Curious about the role of the Society in preserving New York's legal history? This video provides an overview of the Society's Mission

The Historical Society of the New York Courts: Our Mission


The Society has a longstanding relationship with Bard High School Early College (BHSEC), a public high school with campuses in Manhattan & Queens, through which it helps develop curricula centered on themes and topics of legal history. The Society regularly produces films documenting this work, showing the impact this work has on BHSEC's students!

BHSEC Queens 9th Grade American History
The Lemmon Slave Case (2014)

In 2014 the Society focused on developing classroom materials for 9th & 10th grade history classes at BHSEC's Queens campus. This video shows the impact of one of those curriculas. These materials are currently being developed for future use in other classrooms statewide

Bard Early College Academy (2013)
The Role of Courts in a Democratic Society

In addition to its work with BHSEC, the Society also works with the school's after school program for middle school students, Bard Early College Academy (BECA). The Society worked with BHSEC educators to develop a unit for BECA focusing on the importance of the courts in our Society.

Writing & Thinking Workshop
Justice (2010)

In 2010 the Society sponsored a week-long workshop on the theme of justice held to begin the school year at BHSEC's Manhattan campus. Students read and debated classic texts on the topic before visiting the New York County Courthouse to meet with judges and learn how trials actually take place.

The Society also has an essay scholarship exclusively offered to CUNY and SUNY Community College students. Each year the topic changes, and the Society provides ample resources for students from which they can construct their arguments and write their essays. There are six prizes total, three for CUNY students and three for SUNY students.

The 2014 David A. Garfinkel Essay Scholarship
April 30, 2014 Law Day Awards Ceremony

Every year the Society hosts the winners of the Garfinkel Essay Scholarship at the Court of Appeals' Law Day ceremonies, where their achievements are honored. In 2014 Judge Jenny Rivera presented the awards, including the Grand Prize to the Contest's first two-time winner, Zachary Field from Onondaga Community College.


The Society's annual Gala honors significant figures and milestones in New York's legal history. Over the past four years the Society has produced films that honor and preserve this history.

2016 GALA | Passing the Gavel
Continuity, Collaboration and Transition

Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman & current Chief Judge Janet DiFiore
Remembering Judith S. Kaye

The Society brought together our new Chief Judge in conversation with her successor in a warm film that helped introduce her to the legal community. Both included deeply felt personal remembrances of their colleague, Former Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye.

2015 Gala | At the Helm: A 30 Year Legacy of Leadership
Honoring Our Three Chief Judges

For this event honoring the State's three most recent Chief Judges: Jonathan Lippman, Judith S. Kaye and Sol Wachtler, we asked the Judges to sit down with Charlie Rose for a conversation on their lives, careers and judicial philosophy.

2014 Gala | The New York State Commercial Division
Two Decades of Success

Featuring interviews with the men and women who guided the creation of the Commercial Division, this film provides insight into one of the most important developments in the recent history of the New York court system.

2013 Gala | Honoring Lady Justice
NYS Court of Appeals Women Jurists

The 2013 Gala honored the five women judges of the Court of Appeals, and this film features insightful interviews with all five women. Spanning 30 years on the bench, their memories and insights provide a valuable look at the legal history of New York and into their personal histories as jurists.


The Commercial Division handles complicated commercial cases as part of the Supreme Court of New York State. The following is an updated version of an acclaimed video about the Commercial Division with new footage of Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. It also features interviews with former Chief Judge — and the Division's creator — the late Judith S. Kaye and former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.

Commercial Division 2016 from Kyle @ BullMoose Pictures.


While we hope that everyone will be able to attend our public events and lectures, we know that this is not possible. So the Society takes care to record and make available online all of our public programs. Covering topics from Alexander Hamilton, to courthouse architecture, to music & copyright, these programs cover an amazingly diverse array of topics. The Society's program archive goes back to 2005 and we hope you will take the opportunity to explore its rich contents.


The Historical Society of the New York Courts        140 Grand Street, Suite 701 White Plains, NY 10601        914.824.5863