New York County Lawyers Mourns the Passing of Chief Judge Judith Kaye


New York County Lawyers Mourns the Passing of Chief Judge Judith Kaye

Statements & Letters
Published On: Jan 08, 2016




CONTACT: Toni Valenti 

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New York County Lawyers Mourns the Passing of Chief Judge Judith Kaye


New York, New York (1/8/2016) – New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA) President Carol A. Sigmond issued this statement today:


A bright light in the New York legal community has gone out with the passing of Judith Kaye, first woman chief justice of the New York State Court of Appeals. Judith Kaye was a remarkable woman, lawyer and chief judge. During her tenure she helped move New York forward on a wide variety of social and legal issues, including rights for gay couples, juvenile justice, capital punishment and the creation of specialized courts to focus on exclusively on domestic violence, chemical addiction and mental health.


In 1994 NYCLA conferred Honorary Membership upon Judge Kaye, an honor that only 26 other distinguished lawyers and judges have received during the more than 100 year history of the Association. Judith Kaye’s spirit and love of the law is woven into the fabric of the NYCLA community. She served on our Judicial Section from 2003 – 2012, was a frequent participant at many NYCLA receptions and events, and was a presenter at the Association’s Charles Evans Hughes Lecture. Kaye has also been recognized many times by NYCLA during her career. She received the William Nelson Cromwell Award, the highest honor that NYCLA can bestow on a lawyer for unselfish service to the profession and the community; the Louis J. Capozzoli Gavel Award which is given in recognition of exceptional contributions to the system of justice, and the Edith I Spivack Award for her significant works in the area of women’s rights.


Kaye served as chief judge of the Court of Appeals for 15 years, having been appointed in 1983 by then Gov. Mario Cuomo, the current governor’s father. Kaye retired in 2008 to serve as of opcounsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP. She will be sorely missed but her work and her legacy will live on.


About the New York County Lawyers Association

The New York County Lawyers Association ( was founded in 1908 as one of the first major bar associations in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception, it has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence and has continuously played an active role in legal developments and public policy.

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