Discussion on the Untold Secrets of Eagle Street

Albany Law Review, Summer 2013 | Go to article overview

Discussion on the Untold Secrets of Eagle Street


CHIEF JUDGE LIPPMAN: We're going to reveal a lot of secrets but not the handshake, whether there is a handshake or not one.

Welcome. And it really is a delight here to be at the Lawrence H. Cooke State Constitutional Commentary Symposium at Albany Law School.

Lawrence Cooke, as you know, was a great Judge and Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. He hailed from Monticello, New York.

He was a great advocate for the use of the State Constitution to grant to New Yorkers rights beyond what they were entitled to under the Federal Constitution.

He was a very proactive Chief Judge, who attacked Court backlogs, promoted civil rights, was a champion of expanding the role of women in the courts and the profession, and he was very active in the National Center for State Courts that had been founded really at the urging of Chief Judge Burger of the United States Supreme Court.

He was a great intellect and he had a generosity of spirit, he was a good old country boy, could tell a good story, and to me, he had a personal meaning, because in my first real important job in the court system, which was to be the Chief Clerk and Executive Officer of the Supreme Court in New York County, there was a lot of dispute as to who was going to get that job, and they decided that the only one who could make the decision was the Chief Judge.

And I had to go and I was a young man. This was thirty plus years ago, and I had to see Chief Judge Cooke and I was scared to death, and he was just lovely and warm and friendly. I was terrible at the interview, but he gave me the job anyway.

And I was always grateful to him. And then, the first time that I became a judge, a judge of the Court of Claims, I came to the interview, and who was the Chair of the Interview Committee, but Judge Cooke, who was no longer the Chief Judge at the time, but he was the Chair of the Governor's Committee. And I was just hoping he wouldn't remember how terrible I was at the first interview I had with him. But he was again, warm and friendly and terrific, and I became a Court of Claims judge.

So I have very warm feelings about Judge Cooke, and it's really terrific of the law school that you honor Judge Cooke and you honor all of us by having this symposium.

We have had such a mutually supportive, wonderful relationship with Albany Law School. The Court loves being here, the Chief Judge loves being here, and the law school has so much energy and it really is a great place, and we're so delighted to be here tonight.

I also want to note that the law school provides us with great talent that in clerks past, present and future come from Albany Law School. And to do them all would take, you know, the entire couple of hours, but let me just give you a sense of the relationship of the law school to the Court. All three of Judge Graffeo's law clerks surprisingly enough, come from Albany Law School.

JUDGE GRAFFEO: One is right up there.

CHIEF JUDGE LIPPMAN: Lisa Lecours, Steve Sherwin, and Matt Dunn. One of Judge Pigott's law clerks, Kristie Stromecki, Deputy Chief Clerk of the Court Richard Reed, Assistant Deputy Clerk in Charge of Appeals, Susan Turturo, and she's somewhere here, I saw her right over there. Chief Motion Clerk Heather Davis, Senior Deputy Chief Court Attorney Margery Corbin Eddy, Court Attorney and Central Staff, Chelsea Cerutti and joining our staff next year, Albany Law graduate of 2012, currently a Law Clerk at the Appellate Division Third Department, Krysten Kenny, and an anticipated 2013 graduate, Kanika Johar. So we really do have a connection to Albany Law School.

And I want to thank, first of all, the wonderful Albany Law Review, which does such terrific work that we're all flattered at various times to be asked to contribute to the Law Review. There are so many terrific programs that you do that we're so grateful for, and the Law Review really represents the best in our law student population. …

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