As many know, Larry Vilardo is my former law school classmate, my former co-clerk for Judge Goldberg on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, a lifelong dear friend (along with the whole Vilardo family whom we call cousins), who has written entries on this site. But, for present purposes, perhaps more importantly, Larry is also by far the smartest lawyer in Buffalo and the Western District of NY (and beyond, but that is the relevant geographic limit at issue). And so it is a huge joy for the Gutman family, but an even better result for the legal community and the citizens of Buffalo and Western New York, that President Obama and Senator Schumer have now nominated Larry to be the next federal district court judge in Buffalo New York.
It is a great accomplishment and a monumental achievement. Having graduated from Harvard Law School, having been a member of the Harvard Law Review, and having clerked on the Fifth Circuit, Larry could have joined the top of the legal profession anywhere. Law firms from both coasts were pursuing him. But family and community mattered most to Larry so he chose to go back to Buffalo. He has never regretted the choice and has had a wonderful career. But it did limit to some extent the size of law firm and somewhat the type of law practice he would have. And, as to public service, it meant that there were only two federal judgeships, one US Attorney, and some state appointments that were even potentially available. But no matter how difficult the target, Larry has the talent to find the mark. .
Larry got the position the old fashioned way — he earned it. Most in Buffalo will tell you that no one is more respected. Larry is not only a brilliant lawyer, and an amazing writer, but he is a good person. He cares. He gives back. Every lawyer in his courtroom will understand that the smartest person in the room is the judge, but all will know that the judge will do what is right. And what more can anyone ask?
Congrats old friend. Enjoy every moment.