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Law School Experience

Buffalo Law Review marks a productive year

Buffalo Law Review honorees Mary Joanne Dowd ’80 and Alan Carrel '67.

It’s said 25 years is the silver anniversary, but as members and friends of the Buffalo Law Review gathered for their 25th annual dinner, the feelings were pure gold.

The dinner, held April 24, 2014, at the Park Country Club, celebrated a year in which the Law Review published five issues and, said outgoing Editor in Chief Emily A. Dinsmore, “worked to instill a sense of community in the Review’s members.” That included the organization’s first-ever holiday party, complete with a bake-off and an appearance by Santa Claus.

Working on the Law Review, Dinsmore said, is “sometimes a little crazy, oftentimes very demanding. It’s also a lot of fun at times.”

The dinner was also an occasion to honor two SUNY Buffalo Law alumni who have excelled in the field and contributed much to the school.

The first honoree, Mary Joanne Dowd ’80, is a partner in the Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring Group at the Washington, D.C., law firm Arent Fox. She serves on the Law School’s Dean’s Advisory Council.

Looking back on her years in Buffalo, Dowd said she never worked on Law Review but has fond memories of her classmates who did. Buffalo Law, she said, “has such wide respect in New York State and the wider legal community. It opened up huge doors for me. I had no idea what law was like or what law practice was about. It was such a good experience that I came here.” For one, she said, in Professor Ken Joyce’s classroom “I learned to love the Socratic method. He could not have been a better teacher and mentor.”

She also noted that the school has done well to keep tuition low, enabling people from all walks of life to get a legal education. And, she said, the prevailing culture continues to be one of support. “Law school was an incredibly collegial experience for me,” Dowd said. “People were helping each other. I’m so pleased to see that the culture is still the same. It’s a very special place.”

The second honoree, Alan S. Carrel ’67, is nearing retirement from the Law School, where he serves as vice dean. “I’ve always considered myself to be the luckiest person I know, and being honored for something I’ve loved doing for 35 years is a perfect example of that,” he said. “This job has enabled me to interact with thousands of terrific students, alumni and co-workers whose company I have always enjoyed and from whom I have learned much.”

Carrel also shared what he called some “basic concepts I have learned along the way.” Among them:

“View yourself objectively. We all have plenty of faults. Work on the faults you can improve. I remind myself regularly that perfect never happens and the best I can do is my best.              

“The worst mistakes you can make are being afraid to make one and being afraid to take a risk. Setbacks and disappointment are part of the process. Failing is not falling down, it is staying down.

“Your best resource is the opinion of others. No matter how smart you are, you will have some dumb ideas and do some stupid things unless you listen to others. Listen openly and objectively before deciding what makes the most sense to you.”

And finally: “Do not be what others want you to be. Figure out what you like to do, what is important to you and what is best for you, and then head in that direction. Success is spending your life in your own way.”

Also at the dinner, four Law Review associates received publication awards recognizing their excellent writing. Their articles will be published in the journal. They are Erin E. Connare, Ryan G. Ganzenmuller, Thomas C. Katsiotas and Amrita Maharaj. The Justice Philip Halpern Award, presented to a third-year student for excellence in writing on the Law Review, went to Executive Editor Andrew M. Dean; and the Carlos C. Alden Award, presented to the third-year student making the greatest contribution to the Law Review, was given to Emily A. Dinsmore.

Ryan G. Ganzenmuller is the incoming editor in chief of the Buffalo Law Review.