Campus News

School of Law to honor distinguished practitioners


Published April 12, 2017


Five alumni who have gone on to succeed in widely varied types of practice will be honored as the School of Law confers Distinguished Alumni Awards at its annual Law Alumni Association Dinner on May 4.

The 55th annual dinner, which also honors one non-alumnus, will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Buffalo. A cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Registration is available at

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards honorees include:

For the Judiciary: Hon. Gerald J. Whalen, ’83, presiding judge of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, Fourth Department. Whalen was elevated to the appellate division in 2012 after he was first elected to state Supreme Court in 2005 in Erie County. Before his election he spent 21 years in private practice, most recently as a partner in the Buffalo office of the law firm Hiscock & Barclay.

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

For Private Practice: Paul R. Comeau, ’73 of the Buffalo law firm Hodgson Russ LLP. As a partner and former chairman of the firm, Comeau has built a nationally recognized practice in tax planning and multistate tax issues, focusing on businesses and high-net-worth clients.

For Community Service: Tasha E. Moore, ’98, senior management analyst with the New York State Unified Court System. Moore previously served as regional director in Buffalo for the New York State Division of Human Rights.

For Business: David Franasiak, ’78, a senior partner with the Washington, D.C., law firm Williams & Jensen. A mainstay of the law school’s New York City Program in Finance and Law, Franasiak works on public policy issues for corporations, not-for-profit organizations, accounting firms, broker dealers, hedge funds, financial institutions and associations.

For Contributions by a Non-Alumnus: Hon. Richard C. Wesley, senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. Wesley was made a federal judge in 2003, following his service on New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.