New York State Courts Press Release: Update on Virtual Courts

A week ago, there was a statewide rollout of virtual court operations via Skype and teleconferencing for essential and emergency proceedings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 13, 2020, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks announced that this temporary “virtual court” model is being expanded beyond the limited category of essential and emergency matters.

Over the past two weeks, the New York State Courts’ trial court efforts have centered on arraignments, bail applications, orders of protection and other essential and emergency criminal, family and civil matters. Following a successful transition to a virtual court system for the handling of essential and emergency matters statewide, the court system is extending its focus to include pending tort, asbestos, commercial, matrimonial, trusts and estates, felony, family and other cases, which make up the vast bulk of trial court caseloads. The existing ban on the filing of new “non-essential” matters will remain in effect.

For more information, please visit: https://www.nycourts.gov/LegacyPDFS/press/PDFs/PR20_15virtualcourtstortsetc.pdf

AABANY Hosts Breakfast Meeting with Chief Judge Srinivasan for Law Students

On Thursday, February 27, AABANY hosted a breakfast event for law students with Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan, U.S. Circuit Judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals, at The Smith in NoMad. Judge Srinivasan was in town for AABANY’s 2020 Annual Dinner where he was presented the Public Service Leadership Award, and the judge was gracious enough to take the time the next morning to advise students pursuing careers in law. Judge Srinivasan familiarized students with his many life experiences by speaking about his upbringing, education, and career. Everything from his judicial philosophy to his love of sports provided attendees with important nuggets of wisdom and essential insights. 

Judge Srinivasan elaborated extensively on the three guiding principles that have shaped his life and his service: doing great work, being a good person, and assuming the best of those around you. 

For his first tenet, Judge Srinivasan addressed the familial and social pressures that are widely prevalent in the Asian-American community, acknowledging the constant push to “climb the ladder” and focus heavily on quantifiable success. However, despite this pressure, he insists that the goal of students shouldn’t be to chase after the most lucrative opportunities to bolster a resume, but instead, students should strive to give their best and humble effort to everything that they do, no matter how small or invisible. Such persistence will pay off and be recognized in the long-run. 

Regarding his second principle, the judge drew heavily from his own experiences with people in the legal field. He insisted that acting transparently in good-faith and modeling kind behavior will in turn make people feel heard which increases the likelihood of reaching mutually beneficial agreements. Judge Srinivasan remarked on how surprised he has been in the past by the benefits of simply listening to others. His way of approaching interacting with other people has influenced those around him, garnering the respect and trust of his peers. 

Finally, Judge Srinivasan insists that, despite our initial inclination to expect the worst of others, there are pleasant surprises to expecting the best of others. Especially in such a partisan environment, he insists that it is important to treat traditional “adversaries” not as ill-intentioned individuals but as normal people with differences in how they approach universal problems. By viewing other people as different rather than evil, the judge believes that compromises can be reached more quickly and effectively. 

After giving students background on his experiences and philosophy, Judge Srinivasan opened himself up for questions from the attendees. Many of the students focused particularly on how they can better represent their ethnic communities and perform optimally in the field. 

Since some of the students present are leaders of affinity groups on their respective campuses, the judge applauded the efforts of the student leaders and addressed the importance of student advocacy groups. He referenced a common saying by his sister, “it’s hard to be what you can’t see,” to reveal how these minority cultural groups give face to their community and provide the next generation with role models to look up to. While he acknowledged this responsibility to represent is daunting and can feel lonely at times, Judge Srinivasan believes that student leaders should reframe their thinking to feel excited in the face of adversity. 

Regarding how to achieve success in the field, the judge suggested looking for mentors who look out for your best interests, preparing for cases thoroughly, and embracing fluidity in argumentation. On a concluding note, Judge Srinivasan stressed the importance of establishing credibility in the forum by advocating zealously while still demonstrating objectivity. 

AABANY thanks Judge Srinivasan for his valuable time and thoughtful advice! If you are curious about the judge’s work, please feel free to click the link below as the D.C. Court of Appeals is one of the only appeals courts that livestream oral arguments on its website. Details at https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/home.nsf/Content/Oral+Arguments

Thanks to AABANY Legal Intern David Jung for the write-up and photos.

A Statement from Chief Judge Janet DiFiore on Behalf of the New York Court of Appeals (August 5, 2017)

The Court of Appeals is saddened by the death of George Bundy Smith, who served with great distinction as an Associate Judge of the Court from 1992 to 2006. A freedom rider during the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, Judge Smith remained soft-spoken, self-effacing, and completely dedicated to fairness and justice for all people throughout his career. As then-Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye said of him in 2005, “George is a man of few words, but they are absolutely the right words.” He leaves our nation a better place than he found it. We will miss him deeply.

AABANY joins the entire legal community in mourning Hon. George Bundy Smith, a trailblazing attorney and jurist, for his contributions to making positive change in the legal profession and society as a whole.

