September 19, 2008


The New York Bar Foundation has established the Honorable Charles L. Brieant, Jr. Fellowship. The $5,000 fellowship will be available to any judicial intern who has been selected by the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to serve under the auspices of the Court as the "Honorable Charles L. Brieant Jr. Judicial Intern." Through an application process, the fellowship will also be available to any law student who has already been selected to intern in a state court or under the auspices of a federal court in the State of New York or in a recognized public service agency in the State of New York.

The fellowship has been established to commemorate the selfless dedication of Judge Brieant, who passed away in July, to public service and the federal courts. Judge Brieant was appointed a United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York in 1971. He served on the Court for 37 years and as the Court's Chief Judge for seven of those years. Southern District Court Chief Judge, Kimba M. Wood, summed up his life by saying that, "Judge Brieant uplifted the spirit of justice and uplifted the spirits of his colleagues and litigants with his deep sense of fairness, honesty and independence."

The creation of the fellowship was spearheaded by the law clerks and judicial interns who served in Judge Brieant's chambers during his years of judicial service. Proudly known as members of Judge Brieant's Judicial Family, the law clerks and judicial interns all share the commitment of preserving the memory of Judge Brieant and passing on his wit and wisdom to those who will serve as the Judge Brieant Fellows in the years to come. Former U.S. Chief Bankruptcy Judge Melanie L. Cyganowski, one of Judge Brieant's former clerks, noted that "whether we left his chambers to serve as lawyers, teachers or judges, we all were touched by his commitment to public service and to approach our work always with common sense, humor and the perspective of history."

John R. Horan, president of The Foundation said, "We are deeply gratified to establish this fellowship in Judge Brieant's name. He was a distinguished judge and a highly respected member of the legal profession. This is an important and exciting initiative that has been designed to stimulate the growth of The Foundation's endowment and better serve New York's legal profession, the justice system and the community."

A native of Ossining, Judge Brieant was a graduate of Columbia Law Schooland served in the Army Air Forces in World War II. He wrote 700 reported decisions as a district court judge and 20 while sitting by designation on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. During his tenure as Southern District Chief Judge, he oversaw the construction of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street , New Yorkand a new courthouse in White Plains, which was named in his honor by Congress in August. Earlier in his career, Judge Brieant served as Ossining town justice, Westchester County assistant district attorney, the Briarcliff Manor village attorney, Ossining Town supervisor, and a Westchester Countylegislator.

A memorial service for the Judge will be held on Tuesday, September 23rd at 4:00 p.m. at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, 9th Floor Ceremonial Courtroom, New York , NY , with a reception to follow thereafter in the Charles L. Brieant, Jr. Conference Center on the 8th Floor.

Contributions to The New York Bar Foundation for the Honorable Charles L. Brieant, Jr. Fellowship Fund should be sent to The New York Bar Foundation, One Elk Street , Albany , NY 12207or an online donation can be made at

The Foundation was created in 1950 to facilitate the delivery of legal services, enhance professional competence and ethics, increase public understanding of the law, and improve the justice system. For more information, contact Rosanne Van Heertum, director of development, at 518.487.5650, or The New York Bar Foundation, One Elk Street , Albany NY 12207.