
For the New York State Bar Association’s Partnership Conference Pro Bono Coordinators’ Network, David Cost was on a panel concerning law firms’ pro bono efforts, particularly ways to strengthen collaboration with pro bono legal service providers.

Recognition for a Job Well Done
Amanda Miller and Samuel Chubb volunteered to take on a pro bono case the Northern District of New York (NDNY) assigned to the firm involving a prisoner’s alleged First Amendment violations. Amanda and Sam were recognized during a reception at the NDNY courthouse for their pro bono service this year. 

Feed Albany
Members of the Albany office volunteered with Feed Albany to prepare meals for the Thanksgiving holiday. David Solimeno, Amanda Miller, Dan Krzykowski, Kristen Abele, and Paige Beyer were among those who boxed over 200 dinners, and other members of the Albany office made donations.

Albany (Fun)draising Run
Colleagues in the Albany office took part in the Albany County Bar Association Law Day 3.5-mile race at the Crossings Park of Colonie, New York. The annual fundraiser supports local organizations that assist domestic violence victims and their families and that provide access to justice at the Albany County Family Court.

Minority Bar Association of WNY Board of Directors Meeting
The Buffalo office hosted the October meeting of the Minority Bar Association of WNY (MBAWNY) board of directors. Larry Watters, the current MBAWNY president, and other board members, including Oliver Young, convened in the Morey Board Room in the Avant Building. Attorneys and staff who work in the office were invited to stop in and say hello before the meeting got started.

Share the Warmth Drive in Buffalo
The Buffalo office collected mittens, gloves, hats, scarves, and socks as part of its Share the Warmth Drive, which helps those in the Buffalo community stay warm, comfortable, and safe all winter long. The beneficiary of this year’s drive was Journey’s End Refugee Services.

2022 Barclay Damon United Way Campaign
This year, Barclay Damon’s Buffalo office raised over $8,000 for the United Way. Donations helped those in the Western New York community, including helping children reach their full potential, families achieve financial stability, and people live healthier lives. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Connecting in Connecticut
Thanks to Penny Mason for this a photo of a fun event: a combined surprise party for Karen Francis to celebrate her upcoming wedding and an end-of-summer party for the New Haven office. “Everyone was there, including Jack O’Keefe, who took the picture,” said Penny. 

Inclusion Lunches
The New Haven office continues to hold an all-hands BYO lunch in the office every Thursday as part of its Inclusion Initiative.

Volunteering With DESK
Karen Francis, a senior legal assistant in the New Haven office, has signed up to volunteer once a month with the New Haven Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK). This is the soup kitchen that the New Haven office assisted as part of its Community Day. Thank you, Karen!

Connecticut Bar Association Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit
Penny Mason represented the firm at the Connecticut Bar Association Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit. The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit is an innovative and collaborative professional development experience designed to empower leaders in the legal profession to act toward making Connecticut a more diverse and inclusive bench and bar. 

Ask-a-Lawyer Clinic at Yale University
In partnership with the New Haven County Bar Association, Keith Costa volunteered to serve as a pro bono lawyer at their Ask-a-Lawyer (AAL) Clinic in September at Yale University’s McDougal Graduate Student Center in New Haven. Keith met with several Yale graduate students whose legal problems ranged from an auto warranty issue to a landlord–tenant dispute. Each person was entitled to receive a free 15-minute consultation. Keith’s role was to serve as the New Haven County Bar Association’s intake attorney since AAL Clinics do not provide individual legal representation; all matters were then referred to local private attorneys. Keith also served at the AAL Clinics on October 19 and November 16.

Pro Bono Pays Off for First Responders
Charles Nerko was quoted in a story in the Blue Stone Press, “First Aid Squad Gets Help With New Paid EMTs,” regarding his pro bono work for the Kerhonkson-Accord First Aid Squad (KAFAS), which, with the firm’s assistance, secured funding to hire EMTs to supplement declining numbers of EMS volunteers. Kevin Szczepanski also worked on this matter, advising on insurance arrangements. As noted in the article, Charles is chair of KAFAS’s advisory board.

Rochester Office Community Day
The Rochester Diversity Leadership Team completed its Community Day with Foodlink. Foodlink is a Rochester-based not-for-profit dedicated to ending hunger and building healthier communities by addressing both the symptoms and root causes of food insecurity. They serve as the hub of the emergency food system across a 10-county service area. As a leading public health organization, Foodlink administers many programs and initiatives that aim to build the health and wealth of communities. Our volunteers spent the afternoon in the warehouse at food sorting stations, sorting and inspecting donated items before they left the facility. 

Adopt-a-Family With Cameron Community Ministries
This year, the Rochester office adopted a family through Cameron Community Ministries. The family has four children, and each child provided a wish list as well as clothing sizes. Members of the Rochester office provided wrapped gifts and monetary donations, completely fulfilling the family’s wish lists.

Yoga at the Rochester Office
The Rochester office held a yoga session with Vesna Sanders, a local yoga teacher, followed by a vegan lunch on October 18. Hosting activities like yoga is just one way the firm supports wellness on the job.

Syracuse DLT Lunch ‘n’ Learn
The Syracuse Diversity Leadership Team hosted a lunch ‘n’ learn on October 3, during which Paula Johnson discussed her cold case justice initiative. Johnson is a professor at Syracuse University College of Law and was recently appointed to the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission. This commission advises and educates decision makers in the New York Court System on issues surrounding litigants and employees of color, implementing recommendations in addressing these issues to ensure equitable justice in New York State.

