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Profile: GRAWA president has full agenda

Judicial candidate evaluation process a priority

Jodie L. Ryan’s plans as the new president of the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys include revamping the judicial candidate evaluation process, planning for the group’s 35th anniversary, and possibly creating a foundation arm of the organization.

Ryan, of counsel at McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP, was officially installed as GRAWA’s leader in May and attended leadership training offered by the group’s parent organization, the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York.

The anniversary celebration being planned by a committee she appointed is expected to take place in April. Ryan is hoping to develop some new community service projects, such as a reading program involving local schools. And she wants to establish a GRAWA foundation to help fund efforts that support the group’s underlying mission of promoting women in law and the fair administration of justice.

“That may not be completed during my presidency, but it’s certainly something we’re trying to establish,” she said.

Growing up in Caledonia, Ryan originally thought she would become a doctor. But after she portrayed a lawyer in a high school reenactment of a trial from “Crime and Punishment” she had second thoughts.

Ryan, who now lives in Walworth, Wayne County, earned her law degree at Albany Law School and has been practicing since 2001. She was at Phillips Lytle LLP for 10 years before joining McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter about two years ago.

She also does work for Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, where she represents low-income residents.

Ryan is hoping to find ways that the Monroe County Bar Association and the affinity bars, like GRAWA, can work together more, but she sees a purpose for each organization.

“I think we need to do a better job of working with each other. I think that there has to be more cohesiveness among the bar associations,” she said, noting that co-sponsoring the judicial candidate forum in the fall is an effort in that direction.

Ryan has appointed a committee to review GRAWA’s judicial candidate evaluation process.

“The process has kind of fallen apart, based on some candidates from a certain political party not being willing to participate in the process,” Ryan said.

As a result of the limited participation, GRAWA’s judicial candidates luncheon was cancelled last year and won’t take place against this year while the process is under review.

Republican and Conservative judicial candidates refused to participate in the evaluation process of GRAWA and the Monroe County Bar Association, which they considered biased in favor of Democrats. The County Bar abandoned the rating system in favor of a candidate forum that is expected to be broadcast on local television, and GRAWA has been invited to co-sponsor the event.

“The judicial candidates luncheon has been one of our signature events for some time now so we certainly don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to move forward with some sort of process,” Ryan said.

“GRAWA is certainly going to continue its judicial evaluation process, but we need to kind of revamp things and see what we can do to make the process better,” she said.

Title: President of Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys; Of counsel, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP.

Age: 42

Education: State University of New York at Buffalo, bachelor’s degree, 1997; Albany Law School of Union University, juris doctor, 2000.

Residence: Walworth, Wayne County

Family: Husband of 13 years, Donald Ryan; stepsons, Patricka and Devon.

Hobbies: Scrapbooking, crafts, gardening, fishing, hunting, cooking, shopping, especially at garage sales and craft fairs, time with family.

Quote: “I think we need to do a better job of working with each other. I think that there has to be more cohesiveness among the bar associations.”

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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