The Edwin F. Jaeckle Award is the highest honor the School of Law and its Law Alumni Association can bestow. These men and women have exemplified the highest ideals of the law school and been recognized for their significant contributions to the school and the legal profession.
Judge Scott spent more than three decades on the bench, stepping down as an active U.S. magistrate judge in 2015. The first African American to serve as a federal judge in the Western District of New York, he continued in semi-retirement to hear a reduced caseload until his passing in February, 2021.
Judge Scott spent more than three decades on the bench, stepping down as an active U.S. magistrate judge in 2015. The first African American to serve as a federal judge in the Western District of New York, he continued in semi-retirement to hear a reduced caseload until his recent passing in February of this year.
Judge Scott began his legal career as an assistant county attorney with the Erie County Law Department and later joined the Buffalo Law Department as an assistant corporation counsel. He then served as the first African American assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York.
In 1979, Judge Scott joined the state attorney general’s Buffalo Office as deputy assistant attorney general-in-charge of claims and litigation. He went on to become assistant attorney general-in-charge of the Buffalo regional office of the New York State Department of Law. He was the first African American to head the second largest regional office in the State of New York.
His judicial career began when he ran for Buffalo City Court judge in 1984 and was elected to a 10-year term, then re-elected in 1994. He left that position in 1995 to ascend to the federal bench.
Judge Scott created the U.S. District Court’s Re-entry Court, in which convicted defendants who have served their sentence receive job training, legal assistance, and other help to ease their transition back into society. He served as a role model and mentor for countless law students and practitioners and held numerous leadership roles in Buffalo community organizations, including Niagara University, Canisius College, Buffalo Urban League, the New York State Judicial Task Force on Domestic Violence, Sisters of Charity Hospital, the National Federation for Just Communities of WNY, and many more.
Throughout his career, Judge Scott remained active and engaged with the law school. He was a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council and also served UB Law as an adjunct professor, teaching trial technique courses for both the J.D. program and the criminal law and general Master of Laws programs. He presided over the first federal court trial held in the law school's Francis M. Letro Courtroom.
Michael A. Battle has led a distinguished career in both the private and public sectors. A partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Washington, D.C., he focuses his practice on white-collar criminal matters and counsels clients on issues involving the Foreign Corruption Practices Act, health care fraud, and the False Claims Act.
Prior to entering private practice, Battle held several high-profile public service positions. From 2005 to 2007, he served as director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, where he coordinated and managed 93 U.S. Attorneys. Previously, Battle was one of the first three federal defenders in the Western District of New York when the office was created in 1992. He was later appointed U.S. Attorney in that district and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2002. He has also served as an Erie County Family Court judge, and as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of New York City, Civil Division.
Ann E. Evanko, is a member and former president and managing partner of the Buffalo-based law firm Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. Practicing in the areas of employment law and corporate law, Evanko litigates and mediates complex business, commercial and employment disputes.
The first female attorney hired by Hurwitz & Fine in 1979, Evanko led the law firm from 2008 to 2019. A community leader, she has been an active volunteer for numerous groups -- especially those promoting women. Identified by Buffalo Business First as one of the most powerful and influential people in Western New York, Evanko has also been named to the “Power 250” list which recognizes the men and women who “wield the most clout in the region,” as well as the “Power 100 Women” list which showcases the region’s most influential and powerful women. In 2016, Business First honored Evanko with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Women of Influence.
Hon. Barbara Howe, a member of the law school’s Class of 1980. Now retired, she was senior counsel to Woods Oviatt Gilman in Buffalo, NY.
Prior to joining the firm, Judge Howe served as New York State Surrogate Judge for Erie County from 2004 through 2017. She began her judicial career on the Buffalo City Court bench in 1988, and served as a New York State Supreme Court justice from 1992 to 2003.
