Our members and committees are truly the heart of our organization. It is a wonderful way to become involved!
If you are a member interested in joining a CDWBA committee, you can email the committee chair by clicking on the appropriate email address directly beside the committee.
Much of the work CDWBA accomplishes is done through the following committees:
Chair: Sean Morton
This committee is responsible for informing members about awards being presented by local, state, and national bar associations, including WBASNY, and other entities and submitting nominations on behalf of the CDWBA for consideration. The committee’ work involves identifying potential recipients and submitting the necessary forms. The committee also oversees obtaining nominations for CDWBA’s awards and making recommendations to the Board.
Chairs: Sean Morton
This mandatory committee pursuant to our by-laws is responsible for reviewing the Chapter’s by‐laws and proposing amendments where appropriate or when directed to do so by the Board. This committee also acts as an advisor to the Board to ensure that Board action is consistent with the By-Laws.
Chair: Erin Lynch
This committee coordinates with teachers of area elementary, middle, and high schools to place CDWBA members in a variety of classrooms. In this way, students hear members speak on what it is like to be a lawyer, about areas of practice and the kinds of community service lawyers partake in. Substantive areas of the law may also be addressed. This committee is also instrumental in bringing the CARE program to students.
Chairs: Andreanna Diliberto, Rebecca Harp
This mandatory committee pursuant to our by-laws is responsible for planning the continuing education programs for each fiscal year and reporting its activities to the Board.
This committee focuses on issues affecting the availability of career opportunities and the attainment of professional success and personal satisfaction for women in the legal profession, and works to increase the diversity of the CDWBA membership, leadership, and committees and to encourage minority women to enter the legal profession. The committee will examine whether, how, and why gender affects the quality and nature of an individual’s experience in the legal system. The committee will also serve as the liaison between CDWBA and OCA Gender Fairness Committees whose work affects the Capital Region.
Chair: Susan Pattenaude, Gayle Hartz
This committee serves as a forum to provide education to the membership about current information in the field of domestic violence, to work with the Legislative Committee to review legislation that would have an impact on victims of domestic violence, and to promote awareness about domestic violence among the membership and the public. It also provides a place for members who practice in the area of domestic violence representation to keep up to date on current issues and to share information.
This mandatory committee pursuant to the Bylaws shall obtain listings of opportunities for employment for members and shall publicize such opportunities to members of the Chapter. The committee shall also endeavor to develop opportunities for women in the legal profession. Finally, this committee, shall, at the direction of the Board, investigate and report on the social, economic, and legal status of women in the State of New York, and particularly in the Capital District. Such reports shall include a study of the role of women in government, business, and the professions and the committee’s recommendations for actions and changes in reforms.
Chair: Megan Van Aken, Alyssa Snyder
This committee is mandatory per CDWBA’s by-laws and prepares an annual budget each fiscal year. The budget contains the expected expenses and income for the coming year and includes suggestions for fund raising activities. The committee consults with all committees to determine the financial needs of the organization. The CDWBA Treasurer shall be a member of this committee and may serve as Chair.
This committee plans our installation dinner of officers each June.
Chairs: Lea Ermides Stevens, Cathy Drobny
This committee plans an annual reception held each March to honor the Judges from the Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division, as well as local members of the Judiciary.
This is a mandatory committee pursuant Article VII, Section 1 of the CDWBA By-Laws. Pursuant to Section 12 of Article VII, this committee is tasked with interviewing and considering candidates for judicial office throughout the Capital Region. In addition, this committee shall consider and work to implement proposals for improvement and reform of the judiciary, including methods of judicial selection.
This mandatory committee pursuant to the Bylaws shall review proposed legislation, make recommendations concerning such legislation to the Board and report the Board’s position to the Chapter’s members and WBASNY’s legislation committee after. The committee begins meeting in November and usually concludes with the end of the legislative session.
Chairs: Rebekah Nellis Kennedy, Geri Pomerantz
This committee promotes continuing legal education and pro bono opportunities for our members on issues relevant to the LGBTQ community. The committee provides networking opportunities for our LGBTQ and ally members. It further seeks to provide education and awareness of various issues pertinent to the LGBTQ community and broader legal community. These issues range from discussion of cultural competency to community legal education such as “know your rights” workshops. The committee may additionally comment through WBASNY on potential legislation effecting the interests of the LGBTQ community.
