COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE THEODORE T. JONES PRESENTED
WITH LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD BY STATE BAR’S COMMITTEE ON
Judge Jones honored for work promoting
professional opportunities for minorities in court system and improving
confidence in the justice system
ALBANY— Hon. Theodore T. Jones, associate judge of the New York
State Court of Appeals, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by
the New York State Bar Association on January 24 during its Annual
Meeting at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. Sponsored by the State
Bar’s Committee on Diversity, the award honors individuals whose
lifelong contributions have enhanced diversity in the legal
The committee singled out Jones for his outstanding four-decade-long
legal career and his unwavering commitment to creating professional
opportunities for minorities in the court system as well as his work
improving the minority communities’ understanding of and
confidence in the justice system.
“Judge Theodore T. Jones has earned the respect and admiration
of the entire legal profession for his excellence as a judge, public
servant, and advocate for diversity. He is deeply committed to ensuring
that the courts live up to the promise of equal justice and opportunity
for all,” said Kenneth G. Standard of New York (Epstein Becker and
Green, P.C.), co-chair of the Committee on Diversity and a past
president of the State Bar. “I am delighted to present this award
to Judge Jones. He is richly deserving of this honor.”
“Judge Theodore T. Jones is a leader, a portrait of
courage and a wonder worker. His dedication to the development and
advancement of diversity in the profession is exemplary. His work and
leadership has inspired and motivated many students to enter the legal
profession. He has guided and mentored many attorneys, judges and
court personnel to seek positions of leadership within the NYS Office of
Court Administration, and in the private and public sector,” said
Betty Lugo of Brooklyn (Pacheco & Lugo, PLLC), co-chair of the
Committee on Diversity. “The Committee on Diversity proudly honors
his lifelong dedication and leadership in advancing and promoting the
diversity of the legal profession and the court system.”
As chairman of the Court of Appeals’ Diversity Committee, Judge
Jones is currently leading a statewide initiative to increase minority
presence in the New York State court system. This past year he hosted an
event at Touro Law School for high school students from two
predominantly minority-attended high schools on Long Island to encourage
these students to consider the legal profession, particularly the court
system, when choosing careers.
He also developed a “Film Festival” concept to which area
courts invite students from predominantly low-income and minority high
schools. The students view well-known film depictions of the justice
system. This format has proven to be an effective means of getting young
people to open up and engage in a frank dialogue about justice in their
communities. At these events, the students also meet judges and court
employees, learn about the mission and function of the courts, and hear
about career opportunities. The first Film Festival took place in
Suffolk County and had 250 student participants. A second took place in
Buffalo in October. A third is planned for the Albany area.
Judge Jones co-chairs the New York State Court of Appeals Justice
Task Force, which is studying the causes and effects of wrongful
convictions in New York, including the devastating impact such
miscarriages of justice have had on poor, minority communities. He also
played an instrumental role in supporting the creation of the Ronald H.
Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at St.
John’s Law School. The center engages in legal studies, research
and outreach focused on issues that affect the lives of underrepresented
minorities and educates law students on how to be leaders on issues of
racial, economic and social justice.
Judge Jones received his undergraduate degree from Hampton University
and earned his law degree from St. John’s University School of
Law. He was elected to the State Supreme Court of New York in 1990 and
later appointed the first African-American administrative judge of the
State Supreme Court, Civil Term, Kings County. He was nominated to the
New York State Court of Appeals in January 2007 and confirmed by the
State Senate in February. He is a member of the board of trustees of St.
John’s University, a member of the board of directors of St.
John’s University School of Law, and of the Judicial Friends,
which is a group of African-American judges dedicated to ensuring equal
participation and opportunity for minorities in the justice system.
Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award include: Hon.
Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, senior associate judge of the New York State
Court of Appeals; Hon. George Bundy Smith, retired associate judge of
the New York State Court of Appeals and currently a partner of
Chadbourne & Parke LLP; and Hon. George N. Leighton, retired, U.S.
District Court Judge, Northern District of Illinois.
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official
statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary
state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs
and activities have continuously served the public and improved the
justice system for 135 years.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993