Previously, Judge Howe was a tenured faculty member in the sociology department at the University at Buffalo. While on the bench, she served as an adjunct clinical professor of law at UB, and as an adjunct associate professor of sociology. A former president of the UB Law Alumni Association, Judge Howe has maintained close ties with the law school throughout her academic and judicial career, teaching several courses, and actively promoting and participating in the law school’s mentor program. She was the recipient of the Law Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award for the Judiciary in 2001.
SUNY Distinguished Professor James A. Gardner is the Bridget and Thomas Black Professor at the School of Law. He served as interim dean of the law school from December 2014 to June 2017, and during that time led significant initiatives to strengthen the school’s administration, teaching and clinical education offerings.
A member of the law faculty since 2001, Gardner is a highly regarded specialist in constitutional and election law. His scholarly research and writing has focused on subnational governments in the United States and abroad. He has published six books as well as numerous book chapters, articles and review essays.
Terrence Connors is a founding member of the Buffalo law firm Connors and Vilardo (now Connors LLP), and has been active with the law school in many ways, including teaching aspects of trial technique and supporting the establishment of the school’s Advocacy Institute.
He serves as chairman of the Institute’s national advisory board. Connors is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers whose membership is limited to one percent of the lawyers in each state, and of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers whose membership comprises just 500 trial lawyers in the United States. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in seven categories and he has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council providing consultation on curricular and other matters.
Pamela Davis Heilman’75, a longtime member of the law achool’s Dean’s Advisory Council, for six years also has served on the UB Council. In that role she was part of the search committee that selected Satish K. Tripathi as UB’s 15th president.
UB President Tripathi praised the honoree for her investment in the success of the University. Heilman, he said, “exemplifies what it means to be an engaged alumna – a distinguished leader in the legal community who offers an inspiring example to our current and future students and a deeply engaged university citizen who cares passionately about our university and our law school and has committed herself to actively advancing them.”
Forty years to the day after he was admitted to the New York State bar, Hon. Eugene F. Pigott Jr. ’73, senior associate justice on the state Court of Appeals, was presented the Edwin F. Jaeckle Award at a New York City alumni luncheon.
The award, given annually “to an individual who has distinguished himself or herself and has made significant contributions to the law school and the legal profession,” made special note of the justice’s commitment to the advancement of minority attorneys.
An accomplished alumna who emigrated to the United States, Margaret W. Wong, a nationally renowned immigration lawyer based in Cleveland, has helped countless others to become American citizens.
As a longtime member of the Dean’s Advisory Council, Wong has helped to enhance the quality and reputation of the law school. Herself a law school scholarship recipient, she has endowed a substantial scholarship program and a full professorship, gifts that place her among the most generous alumni in the School of Law’s 135-year history.
A well-known Western New York trial attorney, Francis M. Letro has held leadership positions in many professional organizations on the national, state and local levels, and for 20 years has been a board member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.
He served as vice chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council, and the law school's first-floor working courtroom is named in his honor, in recognition of a major gift in 2002 from Letro and his wife, Cindy Abbott Letro.
Founder and now a retired partner of the Texas law firm Black, Mann & Graham, Thomas E. Black Jr. has long been a strong advocate for the law school.
He has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council since 2002 and as Council chairman since 2007. Black also co-chaired the School of Law's Campaign Steering Committee, and he and his wife, Bridget, have made a major gift to establish a named professorship at the school.
A longtime member and past chairman of the law school’s Dean’s Advisory Council, Kenneth B. Forrest became a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in 1982 and is currently of counsel.
He has litigated numerous disputes relating to corporate mergers and acquisitions, including some of the leading decisions in that area of law. He has served on a number of professional committees as well, including the Committee on Federal Legislation.
Under the Law School’s 18th dean, R. Nils Olsen Jr., scholarly productivity and community service reached record levels, and the school rebuilt the loyalty and involvement of its alumni. He also helped develop the UB 2020 strategic plan and lent his support to the University’s renewed commitment to civic engagement. Olsen has advised numerous community-based, citizen environmental groups and several local municipalities on environmental law issues.