PEACE, Inc.’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Field Day and Backpack Giveaway
Volunteers from our Syracuse office participated in PEACE Inc.’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Field Day and Backpack Giveaway Event on September 10 at Santaro Park. They helped set up and run yard games. The Bigs and Littles took part in a kickball game and field-day games, and prizes were given out to the winners.

American Bar Association Well-Being Pledge
Recognizing that substance use and mental health problems represent a significant challenge for the legal profession and acknowledging that more can and should be done to improve the health and well-being of the members of our legal community, Barclay Damon has once again reaffirmed its support for the American Bar Association’s Well-Being Campaign. The campaign includes a commitment to adopt and prioritize the Well-Being Pledge, which is a seven-point framework for building a better future. As part of this commitment, Barclay Damon has taken steps to challenge the status quo of drinking by de-emphasizing the expectation of alcohol at events. At the March retreat, we worked with Turning Stone Resort Casino to create and offer a non-alcoholic drink called “The Blue Chip,” which was a mix of non-alcoholic blue Curaçao, lemon-lime soda, and lime juice. 
New York State Bar Association Diversity Symposium and Awards Ceremony
Barclay Damon was a sponsor of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Diversity Symposium and Awards Ceremony on April 1, 2022. The NYSBA Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion presented a demonstration argument of US v. Vaello-Madero, which was followed by the awards ceremony and diversity reception.
On April 29, 2022, Dena DeFazio, associate, presented on a panel titled “A Primer on Gender Identity and Pronoun Usage” at the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) Annual Spring Meeting in Washington DC. The panel presented on current trends related to gender identity and pronoun usage, workplace liability issues, and more. The panel was presented by ABI’s Diversity Working Group and was the very first diversity, equity, and inclusion panel hosted by ABI.


Oliver Young Named 2022 IDEA Award Winner
Oliver Young, of counsel, was named a 2022 IDEA (Inclusion Diversity Equity Awareness) Award winner by Buffalo Business First, joining educators, entrepreneurs, and attorneys as honorees. Fifteen people and seven organizations were chosen from nearly 50 nominations for championing diversity and inclusion. Oliver received his award at a ceremony held on February 17, 2022. 

UB Law Students of Color Dinner
On April 14, 2022, Oliver Young, of counsel, Corey Auerbach, partner, Ali Fatmi, associate, Bob Heary, partner, and Brendan Diaz, summer associate, attended the University at Buffalo School of Law’s 31st Annual Students of Color Dinner, which celebrates the graduation and achievements of the third-year members of the Black Law Students Association, the Latin American Law Students Association, and the Native American Law Student Association. At the dinner, the Students of Color Committee awarded the Monique E. Emdin Award, which is given to a graduating law student who exemplifies the characteristics of the late Monique E. Emdin, a 2007 graduate of the law school and a former associate at Barclay Damon. This was the 13th year that the award has been given at the Students of Color Dinner.

This year’s award was presented to Shakierah Smith, a native of Rochester, New York, and first-generation college student who completed her undergraduate degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Shakierah is the first diversity, equity, and inclusion editor for the Buffalo Law Review and is a founding member of the recently formed First Generation Law Students Association. Read more about the Monique E. Emdin Award here.


University of Chicago Diversity + Inclusion Summit
On February 3, 2022, Janice Grubin, partner, participated in a panel during the University of Chicago’s Career Advancement Employer Panelist Event Briefing at its Diversity + Inclusion Summit. The overall theme was “Advocating for Yourself and Understanding Your Rights in the Workplace.” Janice and co-panelist Amber Bennett of Mayer Brown focused on advocacy. The event was intended to provide University of Chicago students with the opportunity to learn more from employers in their fields of interest.

Office Inclusion Lunches
As part of our Inclusion Initiative, the New Haven office holds an all-hands lunch every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. There is no agenda; it is completely social and participated in by everyone in the office that day. Some people who work remotely most days often come in to join. Anyone visiting from the firm’s other offices is welcome to attend. This photo from February 24, 2022, shows a typical Thursday lunch.

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute’s 2022 Catalyst for Change Event
Barclay Damon—through Stephen Oleskey, of counsel and a member of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute’s (MLRI) Leadership Committee—was a sponsor of the MLRI’s Catalyst for Change 2022 event. The event on April 28, 2022, raised over $160,000 to support MLRI’s Race Equity Project, which undertakes advocacy in collaboration with community partners to address and dismantle racial disparities and racialized policies and practices that disadvantage the commonwealth’s communities of color.  


2022 World of Inquiry Capstone Project
As part of the Rochester office’s Diversity Leadership Team’s continuing Pipeline Initiative, representatives from the Rochester office participated in the World of Inquiry School (WOIS) Senior Capstone Project. Before graduation, WOIS seniors explore a topic of interest in depth and develop a related project that contributes to the community. Barclay Damon will be involved further in the Senior Capstone Project as it develops throughout the school year, culminating in a final presentation of each project in May. 

Rock Your Socks Day
To show our support for World Down Syndrome Day on March 22, 2022, the Barclay Damon team wore bright-colored socks as part of the Rock Your Socks campaign. The #RockYourSocks slogan was chosen because chromosomes resemble socks and having three copies of chromosome 21—instead of two—is as unique as wearing mismatched socks.


Wear Red Day
On February 4, 2022, attorneys and staff in the Syracuse office supported the American Heart Association by wearing red to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally. Barclay Damon Tower was also lit up red for the occasion. 
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York: President of the Board of Directors

Alan Peterman, partner, was named president of the board of directors of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York. He has been a member of the board for five years and most recently held the position of first vice president. 

Happy International Women’s Day!
On March 7, 2022, Barclay Damon Tower was lit up purple to recognize International Women’s Day on March 8 and to celebrate March as Women’s History Month.

