Lenora Foote

LENORA B. FOOTE, Chair of the Diversity Committe, is a Buffalo native and a graduate of Williamsville East High School.  She obtained her Juris Doctorate Degree from SUNY Buffalo School of Law. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Pre-Law Studies from Canisius College, and was distinguished as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar.


Lenora is the Executive Assistant to Presiding Justice Gerald J. Whalen. She is the first African-American and Buffalonian to serve in this position. She is the Chief of Staff for the 4th Department, and handles various court management responsibilities including the analysis of complex court operations, monitoring personnel issues, preparing necessary reports, assisting with budget preparation and allocations, managing and/or overseeing special projects, and monitoring the operations and efficiencies of the three judicial districts encompassing the fourth department. She is also an adjunct professor in the paralegal department at Hilbert College, and teaches family law.


Previously, Ms. Foote served as a Support Magistrate with Erie County Family Court for 10 years.  Magistrates are responsible for hearing and deciding child support, paternity and spousal support petitions. In addition, she spent 8 years working for the city of Buffalo. During this time she served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel, and was assigned to the housing court and the Buffalo Common Council. She also served as the first Director of the Save Our Streets Program, an initiative that united federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to tackle the illegal and social problems of drug activity in urban neighborhoods.  Ms. Foote also served as General Counsel for the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency. 


Ms. Foote is also busy in the community. She currently serves on the following Boards:

  • Erie Community College Foundation

  • Western New York Women's Foundation

  • True Community Development Corporation

  • Minority Bar Foundation, Inc.

  • Western New York Chapter, Women's Bar Association of the State of NY, Diversity Chair

  • Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission

  • Canisius College Women's Leadership Council

  • Diversity Steering Committee, Eighth Judicial District

She has previously served on the following Boards: ​

  • SUNY Buffalo School of Law Alumni Association, Past President

  • Canisius College, Board of Trustees

  • Burchfield Penny Art Center Board of Trustees

  • Minority Bar Association of WNY, Inc., Past President

  • Erie County Bar Foundation

  • Erie County Bar Association, Volunteer Lawyer's Project

  • Erie County Bar Association, Assigned Counsel Program


Ms. Foote has received the following awards and honors:

  • Outstanding Woman in the Law, 8th Judicial District

  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Erie Community College

  • Williamsville School District Wall of Fame

  • Women's Bar Association of the State of NY, "Rising Star"

  • Legal Service Award, Minority Bar Association of WNY, Inc.

  • Who's Who in Law, Buffalo Business First

  • Trail Blazer Award, SUNY Buffalo School of Law, Students of Color Committee

  • Women in Leadership Award, St. Philip's Church

  • DiGamma Honor Society, Canisius College


PHONE:  (716) 845-7483

EMAIL:  lfoote@nycourts.gov