Prior to passing away in March, 2020, Michael A. Telesca was a U.S. District Court judge for the Western District of New York, and was chief justice of that court from 1989 to 1996. He was a District Court judge, based in Rochester, and in 1996 was appointed to the federal Alien Terrorist Removal Court. He served on numerous boards of directors and advisory boards, including those for the Association for Mentally Retarded Persons, the National Kidney Foundation and the Genesee Hospital Foundation.
Currently of counsel in the Buffalo law firm Phillips Lytle, Thomas R. Beecher Jr. has left a lasting impression on Western New York through his involvement in myriad business and charitable initiatives. Beecher served as chair of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, a non-profit corporation founded to cultivate a world-class medical campus in downtown Buffalo. He was also board chairman of Buffalo General Hospital from 1991 to 1994 and co-founded the Buffalo Inner-City Scholarship Opportunity Network.
Ann T. Mikoll was the first woman elected to serve on a New York State appellate court and a lifelong advocate for the cultural and educational training of young people. Before her appellate court election, Mikoll served as assistant corporation counsel for the City of Buffalo, for 14 years as a Buffalo City Court judge, and on the state Supreme Court. She retired in 1999 as senior associate justice of the Appellate Division, 3rd Department.
Kenneth F. Joyce taught at the Law School from 1964 to 2008. His teaching and scholarship focused on “death and taxes” – income, estate and gift taxation, and estates, trusts and estate planning. In addition to his teaching and research, Joyce has been at the forefront of law reform through legislation in New York. He served as executive director of the New York State Law Revision Commission from 1985 to 2000.
William R. Greiner spent 42 years at the University at Buffalo as president, provost and longtime Law School faculty member. Greiner joined the law faculty in 1967 and was appointed UB’s 13th president in 1991. He served in that position until 2003, overseeing a period of unprecedented growth and solidifying UB’s place as a top-flight research university. He was known as the quintessential university citizen, and he cherished his role as professor and mentor.
Currently senior counsel in the Buffalo law firm Magavern Magavern & Grimm, James L. Magavern has served on the law school’s Dean’s Advisory Council. He also has taught a wide variety of courses at the Law School, including contracts, civil procedure, counseling small business, environmental management, municipal law, and state and local government finance. He also has served as president of the Erie County Bar Association and as chair of Buffalo’s Charter Revision Commission.
Vincent E. Doyle Jr.’s quick wit, love for the law and passion for the underdog carried him through a long career as a defense lawyer, trial judge and chief administrative judge for the State Supreme Court, 8th Judicial District. Among his accomplishments was persuading Erie County to build a new Family Court and renovate the old County Courthouse. He also set up speedier matrimonial courts and oversaw the creation of drug courts, commercial courts, mental health courts and domestic violence courts.
Erma Hallett Jaeckle worked as a patent attorney with Carborundum Corp. and then served in the legal department of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Merchant Marine Division during World War II. After her first husband died in 1950, she moved to St. Petersburg, Fla. There, over the next 25 years, she worked as a trial lawyer; formed the area’s first all-female law firm; and was one of the first women to serve on the executive board of the St. Petersburg Bar Association.
Joseph S. Mattina has been a lawyer, an assistant district attorney, a Buffalo City Court judge, an Erie County Court judge, a New York State Supreme Court justice and, for most of his career on the bench, a Surrogate’s Court judge, handling trusts and estates, guardianships and adoptions. He was one of only 16 judges nationwide to be inducted as a charter member of the National Judicial College Hall of Fame.
A consummate teacher, Louis A. Del Cotto taught tax law at the Law School from 1951 to 1959, took two years off to teach at Columbia Law School, then returned in 1961 and remained until his death in 2005. He specialized in tax matters as a partner in the law firm of Jaeckle, Fleischmann, Kelly, Swart and Augspurger, and in 1981 he joined the Buffalo law firm Kavinoky and Cook as tax counsel.
