Law Links

October 2014

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Class Action

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The deadline for submission for the next Class Action Issue is December 11, 2014.

Read this month's Class Action or jump ahead to:
1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s
Marriages | Births | In Memoriam



Mutua to step down as dean of the Law School

SUNY Buffalo Law School Dean Makau Mutua is stepping down as dean, effective Dec. 19, after a seven-year tenure in which he introduced new law school programs in response to the changing legal marketplace, hired 22 new faculty and led the school to its most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history.

Mutua, who has served as the law school’s 19th dean, will return to the law school faculty as SUNY Distinguished Professor and Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar. [Read more]


Administering justice after a disaster

“Every once in a while in American life, there is a catastrophe,” said Kenneth R. Feinberg. “And the tragedy so triggers an emotional response that policymakers decide there must be a better way to compensate innocent victims than the conventional tort system.”

That better way has been the special compensation fund, and Feinberg – who gave the 2014 Gerald S. Lippes Lecture – has served in those trenches. Most notably he was special master of the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund; in that capacity he reached out to all who qualified to file a claim, evaluated applications, determined appropriate compensation and distributed awards. He also administered the funds to compensate victims of the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Boston Marathon bombing and other high-profile mass disasters and mass torts. [Read more / View photos from this event]


The Law School launches two new international legal studies programs

Continuing to develop its presence in global legal education, SUNY Buffalo Law School has begun two new programs for international students.

The first – the Double LL.M. program – gives students the chance to earn two masters of law degrees – one in Buffalo and one in Lyon, France.

The second – the Advanced Standing Two-Year JD for Internationally Trained Lawyers program – gives international law students who already hold a law degree from a non-U.S. jurisdiction the opportunity to apply for advanced standing at UB. This allows them to earn a Juris Doctor degree in two years, rather than the standard three-year period. [Read more]


Student-sponsored forum tackles Mideast drone strikes

On the day when Niagara Falls’ 107th Airlift Wing stopped flying cargo planes and transitioned to a mission of controlling military drones, a Law School forum wrestled with the implications of using these unmanned instruments of war in the Middle East.

Sponsored by the Buffalo Human Rights Center and the Federalist Society, the Sept. 25 forum – titled “U.S. Drone Policy in the Middle East: The Legal, Moral and Political Implications” – featured two experts who brought the insights of military intelligence and the human rights sphere to the discussion. Their separate presentations were followed by dialogue with the audience of about 45 people, moderated by Professor Tara J. Melish, director of the Buffalo Human Rights Center. [Read more]


Legal lessons from the sports world

Gerry Meehan ’82 played for Buffalo’s NHL team for four seasons in the early 1970s. After his retirement from hockey, he practiced sports, corporate and immigration law in Buffalo, then served as the Sabres’ assistant general manager, general manager and finally executive vice president of sports operations. Now his Cardinal Sports Group, headquartered in Toronto, provides consulting services to sports teams, leagues and associations as well as athletes.

Adjunct professor Helen “Nellie” Drew invited Meehan to campus to speak with her Sports Law I: The Law of Amateur and Professional Sports class. He then met with about two dozen law students in the Cellino & Barnes Conference Center, giving his take on some hot-button issues in today’s sports world. [Read more]


Students stepping up against cruelty of “puppy mills”

Municipalities wanting to keep themselves free of “puppy mills” – large-scale commercial dog breeding operations that put profits above animal welfare – have a faithful companion in the Law School’s Animal Law Pro Bono Project.

The project, a community engagement arm of the Law School’s clinical program, is working to produce a model ordinance that cities and towns can use to amend local law. The goal, says Devin Franklin, a third-year student pursuing an environmental law concentration who spent part of the past summer researching the ordinance, is to give lawmakers an easily accessible tool for regulating dog breeders and improving the animals’ living conditions. [Read more]


After the Ferguson tragedy, looking at the law

A Sept. 17 forum of Law School professors shone a legal light on the racially charged police shooting that has brought so much heat to bear on the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo.

Four professors brought their expertise in criminal law and critical race theory to the forum, titled “Figuring Out Ferguson: A Conversation on Race, Law Enforcement Authority and Self-Defense.” The event was sponsored by the Buffalo Criminal Law Center, the Buffalo Criminal Law Society, the Black Law Students Association and the Latin American Law Students Association. [Read more]

Faculty News


NFL concussion lawsuit could have wide impact on other athletes, says Christine P. Bartholomew, expert on class action litigation

The $765 million class action settlement of concussion claims for retired NFL players that won preliminary approval in the U.S. Court of Appeals is a “potential template” for other professional athletes, says law lecturer Christine P. Bartholomew, who is an expert on class action and antitrust litigation. [Read more]


