Leadership Through Giving

Respect for Justice Green brings help for students

A little goodwill can go a long way. A lot of goodwill – that just keeps on going.

Those feelings of affection and admiration were the genesis of the new Hon. Samuel L. Green ’67 Award, established when Judge Green retired from the bench. He served for 38 years on the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, of the New York State Supreme Court.

Proceeds from a retirement dinner held in his honor raised over $20,000 in seed money for an endowment that will provide scholarship aid for a University at Buffalo School of Law student, with preference given to those from minority groups traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession.

The idea for the award came from Justice Green’s wife, Ernestine, and friends Cindy and Fran Letro ’79. In addition to proceeds from the dinner, contributions are still being accepted from those whose lives were touched by Judge Green’s long service.

“Thanks to Mrs. Green and the Letros and so many who attended, this is a reality,” says Karen R. Kaczmarski ’89, the Law School’s vice dean for philanthropy. Kaczmarski spent 15 years as a trial attorney, and donated to the fund herself in appreciation of Justice Green.

“Scholarships are vital to our progress, ensuring that bright, deserving students are able to obtain an excellent legal education and achieve their dreams,” Kaczmarski says. “The Hon. Samuel L. Green ’67 Award will do just that, and is a wonderful and meaningful way of honoring him and paying tribute to his many accomplishments as a jurist, lawyer, mentor and friend.”

The inaugural recipient of support from the fund, third-year student Ariana L. Hoo ’16, says the $2,500 award could not have come at a better time for her.

“I had been looking at bar prep courses,” says Hoo, a New York City native and Bryn Mawr College alumna who has been an active participant in Law School life. “I wanted to do BAR/BRI, but it’s the most expensive one. The deadline was coming up, and I didn’t have the money.”

She was in class when the email came. Subject line: “Congratulations!” Hoo has spent summer placements in law firms doing personal injury work and at a DA’s office, but her major interest is in working to prevent domestic violence. She says her time at the University at Buffalo School of Law has gone by quickly.

“Buffalo is really great in terms of having supports and lots of resources,” she says. Especially helpful, she says, was the guidance of a 2L student mentor to give her tips on how to study and manage the workload. “That made things a lot easier, especially in the first year,” Hoo says. “People here are willing to help out. You can ask any question and people are honored and happy to help you.”

She didn’t know about Justice Green, but read up on him and was struck by his story as a person of color who achieved great success. And the support she received in his name, she says, “makes me want to do the same for someone else who’s in the same position.”