UB Law Students Honored at Commencement

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: June 4, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Forty-one graduates of the University at Buffalo Law School received awards during the school's 112th commencement ceremony held on May 12.

The graduating class presented the annual faculty award to Amy D. Westbrook of East Aurora, adjunct associate professor, and the staff award to Ilene R. Fleischmann of East Amherst, associate dean for alumni, public relations and communications.

Student award winners were:

• Sheldon K. Smith of Franklinville received The Max Koren Award, given to the outstanding member of the graduating class who, in the judgment of the faculty and the dean, has exemplified the highest standards of the profession by virtue of scholastic achievement, leadership and dedication to the ideals of the law. This award is supported by a gift from the late M. Robert Koren, son of Max Koren, one-time chair of the UB Council and a 1944 UB Law School graduate. Smith also received the Judge William J. Regan Award presented to the members of the graduating class who have demonstrated the greatest proficiency in estate and surrogate law, and who are motivated by strong concerns for public service and public welfare.

• Howard S. Beyer of Raleigh, N.C.; Stephen P. Coolbaugh of Rochester, and Ellen B. Sturm of Snyder jointly received the John N. Bennett Achievement Award for the member of the graduating class who demonstrated the highest scholastic achievement. Beyer also received the Moot Evidence Award for the best performance in the area of evidence. Coolbaugh also received the Adolf Homburger Law Alumni Association Award as the graduating senior whose academic achievements in civil procedure and compassion for people best exemplifies the qualities that Adolf Homburger, a UB Law School faculty member from 1960-77, sought to instill in his students.

• Tanya Danyelle McDuffie of Buffalo received The Dale S. Margulis Award recognizing members of the graduating class who contributed the most to the law school and the community. She also received the UB Law Alumni Association GOLD Group Award recognizing a graduating law student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills in advancing the mission of the Law School and enhancing its reputation for excellence in legal education.

• Thais M. Alexander of Worcester, Mass., received the American Bankruptcy Institute Medal for Excellence in Bankruptcy for demonstrating excellence in the study of bankruptcy law.

• Jonathan S. Penna of Binghamton received the Birzon Prize in Clinical Legal Studies for excellence in the clinical and trial advocacy program. He also received the Charles Dautch Award as the graduating senior who demonstrated the greatest proficiency in courses, examinations and independent research in the law of real property.

• Paul G. Daigle of Brantford, Ontario, received the Professor Louis DelCotto Award given to the student whose academic performance in the area of taxation is outstanding, as recommended by the faculty.

• Jenny Almanzar of Buffalo received The Maurice Frey Award recognizing the member of the graduating class whose academic performance in the area of family law is most exceptional. She also received the Kenneth A. Gomez Memorial Award presented to the law student who contributes to goals of equality and justice for all minorities.

• Polina Tomashevsky of Amherst received the Edith and David Goldstein Award for outstanding performance in courses involving debtor-creditor and bankruptcy law.

• William K. Taylor of Geneseo received the Judge Matthew J. Jasen Appellate Practice Award for course work and Moot Court-competition participation that showed outstanding achievement in appellate advocacy. He also was elected to The Order of Barristers, a national oralists honor society whose members include students who have shown dedication and excelled in the art of oral advocacy and service to the Moot Court Board.

• Kelley J. Dwyer Leal of Williamsville received the David Kochery Award as the graduating senior who has taken an active part in the student community through service and involvement in one or more student organizations, and who has performed exceptionally well in courses in civil procedure and remedies.

• John M. Baxter of Kenmore and Norman M. Bennett of Buffalo jointly received the Laidlaw Law Alumni Association Award given to the student who has demonstrated the most outstanding performance in the area of commercial law.

• Nicholas H. Mancuso of Amherst received the Harry A. Rachlin Prize in Real Property Law and Real Estate Transactions given to students who exhibit excellence in research, clinical and academic performance in the areas of real property law, housing, housing finance and real estate transactions. He also received the Carlos C. Alden Award as the senior making the greatest contribution to the Buffalo Law Review.

