Craig R. Bucki

Partner Buffalo

A tenacious practitioner with more than 15 years of experience, Craig represents individuals, businesses and government clients in complex litigation matters, both before administrative agencies and in state and federal courts.

Craig principally focuses his practice on litigation involving state and municipal government, public authorities and other quasi-governmental entities. In this practice area, Craig has experience in prosecuting disciplinary hearings against public employees, representing political candidates in election law disputes, counseling governmental clients concerning legislative redistricting and reapportionment matters, challenging and defending the constitutionality of state statutes and municipal ordinances, litigating matters arising from land use decisions, and obtaining review of the regulations and adjudicatory decisions of state and municipal agencies in special proceedings pursuant to Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules. In view of his extensive expertise in this area, Craig has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Litigation – Municipal and Upstate New York Super Lawyers in the field of State, Local and Municipal Law.

Craig also devotes a portion of his practice to representing business entities in commercial and intellectual property disputes, and co-chairs Phillips Lytle’s Appellate Practice Team. Having briefed and argued appeals before the New York Court of Appeals and all four departments of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, clients have turned to Craig to serve as special appellate counsel on litigated matters to make the most compelling and persuasive written and oral presentations of their contentions on appeal.


Honors & Awards

  • Selected for the Upstate New York Super Lawyers® list, 2013-2023
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®
  • 40 Under 40, Buffalo Business First, 2021 
  • Bar Association of Erie County Liberty Bell Award, 2017
  • American Bar Association On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyers Award, 2016
  • Town of Amherst Conservative Party, Chairman’s Award, 2015
  • Am-Pol Eagle, 2014 Citizen of the Year, Legal Field
  • Jefferson B. Fordham Award for Advocacy, American Bar Association’s State and Local Government Law Section, 2013
  • Columbia Law School, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
  • Lawrence S. Greenbaum Prize for Best Oralist in the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court Competition at Columbia Law School, Winner
  • Jerome Michael Jury Trial Competition at Columbia Law School, Finalist
  • Induction into Phi Beta Kappa
  • Induction into Pi Sigma Alpha (national political science honor society)
  • Ellsworth Prize for Best Senior Essay in the Social Sciences in Jonathan Edwards College at Yale University, Winner
  • All-American Witness, 2003 American Mock Trial Association National Tournament
  • 2000 New York State Forensic League Champion in Extemporaneous Speaking
  • National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Brother/Sisterhood Youth Award
  • Youth Leadership Erie County, Graduate
  • Honoree of the New York State Bar Association 2011 Empire State Counsel® Program for Pro Bono Work
Awards & Certifications

Education & Admissions

  • Columbia University School of Law, J.D., 2006
  • Yale University, B.A., magna cum laude, 2003
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Representative Matters
  • Defended legislative redistricting maps in response to allegations of invalidity under the New York Constitution and the New York Municipal Home Rule Law.
  • Sought and obtained a declaratory judgment invalidating a local law that purported to limit permissible architectural characteristics for new development.
  • Defended a CPLR Article 78 proceeding that challenged land use approvals required for construction of a multimillion-dollar manufacturing facility.
  • Successfully challenged assessments imposed by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board upon small businesses in violation of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law and the State Administrative Procedure Act.
  • Successfully challenged an order issued by the New York Public Service Commission absent compliance with required procedural safeguards.
  • Defended constitutional challenges to New York State requirements with respect to campaign finance disclosure and ballot access for political parties.
  • Challenged and secured the invalidation of a candidate’s ballot access petition signatures procured as the consequence of fraud.
  • Defended the validity of certificates authorizing individuals to run for public office as a political party’s endorsed candidates.
  • Represented the Catholic Health System against the New York State Department of Health in challenging certain hospital closure recommendations of the New York State Commission on Healthcare Facilities in the 21st Century.
  • Contested the enforceability of subpoenas issued by a local government to a public authority created by the New York State Legislature.
  • Challenged the constitutionality of taxes imposed by New York upon an out-of-state not-for-profit corporation.
  • Counseled individuals and private businesses concerning compliance with New York’s ethical rules regulating interactions with public officials.
  • Prosecuted and defended claims for breach of contract and negligence by and against state and local public officials and government agencies.
  • Advised former members of defaulted group self-insurance trusts (GSITs) concerning their obligations in response to defaulted GSITs’ takeover and administration by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.
  • Advised a workers’ compensation insurer concerning its statutory and regulatory responsibilities for insuring customers in New York.
  • Defended litigation that sought disclosure of trade secrets and other sensitive business information in response to a request made pursuant to the New York Freedom of Information Law.
  • Successfully prosecuted disciplinary charges brought by a municipality against several public employees.
  • Prosecuted litigation that enforced the New York Public Officers Law to secure the removal of an elected town board member on account of his criminal conviction arising from domestic violence.
Representative Cases
  • Matter of Nichols v. Hochul, 77 Misc. 3d 245 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. County 2022), aff’d, 2023 WL 362975 (1st Dep’t 2023)
  • Matter of Our City Action Buffalo, Inc. v. Common Council of City of Buffalo, 2022 WL 17840747 (Sup. Ct. Erie County 2022)
  • Ficel Transport, Inc. v. State, 209 A.D.3d 1153 (3d Dep’t 2022)
  • Matter of Harkenrider v. Hochul, 207 A.D.3d 1255 (4th Dep’t 2022)
  • Matter of Miranda Holdings, Inc. v. Town of Orchard Park, 206 A.D.3d 1662 (4th Dep’t 2022)
  • Matter of Nichols v. Hochul, 206 A.D.3d 463 (1st Dep’t 2022)
  • Matter of Harkenrider v. Hochul, 38 N.Y.3d 494 (2022)
  • Matter of McHugh, 2020 WL 3478223 (Sur. Ct. Erie County June 24, 2020)
  • N.Y. State Workers’ Comp. Bd. v. Episcopal Church Home & Affiliates, Inc., 64 Misc. 3d 176 (Sup. Ct. Albany County 2019)
  • Matter of Town of Cheektowaga v. Rogowski, 61 Misc. 3d 587 (Sup. Ct. Erie County 2018)
  • Gustke v. Nickerson, 159 A.D.3d 1573 (4th Dep’t 2018)
  • Accredited Aides Plus, Inc. v. Program Risk Mgmt., Inc., 147 A.D.3d 122 (3d Dep’t 2017)
  • State of New York Workers’ Comp. Bd. v. Wang, 147 A.D.3d 104 (3d Dep’t 2017)
  • The Gerry Homes v. Town of Ellicott, 145 A.D.3d 1652 (4th Dep’t 2016)
  • Buffamante Whipple Buttafaro, Certified Pub. Accountants, P.C. v. Dawson, 118 A.D.3d 1283 (4th Dep’t 2014)
  • Birdsong Estates Homeowners Ass’n, Inc. v. D.P.S. Sw. Corp., 101 A.D.3d 1735 (4th Dep’t 2012)
  • Robida v. Ziemba, 92 A.D.3d 1247 (4th Dep’t 2012)
  • Spaulding Lake Club, Inc. v. Jiang, 78 A.D.3d 1668 (4th Dep’t 2010)
  • Nuara v. State Workers’ Comp. Bd., 43 Misc. 3d 425 (Sup. Ct. Albany Cnty. 2010)
  • Held v. State Workers’ Comp. Bd., No. 2957-08, 2008 WL 9743139 (Sup. Ct. Albany Cnty. July 7, 2008), appeal dismissed, 58 A.D.3d 971 (3d Dep’t 2009)

