2018-2019 Board of Directors
+ President: Katherine (Katie) Courtney
KATHERINE COURTNEY, President, is a Rochester native and alumna of Our Lady of Mercy High School. She is also a graduate of Niagara University and the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School (JD/MSW). She has been employed with the Social Security Administration's Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) since 2011 as an attorney advisor. She has also served the Agency as a national trainer for new decision writers. Prior to OHO, Katie was a staff attorney with the Disability Advocacy Program Unit at Empire Justice Center. Katie is active in the Monroe County Bar Assocation, Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys, and the Women's Bar Assocation of New York. She is past chair of MCBA's Disability, Labor and Employment Committee and currently is on their Board of Trustees. She has served on the GRAWA Board in various positions, including Secretary, Delegate and Legislative Committee Chair. At the statewide level, Katie served as co-chair for WBASNY's Legislative Committee and the Convention Committee. She has been honored to receive the Daily Record's Excellence in Law: Up and Coming Attorney Award, WBASNY's Doris S. Hoffman Outstanding New Lawyer Award, and GRAWA's President Award on two occasions. Katie is an avid runner and resides in Specerport with her family.
+ President-Elect: Carey Ann Denefrio
CAREY ANN DENEFRIO, President-Elect, an Associate at Littler Mendelson, P.C., a U.S. based international law firm exclusively devoted to representing management in every aspect of labor and employment law. At Littler, Carey Ann represents clients in a broad range of labor and employment matters arising under federal and state law. Before joining Littler in July 2015, Carey Ann served as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Honorable Jonathan W. Feldman from December 2007 – July 2015 and was an Associate at Ward Norris Heller & Reidy LLP from September 2005 – December 2007. Carey Ann received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Boston College, and received her Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School, cum laude, where she served as Executive Editor for Lead Articles on the Albany Law Review. Carey Ann is currently a member of GRAWA’s Legislative Committee and served as Chairperson of the Legislative Committee from 2014-2017, and as a WBASNY Delegate from 2017-2018. Carey Ann is an active member of the Monroe County Bar Association. She served on the Board of Directors for the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar from 2011-2017, served as Chairperson of the Foundation Grants Committee from 2014-2017, and served for several years as Chairperson of the MCBA Young Lawyers’ Section Community Outreach and Social & Networking Committees. From 2008-2017, Carey Ann served on the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities Community Services, and its Nominating Committee. In 2017, Carey Ann was recognized by The Daily Record as an “Attorney of the Year – Leader in Law.” In 2013, Carey Ann was the recipient of the MCBA’s Emerging Bar Leader award, as well as the Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award. In 2011, she was recognized by The Daily Record as an “Up and Coming Attorney.” Carey Ann, her husband Tim, her son Tate,and her one-year old twins Finn and Piper, reside in the City of Rochester.
+ Immediate Past-President: Jodie Ryan
JODIE RYAN, Immediate Past President, is Of Counsel in the Rochester office of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP. She concentrates her practice in the area of civil and commercial litigation with an emphasis on personal injury, products liability, asbestos disease litigation, chemical exposure/toxic torts and commercial collections matters. Jodie received her Bachelor’s Degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo cum laude, and her J.D. from Albany Law School. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Fairport Baptist Homes Caring Ministries Foundation from 2009-2015 and also served on the GRAWA Board from 2013-2014, during which time she also served a two-year term as co-chair of the Judicial Evaluation Committee. Currently, she is a member of the Rochester Women’s Network, the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the Defense Research Institute (DRI). She is also a member of the American Bar Association, Monroe County Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA). In addition, Jodie is an active member of GRAWA and has served on its Judicial Evaluation Committee for several years. In 2007, she received the NYSBA’s President’s Award for Pro Bono service and in 2009 she was recognized by the Daily Record as an Up and Coming Attorney.
+ Secretary: Alissa M. Fortuna Brennan
ALISSA M. FORTUNA BRENNAN, Secretary, is an associate with Phillips Lytle LLP and concentrates her practice in the area of business litigation, with particular emphasis on labor and employment law. Prior to joining Phillips Lytle, Alissa worked for Leclair Korona Cole (formerly Leclair Korona Vahey Cole) as a litigation associate. Alissa is a proud graduate of the University of Rochester and SUNY Buffalo Law School. She received her J.D. cum laude in 2013 and began practicing in January 2014. Alissa is active in the local and legal community, serving on the Board of the Worker Justice Center of New York and as Chair-Elect of the MCBA Young Lawyers Section. Alissa grew up in East Irondequoit. She presently lives in the City of Rochester with her husband Dan (also a lawyer!), and fur-baby (chocolate labrador retriever) Maddie.
