Each year at Commencement, the School of Law recognizes graduating JD and LLM students who have excelled in their overall scholarship or in community service.
These awards recognize student achievement in a wide range of areas including:
While most awards are nominated by faculty and deans based on academics or community service, a few are self- nominated.
Top Honors are announced at the Commencement Ceremony.
Max Koren Award is presented to the member of the graduating class, who, in the judgment of the faculty and the dean, has exemplified the highest standards of the profession by virtue of scholastic achievement, leadership and dedication to the ideals of the law. The selected student will receive a certificate and a prize. This award is supported by a gift from M. Robert Koren, Class of 1944, and son of Max Koren.
John N. Bennett Achievement Award is presented to the member of the graduating class judged by the faculty to demonstrate the highest scholastic achievement in the graduating class. The winner’s name is inscribed on the Bennett Cup, which is displayed in the School of Law. The award is named in honor of John N. Bennett, Class of 1933.
Dale S. Margulis Award is presented to a member of the graduating class who has contributed the most to the School of Law and the community. Candidates for the award are nominated by members of the graduating class, and the recipient is selected by the deans. Dale S. Margulis, a member of the class of 1982, died suddenly in August 1982. His classmates, family and friends established this award to honor his memory.
Carlos C. Alden Award is presented to the member of the graduating class making the greatest contribution to The Buffalo Law Review, as decided by the Law Review editors and the faculty adviser. Carlos C. Alden was dean of the School of Law from 1904-1936 and Professor of Law from 1904-1955.
Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Outstanding Student Award is presented to a student who has excelled in assisting or representing individual or organizational clients and who has provided thoughtful exploration of legal, ethical, strategic, professional, and other pertinent issues raised in a particular clinic.
Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Outstanding Externship Student Award
Robert J. Connelly Trial Technique Awards are presented to the students who have the best performance record in the course in trial technique, as selected by their instructors. The award is presented in honor of Robert J. Connelly, who was an exceptionally able trial lawyer prior to his tragic and untimely death at age 44.
Professor Louis DelCotto Award is given to the member of the graduating class whose academic performance in the area of taxation is outstanding, as recommended by the faculty. The award commemorates Louis A. DelCotto, Class of 1951, a beloved professor who taught tax law from 1961 to 1998, and developed the sequence of courses in taxation taught at the School of Law.
Justice M. Dolores Denman Award was established by the Western New York Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association and commemorates the Honorable M. Dolores Denman, Class of 1965, who was the first woman to be named presiding justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department. Justice Denman was a single parent while in law school, and yet managed to graduate as the class valedictorian. The Denman Award is presented to a member of the graduating class who is a custodial parent to offset the costs of daycare and other child-rearing expenses during the bar study period.
Monique E. Emdin Memorial Award is given to one or more graduating students who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession and who demonstrate a commitment to community service, including significant service in faith-based communities, and/or have made significant contributions to the law school through involvement in student groups. This award memorializes Monique E. Emdin, a graduate of the class of 2007, a former associate at Hiscock & Barclay LLP, and a dedicated member of the Bethesda World Harvest International Church.
Excellence in the Study of Intellectual Property Law is presented to the student who demonstrates exceptional academic performance in the area of intellectual property. The recipient is selected by the faculty.
Excellence in the Study of Labor and Employment Law is presented to the student who demonstrates exceptional academic performance in the areas of labor and employment law. The recipient is selected by the faculty.
Maurice Frey Award is given to the member of the graduating class whose academic performance in the area of family law is most exceptional. It is named to honor the memory of Maurice Frey, a prominent attorney who cared deeply about legal education, created the Trial Technique Program, and taught at the School of Law for a number of years. He also worked tirelessly in the community to ensure that our legal system served and protected all members of our society.
William R. Greiner “Committed Humility” Award is presented to the student in the graduating class who, in the opinion of the Vice Dean for Student Affairs and the two most senior members of the faculty, best exemplifies the style of leadership that distinguished Bill Greiner. In his roles as Associate Dean of the School of Law, and as Associate Provost, Provost, and for 13 years President of the University, he exemplified an openness to the opinions of others, humane compassion for individuals, a sense of perspective and proportion, a love of humor and irony, and, most importantly, an acceptance of personal fallibility.
Justice Philip Halpern Award is given to the member of the graduating class for excellence in writing on The Buffalo Law Review. Prior to becoming a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Justice Halpern was dean of the School of Law and a member of the faculty for 27 years. The winner is determined by the editorial board and the faculty adviser.
Professor Thomas E. Headrick “Trees and Forest” Award is given to the student of corporate finance who most clearly recognizes that a corporate practitioner needs both to understand the transaction fully and to get the details precisely correct.
Judge Matthew J. Jasen Appellate Practice Award is presented to the member of the graduating class who in course work and Moot Court Competition has shown outstanding achievement in appellate advocacy. The award is given to honor the memory of Judge Jasen, Class of 1939, and is supported by his friends and former clerks.
