New York State Bar Association President Seymour W. James, Jr. has sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo with the association's ratings for the seven candidates under consideration for associate judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. 

The Governor must designate his choice between March 22 and April 6. The nominee then must be confirmed by the state Senate.

To assist with the appointment process, the State Bar reviews the qualifications of candidates nominated by the state Commission on Judicial Nomination. Its ratings are as follows:

Candidate                                                                                                          Rating

Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam                                                               Well Qualified
Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Department   
New York, NY

Hon. Eugene M. Fahey                                                                     Well Qualified                                        
Associate Justice, Appellate Division, Fourth Department 
Buffalo, NY

Hon. John M. Leventhal                                                                    Well Qualified 
Associate Justice, Appellate Division, Second Department 
Brooklyn, NY

Hon. Dianne T. Renwick                                                                   Well Qualified
Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Department 
New York, NY

David A. Schulz, Esq.                                                                      Well Qualified  
Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz 
New York, NY

Maria T. Vullo, Esq.                                                                          Qualified 
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
New York, NY

Rowan D. Wilson, Esq.                                                                    Well Qualified 
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
New York, NY 

The State Bar 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. Personal interviews were conducted and each candidate was rated as "Well Qualified," "Qualified," or "Not Qualified."

According to State Bar guidelines, "Qualified" applies to candidates who have demonstrated the necessary qualifications for the office while "Well Qualified" is reserved for those who possess pre-eminent qualifications.

The March 21, 2013 letter from James (The Legal Aid Society in New York City) can be viewed at

The State Bar Association has evaluated candidates for the Court of Appeals since 1967. The Commission on Judicial Nomination was created in 1978 to evaluate and recommend candidates for appointment to the high court.

The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.


Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director of Media Services