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May 12, 2011

STATE BAR PRESIDENT NAMES FOUR TO JUDICIAL SCREENING PANELS

Four prominent attorneys-including two past presidents of the New York State Bar Association-have been named to serve on the Governor's judicial screening committees for the four departments.

In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Stephen P. Younger, in his role of president of the state Bar Association, wrote he appointed four individuals to serve on screening panels to evaluate the qualifications of candidates for appointment or designation to judicial office. 

Younger's appointees are:

• First Department:  Bernice K. Leber of New York (Arent Fox, LLP), Past President of the State Bar Association.
• Second Department:  Manuel A. Romero of Brooklyn (Manuel A. Romero, P.C.), Vice-President, Second Judicial District, State Bar Association.
• Third Department: Hermes Fernandez of Albany (Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC), Member-at-Large of Executive Committee, State Bar Association.
• Fourth Department:   A. Vincent Buzard of Pittsford (Harris Beach, PPLC), Past President of the State Bar Association.

The Governor's Executive Order 15 (Establishing Judicial Screening Committees) authorizes the president of the State Bar Association to select one member for each of the four departmental screening committees.  Each committee has 13 members.

The departmental committees review candidates for designation to the Appellate Division and for appointment to fill interim vacancies on the state Supreme Court.  In addition, the departmental committee members serve on county screening committees to review candidates to fill interim vacancies on the county-level courts outside the City of New York.

Younger wrote the governor on March 6, "On behalf of our 77,000 members, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important process to promote the independence, diversity and excellence of our Judiciary." He added, "We greatly appreciate being included in this process on behalf of the organized bar of our State." 

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