Paul Michael Hassett, managing partner of the Buffalo law firm of Brown & Kelly, LLP, has been named president of the 67,000-member New York State Bar Association.
Hassett, a Town of Tonawanda resident, currently serves as president-elect, heads the House of Delegates, the state bar's policy and decision-making body, and is co-chairman of the President's Committee on Access to Justice.
He has served as a association vice president, representing the Eighth Judicial District, a member the Committee on Attorney Professionalism, Task Force on the Profession and the Trusts and Estates Law Section, member-at-large of the Executive Committee, and chairman of the Commission on Providing Access to Legal Services for Middle Income Consumers and the Special Committee to Improve Court Facilities. He is also a former chairman of the New York State Conference of Bar Leaders.
Hassett is a past president of the Bar Association of Erie County, headed its Committee on Grievances and is a member of the Finance Committee. He previously served on the board of directors of the Volunteer Lawyers Project, the Aid to Indigent Prisoners Society, and the Erie Institute of Law. He is also a past president of the Erie County Bar Foundation.
He is a past president of the Metropolitan Bar Caucus and a member of the Communications Committee of the National Conference of Bar Presidents. The caucus educates bar leaders on issues of concern to metropolitan bar associations. It comprises 50 major city bar associations, representing more than 150,000 lawyers.
A 1962 graduate of Canisius College, he earned his law degree in 1965 from Georgetown University, where he was associate editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. His practice is concentrated in the areas of probate, estate and trust administration, and general business law.
Hassett was elected by the House of Delegates Friday at the state bar's annual meeting in Manhattan. His term as president begins June 1. He will be the 10th Buffalo lawyer to serve as president of the 124-year old state bar association. The U.S. Army has decorated Richard M. Tobe, Erie County's recently departed commissioner of environment and planning, for working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the cleanup of nuclear materials in the Tonawandas.
The Army recently presented Tobe, who has headed the Coalition Against Nuclear Materials in Tonawanda, with its Commander's Award for Public Service.
"His work to bring all parties together and search for common ground while not compromising on the health and safety of Tonawanda's citizenry is demonstrative of his strong commitment to public service," the citation reads in part.
Trustees of the F. Donald Kenney Foundation have announced two endowments totaling $600,000 to help finance a Franciscan education beginning next fall at St. Bonaventure University.
The first gift from the estate of the Olean native and longtime supporter of St. Bonaventure University is named the Kenney Family Scholars Endowment in honor of the late financier and former member of the university's board of trustees and members of his family.
F. Donald Kenney International Scholars Endowment is the second gift. It is designed to encourage international students to study at St. Bonaventure and St. Bonaventure students to study abroad.
The $450,000 Kenny Family Scholars Endowment honors F. Donald Kenney and family members, including his mother, Winifred Shortell Kenney; his father, John, and his brother, Bernard. The endowment will finance substantial scholarships to be awarded on the basis of merit and need.
Preference will be given to students of Olean High School and Archbishop Walsh High School and, in particular, graduates of these two high schools who had also attended St. Mary's School, which is now known as Southern Tier Catholic Elementary.
Also students of St. Vincent's Priory in Latrobe, Pa., (in honor of Bernard Kenney, who attended St. Vincent's), and students residing in the greater Olean area and the Western New York region.
The $150,000 F. Donald Kenney International Scholars Endowment will give preference to students from the Nordic countries of Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland as well as Ireland, Luxembourg and the remaining countries of Europe and for St. Bonaventure students to study in Ireland, England or Finland.
The scholarships will be awarded annually and will be renewable as long as each recipient continues to meet the criteria for selection.
Joseph J. Cassata, City of Tonawanda Drug Court judge, recently lectured at the University of North London in England on the planning, implementation and progress of drug courts in the United States.
Cassata, who received his certification as a drug court judge at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C., spoke to more than 100 persons from all walks of professional and educational life, including professors, students, judges, prosecutors, defense and social workers.
He stressed that the drug and alcohol problem is one of the greatest challenges confronting society in the United States and Europe. He asserted that drug court treatment with hands-on judicial monitoring is the new wave in the drug court arena.
Cassata also quoted from a British article that up to 40 percent of 15- and 16-year-old Britons have tried marijuana. He said some Europeans are just saying "maybe" instead of "no" to drugs and are rejecting the war on drugs.
In turn, he warned, some European countries appear to be looking for a truce with users. He told his British audience that he thought that would be a big mistake.
U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Ikis T. Bunton, son of the Rev. William A. Bunton Jr. of Antioch Baptist Church in Buffalo, was honored recently by the Korean-American Friendship Association for helping to maintain freedom in the Republic of Korea.
He was among service men and women stationed with U.S. Forces Korea who were recognized at the association's 19th annual year-end party in Seoul.
The association is made up of leading Korean businesses and individuals from the Republic of Korea's economic base.
Kathy Lawley Best of Lawley Service Insurance has been elected president of the Mercy Hospital Foundation board of trustees.
Other officers elected to one-year terms at the annual board of trustees meeting Tuesday include the first vice president, James McGuire; second vice president, Dennis J. Dombek; treasurer, Robert J. Dauer; and secretary, Robert L. Cieslica.
New members of the board include Dr. Anthony P. Markello, Sonny Savarino and Jeffrey Vukelic. Other board members are Richard A. Aubrecht, Dr. Anthony J. Bonner, Patrick J. Carmody, Frank G. Downing, Howard T. Ford, Mary M. Kresse and Sheila Marie Walsh.
The Mercy Hospital Foundation was established in 1978 to gather and manage community funds to support health care at Mercy Hospital.