The UB Law Alumni Association is proud to announce its 56th Annual Alumni Dinner for the presentation of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards. Honoring two members of the judiciary and four practitioners, the event will take place on Tuesday, May 8 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo, beginning at 6 p.m. To attend, contact the UB Law Alumni Office, at 716-645-2107 or register online.
The Distinguished Alumni Awards, given to five School of Law alumni and one non-alumnus will presented to the following honorees:
Hon. Craig D. Hannah ’95, a Buffalo City court judge and the presiding judge in the Adolescent Diversion Part. While on the bench, Hannah has championed the fight against the local opioid epidemic, overseeing the nation’s first Opioid Crisis Intervention Court begun in 2017. A frequent lecturer on drug treatment courts and alternatives to incarceration, Hannah also serves as a board member on the National Judicial Opioid Task Force, the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission on Racial Fairness, and the BAEC’s Committee on Aid to Indigent Prisoners. In addition, he is an active participant in a variety of community organizations including the NAACP, the Minority Bar Association of Western New York, and the City Kids at Camp Youth Initiative. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the law school where he teaches trial technique and advocacy.
Douglas W. Dimitroff ’89, a partner at Phillips Lytle LLP, focuses on the practice areas of commercial real estate and telecommunications law. Dimitroff is the leader of the firm’s Project Development and Telecommunications Team as well as a member of the firm’s Canadian Cross-Border Team. He is a member of the New York State Wireless Association’s board of directors, and is the vice chair of Invest Buffalo Niagara’s board of directors. He has lead the movement toward increasing broadband communications coverage by chairing the Model Code for Municipalities working group of the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. He also chairs the law school’s Dean’s Advisory Council.
Steven J. Weiss ’91 is the co-founding and managing partner of Cannon Heyman & Weiss, LLP. Representing clients throughout the Buffalo region, Weiss’ practice centers on affordable housing, community development, and corporate finance transactions. Having testified before the United States House of Representatives and the New York State Assembly, Weiss has been a fierce advocate for fair and affordable housing throughout the community. He is a member of the American Bar Association's Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, and the New York State Bar Association's Real Estate Committee. He also serves as president of the Jewish Federation of Western New York, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Weiss has previously served as vice chair of the New York State Housing Finance Agency, and as chair of its governance committee.
Karen L. Nicolson ’89 is the chief executive officer of Buffalo’s Center for Elder Law and Justice (CELJ). As a staff attorney for the center for eleven years, and continuing through her subsequent sixteen years as the center’s CEO, Nicolson has passionately upheld CELJ’s mission of utilizing the legal system to help her clients live independently and with dignity. As a part of her work at the CELJ, Nicolson supervises the Western New York Coalition Pooled Trust for disabled persons in Western New York. Nicolson is also a board member of the Erie County Age Friendly Initiative, a collaborative network of organizations committed to the health care, housing, and civic engagement of Western New York’s older adults. In addition, Nicolson serves on the Elder Justice Working Group which develops programs and protocols to improve how the court system addresses the growing number of cases involving the state’s older population.
Bradley M. Gayton ’91 is the group vice president, chief administrative officer, and general counsel for the Ford Motor Company. Gayton oversees a wide range of the company’s legal issues including litigation, tax, corporate, and intellectual property cases. He also oversees the Ford Land and Corporate Services Effort, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, which owns and operates approximately five million square feet of commercial office space in Michigan. Outside of his duties at Ford, Gayton handles numerous pro bono matters including several immigration cases. He serves on the board of directors for the Michigan Advocacy Program (MAP) as well as the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan. He is also active with the Delta Education and Research Foundation, Alternatives for Girls, and the Appleseed Foundation.
Hon. Frank P. Geraci, Jr. is Chief United States District Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. A graduate of the University of Dayton Law School, Geraci has been an Assistant United States Attorney, private practice attorney, adjunct professor at St. John Fisher College, and a judge for the Rochester City and Monroe County courts. Geraci is the founder of the Rochester Teen Court, a diversion program delivered by Rochester’s Center for Youth, designed to provide education to youth on the judicial system and engage them in the process. Geraci has also been active with the Diocese of Rochester, Catholic School Board, the Russian-American Rule of Law Consortium, and the Monroe County Bar Association serving on its board of trustees. In addition to this award, Geraci has received the University of Dayton Distinguished Alumni Award and the Hon. Judith Kaye Award for Service to Youth.