+ Treasurer: Hinna Upal
HINNA UPAL, Treasurer, is an attorney at Littler Mendelson, P.C., a U.S. based international law firm exclusively devoted to representing management in every aspect of labor and employment law. There, she represents employers in a broad range of labor and employment matters including complex business litigation, class action and regulatory issues. She has worked extensively in federal and state court, both at the trial and appellate level. Previously to joining Littler, Hinna was the deputy general counsel at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and an attorney in another New England law firm. Hinna received her bachelor’s degree (Honors) in Sociology from Queens University and her J.D. (magna cum laude) from Roger Williams University School of Law. She served as Executive Notes and Comments Editor on the Law Review and after law school, Hinna clerked for William Smith, chief judge at the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island and Hon. Francis Flaherty at the Rhode Island Supreme Court. She is past President of the South Asian Bar Association for Greater Boston.
program Committee Co-Chairs
+ Destini K. Bowman
DESTINI K. BOWMAN, Program Committee Co-Chair, is a native of Rochester, NY and proud graduate of East High School. Destini received her B.Sc. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 2005. After graduation, Destini served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA at the Greater Homewood Community Corporation (GHCC) in Baltimore, MD and then as a Community Organizer for Maryland's Collaborative Supervision and Focused Enforcement (CSAFE) in Northeast Baltimore. She successfully initiated a Youth Public Safety Conference and also a customary community Parade for National Night Out. While at Albany Law School, Destini was an active member of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), and in 2010, led the Northeast team to “Region of the Year.” After receiving her J.D., Destini was selected to serve as a Legislative Fellow with the New York State Senate, where she was assigned to work with the Hon. Ruth Hassell-Thompson. Desiring to work in the court room, Destini joined the Monroe County District Attorney's Office, as an Assistant District Attorney under the leadership of the Hon. Sandra Doorley in 2012. While in Rochester, Destini was an executive board member of the Rochester Black Bar Association (RBBA) and National Bar Associations’ Young Lawyer’s Division (NBA YLD). She is a current member of the National Black Prosecutor’s Association (NBPA) and the Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys (GRAWA). You will regularly catch Destini at community service events. She is a 2014 recipient of the Daily Record’s Excellence in Law: Up and Coming Attorneys. In 2017, Destini was a recipient of the Rochester Business Journal's Forty under 40 award. She serves as an advisor to the Northeast Black Law Students Association. Destini takes pride as a Girl Scout troop leader for high school girls and serves as the Williams Park’s Service Unit Manager.
+ Sarah Lobe
SARAH LOBE, Program Committee Co-Chair, is an attorney with the Zoghlin Group where she works on environmental litigation and renewable energy matters. She has experience as a lawyer, law professor, and advocate with a focus on environment-related issues. Her background includes a Master’s in public policy from Boston University with fieldwork on access to water in New York City, China, Argentina, and India. While studying law at American University Washington College of Law, Sarah completed over 500 hours pro bono service, including analyzing legal issues in water pipeline implementation for the Navajo Nation. She helped hold businesses and governments accountable for environmental harms while working for the U.S. federal government and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Sarah was a law professor in Istanbul, Turkey, and she continues to teach legal writing for LL.M. civil society scholarship recipients. Having recently returned to Rochester, Sarah is excited to be a new member of the WBASNY environmental law committee and the GRAWA community.
+ Nominating Committee Chair: Denine Carr
DENINE CARR, Nominating Committee Chair, is the Title IX & College Compliance Officer at the State University of New York’s College at Brockport, starting that position in 2015 after practicing law for 25 years, and for 12 of those years, working part-time. Denine was a GRAWA board member for several years, has served on several committees, including the Family & Careers, Membership, Judicial Evaluation, and Nominating Committees, and is a past president. She also served on WBASNY’s Judicial Screening Committee. Denine serves on the Bivona Child Advocacy Center Human Resources Committee, the Rochester Education Foundation Nominating Committee, and previously served on the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley Governance Committee, as well as the YWCA of Greater Rochester Nominating Committee. Denine received her B.A. from the University of Iowa and her law degree from Loyola University of Chicago Law School.
Denine first became involved with GRAWA by way of the Family & Careers Committee many years ago, when she and her daughters, who are now 19 and 21, were young.