Milton Kaplan Award in Law and Social Development is named to honor the memory of Milton Kaplan, Professor of Law from 1965 to 1986. As teacher and colleague, Professor Kaplan is admired for his selfless dedication to students and colleagues and for his penetrating yet admirably unassuming scholarship. Throughout his career, he was committed to the shaping of law to improve the conditions of public life in local communities around the world. The Milton Kaplan Award honors a member of the graduating class who best demonstrates exceptional commitment to the study of law and social development in an American, comparative, or international context.
James M. Kieffer Trial Excellence Award is presented to the member of the graduating class whose proficiency in trial advocacy has been most outstanding. Selection is based on performance in both coursework and trial competitions. The award is named in memory of James M. Kieffer, a nationally recognized trial attorney who practiced in Western New York.
David Kochery Award is provided by the family and friends of David Kochery, who taught at the School of Law from 1953 to 1980. It is awarded to a member of the graduating class who best exemplifies the traits of community leadership through service outside the school and involvement in one or more student organizations.
Professor Virginia Leary Award is given to the member of the graduating class whose academic performance in the area of international law is outstanding, as recommended by the faculty. The award is given in memory of Virginia Leary, a beloved SUNY Distinguished Service Professor who taught international law from 1976 to 1995, and developed the sequence of courses and externships in international law at the School of Law.
Minority Bar Foundation’s Legal Commencement Award is presented to a member of the graduating class who, in the judgment of the Minority Bar Foundation and the School of Law, has exemplified the high standards of the profession by virtue of scholastic achievement and leadership, and who has demonstrated a significant commitment to effectuating changes within the legal system that address the needs of the minority community.
Moot Evidence Award is presented to the member of the graduating class for the best performance in the area of evidence as determined by the faculty. The award is given in honor of Welles and Caroline Moot and in remembrance of Adelbert Moot, who taught evidence in the founding years of the School of Law.
Albert R. Mugel Award is given to the member of the graduating class who has demonstrated the greatest proficiency in future interests and estate planning law. The award is named to honor the memory of Albert R. Mugel, Class of 1941, a founder of the law firm of Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel. He taught future interests and estate planning at the School of Law as an adjunct professor for over fifty years. During his long career in practice, he served the community with great distinction.
Ryan J. Mullins Award is given to the member of the graduating class demonstrating the greatest commitment to and proficiency in criminal law and criminal trial practice skills. Ryan J. Mullins, a member of the class of 2005, died suddenly in September 2003. To honor his memory, his classmates, family, friends and members of the School of Law community established this award.
Order of Barristers is a national oralists honors society. The members include students who have shown dedication and who have excelled in the art of oral advocacy and service to the moot court program. Each year, eight to ten students are elected to membership in the organization as nominated by the Director of the Moot Courts.
The Order of the Coif is an honorary scholastic society whose philosophical roots stretch back to medieval English jurisprudence. Coif membership is offered to graduating students who display excellence in legal education by demonstrating a spirit of careful study and academic success. New members who demonstrate such scholarly success join lawyers, judges, and teachers who have continued to attain high distinction for their continued scholarly or professional accomplishments. UB School of Law has been a member since 2014.
The Harry A. Rachlin Prize in Real Property Law and Real Estate Transactions was established by the family of Harry A. Rachlin, Class of 1926, who during his lengthy and renowned career was a leading authority regarding the New York State Lien Law. Mr. Rachlin served as a lecturer and maintained an ongoing interest in the welfare of University at Buffalo School of Law students. The prize is awarded to members of the graduating class who exhibit excellence in research, clinical and academic performance in the areas of real property law, housing, housing finance and real estate transactions as determined by the faculty and administration of the School of Law.
Judge William J. Regan Award is given to the member of the graduating class who has demonstrated the greatest proficiency in estates and surrogate’s law, and who is motivated by a strong concern for public service and public welfare. The award is named to honor the memory of Judge William J. Regan, Class of 1938, and Erie County Surrogate from 1963 to 1981. During his long career in practice and on the bench, he served the community with great distinction. This award is supported from a fund donated by friends of Judge Regan.
UB Law Alumni Association GOLD Group Award is given to the member of the graduating class who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills in advancing the mission of the School of Law and enhancing its reputation for excellence in legal education.
Cornelius W. Wickersham, Jr. Award is presented to the member of the graduating class who is the highest ranking student in the field of Constitutional Law. This award is given by the Federal Bar Council. The Federal Bar Council was formed in 1932 after breaking away from the national bar association to protest its refusal to admit minority bar members. Mr. Wickersham Mr. Wickersham was its president from 1955-1957.
The Outstanding Faculty Award is voted on by the graduating class and presented to a faculty member for their outstanding contributions not only to the School of Law, but also the graduating class.
The Outstanding Staff Award is voted on by the graduating class and presented to an administrative staff member for their outstanding contributions not only to the School of Law, but also the graduating class.