Academic journal article Albany Law Review

The New York Court of Appeals, Albany Law School, and the Albany Law Review: Institutions Dedicated to the Evolution of the Law in New York State

Academic journal article Albany Law Review

The New York Court of Appeals, Albany Law School, and the Albany Law Review: Institutions Dedicated to the Evolution of the Law in New York State

Article excerpt

It is a privilege to pay tribute in writing to the Albany Law Review on the occasion of its seventy-fifth anniversary issue. Dating back to our respective formations in 1846 and 1851, the Court of Appeals and Albany Law School have enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial relationship. The New York Court of Appeals has long been regarded as one of the preeminent state high courts in the nation and Albany Law School and its graduates deserve a share of the credit for the Court's esteemed reputation. Seven Albany Law School alumni, including two Chief Judges, have served on the Court. And dozens of its graduates have served as law clerks over the decades, contributing greatly to the superb quality and professionalism of the Court's work product.

Throughout its history, the Albany Law Review has brought serious scholarly attention to the work of the New York courts and to the Court of Appeals in particular. This heightened focus on New York law is particularly helpful as a practical resource for the state's large and sophisticated Bar, but it is also immensely valuable in terms of providing insight into how the Court performs its critical institutional roles of settling and articulating the law, maintaining legal stability and predictability over time, and ensuring that the law remains responsive to the needs and expectations of a changing society.

From my perspective as Chief Judge of one of the largest and busiest judicial systems in the country, I not only value this Law Review's traditional interest in New York law but also consider it essential and urgent. Many people have no idea that ninety-seven percent or more of all litigation is conducted in the nation's state courts. More cases are heard there in a single day than are heard in an entire year by the federal judiciary. This point is made not to diminish the work of the federal courts, whose caseloads are, by any measure, extremely challenging, complex, and important, but rather to emphasize that it is in the state courts that the average American interacts with the justice system. It is in the state courts where the cutting-edge issues affecting the daily lives of our citizens, the quality of life in our communities, and the orderly progress of our society are being adjudicated by trial and appellate court judges working on the front lines. These judges handle a seemingly infinite variety of litigation, spanning highly complex, multibillion-dollar corporate disputes to home foreclosures, evictions, and consumer debt defaults in our civil courts; serious felonies, quality of life crimes, and the scourges of domestic violence and drug-related crime in our criminal courts; and the consequences of family breakdown, such as child abuse and neglect, child custody and support, and juvenile delinquency in our family courts.

The work of the state courts has an enormous impact on our society and is unquestionably worthy of the best legal scholarship. This is something that the Albany Law Review has been providing for seventy-five years--thoughtful analysis of important judicial decisions affecting the development of the law and the lives of millions of New Yorkers, and critical examination of how courts go about resolving novel and weighty constitutional, common law, and statutory interpretation issues.

In fact, Albany Law School can claim credit for publishing the country's first student edited legal periodical, the Albany Law School Journal, which, along with news and other items of interest to the legal community, contained a number of substantive articles about New York law and court decisions. (1) While this periodical was short-lived, it is regarded as the precursor to today's academic law reviews. (2) The publication of legal scholarship began again in earnest with volume one of the Albany Law Review in 1931, and since then generations of students have ably led and staffed the Law Review, publishing articles, notes, and comments, and devoting special issues every year to symposia that manifest the special connection between the Law School and the Court, including the Chief Judge Lawrence H. …

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