JEC Committee Co-Chairs
+ Jennifer M. Schauerman
Jennifer M. Schauerman, Judicial Evaluation Committee Co-Chair, is an Associate at Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP, and represents clients in a broad range of litigation matters, including insurance defense, personal injury, and construction/surety litigation. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Nazareth College, and received her Juris Doctor Degree from the University at Buffalo Law School. Jennifer also serves on the Rochester chapter of the University at Buffalo Law School Alumni Association. Jennifer received the Daily Record’s Up and Coming Attorneys’ Award in 2013, and the UB Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Award in 2016. Jennifer, her husband Chris, and her daughter Ashley, reside in Irondequoit.
+ Alison K. L. Moyer
ALISON K. L. MOYER, Judicial Evaluation Committee Co-Chair, is associate counsel for the Rochester City School District. She supports the District in claims, litigation, insurance, and policy matters, and defends the District in employment, property, contract, general liability and premises liability litigation. Prior to joining the District, Alison was a partner at Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham, LLC, where she was a trial attorney and counseled clients on litigation and insurance coverage issues. She received her B.A. from the University of Rochester and her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law. Alison, her husband Erik, and her son Samuel reside in Fairport.
+ Media Committee Chair: Amanda Dreher
AMANDA DREHER, Media Committee Chair, is an attorney and volunteer leader in the Rochester community. She served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office in the Local Courts and Appeals bureaus. Prior to that, Amanda worked as a Senior Appellate Court Attorney in the Decisions area at the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department. She currently serves on the Brighton Historic Preservation Commission. She is also the President of ROC City Bottoms Diaper Bank, a nonprofit organization, and spends her days managing the organization’s operations with her one-year-old son in tow. Amanda has been a member of the Junior League of Rochester for 10 years and served as its President in 2014-2015. The League has recognized Amanda for her dedication with its Recognition of Service Excellence Award twice, in 2012 and 2016. She has been active in the Monroe County Bar Association throughout her career, serving on multiple committees, and she has served on the Board of Directors for the Albany Law School National Alumni Association since 2010. She has been a member of GRAWA for more than 10 years, and previously served on the Board of Directors as a Program Committee Co-Chair from 2010-2012. Amanda received the Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award in 2014 and the Daily Record’s Up and Coming Attorney Award in 2013. She lives in one of Brighton’s historic homes with her husband Michael and son Benjamin.
+ Legislative Committee Chair: Adele Fine
ADELE FINE, Legislative Committee Chair, received her J.D. from the University of Montana in 1987. That same year she became the managing attorney of Montana Legal Services’ office in Havre, Montana, where she practiced poverty and Indian law and managed no one but herself. In 1990 Ms. Fine joined the law firm of A. Vincent Buzard, Esq. in Rochester, where she really learned how to practice civil law. Drawn back to public interest law in 1995, she was first the executive director of a not-for-profit firm providing family law legal services to “working poor” people, and then the attorney in charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Limited Means program. She joined the Family Court bureau of the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office in 2000 and now serves as the bureau’s chief. Ms. Fine is a 2015 recipient of the Daily Record’s Unsung Legal Heroes award, and the 2014 recipient of the award for Excellence in Indigent Parent Representation in Family Court. She has two beautiful grown daughters, Olivia and Kaye, neither of whom has any interest in becoming a lawyer. She lives at home with her husband, Dennis and dog, Pepper, both of whom wonder whether living with an aging public interest lawyer is really such a good idea.
+ Membership Committee Chair: Diane M. Cecero
DIANE M. CECERO, Membership Committee Chair, celebrates her 40th year since graduation from Boston College Law as well as 35 years as a GRAWA member. She is chairing the congressional campaign for Dr. Jim Maxwell and enjoying her new role as grandmother.
CLE Committee Co-Chairs
+ Christin Murphy Cornetta
CHRISTIN MURPHY CORNETTA, CLE Committee Co-Chair, is the Confidential Law Clerk to the Honorable Marian W. Payson. She has worked for Judge Payson since October 2012. Prior to becoming Judge Payson’s Law Clerk, she was an Associate at Ward Greenberg Heller & Reidy LLP. Christin received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Rochester, cum laude, and received her Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School, magna cum laude. Christin is a member of the Monroe County Bar Association and currently serves as a member of the MCBA Awards Committee. She has been on the Board of Directors for the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar since 2015, and she currently serves as the Board’s Secretary, as well as on the Grants and Executive Committees. Christin previously served for several years on the executive board of the MCBA Young Lawyers’ Section. Christin currently is a member of GRAWA’s Women’s Health Committee and served as co-chair of that committee in 2016-2017. In 2012, Christin was recognized by The Daily Record as an “Up and Coming Attorney.” Christin lives in Webster with her husband Brian, daughter Vivien, greyhound Sawyer, and cat Leo.
