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New Message from Chief Judge DiFiore - February 15 , 2021

Transcript of the Chief Judge's Message

February 2021 Session and Court of Appeals Operations

Oral argument during the Court’s February 2021 Session will be by videoconference. Oral arguments are webcast live and may be accessed through the Court’s website.

The Court of Appeals is continuing full operations, through a combination of virtual and in-courthouse staffing. Through a rotational schedule, Clerk’s Office personnel will be available at Court of Appeals Hall during normal business hours. For telephone inquiries, to be routed to available staff, callers should use the main telephone number (518-455-7700) rather than published direct line numbers. The Court continues to accept submissions by mail and, as permitted by its Rules, electronically. In-person filings are accepted at Court of Appeals Hall during normal business hours at the Pine Street entrance. Courtroom tours for visitors will not be available until further notice.

Please check this website for notices of any further changes to the Court's schedule or procedures.

 
Notice to the Bar – The Court has amended its Rules of Practice – Companion Submissions in Digital Format – Criminal Leave Applications
The Court has amended its Rules of Practice to require, for criminal leave applications, submissions in digital format as companions to the printed papers filed and served in accordance with the Court’s Rules of Practice. The amended Rules are effective December 30, 2020.  Any criminal leave applications filed on or after December 30, 2020 must comply with the amended Rules. A full copy of the notice to the bar, and relevant portions of the amended Rules, can be accessed here.
 
Notice to the Bar - Amended 2021 Calendar of Sessions
The Court of Appeals has amended its 2021 Calendar of Sessions, changing argument dates and conference days for its May and June sessions.  The full notice can be accessed here.
 
Judge Leslie Stein - Retirement

Judge Leslie Stein, by letter dated November 2, 2020, formally informed Chief Judge DiFiore and the Court that she will retire effective June 4, 2021.  

 
Announcement: February 2021 Bar Examination – October 21, 2020

In July 2020, as a consequence of the health crisis, the Court made the difficult decision to cancel the September 2020 in-person bar examination. At the same time, Chief Judge DiFiore announced the creation of a Working Group to study the future of the bar exam in New York. The Working Group recommended that, as an emergency measure, New York administer a remote bar exam on October 5 and 6 using materials prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). The Court adopted that recommendation.

While the Board of Law Examiners continues to gather and study the data, our preliminary assessment is that, despite the novel procedure, this was a very successful administration of the bar examination. Of the 5,167 applicants who downloaded the exam software and were scheduled to take the remote exam on October 5 and 6, 2020, all but 17 successfully completed the entire exam. The Court thanks the Board and the staff for their hard work and dedication, the exam takers for their patience and perseverance and the New York law schools for their assistance in this process, particularly in making space available for those in need of a suitable testing venue.

Looking ahead to the February 2021 bar exam, on October 19, 2020, the NCBE announced it will make a full set of exam materials available, requiring jurisdictions to choose between an in-person or remote administration of the February exam. Although the Court originally anticipated that a remote exam would be administered on a one-time basis, the threat posed by the pandemic has not abated sufficiently to permit the Board to safely conduct in-person testing of large numbers of bar applicants in New York, and it is therefore necessary to again consider a remote option. Accordingly, in consultation with the Board of Law Examiners and the Chair of the Working Group, the Hon. Howard A. Levine, and at the urging of the Deans of the New York law schools, the Court has determined that New York will administer a remote bar exam in February 2021. Details concerning the eligibility criteria and registration process for the February exam will be announced shortly by the Board of Law Examiners. Our goal remains a safe and secure administration for all those involved.

Prior Bar Examination and Legal Education updates can be accessed here.

 
Chair of State Board of Law Examiners
On September 2, 2020, the Court of Appeals announced the appointment of former Court of Appeals Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick as chair of the State Board of Law Examiners.  The full press release can be accessed here.
 
Rule 520.8 and 520.12 Waiver Order
The Court of Appeals has issued an order waiving strict compliance with the requirements of section 520.8 and 520.12 of the Rules for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law (22 NYCRR 520.8 and 520.12) to permit the New York State Board of Law Examiners to replace the Uniform Bar Examination with the Emergency Remote Testing Option to be offered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners on October 5-6 and to require an applicant who passes the Emergency Remote Testing Option to complete an application for admission within one year from the date when such applicant sits for the second day of the Emergency Remote Testing Option. A copy of the order can be accessed here.
 
Notice to the Bar – The Court has amended its Rules of Practice – Companion Submissions in Digital Format
The Court has amended its Rules of Practice to require, for motions and responses to Rule 500.10 jurisdictional inquiries, submissions in digital format as companions to the printed papers filed and served in accordance with the Court’s Rules of Practice. The Court has also amended its Rules of Practice to reduce the number of printed copies that must be filed for civil motions for leave to appeal, reargument motions, and papers in opposition to those motions. The amended Rules are effective May 27, 2020. Any responses to Rule 500.10 jurisdictional inquiries requested on or after May 27, 2020 and any motions returnable on or after June 1, 2020 must comply with the amended Rules. A full copy of the notice to the bar, and relevant portions of the proposed amended Rules, can be accessed here.
 
Excellence Initiative
On February 8, 2016, Chief Judge DiFiore announced the Excellence Initiative, a detailed and comprehensive evaluation of current processes and procedures to determine what is working well and what needs to be improved in the New York State Unified Court System. For more information on this initiative, including how comments may be submitted to the Chief Judge, please see Excellence Initiative.
 

 
COURT CALENDAR
 
 
 

Current Case Summaries
Yearly Session - 2021
(About Court Sessions)

 

  Court-PASS Public Access and Search System  
  for normal course and Rule 500.11 appeals, Certified Questions and Judicial Conduct Matters  

   
  for motions, criminal leave applications and Rule 500.10 Jurisdictional Responses  

  Oral Arguments Live  
(Refer to Calendar for Date and Times)
  Oral Argument Archive
(including Transcripts and closed captioned video)
 
  Other Important Webcasts