Law Links - March 2017

Law Alumni Association to honor distinguished practitioners

Five alumni who have gone on to succeed in widely varied types of practice will be honored as the UB Law Alumni Association confers its Distinguished Alumni Awards at its Annual Dinner on May 4.

The 55th annual dinner, which also honors one non-alumnus, will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Buffalo (view map). Tickets, including patron tables and other levels of sponsorship, are available from the Alumni Office at 716-645-2107 or

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients include:


For the Judiciary: Hon. Gerald J. Whalen ’83, presiding justice of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, Fourth Department. Whalen was elevated to the appellate division in 2012 after he was first elected to state Supreme Court in 2005 in Erie County. Before his election, he spent 21 years in private practice, most recently as a partner in the Buffalo office of the law firm Hiscock & Barclay.


For Public Service: Marianne Mariano ’94, a former courtroom lawyer who serves as Federal Public Defender for the Western District of New York. She is the first woman to head a federal public defender’s office in the Second Circuit.



For Private Practice: Paul R. Comeau ’73 of the Buffalo law firm Hodgson Russ LLP. As a partner and former chairman of the firm, Comeau has built a nationally recognized practice in tax planning and multistate tax issues, focusing on businesses and high-net-worth clients.



For Community Service: Tasha E. Moore ’98, senior management analyst with the New York State Unified Court System. Moore previously served as regional director in Buffalo for the New York State Division of Human Rights.



For Business: David E. Franasiak ’78, a senior partner with the Washington, D.C., law firm Williams & Jensen. A mainstay of the law school’s New York City Program on Finance and Law, Franasiak works on public policy issues for corporations, not-for-profit organizations, accounting firms, broker dealers, hedge funds, financial institutions and associations.



For Contributions by a Non-Alumnus: Hon. Richard C. Wesley, senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. Wesley was made a federal judge in 2003, following his service on New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.