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Cellino and Barnes Conference Center to be Dedicated at UB Law School

By Ilene Fleischmann

Release Date: May 19, 2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two well-known names in the Buffalo legal community will find a permanent home in the University at Buffalo Law School when the school's Cellino and Barnes Conference Center is dedicated on May 26.

The naming of the Law School's fifth-floor conference center honors Ross M. Cellino Jr. '82 and Stephen E. Barnes '83. Their $1 million gift in 2009, one of the largest cash gifts UB Law has received, is being invested in student scholarships, teaching technologies and improved student services.

The conference center, one of the most elegant and widely used facilities in John Lord O'Brian Hall, hosts a wide variety of academic and legal conferences, seminars and continuing legal education courses. The May 26 dedication ceremony, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will feature remarks by, among others, Law School Dean Makau W. Mutua and the honorees.

The UB Council, in its conference center naming proclamation, described Cellino and Barnes, shareholders in the Buffalo-based law firm Cellino & Barnes, P.C., as "highly accomplished, successful, civic-minded attorneys who have been good friends and dedicated alumni of UB Law School."

Ross Cellino is serving a three-year term as a UB Law School Alumni Association director and actively participates in the school's mentoring program. Steve Barnes, a former Marine Corps officer and Gulf War veteran, serves regularly as a judge for moot court competitions and for the oral arguments program for first-year students.

"We made this gift because we are impressed with Dean Mutua and his vision for the school. It's easy to be loyal to UB Law because it was good to us," the partners said.

"The dean has a real vision for the school and the wherewithal to make it happen," says Barnes. "The thing that drove our final decision was his vision to propel UB Law School into a different category."

Said Dean Mutua, who has set a goal of placing UB Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation: "This amazing act of philanthropy by Ross and Steve reflects a belief by two successful alumni that the Law School is headed in the right direction. It provides a wonderful resource to help us accomplish our vision of academic excellence and our bold aspirations for the future."

The Cellino & Barnes firm, with 36 attorneys in six offices across New York State, has obtained over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for clients and their families. The firm has been selected by U.S. News and World Report to the first tier of Best Law Firms in the United States for personal injury and litigation.

The firm is also well-known for its philanthropy. It has contributed over $600,000 in scholarships to deserving college students and has donated hundreds of thousands of additional dollars to more than 50 other charities.

Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School -- the State University of New York system's only law school -- has established an excellent reputation and is widely regarded as a leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge curriculum provides both a strong theoretical foundation and the practical tools graduates need to succeed in a competitive marketplace, wherever they choose to practice. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical education makes UB Law unique among the nation's premier public law schools.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.