High-powered board will advise Advocacy Institute

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Advocacy Institute – UB Law School’s newest signature initiative to train students to become the best advocates in the profession – has taken a major step forward with the naming of a high-profile National Advisory Board.

At its recent inaugural meeting, the board began its work of advising and supporting the Advocacy Institute, ensuring that its teaching and programs are of exceptional quality and reflect the best ideas in the field.  It includes nationally-acclaimed trial attorneys, jurists and legal scholars.

“We are very excited about the National Advisory Board we have recruited,” says SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, Dr. Charles Patrick Ewing, who directs the institute.  Ewing, himself a gifted teacher and nationally sought-after expert on the criminal mind, notes: “These board members are renowned in their fields, with outstanding reputations and accomplishments, and we are honored that they have joined us to help guide the institute in becoming one of the nation’s top advocacy programs.”

“The level of enthusiasm for the Advocacy Institute has been outstanding, with so many distinguished practitioners and jurists eagerly agreeing to serve on the Board,” says Board Chair Terrence M. Connors ‘71, founding partner of Connors LLP who has been ranked for the past 8 years as the top Super Lawyer in Upstate New York for the past 8 years.  “In addition to some of our most prominent alumni, several non-alumni with no prior connection to the Law School, who are famous for their success in high-profile cases – such as Barry Scheck in the OJ Simpson trial, Bob Clifford in the 9/11 case, and Stewart Jones, a top New York trial lawyer – are so enthusiastic about the current quality and vast potential of the Institute that they have agreed to serve on its Board.”

In addition to Connors, the members of the National Advisory Board include:

Michael A. Battle ’81, a former U.S. attorney and judge, and now a partner with the Washington, D.C. law firm Barnes and Thornburg, focusing on commercial/civil litigation and white-collar criminal matters and appeals.

Jennifer Beckage ’07, former owner of a technology-based company that was publicly acquired, whose practice now focuses on complex business disputes and commercial litigation as a partner with the Buffalo firm Phillips Lytle.

Donald Chiari ’83, founding partner of Brown Chiari in Buffalo, whose practice is devoted to clients who have sustained catastrophic, life-changing injuries, and who has obtained one of the largest nursing home verdicts in New York State.

Robert A. Clifford, a senior partner with Clifford Law Offices in Chicago and designated as the No. 1 Super Lawyer in Illinois for eight years, who was the lead negotiator in the $1.2 billion settlement of 9/11 property damage claims involving the Twin Towers in New York City.

Steven R. Fisher ’16, a third-year law student who serves as executive editor of the Buffalo Law Review, who, later this year, will join the New York City firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson.

Neil A. Goldberg ’73, a renowned trial attorney, founding partner of Goldberg Segalla in Buffalo and former president of the Defense Research Institute, who has defended products liability, pharmaceutical, medical device, trucking, toxic tort and other catastrophic cases nationwide for a number of New York Stock Exchange companies.

Stewart Jones Jr., an acclaimed trial lawyer and partner with E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy in Albany, N.Y. He is the only New York State lawyer outside of New York City to be named to all four of the most exclusive organizations honoring outstanding trial lawyers, including the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and American College of Trial Lawyers.

Marianne Mariano ’94, a former courtroom lawyer who serves as Federal Public Defender for the Western District of New York, and the first woman to head a federal public defender’s office in the Second Circuit.

Teresa A. Miller, a Harvard Law School graduate and longtime UB Law professor, now UB’s vice provost for equity and inclusion, who is an expert on prisons, immigration and prisoner’s rights.

Hon. Erin Peradotto ’84, an accomplished trial and appellate lawyer, former head of the New York attorney general’s office in Buffalo, and now justice of the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, Fourth Department.

Hon. Eugene F. Pigott Jr. ’73, now senior associate judge of the Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest court, following a distinguished career as a trial attorney, Erie County Attorney in Western New York, New York State Supreme Court Justice, and Presiding Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department.

Barry Scheck, a partner with Neufeld, Scheck and Brustin in New York City, co-founder of the Innocence Project at Cardozo Law School, which has exonerated approximately 300 people to date, and a key member of the “Dream Team” that defended OJ Simpson.  Scheck is renowned for his 8-day cross-examination and his part of the summation in that trial.

Christopher Viapiano, a partner with the Washington, D.C., law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, whose practice includes complex antitrust, commodities, securities and shareholder derivative litigation.

Judge Richard Wesley, a former trial attorney in private practice who served in the New York State Legislature and on the New York State bench (Supreme Court, Appellate Division and Court of Appeals) before becoming a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

For more information about the Advocacy Institute and the National Advisory Board, please visit www.law.buffalo.edu or contact Professor Ewing at ewing@buffalo.edu or (716) 645-2770.


Since its founding in 1887, SUNY Buffalo 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 global marketplace, wherever they choose to practice. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical education makes SUNY Buffalo Law unique among the nation’s premier public law schools.

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.