Following five years in private practice, in 1973 Samuel L. Green was appointed and then elected a judge on Buffalo City Court; in 1978 he was elected to the state Supreme Court; and in 1983 Gov. Mario Cuomo appointed him to the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, sitting in Rochester. He held that post for 38 years, winning praise for his evenhandedness. Upon his retirement, a courtroom in the Appellate Division was named in his honor.
Founder of the law firm Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, Gerald S. Lippes has a long history of service to cultural and civic organizations. He has served on the boards of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the New York State Council on the Arts and the UB Buffalo Foundation. He is a past chairman of Kaleida Health Care Systems, Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and co-chaired the record-breaking Campaign for UB fund drive.
Dale M. Volker retired from the New York State Senate in 2010 after 35 years of service – years in which he helped bring funding to Western New York for such projects as the modernization of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the $1 billion reconstruction of the Buffalo city schools. A former Depew police officer and a staunch Republican, he was proud of his ability to reach across party lines when it would benefit his constituents.
A tireless advocate for elementary, high school and college students in Buffalo and across New York State, Arnold B. Gardner served as Buffalo Board of Education president, a State University of New York trustee and a member of the Board of Regents. A longtime partner in the Kavinoky & Cook law firm, he said one of his proudest achievements was playing a key role in the push to allow women to become regular members of the Buffalo Club.
A renowned basketball player at Canisius College, where he led the Golden Griffins to three appearances in the NCAA tournament, Henry Nowak served as a Democratic congressman from 1975 to 1993. Before going to Washington, he served as Erie County comptroller for 10 years. In Congress, he was a member of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation throughout his time in office, winning federal funding for such projects as Buffalo’s light rail system and the Erie Basin Marina.
As a professor at the Law School, Albert R. Mugel mentored generations of students in the vagaries of tax law. A renowned member of the Buffalo legal community, he was a founder of Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel, one of the region’s largest law firms. There he concentrated his practice in income, estate and gift taxation. Each spring the Law School hosts the Albert R. Mugel National Tax Law Moot Court Competition, now entering its 40th year.
Robert C. Schaus and his brother, Maynard C. Schaus Jr., enrolled together at the Law School, the third generation of their family to study there. Upon graduation, they practiced law together in their father’s office in downtown Buffalo for more than 30 years. Robert Schaus taught trial technique at the Law School, served as secretary of the Law Alumni Association for more than 30 years, and co-authored the centennial history of the school with James Arnone ’85.
Dolores Denman broke barriers, becoming the first woman to serve as presiding judge in the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court. A former Buffalo City Court judge and Erie County Court judge, she was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1976. The next year, she was appointed to the Appellate Division, Fourth Department. She was named presiding justice in 1991. The division’s courthouse in Rochester is named in her honor.
Wade J. Newhouse, who joined the School of Law in 1959 and retired in 1993, was an expert in constitutional law. He served as the school’s 14th dean, from 1986 to 1987, a term that included the law school’s gala centennial celebration. During his tenure at the law school, he also served as acting law librarian, served as faculty representative to the architects of John Lord O’Brian Hall, and organized a clinic dealing with school problems, such as suspensions and educational entitlements. Neuhouse passed away in May, 2014.
After service in the Marine Corps during World War II, John T. Curtin earned his law degree, worked as a private practitioner from 1949 to 1961, then served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York from 1961 to 1967. President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated him to a U.S. District Court judgeship in 1967, and he served as chief judge from 1974 to 1989. His legacy includes a controversial 1976 decision ordering the desegregation of the Buffalo public schools.
A partner with Jaeckle, Fleischmann & Mugel, Manly Fleischmann served in important posts with the federal government, including administrator of the Defense Production Administration during the Korean War, and as chairman from 1969 to 1972 of a New York State commission that proposed sweeping changes to the way public schools in the state were run. He also served as assistant general counsel of the federal War Production Board during World War II. Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller appointed him a SUNY trustee in 1965.
