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Helping to address a critical gap in access to justice, a new practicum is putting SUNY Buffalo Law students to work at Erie County Family Court and Buffalo's federal District Court. They are there to help civil litigants who wish to defend themselves navigate the unfamiliar court system.
The school's Pro Se Civil Litigation Practicum, new this semester, exposes students to these two key courts, where they work with pro se clients under the supervision of a volunteer attorney. The six second- and third-year students enrolled this semester conduct intake of new clients, recording information on their case and preparing them to meet with the attorney. The student then accompanies the client to meet with the volunteer attorney, who provides limited-scope representation in advising the litigant about the pro se process.
Law School faculty member Bernadette Gargano – who co-teaches the practicum with Bridget O'Connell, a mediator for the 8th Judicial District – says the arrangement is designed to expose students to a variety of court settings and clients, while also meeting a critical need in helping pro se clients find their way in the court system. [Read More / View photos from our Pro Se Training Session]
Forty years to the day after he was admitted to the New York State bar, one of SUNY Buffalo Law School's most distinguished jurists accepted the school's highest honor. 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 on Jan. 31. 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.
In introducing the honoree, Francis M. Letro '79 pointed to Pigott's human qualities, saying, "He enjoys an extraordinary legal career well balanced by his family, by his friends, and by having lots of fun along the way as a lawyer and a judge." [Read More / View Photos / Watch the entire event]
Putting into practice the truism "While we teach, we learn," SUNY Buffalo Law students are coaching a mock trial team from one of Buffalo's poorest high schools – and finding startling success. Future Advocates in Training brings together law students - many of them veterans of the school's trial teams - with high school students from the Charter School for Applied Technologies.
It is the brainchild of Michael Adler, an Erie County assistant district attorney, who serves as its attorney adviser along with Cathleen Roemer '13, a litigator at the Law Offices of William Mattar. About 10 high school students are taking part, along with a rotating cast of law students with about 15 regular volunteers.
In its first match, held in the Law School's Letro Courtroom against a team from the private Nardin Academy, the Applied Technologies team cruised to an upset victory. The team expects to continue to the Erie County playoffs, a 24-team event administered by the Erie County Bar Association. [Read More]
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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's proposal that the federal government grant 50,000 visas to immigrants willing to settle and work in Detroit shows, once again, that some of the most innovative and creative ideas about immigration are coming from the state and local levels, according to Rick T. Su, an expert on immigration law and associate professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School.
Snyder's recommendation, seen as a relatively open and accepting policy in the immigration debate, proves the federal government's current "one-size-fits-all" approach to immigration policy-making is a mistake, says Su.
"Immigration policy is established at the federal level," Su says. "But the impact of those policies - and immigration more generally - vary from state to state, locality to locality. The current, uniform, national immigration policy simply does not account for this reality." [Read More]
The current U.S. Supreme Court debate over whether to maintain buffer zones restricting protestors at Massachusetts reproductive clinics returns to familiar constitutional territory justices already have ruled on, SUNY Buffalo Law School faculty member Lucinda Finley says.
Finley successfully argued in 1996 before the Supreme Court in favor of establishing a 15-foot buffer zone around Western New York reproductive health clinics to protect clients from harassment from protestors. This time, with the Supreme Court appearing evenly divided while hearing arguments earlier this month in a First Amendment challenge to a Massachusetts law, Finley says the idea of buffer zones seem well-established and with ample judicial precedent.
"I've lived this issue as a lawyer for many years of protests, culminating in the murder of a doctor in Buffalo, and I argued the legitimacy of a buffer zone all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld buffer zones against a First Amendment challenge," she says. [Read More]
Sam Magavern brings people together. As co-director of Partnership for the Public Good, he works to bring people with energy and good ideas to bear on the challenges facing the City of Buffalo.
That spadework has paid off with the recent announcement that the Open Society Foundation has chosen a coalition of Buffalo partners to receive a $1.9 million grant to fund a series of initiatives. The grant, one of three awarded nationwide, will be used to address issues of justice and equity, and develop the next generation of civic leaders. Partner organizations include PPG, the Coalition for Economic Justice, PUSH Buffalo and VOICE-Buffalo.
We talked about the grant and its possibilities with Magavern, whose teaching as an adjunct at the Law School dovetails with his community work. [Read More]
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A media lawyer, Mickey Osterreicher '98 is of counsel with the Buffalo firm Hiscock & Barclay, but his primary work is as general counsel for the NPPA, where he advocates for visual journalists of all sorts. The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) recently named him one of two winners this year of its top honor, the Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award, calling him "a tireless defender of photographers' rights."
Osterreicher says an "ongoing assault on photography" has grown out of the fear and suspicion that arose after the 9/11 attacks. "Now, with the exponential proliferation of cellphone cameras, everyone's taking pictures. There are so many instances of photographers being interfered with or arrested for nothing more than taking pictures or video out in public."
To address that, Osterreicher has been leading training sessions that bring together journalists and law enforcers, doing some education about the First Amendment and the free-speech rights of visual journalists. [Read More]
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A SUNY Buffalo Law School team won second place and another was recognized for "Best Respondent Brief" during the Northeast Regional round of the national Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (FDMCC), held Jan. 22-26 in Albany. The second-place team will advance to the national round of the competition, to be held in March in Milwaukee.
