by Theresa Staab, Providence College ’23
On the evening of June 8, at the Rail Line in Armory Square in Syracuse, the Federal Court Bar Association sponsored a reception with the Central New York Women’s Bar Association to recognize and celebrate three of our very own judges – Chief U.S. District Judge Brenda K. Sannes, U.S. District Judge Anne M. Nardacci, and Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Wendy A. Kinsella. About 40 people attended the catered reception. The purpose of the event was to recognize Judge Sannes’ historic elevation as the first woman Chief Judge in our district; Judge Nardacci’s recent appointment to the federal bench, in Albany; and Judge Kinsella’s recent elevation to the helm of the bankruptcy court. For about an hour, the three judges discussed their paths to the bench from diverse backgrounds and answered questions from the audience.
FCBA President Adam J. Katz began the reception by introducing the judges and pointing out that while more women have been appointed to Northern District of New York in recent years, the bench and bar more broadly suffer from a lack of diversity. And he pointed out that while lawyers’ clients are women and men, of every race, color, ethnicity, national origin, and religion, the legal profession is not nearly as inclusive as those it purports to represent.
Chief Judge Sannes shared her experiences as a district judge for the past eight-and-a-half years. Before that, she served as a federal prosecutor for 26 years, the last 9 of which she spent as the Appeals Chief in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Syracuse.
Judge Nardacci discussed her recent confirmation as a U.S. District Judge in December 2022. At the time of her appointment, she was a partner at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, specializing in complex commercial litigation and antitrust.
Judge Kinsella, who has served as a bankruptcy judge for the past two years, discussed her recent appointment as Chief Bankruptcy Judge in March. She discussed her educational background in accounting and passion for this area of law. At the time of her appointment as a bankruptcy judge, she was a partner at the law firm of Harris Beach PLLC.
Questions were submitted by audience members before the event and asked by criminal defense attorney Annaleigh Porter, a past president of the Central New York Women’s Bar Association. Questions regarded the nature of each judge’s chambers, her administrative duties and any tips for practitioners. Judges Kinsella and Nardacci shared similar advice on the importance of being prepared, or better yet, more prepared than one’s adversary, as Judge Nardacci suggested. Chief Judge Kinsella shared advice on the value of punctuality. Chief Judge Sannes rounded out the questions by discussing the importance of respect. She noted that one must always respond to communications from a judge’s courtroom deputy and treat the deputy as if they were the judge.
The event was informative and a fun introduction to three amazing judges and their achievements.
 The author is a summer intern in the chambers of United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby.