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UB Law Alumni Association to present its 2024 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Five UB School of Law alumni and one non-alumnus were celebrated as the UB Law Alumni Association confers its 2024 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

An annual tradition begun more than six decades ago, the awards recognize the honorees’ contributions to the legal profession and the community. They are presented to honor achievement in the judiciary, private practice, public service, community service, business, and service by a non-alum. 

The awards were conferred at the Law Alumni Association’s 61st annual dinner on Wednesday, May 8th.

This year's honorees were:

For the Judiciary: 

a portrait photo of a man in judge's robe,.

Hon. Henry J. Nowak ’93 
Associate Justice, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

Justice Nowak was appointed to the appellate division in July 2023 after serving as a New York State Supreme Court justice since November of 2010, where he handled various civil cases including matrimonial, commercial, and medical malpractice matters. He previously served as a Buffalo City Court Judge from 2003 through 2010. He was assigned to Buffalo Housing Court and presided over all housing violations and evictions in the City of Buffalo. Since 2020, Justice Nowak has served as a contributing editor to The Bench Book for Trial Judges in New York titled Admission, Retention, Care and Treatment Under the Mental Hygiene Law.  He has also contributed a chapter to New York State Residential Landlord-Tenant Law and Procedure titled The Housing Part of Buffalo City Court.  He is a regular instructor at the New York State Judicial Institute and has taught at the law school and the University at Buffalo’s Honors College, both his alma mater.

For Private Practice:

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Terrence M. Gilbride ’88  
Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, Buffalo Bills LLC

Prior to joining the Bills in 2023 as head of its legal department and a member of the executive team, Gilbride was a senior partner at Hodgson Russ LLP in Buffalo in the real estate, environment, and finance practice areas, and chair of the firm’s Real Estate Development, College and University, and Public-Private Partnership Practice Groups.  He has significant experience with complex real estate development projects and has handled numerous matters related to student housing development, hotel acquisition and financing transactions, and stadiums and sports facilities, including multiple transactions involving the Bills stadium. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and a fellow in the Construction Lawyers Society of America. He has been repeatedly named the metropolitan Buffalo “Real Estate Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America, has received a "Tier 1" rating in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, and has been recognized in Upstate New York Super Lawyers since 2007.

For Public Service:

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Erin M. Barclay ’98 
Acting Director, U.S. Department of State’s Office of Civil Rights

At the Office of Civil Rights, Barclay is responsible for oversight of the Equal Employment Opportunity program. A career member of the Senior Executive Service, she previously served the Department as both the senior official in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and as coordinator for global democratic renewal where she oversaw and implemented the administration’s policies to strengthen democracy abroad. She has also held leadership roles with the Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, and the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. She began her Department of State career in the European Bureau’s Office of Assistance Coordination to Europe and Eurasia. Prior to joining the Department, Barclay was the executive director of the Network of East West Women, a non-profit organization that promotes women’s human rights in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

For Community Service:

woman wearing pearl necklace, smiling.

Hon. Stephanie A. Saunders ’00  
Judge, New York State Court of Claims

In May 2022, Judge Saunders became the second African American appointed to the Court of Claims in Western New York. An active leader in the community throughout her career, she currently serves as secretary of the Minority Bar Foundation of Western New York, and previously served as the Foundation’s president. She is a director of the Bar Association of Erie County, and co-chairs the Eighth Judicial District Gender Fairness Committee. She has also served as president of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York, and on the board of directors of the Red Cross, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, and the Erie County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project. She is an engaged mentor to students in the law school’s Discover Law Undergraduate Scholars Program, and served on the board of directors for the Hamlin Park Community Taxpayers Association and Elim Christian Fellowship for many years.

For Business:

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Bruce Karpati ’96 
Partner and Chief Compliance Officer, KKR & Co., Inc.

Karpati joined the New York City office of KKR, a leading global investment firm, in 2014, after serving as the chief compliance officer at Prudential Investments, the mutual fund and distribution business of Prudential Financial. Karpati also spent over a decade at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, most recently as the national unit chief for its Asset Management Unit, which he co-founded. In that role, he led enforcement efforts involving investment advisors, investment companies, mutual funds, and private funds and supervised a staff of 75 attorneys, industry experts, and other professionals. He first joined the SEC as a staff attorney in 2000, was promoted to branch chief in 2002, assistant regional director in 2005, and co-chief of the SEC's Asset Management Unit in 2010. In 2007, he founded the SEC’s Hedge Fund Working Group, a cross-office initiative to combat securities fraud in the hedge fund industry. He teaches an anti-corruption class at Fordham University Law School, and serves as a Trustee of the Anti-Defamation League Foundation. 

For Outstanding Service to the University and the Community by a Non-Alumnus:

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John V. Elmore  
Partner and Founder, Law Office of John V. Elmore, PC

Elmore is a trial attorney with more than 39 years of civil and criminal trial experience. He began his legal career in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and returned to Western New York in 1987 for a position in the New York State Attorney’s General’s Office as a white-collar criminal prosecutor.  In 1989, he entered private practice and is the founder and a partner at the Law Office of John V. Elmore in Buffalo. Elmore is a former chair of the Eighth Judicial District’s Attorney Grievance Committee and has also served on the New York State Commission on Indigent Defense.  Throughout his career, he has been appointed to serve on multiple judicial screening committees by Governors Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Erie Community College. The author of Fighting for Your Life – the African American Criminal Justice Survival Guide, Elmore is a popular speaker on criminal justice issues, the law and education.