Speaking Engagements

View All
  • Speaker, “The New York Lobbying Act and Regulations of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics,” Bar Association of Erie County Young Lawyers Committee, May 2022
  • Presenter, “Reopening Safely: Regulations, Guidelines and Strategies,” COVID-19 Comeback Series, Phillips Lytle Webinar, May 2020
  • Panelist, “New Legislation and the Impact on IDAs,” New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC) IDA Academy, November 2019
  • Panelist, “New Legislation and Its Impact on IDAs,” IDA Academy, New York State Economic Development Council, September 2019
  • Presenter, “New Comprehensive Lobbying and Source of Funding Disclosure Regulations Promulgated by the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE),” “From JCOPE to #MeToo: Helping Municipalities Stay Ahead of Today’s Changing Environment,” Phillips Lytle Seminar, August 2018
  • Speaker, Keynote Presentation, 41st Annual Civics and Law Related Education Conference, New York State Bar Association, October 2017

Activities & Professional Associations

Present Activities

  • Amherst Town Democratic Committee, Executive Committee Member, Election Inspector Coordinator
  • Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, Inc., First Vice-President, Board of Directors
  • Local Rules Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, Member
  • St. Gregory the Great Church, Finance Council

Past Activities

  • New York State Democratic Committee, Member, 2010-2018
    • Executive Committee, Member, 2014-2018
  • Deborah Bruch Bucki for Amherst Town Board, Campaign Manager
  • Columbia Business Law Review, Survey Editor, 2005 – 2006, Staff Member, 2004-2005
  • Columbia Law School Trial Team, President, 2004 – 2005
  • Columbia Law School Chapter of the American Constitution Society (ACS), Secretary, 2004-2005
  • Harlem Legal Outreach Mock Trial Coach
  • Yale University Department of Political Science Student Advisory Committee, Member
  • Yale Debate Association, Member
  • Yale Student Academic Competitions, Member
  • Yale Mock Trial Association, Executive Board Member
  • Buffalo Office of United States Senator Charles E. Schumer, Intern
  • St. Gregory the Great School Board, Secretary and Finance Council
  • Scripps National Spelling Bee, Former Press Desk Official
  • Kosciuszko Foundation, Western New York Chapter
    • President
    • Secretary

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Section of State & Local Government Law
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • American Law Institute
  • Bar Association of Erie County
    • Professional Ethics Committee, Chair
    • Treasurer, 2019-2020
    • Deputy Treasurer, 2018-2019
    • High School Mock Trial, Former Chair
  • New York Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • New York State Bar Association, Member, House of Delegates
    • Municipal Law Section
    • Trial Lawyers Section
    • Committee on Law, Youth and Citizenship, Member and Former Chair
      • Mock Trial Subcommittee, Former Member and Chair
  • New York State Trial Lawyers Association

Articles & Publications


  • Co-Author, “Mock Trial: Why We Do It & What It Means,” BAEC Bulletin, November/December 2022