• Simon A. Fleischmann of East Amherst received the Judge William J. Regan Award presented to the members of the graduating class who have demonstrated the greatest proficiency in estate and surrogate law, and who are motivated by strong concerns for public service and public welfare. He also was elected to The Order of Barristers, a national oralists honor society whose members include students who have shown dedication and who have excelled in the art of oral advocacy and service to the Moot Court board.

• Brion A. Scudder of Painted Post received the New York State Bar Association Law Student Ethics Award recognizing either the best written article, essay or other exposition on the subject of legal-professional responsibility or legal ethics, or a substantial action or activity in furtherance of legal-professional responsibility or legal ethics

• Rayne L. Hammond of Phelps received the Justice Philip Halpern Award, which is given to a graduating senior for excellence in writing for the Buffalo Law Review. She also was elected to The Order of Barristers, a national oralists honor society whose members include students who have shown dedication and excelled in the art of oral advocacy and service to the Moot Court Board.

• Rita G. Alexyn of Batavia and Caroline E. Edwards of Rochester received the Justice M. Dolores Denman Award. Presented by the Western New York Chapter of the Women's Bar Association, the award provides a scholarship to offset the costs of daycare and other child-rearing expenses during the bar study period.

• Sarah M. Smith of East Amherst received The Linda S. Reynolds Award presented to a graduating senior who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to equal justice for the poor. She also received the Law Faculty Award, which is presented to graduating seniors who have made outstanding contributions to the Law School community.

• Anthony L. Pendergrass of the Bronx received The Minority Bar Association of Western New York Award recognizing a member of the graduating class who has exemplified high standards of the profession through scholastic achievement and leadership, and demonstrated a significant commitment to effectuating changes within the legal system to address the needs of the minority community.

• Margaret M. Murphy of Staten Island received The National Association of Women Lawyers Award given to the outstanding law graduate who has shown superior academic achievement and has contributed to the advancement of women in society.

• The Law School's Domestic Violence Task Force received the New York State Bar Association/Law Student Bar Association Achievement Award that recognizes activities that constitute a positive contribution through a bar association to the aims of the legal professional and the extension of justice to the people of the State of New York and/or the people of the United States.

• Erin E. Bahn of Ithaca, Frank M. Bogulski of Buffalo, and Mark A. Moldenhauer of East Aurora received the ABA/BNA (American Bar Association and The Bureau of National Affairs) Award for Excellence in the Study of Labor and Employment Law presented to honor superior academic performance and encourage student interest in the field of labor and employment law. Moldenhauer also was elected to The Order of Barristers, a national oralists honor society whose members include students who have shown dedication and who have excelled in the art of oral advocacy and service to the Moot Court board.

• Charles S. Kacherski of Hopewell Junction received the Tom Headrick "Trees and Forest" Award given to the student of corporate finance who most clearly recognizes that a corporate practitioner needs both to understand the transaction fully and to get the details precisely correct.

Receiving The Robert J. Connelly Trial Technique Award that recognizes the best performance record in the course in trial technique were:

• Maroun G. Ajaka of Rochester

• Gabriele S. DiMaio of Amherst

• Kristin E. Gutenberger of Ithaca

• Peter M. Kooshoian of Buffalo

• Zaheer A. Merchant of Rego Park

Receiving Law Faculty Awards, which are presented to graduating seniors who have made outstanding contributions to the Law School community, were:

• Charles C. Cobb of Buffalo

• Erin D. Pemberton of Spencerport

• Sean D. Ronan of Syracuse

Elected to The Order of Barristers, a national oralists honor society whose members include students who have shown dedication and who have excelled in the art of oral advocacy and service to the Moot Court board, were:

• Elizabeth D. Carlson of Lakewood

• Kevin P. Dolan of Franklinville

• Shannon S. Fuhrman of Amherst

• J. Patrick Lennon of Buffalo

• Jose Truzman of Brooklyn

• Matthew M. Wolf of Orchard Park