Former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye is the inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Jurist Award, given by the Judicial Section of the New York State Bar Association.
The award honors a jurist who embodies the highest ideals of the Judicial Section and recognizes judicial excellence and extraordinary commitment to the rule of law. Kaye received her award on January 31 in New York City during the Judicial Section Luncheon.
“Judith Kaye made history as chief judge of New York state. She greatly improved the administration of justice and public confidence in the system,” said Albany City Court Judge Rachel Kretser, presiding member of the Judicial Section. “It is an honor to recognize one of the finest jurists ever to serve on the bench in New York.”
Kaye is of counsel to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. She stepped down as chief judge of the Court of Appeals on Dec. 31, 2008. The first woman to serve on the state’s highest court, she was appointed associate judge in 1983 by Governor Mario Cuomo. He designated her chief judge in 1993.
During her tenure, Judge Kaye instituted key reforms to improve justice, such as jury reform, the creation of the Commercial Division and the problem-solving courts.
Kaye served as president of the Conference of Chief Justices and chaired the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts. She previously received the State Bar Association’s Ruth G. Schapiro Award, the Stanley H. Fuld Award and the Gold Medal, its highest honor. She co-chairs the State Bar’s Special Committee on Youth Courts.
She is a graduate of Barnard College and New York University School of Law.
The 75,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
-30-Contact: Brandon Vogel