The Chautauqua Institution.

Extension Learning

Extension Learning Experiences offers UB students a curricular-based intersession opportunity. These topic-based exploratory experiences are offered by distinguished faculty in a setting outside of the classroom and allow students to either explore academic areas previously not considered or delve into their discipline of choice.

Lawyers as Agents of Social Change, Extension Learning Experience

  • August 8 - August 15, 2015, Chautauqua Institute
  • Registration Deadline: May 15, 2015
  • Program Brochure (PDF)
  • Apply now at UB Linked

Students stay on the Chautauqua Campus and lectures and experiential learning will take place at the Chautauqua Institution, the Chautauqua County Courthouse and the Robert Jackson Center. Participants will explore the role of lawyers as counselors and agents of social change in local, national, and global contexts. Our focus will be on both the socio-historical context of the Nuremberg Trials and current legal issues. Students will observe court proceedings, dissect primary legal documents, and read context narratives to prepare them for their experiential learning modules. We will explore how different communities and belief systems influence laws and legal institutions. We will also take time to recognize the achievements and impact of Justice Jackson, a local lawyer who became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, on the national and global scale and discuss how each person has the ability to advocate for, and participate in, social change.

Excursions Include

  • The Chautauqua Institute lectures on the state of our criminal justice system — what works, what doesn’t, how effective it is, and how it compares to others around the world.
  • Tour of the Robert Jackson Center: learn about Justice Jackson, an upstate New York lawyer who rose to prominence as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and served as the Chief Counsel for the U.S. at the first Nuremberg Trial in 1945 and 1946.
  • Tour of the NYS Supreme Court courthouse located in Chautauqua, New York, where participants will observe court proceedings, interact with court personnel, and discuss the roles and duties of different actors in the judicial process.

Why Should You Participate

  • Opportunities to gain an understanding of the role jurists, practitioners and support staff play in local, national and global forums.
  • Identify and describe how local, national, and international laws are influenced by different communities and belief sets.
  • Develop an understanding of the role of the United States in the wider global community and the ability to critically evaluate legal issues and assess potential outcomes.
  • Gain 1 academic credit for experience

Bernadette Gargano, Lead Faculty Member: After earning her juris doctorate cum laude from Cornell Law School, Professor Gargano served two years as a confidential law clerk to the Hon. William M. Skretny, Chief Judge for the Western District of New York. Professor Gargano’s legal practice focused on appellate advocacy and complex litigation in both state and federal courts. She also worked as appointed pro bono counsel on complex prisoner cases, including disability discrimination claims. For the past three years, Professor Gargano developed and taught the skills curriculum for an annual six-figure LSAC Discover Law grant, which was designed to give undergraduate students from underrepresented communities the chance to develop the skills necessary for law school. She also designed and taught the University’s pilot program for extended learning programs with Lawyers of Agents of Social Change. At SUNY Buffalo Law School, Professor Gargano currently teaches a practicum involving family and federal court “help desks” and directs the Pro Se Assistance Program in the Western District of New York, located at the Robert H. Jackson Courthouse in Buffalo. As part of this program, Professor Gargano leads students and volunteer attorneys in counseling unrepresented litigants from underrepresented communities on issues of federal law and practice. Professor Gargano also teaches legal skills courses that are required in order for law students to graduate, including advanced legal skills courses and a two-semester skills course for first law year students. In 2012, Professor Gargano was awarded a national ALWD teaching grant for developing innovative law school curriculum. Her research focuses on legal institutions, policies, and individual rights. Within this broad framework, Professor Gargano is currently interested in: (1) the roles of judges, lawyers and citizens as moral agents and agents of social change; and (2) the impact of gender, race and socio-economic class on laws and legal institutions.

The cost of the experience is $1,200 and includes tuition and fees for 1 academic credit. The application can be found on UB Linked.

Students with questions can contact the Academies office at 716-645-8177 or email any questions to

Last updated: July 06, 2015 9:18 am EST