Want to be Chief Judge of New York? Submit your application

August 1, 2022 Robert Abruzzese, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Chief Judge Janet DiFiore may be stepping down as the top judge in the state, but that has left the door open for another member of the judiciary to step in and it could be one of Brooklyn’s own distinguished jurors.

While there is a process in New York State to elect judges, when it comes to the state’s highest court, a commission evaluates potential judges and then recommends seven to the governor. It is the governor, in this case Kathy Hochul, who ultimately makes the decision of who sits atop the judicial branch of the state government.

The State of New York Commission on Judicial Nomination – which is chaired by former Chief Judge E. Leo Milonas, who served from 1993 until 1995 between Hon. Judith Kaye and Hon. Jonathan Lippman – announced that it was accepting applications on Friday to be one of seven.

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“To fill past judicial vacancies on the Court, the Commission has nominated to the Governor a wide variety of lawyers, including private practitioners, public interest attorneys, law professors, government officials and sitting Federal and State judges,” said a statement issued by the Commission.

“While prospective candidates must file an application with the Commission, recommendations may be made by anyone who believes that a prospective candidate could be an excellent Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the State of New York. Recommendations of qualified candidates for a vacancy are encouraged and may be made to the Commission’s Counsel.”

Any person or organization who wishes to make a recommendation to the Commission should email its counsel Henry Greenberg, the former president of the NYS Bar Association. Applications can also be downloaded on its website www.nysegov.com/cjn. Applications are filed by email at [email protected] All applications are due by August 29, 2022.

The late Judge Judith Kaye, an earlier chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. Hon. Kaye, the first woman appointed to New York’s top court, died in 2016.
AP photo by Mike Groll

Carl Forbes Jr. begins terms as President of MBBA

The Metropolitan Black Bar Association announced its new slate of officers last month including attorney Carl Forbes Jr. as its new president.

“It is a tremendous honor and privilege to serve as President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), New York State’s largest predominantly-Black bar association,” Forbes said. “I welcome and congratulate our newly elected Officers and Directors, whom I and the returning Directors look forward to working closely with to serve our members and the community.”

Forbes, a graduate of Columbia University School of Law, has been an MBBA member since 2011 and has served in numerous roles within the association including president-elect, co-chair of the Solo and Small Firm Division from 2020 to June 2022, director from July 2017 to June 2020 and he has spent the last five years on the MBBA’s Board.

Carl Forbes Jr., a Columbia Law graduate who has served the MBBA since 2011, will serve as the Association’s president.

Forbes is the founder and principal attorney of Carl Forbes Jr. Law Firm PLLC, which focuses on real estate, estate planning, probate and estate administration and estate litigation. Forbes also works as an adjunct professor at New York Law School, where he teaches pretrial advocacy.

“We must continue the fight for the rule of law and the search for justice,” Forbes said. “Our fight is fueled by the hope we are given each day when a monumental feat is accomplished: the historic confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court; the long-overdue passage of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act; the recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday; the convictions of the three men who committed a racially motivated hate crime when they murdered Ahmaud Arbery; the conviction of the police officer who murdered George Floyd; and the appearance of three Black women justices, Associate Justice Wavny Toussaint, Associate Justice Chereé Antoinette Buggs, and Presiding Justice Michelle Weston, on a bench hearing cases together in the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Term, Second Judicial Department.

“Even so, Black Americans face a cruel reality rooted in systemic oppression: we remain the target of unjust policing and incarceration, are subject to racial health disparities, and have yet to realize the economic equity promised by the American Dream.”

Other officers include Nicole Lester Arrindell as president-elect, Eric A. Love, Lauren Brown, and Evette C. Ennis as vice presidents, Anta Cissé-Green as treasurer and Jennifer V. Abelaj as general counsel. Brooklyn Judge Inga O’Neale serves as one of the MBBA’s directors.

BBA Mentorship Committee to host free Happy Hour

The Brooklyn Bar Association’s Mentorship Committee, headed by Hon. Joanne Quinones and Natoya McGhie, is hosting a free happy hour for attorneys interested in taking part in its program.

The Mentor Committee Happy Hour will take place at Circa Brewing Company on Tuesday, August 16 from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. The event is hosted by the Law Offices of Adam J. Roth.

The Mentorship Committee pairs lawyers for one-on-one mentoring. Mentors and mentees come in all ages and experience levels. Many mentees are just starting out in their legal careers and are looking for someone to offer advice and guidance, while others are well established within the legal community but are looking to expand their practice areas. Some people are mentors and mentees at the same time.

Space is limited. Please email Natoya McGhie ([email protected]) if you are interested in attending.

Robert Abruzzese is the former Legal Editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Director of Member Services at the Brooklyn Bar Association. In addition to writing this column, he currently attends Touro Law Center and is a Legal Administrative Assistant at the Cavallo Firm, PLLC. You can reach him via email at [email protected]


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