Get to Know MCCM Counsel Thomas A. Klonick - Why did you become a lawyer?
Did you ever wonder what made us decide to become lawyers? Maybe you wondered what we do when we’re not practicing law? Welcome to the latest post from our “Get to Know Us” series, featuring different members of our MCCM team, where we answer those questions. Our next post features Thomas A. Klonick.
Why did you become a lawyer?
I often think about the randomness of life and how we end up where we are. For me, a seemingly insignificant choice as a teen and college classroom experience had profound effects on the direction of my life.
Entering my senior year in high school, several of my soccer teammates and I decided to attend a week-long soccer camp in northeastern Pennsylvania in the summer between our junior and senior year. After returning home from the camp, I received a letter from the camp director, who was the head soccer coach at Lehigh University, inviting me to visit the campus and watch a game. Although the school had not been on my radar, it was a beautiful campus, had an excellent business school and an improving soccer program. I instantly felt a connection. Coincidentally, in my first year, the NCAA allowed freshmen to play varsity sports. The promise of playing soccer for all four years of college coupled with my love of the campus and its location sealed my decision to attend Lehigh.
I enrolled in the business school and anticipated entering the business world upon graduation. That changed in my senior year when I took a business law course taught in the Socratic method by the Dean of the College of Business and Economics. I found the course and law to be fascinating. After graduation I decided to work in a law firm to help determine if I wanted to change my career goal. Working for a year in an administrative position for a local law firm cemented my desire to become a lawyer.
Our lives are often channeled in unforeseen ways. Had it not been for a seemingly insignificant decision as a teenager to attend summer soccer camp with my friends and the inspiration of a business law professor, I may not have embarked on this rewarding and fulfilling career.
Tell us any little known facts about you
I was appointed by New York State Chief Judge Judith Kaye and re-appointed by her successors to serve as a member of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. I served twelve years as a member and eight years as Chair. The Commission reviews complaints about the conduct of judges and issues discipline, including removal, as appropriate.
Sports were always an important part of my life. I played hockey, soccer and pole-vaulted in high school. In college, I played soccer internationally for a summer in Scotland and was named to the Middle Atlantic Conference All Conference team for four consecutive years.
My wife and I enjoy rescuing old buildings. We have restored several historic properties, including an 1830’s cobblestone house known as the Bullis House in Macedon, NY, a two-room school house circa 1909 better known as the Fairport Grange, and a Unitarian church built in the early 1900’s which had formerly served as the Macedon Town Hall.
Both my wife and I enjoy cooking and traveling.
What about your family?
I grew up in Brighton and have lived my entire life in the Rochester area.
My parents were ornithologists, that is, bird watchers - an unusual hobby back in the 1950’s and 60’s. My brother and I were often awakened in the early morning hours to go on birding trips or on a “wild goose chase - an annual trip to watch thousands of Canadian geese and Snow geese migrate through Montezuma National Wildlife refuge to see how many different species we could count. These experiences gave me a special appreciation of upstate New York, our environment and all this area has to offer.
I am married to Evelyn Frazee, who is a retired New York State Supreme Court Justice. At the end of 2023, I will retire after serving for 28 years as Perinton Town Justice. We have two adult children, Kate, who is a law professor specializing in internet law, and Alex, who is an environmental economist. As you might imagine, law and the environment are often discussed around the dinner table. We were recently blessed with the birth of our first grandchild.
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McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979. With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.
We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England. They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts. For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.