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Women’s bar group seems to show a gender bias

My eyebrows were raised when reviewing the Western New York Chapter of the State Women’s Bar Association’s ratings of candidates for Erie County Family Court. Of four candidates, the two female candidates received highly qualified recommendations while the two male candidates received only qualified recommendations.

I can’t speak for Paul Crapsi, however candidate Joseph Jarzembek has spent nearly 25 years working exclusively in Erie County Family Court as counsel for the Department of Social Services, which deals extensively with child abuse and neglect matters. He has worked not as an advocate for one parental interest versus another, but as a social services counsel protecting the interests of children in the county.

The two female attorneys – Mary Giallanza Carney and Deanne Tripi – have 25 years’ experience combined between them. Granted that they are competent and respected attorneys and although they have practiced extensively in Family Court, they’ve done so as private attorneys who are paid by their respective clients to advocate on one side or the other, not always with the best interests of the children at heart.

I don’t know what criteria the Women’s Bar uses to distinguish a candidate as highly qualified as opposed to qualified. In the case of Jarzembek, however, it’s obvious that he would deserve a ranking if not higher than the two female candidates then at least on par with them.

It appears the Women’s Bar was perhaps influenced by outside political pressures, or worse, engaged in gender bias in determining its ranking of candidates. This is the very type of conduct that the Women’s Bar would voice criticism over if the situation were reversed.

Carmen J. Gentile

Buffalo