Law Links - March 2017

The GOLD Group turns silver

Ilene Fleischman with GOLD Group Immediate Past-President Michael J. Hecker ’09 and GOLD Group President Jeffrey P. Gleason ’08.

Ilene Fleischman with GOLD Group Immediate Past-President Michael J. Hecker ’09 and GOLD Group President Jeffrey P. Gleason ’08

Marking 25 years of professional development and collegiality, the UB Law GOLD Group hosted a spectacular celebration honoring its past presidents and founding members. The Law Alumni Association’s Executive Director Ilene Fleischmann provided remarks at the event commending the Group for its development and training of leaders for the Western New York bench and bar.

"HAPPY 25th anniversary GOLD GROUP-- You’re way too young, and way too cool, to be so old!

'Two and a half decades.' It sounds like a long time ago. But for many of us here tonight, it is more like sunrise, sunset. Quickly go the years.

Today, the GOLD Group is even more connected, more respected, and more important than ever before in helping the law school achieve its priorities. No one ever imagined back in 1991 that it would have the enormous impact it has had.

Its extraordinary success is the result of attracting a steady stream of proactive, creative, committed young leaders – like our current president, Jeff Gleason-- who have conceived and implemented exceptional programs.

Jeff is amazing but so are all the others you will be recognizing tonight.

The GOLD Group is a truly precious resource for the Law School and the Law Alumni Association—and a treasure that continues to shine with an untarnished reputation.

As the long-time Executive Director of the Law Alumni Association and the Mother Superior of the GOLD Group, no one could be more proud tonight than me.  I am truly grateful that I am here to party with the glitterati— and celebrate with you at this milestone anniversary.

Way back in 1991, Alan Carrel—then an associate dean—saw an article about the GOLD Group in his Hamilton College alumni magazine. We then shamelessly stole Hamilton’s idea and made it our own. Soon after the UB Law GOLD Group was organized, the presiding justice of the appellate division and Bar Association recognized its important role, and thanked the Law Alumni Association for taking on the critical task of leadership training and development for the Buffalo bench and bar.

We did not disappoint.  

Since then, you have continued to organize a gold rush of activities-- fresh and innovative educational programs and social events that are hugely popular with both new and seasoned members of the legal community, and have served as a model for other organizations.

Led by Cathy Wettlaufer ’85, 23 selected graduates convened at Phillips Lytle to discuss how UB Law could assist its new alumni during their formative years of practice. Cathy got the ball rolling and was truly the driving force behind the Group’s development.

Another key member of the steering committee was Mark Brand ’88, who was chair of the subcommittee charged with developing the group’s structure. After several months of meticulous planning, by-laws for the new group were written by Mark and his subcommittee and approved by the steering committee. In the spring of 1991, the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Group was born.

I see Mark here tonight. Thank you!!! And thank you to all the others who served on that first committee. They are the ones who decided that membership in the GOLD Group would be automatic upon graduation, and would remain in effect during the graduate’s first ten years out of law school. That core concept remains to this day.

Of special note is the important function the GOLD Group and its members played starting in 1995 when it helped the Erie County Bar Association design a program to ease the transition from law school to practice for newly admitted attorneys in New York. Called “Survival Strategies for Life After Law School”, the program started in Erie County, with us, and quickly became the model for programs across the State.

I want to acknowledge the exceptional talents and effort of Lisa Mueller and Pat Warrington, both of whom have contributed so much to the GOLD Group over the years, including the party tonight. For all of us who have worked with the GOLD Group, it has been a labor of love.

Plans for the future of the GOLD Group appear to shine brightly.  I hope I will be around to attend the next glittering anniversary."