Samuel L. Green of Buffalo, retired senior associate justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, has been honored with the 2012 George Bundy Smith Pioneer Award, given by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association.

Green was the first African-American outside of New York City elected to the Supreme Court and the first African-American justice appointed to sit on the Appellate Division, Fourth Department. He retired in 2011 as the longest-serving justice in the history of the Fourth Department. The Honorable Samuel. L Green Courtroom in Rochester was named in his honor in January 2012.

"Justice Green is a lion of the legal profession and a pillar of the Western New York community. His career of firsts is simply unmatched, yet he was always humble and eager to help new attorneys and judges succeed," said David H. Tennant of Rochester (Nixon Peabody), chair of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section. "It is a privilege to honor one of New York's finest judges and an all-around gentleman."

Green graduated from SUNY Buffalo Law School and later won its Distinguished Alumnus Award. He was a senior partner at Serotte, Hoffman, Haley & Green when he was appointed a Buffalo City Court Judge. He was elected a Supreme Court justice for the Eighth Judicial District in 1978.

Governor Mario Cuomo named him associate justice in the Fourth Department in 1983. He previously served on the State Judicial Commission on Minorities, Committee to Utilize the Services of Retired Judges, Special Commission on the Future of New York State Courts, and the State Task Force on Permanency Planning for Children in Foster Care.

The award recognizes lawyers who demonstrate a commitment to legal excellence, community service and mentoring. Green received his award on April 24th at the Smooth Moves Program in New York City.

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


Contact: Brandon Vogel
Media Writer