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New Message from Chief Judge DiFiore - July 6th, 2020

Transcript of the Chief Judge's Message

Notice to the Bar - 2021 Calendar of Sessions

The Court of Appeals has released its 2021 Calendar of Sessions. The schedule includes the appeal sessions as well as the Court’s conference days, which are scheduled for June 17 and 18 and December 9 and 10. May 18 is a special primary election appeals session day.

The full Notice can be accessed here.
Amended 2020 Calendar of Sessions
The Court of Appeals has amended its 2020 Calendar of Sessions, changing argument dates for its September and October sessions. The revised calendar also reflects changes made to the March, April-May and June sessions to address the coronavirus public health emergency.
The full Notice can be accessed here
Notice to the Bar – Returning to In-Person Operations and June 2020 Session – May 22, 2020
Consistent with Albany County meeting established safety benchmarks for phased reopening, the New York State Court of Appeals will begin the transition to in-person courthouse operations. By May 28, 2020, the full complement of Albany-based Court staff will return to Court of Appeals Hall. During its June 2020 session, the Court will be available to hear in-person oral argument from counsel, following appropriate safety protocols. The courtroom will be closed to the general public. Oral argument will be webcast live.

Court of Appeals Hall otherwise will not be open to public visitors until further notice. Filings, including applications for stays, will not be accepted in person at the Clerk’s Office until further notice. Persons who wish to file papers in person should call the Clerk’s Office at 518-455-7700 for instructions on alternative ways to file. The Court will continue to accept submissions by mail and, as permitted by its Rules, electronically. Please check this website for updates on Court procedures. The full notice to the bar 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.
2019 Annual Report
The Court of Appeals has released its 2019 Annual report. A copy of the Annual Report can be found here.
Law Day - Friday, May 1, 2020 - Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: the 19th Amendment at 100
Law Day 2020 Video. Your vote, your voice, our democracy. The 19th amendment at one hundred

The virtual Law Day ceremony can be viewed here | Video Transcript
Academic & Bar Dispensations — June 4, 2020

The Court of Appeals has approved a number of dispensations to alleviate the challenges presented by the public health crisis. On April 21, the Chief Judge signed a comprehensive order providing for, among other things, a programmatic waiver of distance learning limitations that enabled law students to continue their coursework virtually. That waiver applied broadly to all categories of students, including J.D. students, LL.M. students, and students who have completed fewer than 28 credit hours. Pursuant to the distance learning waiver, any classroom-based course that has been converted to a virtual course as a result of the public health crisis will count fully as a classroom-based course – not a distance education course.

Today, the Chief Judge signed an order extending the waiver of distance learning limitations through the Fall 2020 term. The extended waiver similarly applies to all categories of students, including J.D. students, LL.M. students, and students who have completed fewer than 28 credit hours. The order can be accessed here.

Given the unique considerations presented by LL.M. programs, and the critical nature of the Court’s residency requirement for LL.M. students, law schools and students are advised that the Court does not expect to extend the distance learning waiver for LL.M. students beyond the Fall 2020 term. However, to allow increased flexibility, the Chief Judge’s order also includes a waiver of the limitation on the number of credit hours that may be earned towards an LL.M. degree during the Summer 2021 term. This additional waiver will enable law schools to offer fully residential LL.M. programs that begin at the start of the Spring 2021 term and continue through a full Summer 2021 term.
The Court is mindful of the disruption and stress felt acutely by law students and law school representatives, and remains committed to addressing each issue in a manner that balances the concerns of affected students and institutions, the interests of the public, and the integrity of the legal profession.

Prior updates can be accessed here.

New York State Bar Exam Rescheduled for Fall 2020
On March 27, 2020, the Court of Appeals announced that the New York State Bar Examination will not be administered on July 28-29, 2020 as previously scheduled. The Bar Examination will be rescheduled for dates in the fall, to be determined. When available, the Board of Law Examiners will announce the rescheduled dates for the examination and for the application filing period. The full notice can be accessed here.
The Court has amended its Rules for the Registration of In-House Counsel (Part 522), effective April 15, 2020
The Court has amended its Rules for the Registration of In-House Counsel (Part 522), effective April 15, 2020. The amendments permit part-time in-house counsel practice; clarify that there is no New York residency requirement under Part 522; expand the grace period for registering as in-house counsel; authorize a 90-day period to cure any past failures to register as in-house counsel; eliminate the reciprocity requirement for in-house counsel registration by foreign attorneys; eliminate the requirement that foreign attorneys be and remain members in good standing of their home jurisdiction bars if such membership is unavailable to in-house counsel, as is the case in a number of civil law jurisdictions; permit foreign attorneys to apply for registration as in-house counsel on the basis of affidavits if their home jurisdiction is unable to provide proof of good standing because of a lack of structure of legal oversight of in-house counsel in that jurisdiction; and permit foreign attorneys who are registered as in-house counsel to provide pro bono services under the direct supervision of a duly registered New York attorney. The full notice 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.
2020 State of Our Judiciary
On February 26, 2020, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore delivered her fourth State of Our Judiciary, focusing on several priorities fundamental to the present and future viability of the New York State courts: constitutional simplification of New York’s complex trial court structure; criminal justice reform; and expansion of alternative dispute resolution programs for civil litigation. The State of Our Judiciary webcast can be viewed here.  


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