Our History


The Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy was established in 1978 under a bequest from Buffalo attorney Christopher Baldy. A Buffalo native, Christopher Baldy graduated from the UB Law School in 1910. During his long and successful legal career, he was an active member of the Alumni Association and a member of the University Council from 1950-59.

The Center was founded in 1978 during the Law School deanship of Thomas E. Headrick, although the broad outlines of a program in law and the social sciences had emerged under the deanship of Richard D. Schwartz in the early 1970s.

From 1978 to 1981, The Baldy Center was co-directed by Barry B. Boyer of the Law School, and James C. Brady of the Department of Philosophy. In Fall 1981, Boyer became the sole director. He continued in that role until 1992, when he was appointed dean of the Law School.

David M. Engel, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Law and a past President of the Law and Society Association, followed Barry Boyer as sole director. Engel served as director of The Center from 1992 to 2001.

Errol Meidinger served as interim director from 2001-2002, during which time an international search was held for a new director.

In 2002 Lynn Mather, formerly Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government at Dartmouth College and currently SUNY Disinguished Service Professor of Law and Political Science, was appointed as director. Professor Mather is also a past President of the Law and Society Association.

Rebecca French, Roger and Karen Jones Faculty Scholar at the University at Buffalo School of Law, served as director from 2008 to 2010.

Errol Meidinger, Margaret W. Wong Professor of Law, became the director of The Baldy Center, effective summer 2010, and continued to serve in the position through spring 2019.

Samantha Barbas  is the current director of The Baldy Center, effective summer 2019.