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Gardner Chosen for New Endowed Law Professorship

By Cynthia Machamer

Release Date: November 10, 2005

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Professor James A. Gardner has been named to a new civil justice professorship in the University at Buffalo Law School, created through the generosity of alumnus Joseph W. Belluck and his wife, Laura L. Aswad.

Belluck, a 1994 UB Law School grad, and Aswad committed funds to establish an endowed professorship to say "thank you" for the "quality education that I received and to encourage others to support the school."

Belluck added, "UB Law School is a very special place. It's an educational gem for New Yorkers and New York State through its commitment to strengthening communities."

Belluck, an experienced civil trial and appellate litigator, is a partner with Belluck & Fox in New York City. He is an adjunct lecturer in the UB Law School, where he teaches a course on mass torts. He has lectured frequently on product liability, tort law and tobacco control policy. He is considered an expert on consumer law and tort litigation.

Belluck graduated magna cum laude from the UB Law School in 1994. He served as articles editor of the Buffalo Law Review and received the New York State Bar Association's Legal Ethics Award.

"This generous gift by Joe and Laura will allow an outstanding full-time faculty member to continue to teach public-interest law courses and to produce meaningful scholarship with distinction," said Nils Olsen, dean of the UB Law School. "The professorship will allow the recipient to research, write, travel and publish. It's exciting for me to see young alumni giving back to UB so early in their careers. Joe Belluck is a shining example of philanthropy."

"I feel very honored to be recognized in this way by Dean Olsen," said Gardner. "I find it particularly inspiring to know that Joseph Belluck has done well by doing good, an example well worth heeding."

The professorship will assist Gardner in continuing his research into the legal institutions that structure the American political process. He is working on a book examining the regulation of election campaigns.

Belluck focuses on asbestos, environmental and defective product cases. He has handled hundreds of cases involving injuries from asbestos, defective medical products, tobacco and lead paint.

Belluck previously served as counsel to the New York State Attorney General, representing the state of New York in its litigation against the tobacco industry. He was instrumental in settling New York State's tobacco lawsuit for $25 billion. He also served as director of attorney services for Trial Lawyers Care, an organization dedicated to providing free legal assistance to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"When I think back on my time at UB, I am thankful for the education and mentoring I received from so many professors, particularly Rob Steinfeld and Fred Konefsky. Lucinda Finley, Peter Pitegoff and others were also tremendous influences," said Belluck.

"I am thrilled that Professor Gardner has been selected because he has the passion and intellect to enhance the learning experience at Buffalo and most importantly, to promote an active democracy and involved citizenry in New York through his work on electoral and constitutional issues."

Since its founding in 1887, the UB 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. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical education has placed the UB Law School among the nation's premier public law schools.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.