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Mitchell Lecture Series

The Mitchell Lecture Series was endowed in 1950 by a gift from Lavinia A. Mitchell, in memory of her husband, James McCormick Mitchell. An 1897 graduate of the Buffalo Law School, Mitchell later served as chairman of the Council of the University of Buffalo, which was then a private university. Justice Robert H. Jackson delivered the first Mitchell Lecture in 1951, titled "Wartime Security and Liberty Under Law." The lecture was published that year in the first issue of the Buffalo Law Review.

Mitchell Lecture programs have brought many distinguished speakers to the SUNY Buffalo Law School. These have included Irene Khan, C. Edwin Baker, Derrick Bell, Barry Cushman, Carol Gilligan, Elizabeth Holtzman, Stewart Macaulay, Catharine McKinnon, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Richard Posner, and Clyde Summers.

The 2016 Mitchell Lecture
Legal education for a changing legal profession

On the occasion of the Law School’s 100th anniversary in 1987, the Mitchell Lecture addressed the topic “Legal Education for a Changing Legal Profession.” Former Stanford Law School dean Bayless Manning and a panel of distinguished commentators discussed what appeared to be fundamental changes in the character of law practice – for example, a shift, in Manning’s words, from law as a “learned profession” to law as a “learned business” – and the implications of these changes for law schools and legal education. [Read more]

  • February 12
    Part 1: Where is the legal profession today and where is it likely to go in the future?
    Featuring Professor Gillian Hadfield (USC), Professor Bryant Garth (Irvine), and Professor David Wilkins (Harvard)
    Time: 2:00-4:00 p.m.; Reception to follow.
    Location: Room 106, SUNY Buffalo Law School, University at Buffalo (North Campus)

  • April 8
    Part 2: What are the implications of changes in the legal profession for law schools and legal education?
    Featuring Professor Susan Carle (American University), Dean Kevin R. Johnson (UC Davis), and Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz (University of Arkansas)
    Time: 1:00-3:00 p.m.; Reception to follow.
    Location: Room 106, SUNY Buffalo Law School, University at Buffalo (North Campus)

Observers say the legal profession is in a period of disruptive change. The emergence of global competition from legal service outsourcers, increasing domestic competition from non-lawyer professionals, paraprofessionals, and advances in information technology, these observers argue, will transform the delivery of legal services. With these developments in mind, the 2016 Mitchell Lecture series visits these topics in a two separate events.


The 2015 Mitchell Lecture featured three leading scholars on public policy questions that involve the new information technologies.

The intersection of two human impulses – play and profit – was at the center of an entertaining and informative Mitchell Lecture on Oct. 8 in O’Brian Hall.