On December 16, 2008, Chief Judge of the State of New York Judith S. Kaye addressed the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s Centennial Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, at which corporate in-house counsel were honored. On December 31, Chief Judge Kaye stepped down from the bench, having reached the 70-year mandatory retirement age, and having become the longest-serving Chief Judge in the State’s history.
In her remarks, Chief Judge Kaye was generous in her praise of Atlantic Legals efforts to focus on the need for an increase in judicial compensation, in saying:
We thus far have had, and continue to have, a phenomenal bench, but judicial compensation has reached the point where many have questioned whether we can maintain the quality of our state and federal judiciaries.
And what I want to end with tonight is not another plea- you’ve heard me make them many times in recent years. Rather, I want to express my thanks-our thanks-for the support you have given us, most recently in the excellent report of the Atlantic Legal Foundation, a longstanding nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, whose Board of Directors and Advisory Council include this nation’s leading commercial practitioners, many of them general counsels of major corporations.
Their concern is that judicial compensation in New York, having been frozen for more than a decade, cannot continue to provide the quality of judges needed for the complex controversies that flood our courts, even more so in this troubled economy. The report is a comprehensive, articulate call for freeing judicial compensation from the jaws of politics, and rallying business leaders to use their considerable influence to ensure that we will have a judiciary commensurate with New York’s place in the nation and global marketplace.
Not a popular message today, I know, but one that deserves to be heard, and heeded.
I conclude with my thanks to the Atlantic Legal Foundation and its many constituents, to tonight’s honorees, and to all of you, for your tremendous service to the public, for the support you have given to the courts, and for your assistance and friendship
To access Chief Judge Kayes entire speech, reprinted in the January 2009 issue of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, click here.