Barclay Damon Shines Light on Problem Gambling
On March 8, 2022, Barclay Damon Tower was lit up yellow to recognize March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month. 

Barclay Damon Supports Ukraine
To show our support for Ukraine, Barclay Damon Tower was lit up yellow and blue on March 9, 2022. Attorneys and staff throughout Barclay Damon’s offices also raised money for Ukrainian relief organizations. The heroism, strength, and passion of the Ukrainian people has been nothing short of extraordinary and an inspiration to all of us. We are unified in our desire for peace to be swiftly restored. 

Barclay Damon Receives Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York Distinguished Service Award
On December 7, 2021, Barclay Damon was honored with the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York’s (LASNNY) Distinguished Service Award. Lillian Moy, executive director of LASNNY, presented the award to David Cost, who accepted the award on the firm’s behalf. Upon remarks about Barclay Damon’s mandatory pro bono requirement, the room gave a round of applause.

2021 LASNNY Justice for All Kickoff
David Cost was a speaker at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York’s Justice for All Campaign as co-chair of the drive that raises money to help indigent individuals to access to legal services in the Capital Region.

Albany Law School Diversity Mentorship Program
In October 2021, the Albany office began its annual Diversity Mentorship Program with Albany Law School. As part of the program, Barclay Damon attorneys mentor Albany Law School students from groups underrepresented in the legal profession. Thanks to Ben Wilkinson, Jen Cruz, Naresh Kannan, David Solimeno, Brad Gallagher, George Pond, Meaghan Murphy, Oksana Ludd, Brian Culnan, Amanda Miller, Jamie Dughi Hogenkamp, Michael Murphy, and Dena DeFazio for volunteering to be mentors!

New York Capital Region Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Fiesta4
The Albany office was a sponsor of the New York Capital Region Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Fiesta4, which raises money for education programs for Hispanic individuals and for opportunities for Hispanic-owned businesses in the Capital Region.
In Our Own Voices Unity Through Diversity: The Power of Unity 2021 Conference
Dena DeFazio was selected to be a speaker at Unity Through Diversity: The Power of Unity 2021 conference sponsored by In Our Own Voices. Her presentation was “Legal Considerations in LGBTQAI+ Health Care.”


Victory Sports Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Heidi Ruchala serves on the board of Victory Sports Global Outreach, Inc., which had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of its new location in Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, New York, on November 9, 2021. Click here to see a photo gallery from the ceremony.

Buffalo Community Day
On October 26, 2021, Barclay Damon’s Buffalo office partnered with FeedMore WNY for Community Day. Volunteers spent the afternoon working at the FeedMore WNY warehouse, packaging food to be distributed to local school children in need. FeedMore WNY is a combination of the Food Bank and Meals on Wheels programs in Western New York. Within the past year, their programs have distributed more than 16 million meals to homebound neighbors and through nearly 300 pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, and other hunger-relief agencies throughout Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua Counties. 

Minority Bar Foundation Virtual Scholarship and Awards Program 
October 26, 2021, members of Barclay Damon attended the Minority Bar Foundation’s Virtual Scholarship and Awards Program. Barclay Damon was also a sponsor of the event. This program recognized individuals in the Western New York legal community who have demonstrated a significant commitment to effectuating changes within the legal system that address the needs of the minority community and who have exemplified high standards of the profession by virtue of scholastic achievement and leadership.

2021 United Way Campaign
The Barclay Damon team of Ali Fatmi, Samantha Podlas, and Nancy Smith headed the 2021 Barclay Damon United Way Campaign, which raised over $17,300 for the United Way! All donations to the United Way help those in our community, including helping children reach their full potential, families achieve financial stability, and people live healthier lives. Thank you to everyone that participated.


Join LEAP in Creating a New Haven for Our Children
Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership, Inc. (LEAP) was founded in 1992 by educators, students, and community activists to address the historic disinvestment in young people of color in New Haven. College and high school student counselors provide LEAP’s direct services to younger children. They help with homework, provide emotional support, lead classroom literacy instruction, and teach swim lessons, cooking classes, and computer science. The neighborhoods served by LEAP have child poverty rates ranging from 35 to 58 percent, more than three times the Connecticut average of 15 percent. LEAP has recently been engaged to manage the newly reopened Dixwell Community House (Q House) and to operate the programs that will run there. In November 2021, LEAP participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony reopening the refurbished Q House. The original Q House was formed in 1924 and had a New Haven legacy firm member on its board until it closed almost 20 years ago. Ilan Markus provided pro bono bankruptcy representation at that time. Additionally, at the request of Barclay Damon’s Major Markets Diversity Leadership Team led by Penny Mason, Barclay Damon is sponsoring LEAP’S annual fundraising gala, the LEAP Year Event, which will take place on February 24, 2022.

New Haven County Bar Association Toys for Tots 
In partnership with the New Haven County Bar Association, Barclay Damon participated in the Toys for Tots drive. 


Bivona Holiday Lights Tour
This year, Barclay Damon once again sponsored the Bivona Holiday Lights Tour. The Bivona Child Advocacy Center partnered with some of the brightest and most festively decorated homes in the Rochester area to bring attendees a fun, socially distant and family-centered Bivona Holiday Lights Tour. Bivona offered a Sleigh Box, which included maps with routes of decorated homes, holiday treats, and festive family activities. 

Rochester Community Day
The Rochester office completed their Community Day at Conkey Corner Park. Their efforts focused on a variety of tasks to clean the park. They had a great turnout and their efforts made an immediate, visible impact. Will Macaluso, the Genesee Land Trust coordinator, was very appreciative of the Rochester office’s efforts, successfully prepping the park for Harvest Fest.

