STATE BAR HONORS ROBERT MacCRATE AND HON. JUDITH
Robert MacCrate, former President of both the State Bar Association
and the American Bar Association (ABA), and Hon. Judith Smith
Kaye, the first woman to serve as Chief Judge of New York, will be
honored by the New York State Bar Association Saturday at a reception
during the annual meeting of the American Bar Association (ABA) in
“Throughout their careers, Robert MacCrate and Chief Judge Kaye
have remained exceptionally committed to our profession and to public
service, and each with such significant results,” said State Bar
President Vincent E. Doyle III of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo
While planning to recognize MacCrate and Kaye, state bar leaders
learned that they had worked closely together 49 years ago.
MacCrate and Kaye met September 4, 1962, the day he returned to
Sullivan and Cromwell after serving as counsel to Governor Nelson
Rockefeller and the day young Judith Smith, fresh out of law school,
began her job in the firm’s litigation department. He was her
first boss and became her longtime mentor.
MacCrate, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, is marking a number
of milestones in the coming year: the 40th anniversary of his presidency
of the State Bar; the 25th anniversary of his presidency of the ABA; and
the 20th anniversary of the publication of what is known as the
“The MacCrate Report,” which touched off a national
discussion about the future of legal education. MacCrate was ABA
President between 1987 and 1988, the last New Yorker to head the
Kaye was the first woman to serve on the Court of Appeals, the
state’s highest court. She was appointed in 1983 by Governor Mario
Cuomo. Ten years later, Cuomo named her chief judge, a position she held
until her retirement in 2008. As chief judge, Kaye spearheaded reform of
jury service and creation of innovative courts specializing in such
areas as commercial litigation, domestic violence and drug addiction.
More recently, she has focused on creating youth courts, advocating for
civic education and developing ways to help children at risk.
Both MacCrate and Kaye are past recipients of the State Bar
Gold Medal, the association’s highest honor. MacCrate is senior
counsel with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, where he began his legal
career in 1948. Kaye is of counsel with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher
& Flom LLP.
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the
nation’s largest voluntary state bar association. It was
founded in 1876. For information, go to www.nysba.org/newscenter.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993