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November 26, 2010

STATE BAR ASSOCIATION URGES LAWMAKERS TO PASS LEGISLATION CREATING A JUDICIAL COMPENSATION COMMISSION

On the eve of a special legislative session convened by Governor David Paterson, The New York State Bar Association today urged state lawmakers to pass a bill creating a judicial compensation commission.

In a letter to the Governor, Bar President Stephen P. Younger of New York (Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP), commended the Governor for including this critical issue as an agenda item for the special session that begins on Monday, November 29th.

Younger said, "New York's judges are central to a fair and just system of government. Their salaries should reflect the value that society places on their work. They deserve fair compensation for the work they do -- unfortunately, they are not receiving it. New York State's judicial salaries were last adjusted in 1999, more than a decade ago. They are receiving less than their federal counterparts, less than their counterparts in comparable states and, indeed, less than first year associates of large city law firms. As a result, we are seeing highly regarded judges leave the bench because of the lack of adequate compensation."

Younger's letter urged the Governor and Legislature to establish the commission and create a mechanism for future salary adjustments by providing that salaries of judges be adjusted periodically.

The New York State Bar Association has long supported and advocated for judicial pay increases. In May 2005, it urged the Governor and Legislature to increase the compensation for New York's trial-court judges in order to restore them to parity with the judges of the federal district courts. The organization has repeatedly reiterated this position.

To view the letter, please visit: www.nysba.org/1126letter.

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Founded in 1876, the 77,000-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. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years. For more information, visit us at our Web site at www.nysba.org.