Z-Code Zones for EnCompass
Patrick Burke volunteered with EnCompass, which Barclay Damon partnered with for the Book Fairies Drive earlier in 2021. Patrick helped put together their Z-Code Zones—student-designed spaces that have a specific focus—in which students can work on developing skills to prepare for their future. He unpacked supply boxes; assembled desks, shelves, chairs, and furniture; set up wall hangings; and cut vinyl to place over their older windows.


Syracuse Annual Share the Warmth From Head to Toe Holiday Drive
Throughout the month of December 2021, Margaret Talt, who led the Syracuse Diversity Leadership Team in organizing the Share the Warmth From Head to Toe Holiday Drive, and John Sindoni collected over 50 items from the Syracuse office that were then donated to the Samaritan Center. John is a board member of the Samaritan Center. Here Margaret and John are pictured with Mary Beth Frey, the executive director of the Samaritan Center. 

Walk for Wildwood
Barclay Damon sponsored the Walk for Wildwood, which helps raise money to sustain Wildwood’s programming for over 3,000 individuals and their families with developmental disabilities in the Capital Region. Margaret Surowka and her dog participated in the walk, which took place on September 25, 2021.

Justice for All Campaign
David Cost co-chaired the Justice for All Campaign for the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York. This year’s campaign focused on mitigating the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on many families and ensuring that all area families had access to legal services to protect their rights. Barclay Damon was also, again, a lead campaign supporter of the campaign, which kicked off on September 30, 2021.

LAA Housing Campaign
The New Haven office contributed to the New Haven Legal Assistance Association’s (LAA) housing campaign. In total, the campaign raised over $160,000. LAA will use the funds to increase staffing and serve New Haven residents facing eviction and homelessness. Barclay Damon supported the campaign by donating $2,000. Fundraisers’ generosity in contributing to the campaign was recognized on November 17, 2021, at a reception held at the Elm City Club in New Haven.

Three Barclay Damon Attorneys Named to US District Court for the Western District of New York Pro Bono Honor Roll
Mike Ferdman, Megan Bahas, and Sarah O’Brien were recognized by Chief Judge Elizabeth Wolford and named to the inaugural US District Court for the Western New York Pro Bono Honor Roll for providing pro bono representation in the district from January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. Since April 1, 2020, the court has appointed pro bono counsel to eligible pro se litigants in over 30 civil cases.

Barclay Damon Plays Kickball to Support Spirited Athletes Bold at Heart (SABAH)
Ryan Altieri, Jonathan Atlikhani, Ari Goldberg, Liz Krajnik, Sarah O’Brien, and several non-Barclay Damon team members participated in the fifth annual Kickstock kickball tournament on August 28, 2021, to support Spirited Athletes Bold at Heart (SABAH). A SABAH athlete named Olivia, who was also the Barclay Damon team’s coach, helped the team reach the playoffs. Unfortunately, in a tiebreaker loss to New Kicks on the Block, the team didn’t make it to the semifinals. On a happy note, over $50,000 was raised to benefit SABAH.

34th Annual A Salute to Veterans Golf Tournament
On July 26, 2021, the foursome of Glenn Pezzulo, Michael Dehmler, Corey Auerbach, and Steve Tranelli (pictured left to right), participated in the 34th annual A Salute to Veterans Golf Tournament hosted by CDS Wolf Foundation in support of Warrior Salute Veteran Services at the historic Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, NY. Warrior Salute Veteran Services provides veterans with transitional housing and personalized support at no cost to the veteran.

DEI Award
This year, the annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award was presented to Cassandra Rich by Mark Whitford at the DEI State of the Firm event on October 20, 2021. The award is given annually to someone who demonstrates ongoing effort to support firm DEI initiatives and who embodies a spirit of welcoming and inclusion to others at the firm. Despite joining the firm right before the COVID-19 shutdown, Cassie was recognized for diving into the Rochester DLT and assisting in organizing efforts like a lunch ‘n’ learn on redlining discrimination, a collection effort for the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, and a local park cleanup for the Rochester office community day.

Barclay Damon Is a Pro Bono Champion!
Gabrielle Figueroa and Barclay Damon were selected by the Volunteer Lawyers Project of CNY as 2021 Pro Bono Champion Award winners. Gabby was honored with the Pro Bono Coordinator Award for her work coordinating pro bono services, and Barclay Damon was honored with the Family Court Clinic Award for our commitment to the Volunteer Lawyers Project of CNY’s Family Court Clinic. The awards were presented at the second annual Cheers for a Cause Fundraiser held on September 30, 2021.

Community Day With Wildwood 
On June 24, 20 volunteers from the Albany office participated in Community Day with Wildwood, an organization that provides supports and services to people of all ages with conditions described as developmental disabilities, complex learning disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders. Barclay Damon’s volunteers were Wildwood’s first in-person volunteers in over 15 months! At the first location, volunteers created a vegetable garden space at one of Wildwood’s residential programs in Schenectady, NY, and at the second location, volunteers did landscaping and lawn clean-up work at one of Wildwood’s residential programs in Albany. Amy Leisenfelder from Wildwood said, “Thank you ALL for such a fantastic day filled with new friends, sunshine, and A LOT of hard work!”

Timely Thought Leadership 
Dena DeFazio and Michael Sciotti co-authored the article “When an Employee Transitions: What Every Employer Should Know”  for USLAW Magazine. 

Happy Pride!
Barclay Damon and community partner In Our Own Voices, Inc. sponsored the 15th annual Say It Loud! Black & Latin@ Gay Pride.

