Retired New York judge to receive ABA's Marshall Award

Jonathan Lippman, retired chief judge of New York and chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, is the recipient of the 2016 John Marshall Award, presented by the American Bar Association Judicial Division.

The award, which was established in 2001 to recognize individuals responsible for extraordinary improvement to the administration of justice in the categories of judicial independence, justice system reform or public awareness about the justice system, will be presented at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Aug. 4-9.

Lippman served at all levels of the New York State Court system, including as staff attorney, administrator and judge. Among other positions, he was appointed by Gov. George Pataki, R, as judge of the New York Court of Claims in 1995, and from 1996 to 2007 served as chief administrative judge of the New York State Courts, the longest tenure of anyone to hold the position. Lippman was elected to New York's Supreme Court in 2005, and in 2007 Gov. Eliot Spitzer, D, appointed him as presiding justice of the New York Appellate Division, First Department. Lippman was appointed by Gov. David Paterson, D, as chief judge of New York two years later, serving until 2016.

Throughout his career in the New York State Courts, Lippman authored major decisions addressing constitutional, statutory and common law issues shaping the legal system of New York, the contours of state government and the lives of all of the state's citizens. He has been involved in many significant reforms of the judiciary and legal profession, and has taken an active role in identifying permanent funding for civil legal services.

The New York County Lawyers' Association cites Lippman's initiatives to improve the administration of justice in New York in six major areas: wrongful convictions, raising the age of criminal responsibility, bail reform, expungement of convictions, indigent legal defense and sentencing.

"Chief Judge Lippman's career has been the very essence of what we recognize with the John Marshall Award. In every role he has held over his career, his focus has been on improving the administration of justice, with a special emphasis on ensuring greater access to justice for all. He has left a lasting impact on the New York court system and has provided a model for courts across the nation to follow," said Michael G. Bergmann, chair of the ABA Judicial Division.

A graduate of New York University and its law school, Lippman is now with Latham & Watkins' New York office and is a leader of its pro bono practice.

At the time of his retirement from the courts at the end of last year, Lippman told The New York Times that his goal was to make it the policy of New York State that poverty should never bar a person from a fair hearing in court. "Aside from my family, it is the only thing that matters to me. It has consumed my life."

The John Marshall Award is named in honor of the fourth chief justice of the United States, who is credited with establishing the independence of the judiciary and enhancing its moral authority. Past recipients have included Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the late former U.S. Senator Howell Heflin and former Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.

Published: Wed, Jun 15, 2016

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