Chairs: Jennifer Corona
This committee shall develop, plan, and assist the Executive Committee and the Board in establishing a three- to five-year strategic plan, the purpose of which is to assist the Chapter to grow in accordance with established goals and objectives, to provide the framework for its committees and activities, and to review and evaluate the Chapter’s current activities for the purpose of making recommendations for change as needed..
Chairs: Sean Morton, Madalyn DeThomasis
This mandatory committee pursuant to CDWBA ByLaws shall prepare and keep a list of CDWBA members, and actively solicit members to join CDWBA. The Committee shall also invite and welcome new members to the Chapter, and plan events geared towards increasing membership and participation in CDWBA. Such events are to be planned in coordination with the Programming and Financial Planning Committees.
The committee also leads the CDWBA membership recruitment drive.
This Committee has two main programs. The first are social networking groups that link Albany Law School students with CDWBA members. The groups organize around practice areas, work/life issues, and any other topic of interest. The committee also sponsors an annual Speed Mentoring Program at Albany Law School. The program, based on the popular “speed dating” concept, matches CDWBA mentors with Albany Law students for five‐minute one-on-one mentoring sessions.
Chairs: Rebekah Nellis Kennedy
This Committee consists of past presidents of our chapter. The group plans to meet quarterly to discuss the past, present and future of the organization, strategies for retaining and recruiting members and hopes to provide an historical context and advice to our board, officers and committees.
Chair: Susan Pattenaude, Gayle Hartz
The Legal Project, Inc. is the pro bono arm of the CDWBA. This committee works closely with the Legal Project to recruit members for the various services provided by the Legal Project to those in need of pro bono or low‐cost legal services in a variety of areas, including domestic violence. The committee also assists members in overcoming any impediments they may face to providing pro bono services.
Chair: Kasey Hildonen
This mandatory committee pursuant to the Bylaws arranges a variety of programs throughout the year, including luncheons, dinners, and other events designed to provide members with opportunities to network, learn about each other’s work, and just have fun together. This Committee is also responsible for the planning of the Sweet Success event, which is designed to recognize career milestones achieved by our members. In planning events, the Programming Committees works in consultation with the Membership and Financial Planning Committees.
Chair: Mackenzie Plaske
This committee is responsible for the organization’s formal public relations efforts, including promoting issues of importance to the CDWBA and advertising CDWBA- sponsored events. The Committee works year round, as needed, in concert with the organization’s Board and other Committees to issue press releases to local print and television media and coordinate media interviews. This Committee serves a number of important roles, including increasing the public’s awareness of the CDWBA and publicly promoting the advancement of women who are involved in or affected by the legal system.
Chair: Alyssa Talanker
The only subcommittee of its kind in the state, the Sex Trafficking Committee has three major objectives:. (1) Seek to raise public and membership awareness of sex trafficking in the Capital District by organizing free and open educational events in our community;. (2) Identify legislation that supports sex trafficking victims for consideration by CDWBA and WBASNY Legislative Committees; (3) Collaborate with the Legal Project and other local service providers to connect victims of sex trafficking to legal assistance and mentoring opportunities.
Chair: Ricja Rice-Ghyll
This committee coordinates development and maintenance of our Chapter’s website and online presence by leveraging social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
This committee is the Chapter’s liaison to the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert (“JALBCA”), the Breast Health Partnerships for Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady Counties, and “To Life.” The committee works with those groups to plan educational activities for the membership and the community in connection with the national October Breast Cancer Alert and other events throughout the year that feature topics related to breast cancer. Most importantly, the committee also provides information and support to members affected by the disease. In 2015, the Board voted to merge this committee with the Caregivers committee, which was dedicated to providing an outlet for members in need of assistance or information as it relates to care giving. Caregivers are often thought of as individuals who provide care for the elderly; however, caregivers are also those who provide care for the sick and the disabled, as well as children. The committee intends to create a visible, identifiable network so CDWBA members know where to turn when they need information and assistance as it relates to caregiving. We intend to provide beneficial training and legal assistance to CDWBA members. The Caregivers Committee will also be available to CDWBA members for emotional and physical support, and to offer them respite from the constant demands of caregiving.