As Erie County district attorney from 1963 to 1973, Michael F. Dillon was known for his vigorous prosecution of even petty crime. When the high school in his hometown Lackawanna, for instance, noticed shortages of food, he had a hidden camera installed and uncovered large-scale theft by employees. Dillon was appointed an associate justice of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court by Gov. Hugh L. Carey in 1975 and became a presiding justice four years later.
Now a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Thomas E. Headrick served as law school dean from 1976 to 1985, after serving administrative posts at Lawrence University and Stanford Law School. An early exemplar of School of Law's interdisciplinary focus, he holds a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University. He also was a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University.
Hon. William J. Regan served as Erie County surrogate from 1963 to 1981. During his long career in practice and on the bench, he served the community with great distinction. An award is his name, supported from a fund donated by friends of Judge Regan, honors “the member of the graduating class who has demonstrated the greatest proficiency in estates and surrogate’s law, and who is motivated by a strong concern for public service and public welfare.”
Known to his friends as “Jack” and to former students as “Dean Hyman,” Jacob D. Hyman began his legal career in New York City. He moved to Washington, D.C., to join the legal staff of the Wage and Hour Division of the federal Department of Labor, then the wartime Office of Price Administration. He joined the Law School faculty in 1946, served as dean from 1953 to 1964, then returned to teaching. In all, he spent 54 years in association with the school.
Following service during World War II as a military government officer in Europe and more than a decade in private practice, Matthew J. Jasen was appointed by New York Gov. W. Averell Harriman to fill a vacancy on state Supreme Court in 1957, then elected the same year to a 14-year term. In 1967, he was elected to the Court of Appeals, where he served until reaching the mandatory retirement age in 1985.
A member of the Securities and Exchange Commission under President Harry S. Truman, Robert I. Millonzi was a partner in the Buffalo law firm Diebold & Millonzi. He also chaired a commission to study the distribution of inexpensive hydroelectric power in the state. An avid supporter of the performing arts, he served on the executive committee of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and on the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington, D.C.
A prominent Buffalo attorney who played a large role in the hiring of three University at Buffalo presidents – Robert L. Ketter, Steven B. Sample and William R. Greiner – served as chairman of the UB Council. He was also a member of the board of trustees of the UB Foundation. The M. Robert Koren Center for Clinical Legal Education is part of the Law School’s Charles B. Sears Law Library.
Clarence R. Runals was a well-known trial attorney with the Niagara Falls firm Runals, Broderick & Shoemaker. He was a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1938, and threw himself into community service, serving as president of the Niagara County and Niagara Falls bar associations, the city’s Community Chest and the Chamber of Commerce, among others. From his home overlooking Goat Island, he could walk the quarter-mile distance to his office on Third Street.
Frank G. Raichle Jr. practiced law in Buffalo for 65 years and was one of the best-known trial lawyers in New York State. A former law partner of Law School Dean Carlos C. Alden, Raichle also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. He served as president of the American College of Trial Lawyers. A longtime associate of Canisius College, he made a gift that endowed the Raichle Pre-Law Center there.
Charles S. Desmond’s long career on the bench began when New York Gov. Herbert H. Lehman appointed him to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court. He was elected to the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, in 1940 and re-elected in 1954. In 1959 he was elected chief judge, and left the bench in 1966, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. In retirement, he taught at the law school.
The inaugural Edwin F. Jaeckle Award went, fittingly enough, to the award’s namesake. Jaeckle was a founding partner of the firm Jaeckle, Fleischmann & Mugel, and his early years of practice in Buffalo were accomplished without benefit of typewriters, telephones or carbon paper. He made significant gifts to the school in 1966 and 1982 that continue to endow programs including the Jaeckle Center for State and Local Government Law. He also served as New York State Republican Chairman, and served as campaign manager for Thomas E. Dewey.