James A. Wooten named UB Law Library Director

By Ilene Fleischmann

Release Date: August 3, 2009 This content is archived.


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James A. Wooten has been named director of the Charles B. Sears Law Library at UB.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- James A. Wooten, professor of law in the University at Buffalo, has been appointed director of the Charles B. Sears Law Library and vice dean for legal information services in the UB Law School effective Aug. 14.

Wooten will be responsible for the overall management and direction of the Law Library. His appointment was made by Makau Mutua, SUNY Distinguished Professor and dean of the UB Law School.

"Jim has a great passion for books and research," said Mutua. "He is in tune with the changing nature of law libraries in the information age, and the importance of the law library to our school and the greater Buffalo legal community. Jim is a collegial member of the Law School community, and I feel very fortunate to have him leading our library and on my leadership team."

Wooten teaches courses at UB on pension and employee benefit law, federal income taxation and federal tax policy. He has also taught bankruptcy, legislative policymaking, and law and economics. Wooten's research focuses on regulatory and tax policies that affect retirement plans, health plans and other employee benefit plans. He serves on the steering committee of the Tobin Project and chairs its working group on retirement security. Wooten is also a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and a fellow of the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

For the past decade, his research has focused on federal policymaking in the fields of employee benefit law and taxation. Wooten is the author of "The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974: A Political History."

His more recent work analyzes the origins of the financial problems at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and legislative policymaking, and he plans to work on a book on the politics of policymaking in the U.S. Congress.

Wooten grew up in a small steel town in northeast Texas. After graduating from Rice University in 1981, he moved to the University of Chicago, where he spent two years pursuing graduate studies in the Department of Anthropology. In 1985, Wooten entered a J.D./Ph.D. program at Yale University. After completing his law degree in 1989, Wooten clerked for Federal District Judge William Wayne Justice of the Eastern District of Texas.

In 1992-93, Wooten was an associate at Bredhoff & Kaiser, one of the nation's leading firms in the fields of labor and employee benefit law. Wooten later served as Legal History Fellow at Yale Law School and as a Golieb Fellow in Legal History at New York University School of Law before joining the faculty of UB Law School in 1995. Wooten received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 2003.

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.