Pamela Davis Heilman’75, a longtime leader in cross-border business practice with the Hodgson Russ law firm and an active presence in the University at Buffalo and its Law School, has been chosen to receive SUNY Buffalo Law’s highest honor.
Heilman will be presented with the Edwin F. Jaeckle Award at a Jan. 30 luncheon in the Union League Club in Manhattan, in conjunction with a meeting of the Law School’s New York City alumni chapter. The award is given annually to “an individual who has distinguished himself or herself and has made significant contributions to the Law School and the legal profession.”
At Hodgson Russ, where she is currently of counsel, Heilman has played a leading role in the firm’s Canada/U.S. practice, counseling Canadian businesses and organizations considering expansion into the United States. She has also worked to promote the advancement of women in international business, among other roles serving as a director of the International Alliance for Women, an umbrella organization for 39 organizations working to foster the economic empowerment of women.
In the Western New York community, Heilman has been active in a variety of roles with nonprofit organizations, including as board chair of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. She has also held leadership roles in the Vassar College Club of Western New York, the Kaleida Health Foundation, D’Youville College and its Center for Women in Management, the Community Music School, Housing Assistance Center of the Niagara Frontier and the SUNY Buffalo Law School Alumni Association.
At the Law School, she has served as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council – which advises Dean Makau W. Mutua on curricular and professional matters – since 2004. She also serves on the steering committee for the school’s ambitious Campaign for SUNY Buffalo Law School and has chaired the school’s Annual Fund campaign. She and her husband, Robert Heilman, a business consultant and 1975 graduate of UB’s MBA program, recently made a major gift to the Law School in support of admissions scholarships for talented potential students.
“Much of my success is based on my Law School education at UB and the opportunity that it afforded me to join Hodgson Russ 36 years ago and then become a partner,” Heilman has said. “Without that legal education and without UB being there for someone who did not come from wealth, it would not have happened. Affordable, high-quality public education is so important.”
Thus her involvement also extends to membership on the UB Council, a group of leaders appointed by the governor to provide counsel to the University president. Heilman notes that under SUNY guidelines, the Council has two enumerated powers: to name buildings on campus, and to establish a search committee when there is a vacancy in the president’s office. She was part of the search committee that recommended UB’s current president, Satish K. Tripathi, for the position.