The Western New York 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge
The Buffalo and Clarence offices are participating in the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County’s 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge. This email series takes participants on a 21-day journey of learning and self-discovery that aims to develop more effective social justice habits around issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership. It also seeks to help participants develop a deeper understanding of how inequity and racism affect our lives and community. 

Thank You to Oliver Young!
Thank you to Oliver Young for his year of hard work and dedicated service as the president of the Bar Association of Erie County! Despite the challenging times, Oliver and the BAEC made diversity and inclusion more of a focus for the legal community this year. During Oliver’s tenure, the BAEC passed a resolution that calls for members to recognize and educate others on the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women attorneys, attorneys of color, and law students of color. The resolution also asked all attorneys to take the pledge to “Challenge Disparity, Build Diversity.” Thank you, Oliver, for all your efforts!

Suffolk University Ambassadors for Inclusion Program
Sharon Brown participated in the Suffolk University Ambassadors for Inclusion five-week program from May 27 to June 24. The program covered the following content areas: diversity, equity, inclusion, intersectionality, allyship, history, and privilege and cultural competence (humility).

NYSBA Youth Law Day Preparations
Sharon also serves as a member of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and co-chairs the D&I Youth Law Day Subcommittee. Youth Law Day partners with NYS law schools to develop events and to recruit speakers that engage underserved high school students about the excitement of practicing law, the important contributions of attorneys, and the need for the legal profession to reflect the diverse communities it serves. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was not Youth Law Day in 2020 or 2021. Sharon and the Youth Law Day Subcommittee are gearing up for the 2022 Youth Law Day event. 

Bivona Child Advocacy Center Golf Tournament
On June 28, Mark Whitford and Nick Scarfone participated in the Bivona Child Advocacy Center Golf Tournament with firm clients from Leonard’s Express, Inc. Barclay Damon was one of the sponsors of the tournament, which raises money to support the agency’s mission to provide support services for abused children. 

EnCompass Book Fairies Program 
In May, the Rochester office participated in the EnCompass: Resources for Learning Book Fairies program. The goal was to place books and other literacy-related goodies into the hands of 500 elementary students in the city of Rochester. Many students do not have books at home and have limited access to school or public libraries (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic). Just before summer break, every student received a special visit from the “book fairies” and received a gift bag containing a craft kit, snack, journal, writing materials, and, of course, a book.

Virtual Lunch With 1L Summer Associate Theresa Oliver
Throughout the summer, Rochester attorneys have been participating in a virtual lunch program with 1L Summer Associate Theresa Oliver. Utilizing Smartsheets and Microsoft Teams, the program provides a one-on-one informal setting where Theresa can meet and foster relationships with our Rochester attorneys in these continued semi-virtual times. Seven Rochester attorneys have participated in this program thus far, providing key opportunities for Theresa to network and develop her legal knowledge and skills. 

Markus Paul Foundation Gold Tournament
Barclay Damon, Tim Green, and Tackle ALS were key sponsors of the first annual Markus Paul Foundation Golf Tournament on June 7. Markus was a former football teammate of Tim’s at Syracuse University, followed by five seasons playing in the NFL, and 22 years as a strength and conditioning coach for the Patriots, Giants, and the Cowboys, leading to five Super Bowl rings. Donations from the tournament have allowed the Markus Paul Foundation to provide a $10,000 scholarship to an Osceola High School student athlete, a $10,000 scholarship to a walk-on football player at Syracuse University, and a $10,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Club in Kissimmee, Florida. 

Syracuse Heart (Walk) Challenge Update
As part of the Syracuse Heart Challenge, Barclay Damon helped the American Heart Association raise over $326,000 in support of critical research and education programs that will impact generations to come. Barclay Damon was the matching gifts sponsor for the kickoff this year, bringing in nearly $8,000. Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2021 Syracuse Heart Challenge!

2021 Diversity 1L Summer Associate Program
Barclay Damon is pleased to welcome Kaitlynn Chopra (Albany), Qui'Essence Harris (Buffalo), Theresa Oliver (Rochester), and Autumn Burgin (Syracuse) as participants in our annual Diversity 1L Summer Associate Program. Please be sure to say hello and welcome if you see them in the office!

Welcome to Our Spring Intern Syeda Zahra
Through the Albany County Bar Association’s Diversity Internship Program, the Albany Office has a spring intern, Syeda Zahra, who is a 3L at Albany Law School. Syeda has worked with attorneys in multiple practice areas so far, and we are very happy to have her as part of the team.

Justice for All Campaign
Barclay Damon was again a proud sponsor of the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York’s Justice for All Campaign, which raises money to help fund access to legal services to help with unemployment, homelessness prevention, education, disability, and hundreds of other civil legal matters. David Cost is co-chair of the campaign, and many Albany attorneys made generous donations to continue to help support this worthy cause.

Top 40 Under 40 Black Lawyers in New York
Kadeem Wolliaston was selected for inclusion in the National Black Lawyers—Top 40 Under 40 Black Lawyers in New York list. 

21 Day Diversity Learning Challenge
The Buffalo and Clarence offices participated in the 21 Day Diversity Learning Challenge that was coordinated by the Bar Association of Erie County. Participants were provided with information in various media formats covering a wide range of structural, institutional, and cultural aspects of racial diversity and injustice faced by Black Americans. It was presented through an online format over the course of 21 consecutive days. Though the challenge was intended to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the links are still active and anyone can take the challenge at any time. If you would like to take the challenge, contact Jen Leonardi for the link. 

RCJ Trivia Night
On March 25, 2021, Buffalo and Clarence attorneys participated virtually in Trivia Night to benefit the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP). The event was coordinated by Rising Champions for Justice (RCJ), which is a group of young professionals dedicated to furthering the VLP’s mission to provide free legal services to low-income people while gaining valuable board experience and professional development. Arianna Kwiatkowski, who was recently appointed to the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project Rising Champions for Justice Board, coordinated Barclay Damon’s participation in the event.

