New York State Bar Association Welcomes 17 New Section Chairs

By Jennifer Andrus

August 29, 2023

New York State Bar Association Welcomes 17 New Section Chairs


By Jennifer Andrus

With the summer memories in the rear view mirror,  it’s time to usher in a new season and head back to work and school. The New York State Bar Association is proud to acknowledge 17 members who are taking on leadership roles in our association’s sections. They each bring expertise in the practice of law and a commitment to improve the profession.

The New York State Bar Association’s section chairs oversee efforts to improve laws, address professional development and sponsor continuing legal education courses in a variety of substantive fields. The association has 28 sections, which range in size from 300 to more than 4,500 members. These 17 sections installed new leaders beginning at the June House of Delegates meeting.

Business Law

Jessica Parker is an experienced corporate-transactional generalist. She is a regulatory project manager at Credit Suisse where she collaborates with business and legal partners as well as tax and IT professionals to implement and manage regulatory projects. She is also active on the Committee on Law Practice Management, Committee on Membership and Committee on Veterans. Parker is a graduate of Fordham Law School.


Cecilia Oyediran is a senior outreach associate of the Cannabis Workforce Initiative at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She advises clients on licensing, regulatory and compliance matters in the legal cannabis industry. Oyediran is a passionate advocate for cannabis education and social equity. She is a graduate of both Yale University and Harvard University and earned her JD at Stanford Law School.

Commercial and Federal Litigation

Anne Sekel is the managing partner at Foley & Lardner’s New York office. Her practice focuses on identifying and mitigating employment-related litigation risk or aggressively defending an employer’s discrimination or other commercial claims. Her community and pro bono work includes work for non-profit organizations and as a trustee of the Loyola School in Manhattan.  She is a graduate of Columbia University and the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.

Criminal Justice

Leah Nowotarski is the Wyoming County chief public defender overseeing an office of attorneys providing mandated representation. Nowotarski has made a career of working in criminal defense as both an assistant public defender and attorney with the Attica Legal Aid office for over a decade.  She is a graduate of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and Penn State University.

Dispute Resolution

Jeff Anderson is managing partner of Anderson, Moschetti & Taffany in the capital region. His practice focuses on personal injury and wrongful death cases arising from auto and construction accidents and defective products. Anderson is often retained by insurance counsel to mediate or arbitrate cases and has 1,400 dispute resolutions to his credit. He is a graduate of Colgate University and Albany Law School.

Elder Law & Special Needs Section

Fern Finkel is the founding attorney of Fern Finkel & Associates concentrating on elder law, estate planning, asset protection and special needs planning. She is known for her skillful analysis and practical advice to enable seniors and disabled clients to remain as independent as possible. She has helped thousands of seniors through her community outreach and pro bono work including the founding of the Legal Education and Assistance Project, known as LEAP. Finkel is a graduate of New York University and Boston University School of Law.

Environmental & Energy

Yvonne Hennessey is the chair of Barclay Damon’s Environmental and Lobbying & Election Law Compliance practice areas. She concentrates her practice on project siting and high profile environmental and regulatory litigation. She also advises clients on federal, state and local laws and compliance with the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Hennessey also helps clients navigate state and federal lobbying and election laws. She is a graduate of SUNY Geneseo and Northeastern University School of Law.

General Practice

Robert E. Brown founded his own firm in 2006 and specializes in foreclosure defense, personal injury, civil and criminal litigation. Brown came to law as a second career after serving as a New York City police officer and retiring at the rank of captain. Brown is an expert in police procedure and sought out by national media for his expertise. He is a graduate of St. John’s University for both his bachelor’s degree and juris doctor.

Health Law

Lisa Hayes is senior counsel for Hartford Healthcare and is an expert in healthcare law and regulatory compliance. Her practice also includes medical and commercial contracting, not-for-profit corporate law and grant compliance. In addition to her volunteer work with NYSBA, she volunteers with the NAACP and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Hayes is a graduate of Howard University and holds an MSPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a JD from Fordham University School of Law.


Gregory Gilbert is a state Supreme Court justice in the 5th Judicial District and sits on the bench in Oswego County. The Watertown native earned a BA at Siena College and a JD at Albany Law School. In addition to his judicial career, Gilbert is a partner at APFW Law in Oswego. He is the past president of the Oswego County Bar Association and is a contributing author to the New York State Bar Association Treatise; “Worker’s Compensation Law in New York” (2011).


Gonzalo Zeballos is a partner and lead of the international litigation team at BakerHostetler. He focuses on cross border disputes and takes on complex jurisdictional legal issues. In his pro bono work, he provides legal services for underprivileged women in New York City and political asylum seekers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Zeballos has a BA from the College of the Holy Cross, two master’s from the University of Chicago and a JD from Columbia University School of Law.

Labor and Employment

Sheryl Galler of Book Law advises employers and employees on federal, state, and local employment law. She negotiates agreements and helps clients develop and implement policy. Galler conducts sexual harassment prevention for law firms, nonprofits, and commercial entities.  She is the immediate past chair of the Women in Law Section. Galler earned her BA and her law degree from Columbia University.


Samuel Buchbauer is a trusts, estates and real estate attorney practicing at the Law Offices of David A. Caraway in New York City. Buchbauer says the majority of his client identify as LGBTQ+ and he finds it meaningful to help this community with their estate planning needs. Last year, he served on the Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Buchbauer received his BA and law degree from Syracuse University.

Local and State Government Law

Lisa Cobb is of counsel at Wallack and Wallace, with a focus on municipal and appellate law. She works with complex issues relating to land use and development, zoning and permitting issues and historic preservation status cases.   She is a graduate of SUNY Albany and Dickinson School of Law.

Real Property Law

Gilbert Hoffman is an experienced real estate attorney specializing in title underwriting, land title disputes and complex title matters. His practice also handles easement, right of way, environmental and zoning issues as well as oil and gas leasing. Hoffman earned his BA and JD from Syracuse University.

Women in Law

Kimberly Wolf Price is the attorney professional development and diversity officer at Bond, Schoeneck and King, working out of the firm’s Syracuse office. In her role, she works with Bond’s diversity committee, which is charged with advancing the firm’s diversity goals as well as with the firm’s Women’s Initiative and Pro Bono Committee. She is a graduate of Colgate University and Syracuse University College of Law. 

Young Lawyers

Julie Houth is an associate at Thomas Quinn in San Diego, specializing in maritime law. Her practice focuses on representing employers and carriers in cases brought under the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.  She is a graduate of UC Irvine and the University of San Diego School of Law.

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