President’s Message – June 2021

Hello FCBA Members and Happy Spring (almost summer)!

Kim ZimmerNow that the world is opening up and it is safer for us to be together, we are pleased to announce several upcoming Happy Hours, in Syracuse, Albany, and Utica. In each of the venues selected, we have made sure that the event will occur outside and provide enough space to socially distance, as may be necessary. Our first Happy Hour took place on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at The Preserve at 405 in Syracuse from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Our second Happy Hour, in Albany, will be at the City Beer Hall on Monday, July 12, 2021, also from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., to be followed with our third Happy Hour at Ocean Blue Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Utica on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Planning is also underway for the Annual Golf Event, which will be held on September 13, 2021, at the Bellevue Country Club in Syracuse and for our Annual Meeting and Dinner on December 9, 2021, at the Craftsman Wood Grille & Tap House in Fayetteville, New York.

As always, our very hardworking CLE Committee continues to present excellent CLEs. In March, a panel of speakers including Judge Sannes, Magistrate Judge Baxter, Federal Public Defender Lisa Peebles, AUSA Nicholas Commandeur and Mara Afzali (Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC) presented on the changes in federal litigation since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in both the civil and criminal context, including pre-trial detentions, compassionate and early releases, remote hearings, depositions and mediations.

In April, Brian Butler (Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC) and John Powers (Hancock & Estabrook, LLP) presented on the amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) and provided valuable practice tips about using this Rule. Also in April, Judge D’Agostino moderated a panel presentation on the Intersection of State and Federal Law Regarding Sentencing. The New York State Federal Judicial Council and Second Circuit Judicial Council sponsored that CLE and among others, Assistant Federal Public Defender James Egan, AUSA Carina Schoenberger, and myself presented at that CLE. Many thanks to Doreen Simmons and Lisa Peebles for their hard work in planning that CLE.

In May, in conjunction with the Broome County Bar Association, Judge McAvoy, Magistrate Judge Lovric, Court Clerk John Domurad, Richard Lindstrom (Law Clerk to Judge McAvoy), First Assistant Federal Defender Paul Evangelista, Al Millus (Hinman, Howard & Kattell, LLP) and Suzanne Messer (Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC) provided an overview of civil and criminal practice, along with practical insights, tips and tactics for practitioners seeking to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to establish and develop a federal criminal practice.

In the coming months, we will be offering CLEs on the following topics: 1) New York’s legalization of marijuana and important considerations concerning potentially conflicting federal laws; 2) assessing conflicts of interest when taking on new clients, and when and how to terminate a client relationship (ethics credits will be offered); 3) the nuts and bolts of handling a pro bono civil rights trial; 4) Rule 12 motions to dismiss and for judgment on the pleadings; 5) Albany Law School Panel discussion on diversity in the profession (diversity credit will be offered); 6) the annual Supreme Court Update (offered in conjunction with the Syracuse University College of Law); and 7) veterans’ rights.

At our last Board Meeting, we welcomed Michael Barnett as a Trustee of the Board. We are very happy to have Michael, who is an Assistant United States Attorney in Albany, on our Board. Before even joining our Board, Michael has been a big contributor to the FCBA as the person who has co-edited the FCBA’s quarterly newsletters since they began in 2017.

With all that is happening now in the FCBA, we hope to see you at one (or more) of our many upcoming events. Whether it be at a Happy Hour, CLE, or golfing, we are looking forward to seeing you!