DEI Email to USLAW Diversity Council Steering Committee Leader
Peter Marlette was recently contacted by Mert Howard, partner at Hanson Bridgett and Steering Committee leader on the USLAW Diversity Council, encouraging the firm to get involved with the USLAW Diversity Council. Peter responded with an email outlining Barclay Damon’s ever-evolving DEI initiatives. 

Holiday Giving
During the holiday season, individuals from Barclay Damon’s major markets offices contributed to a number of their favorite charities, such as local food banks and soup kitchens and area legal aid organizations. In lieu of holiday gifts to adult family members, some made donations to the charities the family members selected, such as Feeding America, Wounded Warriors, and Planned Parenthood. 

Galas for LeGaL and LEAP
Barclay Damon was a sponsor of two gala fundraisers for LeGaL and LEAP. Janice Grubin reported that the LeGaL gala was a huge success. Held virtually this year, several members of the firm attended the gala, which raised more money than last year. Penny Mason reported on the LEAP gala, which was held on the same night. LEAP, which stands for Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership, is a program that works with New Haven’s inner-city children in after-school and summer programs and also trains young counselors and mentors. It was likewise virtual this year, with a reception featuring speakers who are founders, leaders, and students. This event also raised a record amount of money for LEAP’s work. Four major markets colleagues attended.

DEI Lunch ‘n’ Learn
On March 4, 2021, the firm held a lunch ‘n’ learn titled “Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws” facilitated by Penny Mason and Janice Grubin. The lunch ‘n’ learn featured speakers Christopher R. Riano and Professor William N. Eskridge Jr. and covered same-sex-marriage aspects of topics ranging from the evolution of religion to sexuality, sex, and gender. The speakers are the authors of the book after which the lunch ‘n’ learn was named. 

Celebrating and Supporting Armenian and Lebanese Culture
Natalie Hajinelian, legal secretary, is a daughter and wife of Lebanese Armenian immigrants and was born and raised in Hawaii. She says, “I find it to be my responsibility to proudly represent the cultural diversity of my various origins.” Before the COVID-19 pandemic, she would celebrate her culture by partaking in cultural events and activities, such as dancing the kochari (a traditional Armenian dance), commemorating her Armenian ancestors who were victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 during April and especially on April 24, which is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, and sending care packages back home. Now Natalie focuses on supporting Armenian and Lebanese businesses by purchasing their products, including everyday items like soorj (Armenian coffee), zhourat (a Lebanese herbal tea blend), and arak (a Levantine unsweetened distilled spirit made from anise).

Natalie uses social media to amplify the voices of these businesses. She says, “Social media has become such a powerful tool, and through it, I have obtained the role of a social media activist for the people of Lebanon and Armenia. I report and repost businesses, products, news, petitions, on-ground NGOs, and donation centers. Having volunteered in these countries, I have always made sure to leverage my connections, and continuously work on bridging the gap between the two worlds.” 

Senior Capstone Project
Representatives from our Rochester office participated in the senior Capstone Project at the World of Inquiry School #58 (WOI). Each senior has to complete a two-semester process before graduation. During the second part of the process, they explore a topic of interest to them in depth and develop a project around that topic that contributes to the community. Unique to 2021, all Capstone Projects were presented via Zoom. Sanjeev Devabhakthuni, Matthew Paris, and Patrick Burke, office manager, volunteered for the morning panel session where each senior at WOI presented their proposals for review and approval to a committee that included a community member, a teacher, a junior from the high school, and a sixth grader from the middle school. Barclay Damon will be further involved in the Capstone Project as it develops throughout the school year, culminating in a final presentation of each project in May. Our work with WOI is part of our continuing Pipeline Initiative through the DLT. Feel free to contact any member of the Rochester DLT if you have any questions.

1L Diversity Mentoring Program
For the fourth consecutive year, the Syracuse office has continued its 1L Diversity Mentoring Program in partnership with the Syracuse University College of Law. This program takes place throughout the spring semester, with 20 mentees participating this year. The program connects firm attorneys with 1Ls from historically underrepresented groups within the legal profession. .

Syracuse Heart (Walk) Challenge
In lieu of an in-person Heart Walk this year, the American Heart Association is instead holding a month-long Heart Challenge. The Barclay Damon Walk Team entered into a friendly competition with the legal department of National Grid, who is also a sponsor and participant in the Syracuse Heart Challenge. The “battle of the companies” was to see who could get more people registered on their teams by March 31, 2021. Barclay Damon met its goal of registering 100 participants and has raised over $3,296! The teams will also compete to see who can get the most steps throughout April. In an email to Brenda Colella, Kristen Thompson Henry, director of the Syracuse Heart Challenge, said, “This challenge is sparking national attention at AHA! We will be highlighted in our next development newsletter nationwide!”
Wear Red Day and BD Tower Lit Up Red
On February 5, 2021, attorneys and staff in the Syracuse office supported the American Heart Association by wearing red to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally. Barclay Damon Tower was also lit up red for the occasion.


Albany Diversity Mentorship Program
Albany kicked off its Diversity Mentorship Program this year with the highest turnout of students ever and the highest number of attorneys from Albany participating. The meeting was the first-ever virtual kickoff.

Fourth Quarter Lunch ‘n’ Learn
Dena DeFazio gave a presentation called “Understanding Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression” as the fourth-quarter lunch ‘n’ learn from the Albany office.