+ Josie Sheppard
JOSIE SHEPPARD, CLE Committee Co-Chair, is an Associate in the Rochester office of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP. She practices in the area of commercial litigation with a particular practice focus in construction and surety, toxic tort, products liability, premises liability, and personal injury. Josie is originally from Nebraska, which is where she attended the University of Nebraska and earned her Bachelor of Science in Real Estate and Land Use Economics. Thereafter, she headed further East to Michigan, where she earned her Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. Josie serves as a Board Member for Volunteer Legal Services Project, past Trustee Board Member for the Monroe County Bar Association and is a member of the Rochester Black Bar Association. In 2015, Josie received the Daily Record's Up & Coming Attorney Award. As a result of her dedication to pro bono work, she was the sole recipient in New York State for the 2015 New York State Bar Association President's Young Lawyer Award, as well as a recipient of VLSP's William E. McKnight Award. Josie has been consistently named a New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel Honoree every year since 2013.
+ Diversity Committee Chair: Tina Monshipour Foster
Tina Monshipour Foster, Diversity Committee Chair, is the newly-appointed Executive Director of the Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County. Tina is an Iranian-American civil rights attorney and international human rights advocate who recently returned to her hometown of Rochester, NY after more than 17 years of practicing law in New York City. She is a graduate of Cornell Law School, clerked at the United States Court of International Trade, and spent the early years of her legal career as a litigation associate at Clifford Chance US LLP. After September 11, 2001, Tina's work increasingly focused on pro bono initiatives to defend the rights of Muslim minorities who have been unfairly targeted by US national security initiatives. From 2004-2006, she was an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she was a cofounder of CCR’s Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative. In 2006, Tina founded the International Justice Network (IJN), a non-profit organization that provides pro bono assistance to survivors of human rights abuses and their families. Tina is happy to be back home in Rochester and lives downtown with her husband and three-year old son.
+ Maritza Buitrago
MARITZA BUITRAGO, WBASNY Delegate, is an attorney in the family court section of the Monroe County Public Defender’s office (PD) dedicating herself to ensuring that justice is equally provided to all members of our community. She began her legal career with the Legal Aid Society, representing clients in domestic violence and matrimonial cases. In 2000, she joined the PD’s office and left to serve as an Assistant Attorney General in the Rochester Regional Office. But her devotion to representing families in need led her to return in 2009 to the PD’s office and exclusively works in Family Court representing clients in a wide variety of family law cases.
Maritza hails from a family dedicated to law and education. She grew up as the daughter of a judge who served his community for 25 years. She came to Rochester as a recipient of the Alumni and the AHORA Scholarship for Hispanic students. She earned her B.A. in Political Science and History and her Masters Degree in teaching at the University of Rochester and obtained her Juris Doctorate degree from SUNY at Buffalo School of Law. Following a family tradition of public service, Maritza has taught Social Studies in the Rochester City School District and Spanish at the University of Rochester as well as interned with the Rochester City Council. She has been recognized for her work and in 2014 received the Daily Record’s Excellence in Law Unsung Legal Hero Award, in 2016 the NYS Assembly Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force’s Somos el Futuro Award and in 2017 the NYS Defenders Association’s Excellence in Adult Indigent Representation in Family Court. Maritza is a member of a wide array of community organizations including ACT for the Children Board, IBERO American Action League Board, La Cumbre, Rotary Club, and the I.T.A.L.E.O. She currently lives in Penfield with her fiancée and her father, who came to Rochester following Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico.
+ Laura Myers
LAURA MYERS, WBASNY Delegate, is an Attorney at the Wolford Law Firm, LLP. She currently focuses her practice on commercial, business and employment litigation in state and federal courts. Laura received her Juris Doctorate and Master’s in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo. While in law school law, Laura served as an Articles Editor on the Buffalo Law Review, and as the Executive Editor of the Buffalo Environmental Law Journal. She is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in New York and Ohio, and is a registered patent attorney. Laura is Development co-chair of the MCBA’s Foundation Board and is past chair of the MCBA Young Lawyer’s section. Laura received the Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award in 2015, the MCBA’s Emerging Bar Leader Award in 2011 and the Daily Record’s Up & Coming Attorneys’ Award in 2010.