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The Oral History Project

Oral History Interview

The Oral History Project hosts a collection of interviews with alumni, faculty members and friends of the Law School. These interviews are preserved for posterity, and digitally indexed to provide easy access for historians, researchers and others.

Below are selected video and audio clips from the Law School's extensive oral history project, featuring some of the best-known names in Western New York's legal community and beyond.

On this page:

Audio History

Lillian E. Cowan '27

Lillian Cowan

Lillian E. Cowan '27 on her impression of the law:

"… I soon found that a lot of law work isn’t that exciting, but it was always interesting. Even things that were harder to absorb, harder to learn. It was so interesting because [it was] about people."

Hon. John T. Curtin '49

 Judge John Curtin

Hon. John T. Curtin '49 on school desegregation in the City of Buffalo:

"...we got a number of volunteer lawyers...to go to as many schools as possible ...to have a meeting with parents to explain...[what] the Supreme Court requires."

Louis A. Del Cotto '51

Louis A. Del Cotto

Louis A. Del Cotto '51 describes his legal career prior to becoming a law professor:

"...I developed an interest in tax which served me well, as that is what I began to teach at UB..."

Herald Price Fahringer '56

Herald Price Fahringer

Herald Price Fahringer '56 on Professor Clyde Summers:

"He opened a whole new world for me in terms of individual rights and the importance of the human condition and that just changed me completely. It’s because of Clyde Summers that I went into the field of practice that I do today and can’t just tell you the influence he had on my life."

Jacob D. Hyman

Jacob D. Hyman on changes that were made to the law school in 1935:

“The law school was poor. It had quite a small student body, so it didn’t have a lot of money from tuition. It was a private institution at that time and had very limited resources. And this small group of really distinguished legal scholars ran a law school that was high quality.”

Hon. Matthew J. Jasen '39

Matthew J. Jasen '39 talks about attending law school at 77 West Eagle:

"Classes at that time where held in a building called 77 West Eagle which was a brownstone mansion. It was converted into a law school. It had two classrooms, a library, and a few offices for the professors."

Hon. Mary Ann Killeen '52

Mary Ann Killeen

Mary Ann Killeen '52 discusses being a woman in the legal profession:

“Most of the students when I started law school were veterans. And they were a lot older than I was. They were men who had spent 3 or 5 years in World War II. They were very serious and had families. They were taking advantage of the GI Bill.

“Generally speaking it became obvious to me that women were not welcome in all fields of the law. It was quite obvious.”

Hon. Ann T. Mikoll '54

Ann Mikoll

Ann T. Mikoll '54 on running a successful campaign:

"I was elected the first woman outside of Birdie Amsterdam  [to New York State Supreme Court]...and I consider that the highlight of my accomplishments."

Albert R. Mugel

Albert Mugel

Albert R. Mugel gives advice to law students:

"...A person can live greatly in the law, and I don't mean financially, but I mean in the gratification of what it is you're doing."

Wade J. Newhouse

Wade J. Newhouse on starting a clinical program at the Law School:

"[We] came up with a fairly grandiose plan [and]...we experimented in the Spring of 1971...and in effect we had the first year of the School's clinic."

Richard D. Schwartz

Richard D. Schwartz on establishing a program to focus on law and social policy:

“At the time we were interesting in establishing incentives for the study of law and politics. We already had people interested in doing that kind of work, but an incentive would provide some financial base, some staff and some opportunities to facilitate this kind of research. I think this incentive is still called law and social policy.”

Video History

Video interviews with alumni, faculty members and friends of the Law School.