2020 United Way Campaign
This year our Buffalo and Clarence offices participated virtually in the 2020 Buffalo and Erie County United Way Campaign. Gifts to the United Way help the local community, including helping children reach their full potential, families achieve financial stability, and people live healthier lives. 

“Challenge Disparity, Build Diversity” Pledge
Attorneys in Buffalo and Clarence participated in a joint effort of the Bar Association of Erie County, Minority Bar Association of Western New York, Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, and University at Buffalo Law Alumni Association to encourage attorneys to prioritize diversity and mitigate COVID-19’s effects in these difficult times. This included a challenge to each member of the legal profession to take a pledge to “challenge disparity, build diversity.” Read the pledge here.

Community Day/Bar Association of Erie County Yuletide Challenge Toy Drive 
The Buffalo and Clarence offices held a Community Day in support of the Legal Aid Bureau’s Attorneys for Children Unit. The Legal Aid lawyers, social workers, child advocates, and staff respond daily to the challenging and often heart-breaking life circumstances of the children they support. The Buffalo and Clarence offices collected toys for children involved in abuse and neglect proceedings in Erie County.


Community Servings’ Pie in the Sky
Ben Carroll and Siobhan Tolan teamed up with Community Servings’ Pie in the Sky event to sell pies in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Each year, Pie in the Sky uses the proceeds from its annual holiday sale to prepare and deliver home-cooked meals to those in need throughout Massachusetts. Last year, Pie in the Sky raised $850,000, which provided a Thanksgiving meal to tens of thousands of critically and chronically ill Massachusetts residents. This year, Ben and Siobhan raised $1,600 for the Barclay Damon team, which made ours the top law firm team and the 19th team overall in Boston. Ben notes, “Many donated within Barclay Damon, including from the Upstate New York offices.”


Bivona Child Advocacy Center’s Holiday Lights Tour
Barclay Damon is sponsoring a holiday event organized by the Bivona Child Advocacy Center, which provides support and services for children experiencing child abuse. Bivona organized the tour with lighted homes in the Rochester area. In addition to the firm’s sponsorship of the event, the Rochester office raised more than $800 to support it. Funds will help children and families in the Rochester community this holiday season.

Foodlink for Community Day
The Rochester office teamed up with Foodlink for their Community Day this year. Foodlink is a regional food hub and the Feeding America food bank serving Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties. Their operations target the root causes of hunger and distribute food to a network of human service agencies, serving meals through their commercial kitchen and offering more than 30 food-related programs. The Rochester office donated over 135 pounds of food and more than $2,100.


Virtual Food Drive for Food Bank of Central New York
In lieu of its traditional Community Day activities and as part of Giving Tuesday, the Syracuse office hosted a virtual food drive in support of the Food Bank of Central New York. The Food Bank of Central New York partners with 282 emergency food programs in the counties of Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and St. Lawrence. It works to eliminate hunger through nutritious food distribution, education, and advocacy in cooperation with the community. The Syracuse office raised $3,301 for the Food Bank of Central New York.


Virtual Food Drive
The Buffalo office held a virtual food drive to benefit FeedMore WNY, doubling its original goal of contributing 250 food items by ending with a total of 501 virtually donated food items.


Monroe County Commission on Racial and Structural Equity
Sheila Gaddis, Diversity Partner Committee chair, served as a Selection Committee member in creating the City of Rochester’s new Commission on Racial and Structural Equity.

Volunteer Lawyers Project
The Syracuse office has been working with the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, Inc. and its Small Business Consult program to assist small businesses and not-for-profits impacted by COVID-19. Attorneys have also resumed their participation in its Family Law Clinic and Tenant Rights Clinic, which reopened in July and August, respectively.


The Albany office sponsored the Albany Law School Black Law Students Association’s annual James Campbell Matthews Banquet in celebration of Black History Month and was a sponsor of the Legal Aid Society for Northeastern New York’s Justice for All Campaign for the provision of legal services to vulnerable and low-income individuals.

Albany Law School Speaking Engagements
Brienna Christiano, associate, spoke on a panel providing students with advice on networking and relationship building. David Cost, partner; Naresh Kannan, counsel; and Jennifer Cruz, former 1L and 2L summer associate, served as panelists discussing the firm’s Diversity 1L Summer Associate Program. Brenda Baddam, associate, was a panelist during the Albany Law School “Minority Women in Law” event. 

Community Day
Albany office attorneys, staff, and their family members went virtual for this year’s Community Day, participating in the United Way of the Greater Capital Region’s 518 Day to raise money for local COVID-19 relief efforts. Activities included virtual 5ks and fitness classes, trivia, a community-wide baby shower drive, and a sidewalk chalk mural competition. Thanks to everyone who participated, and a special thanks to Alexis Clement, counsel; Mary Connolly, associate; David Cost, partner; Paul Powers, senior business advisor; and Melissa Zambri, co-leader of the Health Care and Health & Human Services Providers Teams, for sending in pictures to share on the firm’s social media accounts!


Heart Health Red Carnation Drive
In memory of late partner Larry Oppenheimer, the Buffalo office was particularly active in the firm’s Heart Health Red Carnation Drive and National Wear Red Day, with proceeds going to the American Heart Association.

Haven House Adopt-a-Family & Toyland Luncheon
After the Buffalo office donated winter apparel to Haven House for domestic violence survivors and their children during the annual Holiday Drive, Shannon Howley, associate, attended the Haven House Adopt-a-Family & Toyland Luncheon at Child & Family Services in February.