Professor French's new book explores the nexus of Buddhism and law

A rapidly growing field of study – the influence of Buddhist thought on legal systems worldwide – has its first book-length overview with a new compilation conceived by a Law School professor who is a pioneer in the field. [Read more]


Professor Susan Mangold co-edits the go-to casebook for children's law

Professor Mangold was selected as co-editor of the 5th edition of the casebook Children and the Law: Doctrine, Policy and Practice, long the standard choice for law professors teaching in the area. [Read more]

Alumni News


Five questions with... Lorrie Turner-Benigni '96

The Buffalo Law Journal ran a Q&A with Lorrie Turner-Benigni, general counsel for New Era Cap Co. Inc. [Read more]

Events Calendar

Oct. 15 - Retirement Celebration for Vice Dean Alan S. Carrel

Oct. 17 - Law Alumni Association GOLD Group/SBA Social

Oct. 28 - SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni Association GOLD Group CLE

Jan. 30, 2015 - Annual NYC Alumni Luncheon and Presentation of the Edwin F. Jaeckle Award

May 13 - 53rd Annual Alumni Dinner & Presentation of the Distinguished Alumni AwardsSave the Date!

Call for Volunteers

Oct. 21 & 22 - Desmond Moot Court Competition seeks judges (CLE credit will be provided)

Nov. 8-11 - Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial Competition seeks volunteers (CLE credit will be provided)

Freeze Frame

Smiles from some of our recent events:


10/09/14 - Hon. Richard C. Wesley Lecture
Hon. Richard C. Wesley, U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit, presented a CLE on Effective Appellate Advocacy at the Law School on Thursday, Oct. 9, presented by Hodgson Russ LLP and SUNY Buffalo Law School. These photos were taken during a breakfast held in the Michael H. Doran Student Lounge immediately prior to the CLE.


09/27/14 - BELS/SBA Day of Service
Several helpers participated in Buffalo Environmental Law Society’s and SBA’s Day of Service by donating a few hours of their day to volunteer at Delaware Park, planting new trees and bushes around the Meadow Café. Photos courtesy of BELS President, Amy Lynn Counter '15.


9/15/14 - CNY Alumni Reception and Award Presentation
The Central New York Alumni Chapter held a reception and presentation of an Alumni Trailblazer Award to Stephanie A. Miner '99, Mayor of the City of Syracuse, NY.


09/03/14 - Law Alumni Association Welcome Party
The Law Alumni Association welcomed our incoming students at a welcome party held on September 3, 2014 at the Center for Tomorrow.


We have two years left in the Campaign and $7 Million to go. Help us surpass our goal!

Campaign Ticker

- 2014-15 Annual Fund -

Every dollar pledged to the Law School Annual Fund counts towards the Campaign goal. Make your gifts in the future count now!

Please consider making a multi-year pledge. Every dollar you pledge today can be counted towards the Campaign goal, even if you pay off the pledge over a number of years. Because you pledge to pay that amount, we know that we can count on it! Invest in the future of SUNY Buffalo Law School.

2014-15 Annual Fund Co-Chairs

Neil E. Botwinoff ’82
New York, NY

Ann E. Evanko ’79
Buffalo, NY

Lawrence M. Spaccasi ’87
Washington, DC


Lucy Dadd promoted to Major Gifts Officer

Lucy Dadd ’04 has been promoted to Major Gifts Officer in the Law School. In this new role, she will manage a portfolio of Law School prospects.

Following a successful career as a trial attorney in private practice locally, Dadd was named Assistant Director of Development (Annual Fund) in 2011. She will continue to oversee the Annual Fund until a new Annual Giving Officer is appointed.

Make a Gift Today

Career Corner

Come and Celebrate Pro Bono Organizations

Tuesday & Wednesday, October 21 & 22
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Law School Lobby

In recognition of National Pro Bono Celebration, the Law School and the Buffalo Public Interest Law Program (BPILP) is celebrating volunteerism by inviting various Western New York public interest organizations to visit the law school, discuss what their offices do, and recruit future volunteers and interns.

To reserve a table for your organization, email BPILP President Corey Chapin ( by Wednesday, October 15. Please indicate whether you would like a table for just one or both days.

Questions? Contact Dawn Skopinski, Public Interest Coordinator, at

Thank You!

Thank you from Career Services to the 20+ alumni and friends who mentored students this year's Network the Nation at SUNY Buffalo Law School.

From the Law Alumni Association

Are you a SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni Association member yet?

Please show your support by joining or renewing your membership today. Your membership dues are used towards our many alumni association activities including events and programs hosted by our Chapters in New York City, Rochester, Albany, Chicago, Central New York, and Washington, D.C. In addition, a portion of your dues support tuition scholarships to help recruit the best and the brightest students to SUNY Buffalo Law School, and to secure your Law School's future as a premier educational institution.

Join the Law Alumni Association Today!

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