Last year, the Niagara Law Center combined a unique recipe of holiday party, legal seminar, swearing-in ceremony and toy drive. The goal was to collect as many toys as possible for the children of Niagara County.
The result was evident when the United Way needed to call in reinforcements to carry away all the toys.
"This year will be even bigger, I guarantee it," said Niagara University Assistant General Counsel Ryan Thompson, who operates the Niagara Law Center in collaboration with the Bar Association of Niagara County. "We'll have more toys, more eggnog, more people, and more smiling faces."
Thompson credits the growing success of the event to the overall presence of the Niagara Law Center in the Western New York legal scene, along with new sponsors Chicago Title Insurance Co., Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter, and Paramount Settlement Planning LLC, which was the sole sponsor last year.
"I expect to see a mountain of toys twice as large as last year," said Patricia McGrath, the new president of BANC. "To be sworn in as president alongside my fellow officers and directors at this festive and charitable event just makes it all the more special."
The Niagara Law Center - while broadening its mission to help NU students find internships, as well as have more local lawyers and judges involved through the recent creation of the NLC advisory board - will still operate primarily in the realm of continuing legal education. And this holiday party is no different; it will be immediately preceded by a CLE titled "Santa Who? Identity Theft and How to Keep Your 'Toys' Safe."
In fact, the NLC's most recent CLE, "Minority Issues and the Law," brought U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh Scott, State Supreme Court justices E. Jeannette Ogden and Richard Kloch, and trial attorney John Elmore to campus in October to discuss how race can have an effect in both criminal and civil law proceedings. The CLE was seen as cutting-edge, especially in light of the proposed establishment of a new category of mandatory CLE credits in New York that address "diversity and inclusion."
"We're always looking for new and inventive ways for the Niagara Law Center to be both relevant yet innovative," said Lori Shawver, BANC secretary and CLE coordinator. "Stay tuned for what's next in the spring."
The NLC holiday party and toy drive CLE takes place at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University Dec. 8, with the CLE at 4:30 p.m. and the party beginning at 6:30 p.m. Admission to either or both is $50 worth of new, unwrapped toys. There will be free food and eggnog, and a cash bar.