MAJOR MARKETS - Boston,MA | New Haven, CT | New York, NY

Diversity Leadership Team
We’re excited to announce our new Major Markets Diversity Leadership Team. Led by Penny Mason, partner, the team represents the Boston, New Haven, and New York offices. Team members include Boston’s Carolyn Marcotte Crowley, partner; and Todd Huston, legal secretary; New Haven’s Cathy Siegel, legal secretary; and New York’s Sharon Brown, partner; Janice Grubin, Restructuring, Bankruptcy & Creditor’s Rights Practice Area co-chair; and Natalie Hajinelian, receptionist. We can’t wait to see what great ideas they’ll bring to our Diversity & Inclusion initiative!


WOIS Senior Capstone Project
Sanjeev Devabhakthuni, counsel, and Patrick Burke, office manager, volunteered to sit on the morning panel for the World of Inquiry School’s Senior Capstone Project, providing feedback on the students’ proposals for their own community projects connected to a topic of interest. Barclay Damon is involved in the Capstone Project as it develops throughout the school year, culminating in a final presentation of each project in May.


Diversity 1L Mentoring Program
In partnership with the Syracuse University College of Law, the Syracuse office continued its third annual Diversity 1L Mentoring Program throughout the spring semester. The program connects firm attorneys with 1Ls from historically underrepresented groups within the legal profession.

Volunteer Lawyers Project
The Syracuse office has volunteered to participate in a program being administered by the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, Inc. in conjunction with Centerstate CEO to provide legal assistance for small businesses and not-for-profits impacted by COVID-19.


Northeast Black Law Student Association Presentation
Kadeem Wolliaston, associate, served as a panelist at the Northeast Black Law Student Association Upstate Academic Retreat in October, where he discussed his post-law-school career. 

Equinox Annual Thanksgiving Day Community Dinner
Many thanks to the Albany attorneys and staff who volunteered to help Equinox sort and organize ingredients for thousands of meals for its annual Thanksgiving Day community dinner. A special shout out goes to Jan Smith, paralegal, for organizing the event!

Diversity Mentoring Program
In conjunction with Albany Law School students, the Albany office kicked off its Diversity Mentoring Program with a November 14 reception. Thanks to Melissa Bennett, David Cost, Brian Culnan, Bob Hussar, Oksana Ludd, and George Pond, all partners; Brad Gallagher and Naresh Kannan, both counsel; and Eric Brenner, Dena DeFazio, Amanda Mirabito, Shali Natesan, and Kadeem Wolliaston, all associates; for serving as mentors this year!

Albany Law School Community Development Clinic
Through the Albany Law School Community Development Clinic, Connie Cahill, deputy managing partner and Public Finance Practice Area chair; Brian Culnan and Oksana Ludd, both partners; Margaret Surowka, counsel; and Amanda Mirabito, associate, donated pro bono legal services to individuals looking for advice on starting or expanding small businesses.

Black and Latin American Law Students Associations Presentation
David Cost and Oksana Ludd, both partners; Naresh Kannan, counsel; and Brenda Baddam and Kadeem Wolliaston, both associates, presented to the Albany Law School Black and Latin American Law Students Associations about their legal practices during a joint meeting hosted at the Albany office for members.


Champions for Justice Bash
The Bar Association of Erie County Volunteer Lawyers Project held its annual Champions for Justice Bash in November, with Bob Heary, Labor & Employment Practice Area chair, and Bridget Steele, associate, attending. Bob is a board of directors member, and Bridget is a Rising Champions for Justice board member. The Buffalo and Clarence offices regularly partner with the VLP on pro bono work.

Project Warm Your Heart 
The Buffalo and Clarence offices held their seventh annual mitten, glove, hat, and scarf drive, donating warm winter accessories to Haven House, which serves domestic violence survivors, and Journey’s End Refugee Services, which supports and provides resources to refugees in the WNY community.

Bar Association of Erie County Yuletide Challenge Toy Drive 
The Buffalo and Clarence offices supported the Bar Association of Erie County Young Lawyers Committee’s annual toy drive, which benefits the Legal Aid Bureau’s Attorneys for Children Unit. More than 800 toys were collected during the drive for kids involved in abuse and neglect proceedings.


Adopt-a-Family Program
The Rochester office participated in Cameron Ministries’ Adopt-a-Family program during the holiday season, donating gifts for families living in poverty.

Community Day
The Rochester office annual Community Day took place at Washington Grove, with attorneys and staff helping with trail maintenance and removing invasive species such as lily of the valley, honeysuckle, and Norway maples. Andrew Seager, Friends of Washington Grove president, also led volunteers on a tour of the grove and up to the top of Cobbs Hill Reservoir.


United Way of CNY Emerging Leaders United Reception
The Syracuse office hosted a reception on the Barclay Damon Rooftop Terrace on September 25 for the launch of the United Way of CNY Emerging Leaders United group, which is comprised of young professionals committed to getting involved with and giving back to the CNY community. 

Diversity 1L Mentoring Program
In partnership with the Syracuse University College of Law, the Syracuse office launched its third annual Diversity 1L Mentoring Program. The program connects firm attorneys with 1Ls from historically underrepresented groups within the legal profession.

Share the Warmth From Head to Toe 
The Syracuse office held its 2019 Share the Warmth From Head to Toe holiday drive, collecting winter hats, gloves, and socks in December for the Samaritan Center, a local not-for-profit that serves the hungry and those in need in order to promote their welfare, dignity, and self-sufficiency. 

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We're Growing in DC!

We’re excited to announce Barclay Damon’s combination with Washington DC–based Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram. SLS’s 10 lawyers, three paralegals, and four administrative staff will join Barclay Damon while maintaining their current office in DC’s central business district. Our clients will benefit from SLS’s corporate, real estate, finance, and construction litigation experience and national energy-industry profile, and their clients from our full range of services.

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