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March 2, 2011

NYSBA COMMENTS ON $100 MILLION IN JUDICIARY CUTS

Chief Judge Suggests Long-term Savings

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, responding to the state budget shortfall, should be commended for managing to revise the proposed Judiciary budget without closing courthouse doors, New York State Bar Association President Stephen P. Younger said today.

"We are pleased by the efforts Chief Judge Lippman has made to cut the court budget while fostering access to the justice system in the face of the state's fiscal hard times," said Younger [Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler].

The Judiciary's revised $2.5 billion budget, unfortunately, will require reductions in the workforce and possibly for worthwhile programs, such as assistance to village and town courts, judicial hearing officers and the Judicial Institute, he noted. 

Lippman also is proposing consideration of two foresighted measures that will help make New York's courts more efficient in the long run although they will not produce immediate savings.

"The State Bar Association has long supported a restructuring of the state's 11 separate trial courts. This would promote efficiency and cost savings, plus afford better access for practitioners and their clients, thereby enhancing public trust and confidence in our system of justice," Younger said.  "We are delighted that Chief Judge Lippman is looking at restructuring the court system." The change would require a constitutional amendment.

Lippman's second long-term proposal would fully implement electronic filing of court papers, also saving money for taxpayers and litigants.  The State Bar Association has advocated mandatory e-filing of court documents.

The New York State Bar Association with 77,000 members is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Its programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system.   

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