The Changemakers

If you don’t embrace change, you’re probably living in the wrong chapter of history. There’s a difference, though, between coping with a changing world and working for change where it needs to be made.

Everyone is subject to the great tides of history. But it takes a special kind of person to step back, see where our world needs improvement, and then invest heart and soul in making that change happen.

Lawyers, trained to analyze and advocate, are uniquely positioned to do this work – and UB Law alumni are at the forefront of the charge. Whether they devote themselves to the growth of their community, to government service, to the mission of their non-profit organization or to the health of the legal profession, UB-trained lawyers are fighting the good fight in places where the world needs it most.

They are many, but let’s meet a few – 10 of our passionately committed alumni who are making the fight for change central to their lives and their work.

  • Jonathan S. Beane ’98
    “We’re simply a microcosm of American society. The same challenges American society has, we’re grappling with ourselves. When it comes to social justice, when it comes to equality, when it comes to welcoming expression, we want to lead.”
  • Thomas R. Beecher Jr. ’59
    “My proudest moment was when we finally had three construction cranes on the [Buffalo Niagara medical] campus at one time. I thought, ‘Now we’re getting someplace.’”
  • Hon. Lisa Bloch Rodwin ’85
    “What’s really special about our community is that the motto City of Good Neighbors is not just a bunch of words. It has meaning. People really care about their neighbors … they’re willing to try something new to make that happen.”
  • Catherine Cerulli ’92
    “You really have to be prepared and called to want to make a change in this world. I feel lucky that my educational opportunities, mentors, and colleagues along the way have helped me work on preventing violence.”
  • J. Mason Davis Jr. ’59
    “Teaching was in my blood. I have taught an appreciable number of all the lawyers who practice in Alabama.”
  • Tanya Hughes ’87
    “My dad was a politician, and many of his colleagues and friends were in public service. I’ve seen firsthand the commitment of government lawyers.”
  • Barbra Kavanaugh ’83
    “When organizers work with lawyers, it tends to be fairly linear. If you can’t get any traction on an issue, you go to a lawyer. But law is by nature individualistic – it’s about individual rights – and that takes the power from the community.”
  • Elizabeth (Beiring) Kim ’94
    “As a diplomat, my job is to be the tip of the spear for the U.S. government, and that starts with getting the entire government on the same page with consensus positions.… I am committed to public service and to making the world – especially its ocean – a better place.”
  • Dan Lukasik ’88
    “Lawyers, judges, and law students work with their brains, and depression impacts cognition – concentration, the ability to multitask, productivity. Mental health is a huge problem in the profession…The next step is what to do about it.”
  • Talia Rodriguez ’15
    “We know there are brilliant leaders out there. We’re trying to deliberately address the gap of experience our leaders might have, and help them develop a vivid and informed understanding of their own leadership.”