With a nod to its long tradition of legal scholarship and anticipation of the next generation of that tradition, members of the Buffalo Law Review celebrated a season of achievements at the publication’s 27th annual dinner.
The April 28 dinner, held at the Park Country Club, marked a changing of the guard as graduating students gave way to the next slate of editors. The Law Review also honored two previous members who have gone on to distinguished careers in the law.
The outgoing editor in chief, Michael R. Staszkiw ’16, listed the year’s achievements. They included a special symposium issue in January, curated by Professor John Henry Schlegel, on “different topics that have been forgotten in history and how the field of intellectual history can expand and better explain them.” Also notable was a piece in the August issue highlighting potential legal remedies for the outbreaks of disease that have resulted from the anti-vaccination movement, an article that drew attention from several legal blogs.
Notably, the Law Review this year climbed into the top 50 nationwide among student-edited law journals for its impact on legal scholarship. “This is a substantial achievement, as it exemplifies the impressive quality of articles the Review has published over the last eight years,” Staszkiw said.
The evening’s alumni honorees were Hon. Paul L. Friedman ’68, a senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and Barbara L. Schifeling ’84, recently retired from a successful career in litigation for the Buffalo firm Damon Morey.
In accepting his award, Friedman remembered being assigned an arcane topic for a Law School paper that involved tort law and medical malpractice. He wasn’t enthusiastic, he said, but “there are lots of things you never thought would be interesting that actually turn out quite interesting, and you can get intellectually engaged in them. Every case is interesting, either because it’s intellectually challenging or because you’re helping real people solve real problems.”
Thinking back over his career, Friedman said, “I still like being a judge. It’s fascinating every day. … You can really have a pretty good life in the law. But no matter how hard you work, get a life. Make time for things other than the law. Don’t miss seeing your children grow up. Don’t miss keeping contact with people who matter to you. Find friends who are not lawyers and certainly not clients. It will make for a fuller life.”
For her part, Schifeling said, “There has never been a moment in my 31-plus years of practice that I was not grateful to UB Law School. It gave me my professional life.”
Long an advocate for women in the profession, Schifeling pointed to some continuing deficits in full gender equality. Though almost 45 percent of associates in private practice are women, she said, only 17 percent of equity partners are women, and among the 200 largest law firms, only 4 percent have women as their managing partners.
Remedying those inequities, she said, will require continued pushback against entrenched traditions such as expectations around work schedules; mentoring that brings out the best in up-and-coming lawyers; and recognizing the “unconscious bias” that persists in the ways professional women are perceived.
Associate Publication Awards, recognizing excellence in writing on the Law Review, were given to second-year students Lauren Adornetto, Kerry Q. Battenfeld, Erin R. Goldberg and Kelsey L. Hanson. The Justice Philip Halpern Award, presented to a third-year student for excellence in writing, was given to Brandon R. White. And the Carlos C. Alden Award, conferred on the third-year student who has made the greatest contribution to the Law Review, belonged to Michael R. Staszkiw.
The incoming editor in chief of the Buffalo Law Review is Kerry Q. Battenfeld.