It's the second year in a row in which a UB team has advanced to the national round and has won the regional "best brief" award. "This unprecedented back-to-back showing is a remarkable achievement by our students," says Professor George Kannar who oversees the school's moot court program. [Read More / View photos from this event]
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19th Annual BPILP Auction
Friday, February 21 - Don't miss the 19th Annual Buffalo Public Interest Law Program (BPILP) Auction, featuring exciting auction items, as well as food and drink. All the proceeds will go toward supporting public interest and not-for-profit fellowships for law students. [Register Online to Attend]
2014 OUTLaw Dinner to honor Madeline Davis
Thursday, March 13 - OUTLaw, the LGBT student organization at SUNY Buffalo Law School whose mission is to promote a positive atmosphere at the law school among its students and their allies as well as to educate our colleagues about the legal issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity, cordially invites you to its annual dinner and celebration.
OUTLaw will honor Madeline Davis, a noted gay rights activist in Western New York. Davis has devoted her life to advancing the legal and social equality of LGBT citizens. Keynote speaker for the evening will be Melissa Brisman, Esq. of Reproductive Possibilities, LLC. Brisman's practice focuses almost exclusively on reproductive options for both gay and straight couples.
Feb. 20 - Panel Discussion "Racial Profiling and Stop and Frisk"
Feb. 21 - 19th Annual BPILP Auction
Feb. 25 - Mentor Matching Reception for First-Year Law Students
Mar. 1 - Buffalo Lawyers Golf Network - Miniature Golf and Networking Event
Mar. 4 - Alumni Reception in Washington, D.C.
Mar. 5 - Alumni Reception in New York City
Mar. 12 - CLE: Employee Benefits after the end of DOMA
Mar. 13 - OUTLaw Dinner
Mar. 27 - SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni GOLD Group Accepted Student
Apr. 3 - Students of Color Dinner
Apr. 24 - Buffalo Law Review Dinner
Apr. 25 - SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni GOLD Group Accepted Student Social
May 17 - 125th Law School Commencement Ceremony
May 20 - 52nd Annual Alumni Dinner & Presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Awards
Aug. 6 - 50+ Reunion Lunch
Mark your calendar for the following future events:
May 2014 (Date TBD) - CLE: Representing Vineyards and Breweries
Jun. 12 - Class 1964 50th Reunion Dinner
Sept. 19-20 - Fall Reunions for the Classes of 1974, 1984, 1994, and 2004
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Call for Volunteers
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Henry Rose '51 is on a crusade to help make textbooks more affordable to second- and third- year law students. "I've been making some gifts all along, but I was moved to make a more specific gift." [Read More]
2013-14 Annual Fund
The 2013-2014 Annual Fund is off to a great start under the leadership of our stellar National Co-Chairs, Anne E. Joynt '05, Jason Y. Lee '07, Celeste M. Murphy '97 and Jeremy W. Schulman '97.
Help Us Continue On Our Road To Success! Gifts to the Annual Fund make it possible for the Law School to create more hands-on programs, give more scholarships, hire excellent faculty and make improvements to the facility and technology - always building on our strong foundation. Please consider supporting the Law School today!
If you would like to make a gift before year end, the easiest way to do so is to go to the website or contact Lucy Dadd at 716-645-2113 or email@example.com.
Make a Gift Today
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Smiles from some of our recent events:
Feb. 11 - Dean Mutua Awarded
Dean Makau Mutua was honored with an Education Award in celebration of Black History Month. Presenting the award was Buffalo’s Mayor Byron Brown.
Feb. 6 - The Law School visits our neighbors across the border
A panel presentation for prospective SUNY Buffalo Law students was held at the Toronto Regional Board of Trade. Panelists included: Vice Dean of Legal Skills Kim Diana Connolly, Marjorie McCallister '14, Britta L. McKenna '04 of Hodgson Russ LLP, and Gerard M. Meehan '82 of Cardinal Group of Companies. The panel was moderated by Lillie Wiley-Upshaw, Vice Dean for Admissions and Student Life. [Listen to the audio from this event (MP3)]
Jan. 30 - 1L Check Presentation and Potluck Luncheon
First year law students gathered to present a check from the proceeds from their First Annual Walk/Run Fundraiser to the Clinical Legal Education Program.
Jan. 21 - Alumni Mentor Panel
Held during January orientation week for first-year law students, the panel was moderated by Linda Lalli Stark '84. Panelists included Melissa A. Foti '03 of Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak LLP, Amy Herstek '04 of Rich Products Corporation, James M. O'Keefe '07 of the Law Offices of William Mattar, and Tasha E. Moore '98 of the NY State Division of Human Rights.
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Congratulations and Thank You!
Congratulations to the Student Bar Association and the Buffalo Public Interest Program for bringing together more than 40 employer representatives and 130 students at this year's Law Career Fair held Feb. 12 at UB's Center for Tomorrow. [View photos from this year's Career Fair]
Thank you also to our employer-partners in the Western New York legal community. Together we are advancing legal careers and the profession.
For assistance in filling your legal or professional hiring needs, contact Marc Davies at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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From the Law Alumni Association
Get engaged! (No ring required).
The 2014-15 Law Alumni Membership Drive Continues
The SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni Association is the voice of the Law School outside of O'Brian Hall. Join the many engaged members around the nation and around the world who advocate for their Law School. Nominal membership dues support the alumni association's many events and programs hosted in Western New York and by our Chapters in New York City, Rochester, Albany, Central New York and Washington, D.C. In addition, a portion of your dues support tuition scholarships to help recruit the best and the brightest students to SUNY Buffalo Law School-- and to secure your Law School's future as a premiere educational institution.
* Join the Law Alumni Association Today!
Law Links is published by the Alumni, Public Relations & Communications Office. For questions or comments, contact: Ilene Fleischmann, Vice Dean for Alumni, Public Relations & Communications at 716-645-7347 or email@example.com.
Visit Hotlinks - a list of names and web resources available to make communicating with the Law School's Alumni office more efficient.