Six law professors awarded designation as named scholars

Six longtime faculty members of SUNY Buffalo Law School have been elevated to new academic ranks – reflecting, says Dean Makau W. Mutua, “outstanding scholarship and notable records of teaching and service.”

The new designations are made possible by the generous gifts from distinguished alumni. Several are the result of leadership gifts to the school’s seven-year fundraising campaign. A major goal of the $30 million campaign, which is especially targeted at the school’s 10,500-plus alumni, is endowed support for faculty research.

“In the last five years alone, we have raised money for four completely new endowed ranks,” Mutua says. “We expect many more of these gifts – to support our faculty – before the campaign is over.”

The faculty members receiving new academic designations are:

James A. Gardner, Bridget and Thomas Black Professor. A well-regarded constitutional law scholar and former vice dean of the Law School, Gardner joined the Buffalo faculty in 2001. He also has been named a SUNY Distinguished Professor. A prolific scholar, his most recent book is Election Law in the American Political System (Aspen, 2013). Thomas E. Black ’79 and his wife, Bridget, are Western New York natives who now live in Texas, where Black is managing partner of the highly successful mortgage servicing firm Black, Mann & Graham. He serves as chair of the Law School’s Dean’s Advisory Council, as a trustee of the University at Buffalo Foundation, and as co-chair of the Law School’s capital campaign steering committee.

Errol E. Meidinger, Margaret W. Wong Professor. Meidinger, who teaches and conducts research in environmental law, directs the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, a research institute that advances the University’s role in cutting-edge research on law and legal institutions. His most recent article, co-authored with four other scholars, is “Transnational Business Governance Interactions: Conceptualizing a Terrain,” published in Regulation and Governance (2012).  Margaret W. Wong ’76 serves as co-chair of the Law School’s capital campaign steering committee and as a long-time member of the Dean’s Advisory Council. The successful immigration law practice she founded in Cleveland now has offices in six U.S. cities. She is also a published author and one of the Law School’s most generous alumni.

Athena D. Mutua, Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar. Professor Mutua studies and writes in the areas of critical race and feminist legal theory. Her work includes the edited collection Progressive Black Masculinities (Routledge, 2006). The late Floyd H. Hurst ’31 was a founding partner of the law firm Hurst & Brothman (later Hurst, Brothman & Yusick) in Angola, NY. He and his wife, Hilda L. Hurst, spent their later years in Altoona, Fla.

John Henry Schlegel, Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar. Schlegel, a SUNY Buffalo Law faculty member since 1973, has primarily studied legal history and the history of legal education. A recent article is “Together Again,” in the Comparative Law Review (online 2012). He is part of the faculty group that offers the financial transactions concentration, teaching both acquisition transactions and in the concentration’s program in finance in New York City.

Robert J. Steinfeld, Joseph W. Belluck and Laura L. Aswad Professor of Civil Justice. A scholar of constitutional history and legal history, Steinfeld has a forthcoming book titled The People or the Courts?: Conflicting Vision of Constitutional Order, Customary Constitutionalism and the Emergence of American Judicial Review. Joseph W. Belluck ’94 is a founding partner of the New York City law firm Belluck & Fox, and serves on the SUNY Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Laura L. Aswad, live in New York City and Woodstock, N.Y.

David A. Westbrook, Louis A. Del Cotto Professor. Westbrook thinks and writes about the social and intellectual consequences of contemporary political economy. His work touches on numerous disciplines, including law, economics, finance, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and design. He also serves as the Law School’s director for global strategic initiatives. Among his books is Deploying Ourselves: Islamist Violence and the Responsible Projection of U.S. Force (Paradigm Publishers, 2010). This professorship was endowed by a major donation from Brian Baird ’83 and other former students of the late Professor Louis A. Del Cotto ’51, who taught tax at the Law School for more than 40 years. Baird, who is of counsel with the Buffalo law firm Kavinoky & Cook LLP, serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council and on the Campaign Committee of the Law School, and also is a trustee of the charitable Cameron and Jane Baird Foundation. 

Seven other SUNY Buffalo Law faculty members hold named scholar designations.

James A. Gardner

James A. Gardner, Bridget and Thomas Black Professor; SUNY Distinguished Professor of Civil Justice

Errol

Errol E. Meidinger, Margaret W. Wong Professor; Director, Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy

Athena

Athena D. Mutua, Professor; Floyd H. & Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar

Schlegel

John H. Schlegel, Professor; Floyd H. & Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar

Rob

Robert J. Steinfeld, Joseph W. Belluck and Laura L. Aswad Professor of Civil Justice

Rob

David A. Westbrook, Louis A. Del Cotto Professor; Director for Global Strategic Initiatives