Please consider supporting the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA) Hon. George Bundy Smith Scholarship Fund. More from MBBA:

The Honorable George Bundy Smith, served on the MBBA Board and founded its original scholarship fund. Appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo, Judge Smith served on the New York State Court of Appeals from 1992 to 2006. He also served as a judge on the Civil Court of New York City from 1975-1986 and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New York from 1987-1992. A former law professor at Fordham Law School, Judge Smith was also a former Freedom Rider and a graduate of Yale University (B.A. 1959), where he was just one of three African Americans in his class, and Yale Law School (LL.B 1962). He also received a Ph.D from New York University and an LL.M from University of Virginia School of Law.

In 2014, The Metropolitan Black Bar Association established The Honorable George Bundy Smith Scholarship Fund to offer three scholarships to students who demonstrate qualities of leadership, a passion for the arts and sciences, or a commitment to diversity and academic excellence. The fund is in honor of Judge Smith, who for many years provided board leadership and guidance to the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, including starting the organization’s first scholarship fund. Above all, Judge Smith valued education and consistently leveraged his successes to the benefit of the African-American community.

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK SEEKING CANDIDATES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT MENTORING PROGRAM

NOTICE TO THE BAR

CONTACT: Peter Quijano, 212-686-0666; or Anthony L. Ricco, 212-791-3919

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK SEEKING CANDIDATES FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT MENTORING PROGRAM

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is seeking candidates for its Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Mentoring Program. Ideal candidates are attorneys with five or more years of experience litigating in state court, with fifteen felony trials to verdict as lead counsel or comparable in-court experience under their belt. Under the supervision of a member of the CJA Panel, CJA Mentees would represent defendants in federal court who qualify for appointed representation under the Criminal Justice Act.

The purpose of the CJA Mentoring Program is to diversify the composition of the CJA Panel—a roster of private attorneys who are authorized to serve as appointed defense counsel pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3006A—and to expose experienced state court practitioners to federal practice. While the mentee’s initial 15 hours of service will be done pro bono, mentees may earn a reduced rate of $65 per hour for their services after the pro bono requirement has been fulfilled.

Candidate interviews will be conducted in early June. To apply for the program, please e-mail your resume by June 4 to:

Peter Enrique Quijano
Quijano & Ennis, P.C.
peter@qandelaw.com

“The CJA Mentoring Program offers attorneys a unique opportunity to expand their practice and learn from some of the top criminal defense attorneys in the nation,” said Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska. “The Court is fortunate to benefit from such an excellent program and grateful for the time and attention contributed by the mentor lawyers.”

The mentorship program is open to anyone who qualifies, and women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply. Participation in the mentorship program does not guarantee appointment to the CJA Panel.

SDNY ANNOUNCES A SPECIAL SESSION TO COMMEMORATE THE COURT’S 225TH ANNIVERSARY

MEDIA ADVISORY/NOTICE TO THE BAR CONTACT: Edward Friedland, 212-805-0513

Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska has announced that the United States District Court for the Southern District Court (SDNY) will hold a special session on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 to commemorate the first session of the Court held 225 years ago. President George Washington appointed James Duane, who had been a member of the Continental Congress and first mayor of New York City following the evacuation of British forces, as the Court’s first judge. Judge Duane held the first session on the first Tuesday of November, 1789, making it the first Court to convene under the new United States Constitution. For this reason, it is frequently referred to as the “Mother Court.”

The anniversary celebration will continue through 2015 with re-enactments of historic trials, lectures on some of the Court’s most notable jurists, and exhibits featuring art and historic artifacts such as the Silver Oar of the British Vice Admiralty Court for the Province of New York, the symbol of an admiralty court’s authority. A full calendar of events, under the co-chairmanship of District Judges Deborah A. Batts and P. Kevin Castel, will be published later this year.

Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska said of the anniversary commemoration:

“The history of this Court reflects the history of the nation. The Court has been the venue for civil war prize cases, litigation over the sinking of the Titanic and Lusitania, and the attack on the World Trade Center. It has seen criminal prosecutions from the Tea Pot Dome scandal to Watergate. Today its docket includes white collar and terrorism prosecutions. We are honored and delighted to mark this Court’s 225th year of continued service.”

Currently there are 28 active and 22 senior District Judges on the Southern District bench, in addition to 15 Magistrate Judges and 9 bankruptcy judges.

SDNY ORDERS: Extensions of deadlines in civil, criminal cases

Update from SDNY Public Information Officer:

Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska of the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York issued three orders today regarding the
extension of deadlines in civil and criminal cases as a result of Hurricane
Sandy. I previously sent the order related to Federal Rule of Criminal
Procedure 45, which is attached here again. The two other orders related to
civil cases and Fed. R. Crim. P. 32 were issued later. All three orders are
also available on the home page of our website at http://nysd.uscourts.gov.

Stephanie Cirkovich, Esq.
Public Information Officer
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
(212) 805-0529 direct
(917) 273-8110 cell
(212) 805-0383 fax
http://nysd.uscourts.gov/