December 22, 2008


New York State Bar Association President Bernice K. Leber of New York (Arent Fox LLP) today announced that the State Bar's ratings for the seven candidates under consideration for Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals are complete and have been sent to Governor David Paterson. By law, the Governor must make his appointment between January 1, 2009 and January 15, 2009.

To assist the appointment process, the State Bar reviews the qualifications of candidates nominated by the Commission on Judicial Nomination. The ratings for each candidate are as follows:

Candidate Rating

George F. Carpinello, Esq. Qualified
Partner, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
Albany , N.Y.

Evan A. Davis Well Qualified
Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
New York , N.Y.

Hon. Steven W. Fisher Well Qualified
Associate Justice, Appellate Division, Second Department
Jamaica, N.Y.

Hon. Theodore T. Jones, Jr. Well Qualified
Associate Judge of the New YorkCourt of Appeals
White Plains, N.Y.

Hon. Jonathan Lippman Well Qualified
Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, First Department
New York , N.Y.

Hon. Eugene F. Pigott, Jr. Well Qualified
Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
Buffalo , N.Y.

Peter L. Zimroth, Esq. Well Qualified
Partner, Arnold & Porter, LLP
New York , N.Y.

The ratings were prepared by the State Bar's Committee to Review Judicial Nominations chaired by Past President A. Vincent Buzard of Rochester (Harris Beach PLLC). The committee considered professional ability, experience, character, temperament, and other qualities in arriving at a determination for each candidate. Each candidate's qualifications and background were thoroughly examined by a subcommittee. Personal interviews were then conducted before the entire statewide committee. Members had the option of rating each candidate as either "Well-Qualified," "Qualified," or "Not Qualified."

According to State Bar guidelines, "Qualified" applies to candidates who, in the committee's opinion, have demonstrated the necessary qualifications for the office while, "Well Qualified" is reserved for those who possess preeminent qualifications.

The State Bar has been evaluating candidates for the state's highest tribunal since 1967. Its recommendations traditionally have been taken into consideration by the state's chief executive. The Commission on Judicial Nomination was created in 1978 to evaluate and recommend candidates for appointment to the Court of Appeals.

The 74,000-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 more than 130 years.

A copy of Leber's letter to Governor Paterson is available at the State Bar's Web site at