New York attorney general to highlight Law School Commencement

Commencement keynote speaker Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

Published May 1, 2015

The Law School will host the state’s top law enforcer at its Commencement exercises on May 23. The ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m. in the Center for the Arts, will feature as keynote speaker Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

New York’s only public law school will host the state’s top law enforcer when SUNY Buffalo Law School holds its Commencement exercises on May 23.

The ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m. in the Center for the Arts, will feature as keynote speaker Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who was elected to the office in 2010 and re-elected last year.

A former state senator, Schneiderman is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School. As attorney general he has introduced several ambitious initiatives, including a program to protect homeowners at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure, and the Community Overdose Prevention program, which equips law enforcement agencies with naloxone, a lifesaving antidote in cases of heroin overdose.

“My guiding principle is equal justice under law,” Schneiderman has said. “This is our most quintessentially American ideal. It is the underpinning of our democracy. And when there is injustice, it is my obligation as the state’s top law enforcement officer to try to remedy that injustice.”

Sam Magavern

Among the major awards to be presented at the Commencement ceremonies, the Dean’s Medal will be awarded to Sam Magavern, co-director of the Partnership for the Public Good. Magavern – a public-interest lawyer, adjunct clinical professor and prolific writer – is a graduate of UCLA Law School.

“Sam has an unusual ability to attend simultaneously to the big picture and the small details,” says interim Dean James A. Gardner. “He has a profound commitment to justice in its broadest principles, yet seeks always to realize those principles in concrete ways in his own community.”

The Partnership for the Public Good is a broad coalition of activist groups in the City of Buffalo that seeks to build “a more just, sustainable and culturally vibrant community through action-oriented research, policy development and citizen engagement.”

As a clinical adjunct professor, Magavern teaches a course each semester on issues in public policy, research and advocacy, enabling SUNY Buffalo Law students to work on substantive issues in the Buffalo community.

Garry M. Graber ’78

In addition, the Ken Joyce Excellence in Teaching Award will be presented to Garry M. Graber ’78, a partner with the Buffalo law firm Hodgson Russ, in Buffalo, where his practice includes bankruptcy, corporate restructuring, creditors’ rights, financial services, commercial and corporate litigation, and general business law. He is also a member of the Law School’s Dean’s Advisory Council.

A past president of the SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni Association and a past recipient of the association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, Graber serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council, which advises the dean on curricular and other matters. He has served since 1991 as an adjunct professor at the Law School, teaching a course on Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Garry Graber Scholarship at the Law School benefits current law students.