State Bar President Vincent E. Doyle III is encouraging New York's brightest legal minds to consider a seat on the state's highest court.

Doyle spoke today in Rochester at a session hosted by the state Commission on Judicial Nomination. He joined former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye in seeking a large and diverse pool of candidates for an upcoming vacancy on the seven-member Court of Appeals.

"Our courts should reflect our communities, and our highest court should reflect the diverse character of our state, and the increasing diversity in our profession and our society," said Doyle of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo). "Whether your experience is in the public sector, private practice, academia, indigent legal services or any other practice setting, your expertise could be an enormous asset to our judiciary."

Over the next several months, the commission will consider nominations to replace Associate Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, the court's senior judge, who is leaving at the end of the year because she has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Doyle said the new associate judge will have big shoes to fill, calling Ciparick "a brilliant jurist whose combination of legal expertise, fairness and compassion has been a tremendous asset to our judiciary and the people of New York state."

There are only two requirements for a seat on the Court of Appeals: the applicant must be a New York resident and admitted to practice law in New York for at least 10 years. Judicial experience is not required.  Nor do candidates need to be practicing attorneys. However, they should reflect "not only legal excellence, but collegiality and a commitment to consensus-building," according to the commission.

Judges are appointed to 14-year terms. In the next five years, five other Court of Appeals judges reach the mandatory retirement age.

The process is much like that for any other job. Candidates fill out a short questionnaire and submit a resume, cover letter, work samples and references to the commission, which then decides whom to interview. 

After an extensive outreach that includes public meetings in Albany, Rochester and New York City and active solicitation and review of potential candidates, the commission will submit a list of three to seven candidates to Gov. Andrew Cuomo by Dec. 1. Early next year, the governor will nominate a final candidate from that list, who must be confirmed by the state Senate.

For more information on the application process, interested candidates are encouraged to visit the State of New York Commission on Judicial Nomination website at www.nysegov.com/cjn.

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation.  It was founded in 1876.

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Contact: Mark Mahoney
Associate Director of Media Services
mmahoney@nysba.org
518/487-5532