Hon. Barbara Howe

Senior Counsel

At A Glance

Hon. Barbara Howe is Senior Counsel to the Firm and a member of the Family Wealth & Estate Planning and Litigation Departments.  She practices in the areas of estate planning and civil litigation.

Judge Howe has extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution.

Prior to joining Woods Oviatt, Hon. Howe served as New York State Surrogate Judge for Erie County from 2004 through 2017. She began her judicial career on the Buffalo City Court bench in 1988, and served as a New York State Supreme Court Justice from 1992 through 2003.

Mediation Credentials

Court Roster Mediator for Civil Matters and Court Roster Mediator for Commercial Matters, New York State Office of Court Administration’s Eighth Judicial District Alternative to Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program.


  • J.D., Faculty of Law and Jurisprudence, SUNY at Buffalo, 1980
  • Ph.D, Sociology, Cornell University, 1976
  • M.A. Sociology, Cornell University, 1973
  • B.A., Sociology and History, with Highest Honors and Phi Beta Kappa, University of Connecticut, 1969

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • Florida (inactive)
  • U.S. District Court for Western District of New York
  • United State Supreme Court
  • United States Tax Court

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Bar Association of Erie County, NY
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, American Law Institute


  • “Edwin F. Jaeckle Award”, University at Buffalo Law School, January 2018
  • “Distinguished Judicial Service Award”, Western New York Trial Lawyers Association, January 2018
  • “Outstanding Jurist Award”, Bar Association of Erie County, NY,  June 2017
  • “Joan L. Ellenbogen Founder’s Award”, Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, June 2014
  • “Lawyer of the Year”, Women’s Lawyers of Western New York, Buffalo, NY, December 2012

Judge Howe Main