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- to 1959.

The Baldy 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.

The Baldy Center was initially co-directed by Barry B. Boyer, of the School of Law, and James C. Brady of the Department of Philosophy. 

The Baldy Center Directors

1981 to 1992 — Barry B. Boyer, of the School of Law became the sole director of The Baldy Center In 1981. He continued in that role until 1992, when he was appointed dean of the School of Law. Boyer is now professor emeritus.

1992 to 2001 — David M. Engel, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Law, Emeritus, 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.

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

2002 to 2008 —  Lynn Mather, formerly Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government at Dartmouth College and currently SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Political Science, Emerita, was appointed as director. Professor Mather, also a past president of the Law and Society Association, served as director until 2008. 

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

2010 to 2019 — Errol Meidinger, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor of Law, became the director of The Baldy Center in Summer 2010 and continued to serve in the position through Spring 2019.

2019 to present — Samantha Barbas, professor, School of Law, is the current director of The Baldy Center, effective Summer 2019.