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Six law faculty designated named scholars


Published August 15, 2013

Six longtime faculty members in the UB Law School have been elevated to new academic ranks, in recognition, says Dean Makau W. Mutua, of “outstanding scholarship and notable records of teaching and service.”

The new designations were made possible by generous gifts from distinguished law school alumni, with several coming as leadership gifts to the school’s seven-year fundraising campaign.

A major goal of the $30-million campaign, which is especially targeted toward the school’s 10,500-plus alumni, is endowed support for faculty research.

“In the last five years alone, we have raised money for four completely new endowed ranks,” Mutua says. “We expect many more of these gifts—to support our faculty—before the campaign is over.”

James Gardner

The faculty members and their new academic designations are:

James A. Gardner, Bridget and Thomas Black Professor. A well-regarded constitutional law scholar who also holds the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor, Gardner joined the UB faculty in 2001. A prolific scholar, his most recent book is “Election Law in the American Political System” (Aspen, 2013). Thomas E. Black, ’79, and his wife, Bridget, are Western New York natives who now live in Texas, where Black is managing partner of the highly successful mortgage servicing firm Black, Mann & Graham. A former vice dean of the law school, Gardner serves as chair of the school’s Dean’s Advisory Council, a trustee of the UB Foundation and co-chair of the law school’s capital campaign steering committee.

Errol Meidinger

Errol E. Meidinger, Margaret W. Wong Professor. Meidinger, who teaches and conducts research in environmental law, directs the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, a research institute that advances the university’s role in cutting-edge research on law and legal institutions. His most recent article, co-authored with four other scholars, is “Transnational Business Governance Interactions: Conceptualizing a Terrain,” published in Regulation and Governance. Margaret W. Wong, ’76, serves as co-chair of the law school’s capital campaign steering committee and as a longtime member of the Dean’s Advisory Council. The successful immigration law practice she founded in Cleveland now has offices in six U.S. cities. She also is a published author and one of the law school’s most generous alumni.

Athena Mutua

Athena D. Mutua, Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar. Mutua studies and writes in the areas of critical race and feminist legal theory. Her work includes the edited collection Progressive Black Masculinities (Routledge, 2006). Her article “Introducing ClassCrits: From Class Blindness to a Critical Legal Analysis of Economic Inequality” (Buffalo Law Review, 2008) explores issues of race and gender as they relate to class structures and introduces the concepts and boundaries of ClassCrits, a project she helped found. She's also the author of “Gender Equality and Women’s Solidarity Across Religious, Ethnic, and Class Difference in the Kenya Constitutional Review Process” in the William and Mary Journal of Women and Law (2006), which involved activism and research for which she received the UB Exceptional Scholars Young Investigator’s Award. The late Floyd H. Hurst, ’31, was a founding partner of the law firm Hurst & Brothman (later Hurst, Brothman & Yusick).

John Henry Schlegel

John Henry Schlegel, Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar. Schlegel, a UB Law faculty member since 1973, has primarily studied legal history and the history of legal education. For more than 20 years his scholarship was focused on the history of legal education and the activities in the 1920s and ’30s of a group of scholars at Columbia, Yale and Johns Hopkins universities known as the American Legal Realists. He is part of the faculty group that offers the financial transactions concentration, teaching both acquisition transactions and in the concentration’s program in finance in New York City. He also teaches a two-semester seminar on regional economic development. His forthcoming book is titled "While Waiting for Magic: Community, Economy and Law in a Time of Change."

Robert Steinfeld

Robert J. Steinfeld, Joseph W. Belluck and Laura L. Aswad Professor of Civil Justice. A scholar of constitutional history, legal history and property law, Steinfeld has a forthcoming book titled “The People or the Courts?: Conflicting Vision of Constitutional Order, Customary Constitutionalism and the Emergence of American Judicial Review.” He also is the author of "Coercion, Contract and Free Labor in the Nineteenth Century" (Cambridge University Press, 2001) and "The Invention of Free Labor" (University of North Carolina Press, 1991). Joseph W. Belluck, ’94, is a founding partner of the New York City law firm Belluck & Fox, and serves on the SUNY Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Laura L. Aswad, live in New York City and Woodstock, N.Y.

David Westbrook

David A. Westbrook, Louis A. Del Cotto Professor. Westbrook thinks and writes about the social and intellectual consequences of contemporary political economy. His work touches on numerous disciplines, including law, economics, finance, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and design. He also serves as the law school’s director for global strategic initiatives. Among his books is “Deploying Ourselves: Islamist Violence and the Responsible Projection of U.S. Force” (Paradigm Publishers, 2010). This professorship was endowed by a major donation from Brian Baird, ’83, and other former students of the late Professor Louis A. Del Cotto, ’51, who taught tax at the law school for more than 40 years. Baird, who is of counsel with the Buffalo law firm Kavinoky & Cook LLP, serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council and on the campaign committee of the Law School, and is a trustee of the charitable Cameron and Jane Baird Foundation.

Seven other UB Law faculty members also hold named scholar designations.