Every year the Society hosts a gala dinner to honor important figures and institutions in New York's legal history and to raise funds for the coming year. These evenings provide an opportunity to mingle with the Bench & Bar, network, enjoy great food, good company and of course, history. They have been hosted for the past twelve years in a NY jewel — the New York Public Library. We are grateful to the firms, corporations and individuals who provide necessary support to help the Society expand upon its mission to educate the public and our students about the importance of the role of the courts in our democracy to promote justice and the Rule of Law.

2019 ANNUAL GALA • Thursday, May 16, 2019

2019 Gala Program Cover
Barbara D. Underwood, Solicitor General of New York and Former Attorney General of New York


Robert J. Giuffra, Jr., Gala Chair
Richard A. Edlin, Cheryl F. Korman & Lynn K. Neuner, Vice-Chairs
Alan Levine & Roy L. Reardon, Honorary Chairs

2019 Gala Film: Legal History Matters

In April, we brought together a cross-section of the NYS Bench and Bar to discuss why the Society matters. What is its contribution to a just society of informed citizens? How does it foster a deeper sense of community for our lawyers and judges, traversing spectrums of occupations and generations?

After this roundtable discussion, we traveled to George Jackson Academy to film a lesson on the First Amendment, followed by a discussion between a school administrator and a Judith S. Kaye Teaching Fellow.

The Legal History Matters film is a product of these thoughtful discussions.

2018 ANNUAL GALA • Thursday, April 12, 2018

2017 Gala Program Cover
Up Close & Personal with the NYS Court of Appeals

and Sheila L. Birnbaum, recipient of the Judith S. Kaye Achievement Award

Robert J. Giuffra, Jr., Gala Chair
Lynn K. Neuner & Michael W. Leahy, Co-Chairs
Roy L. Reardon, Honorary Chair


Gala Chair Robert G. Giuffra, Jr. opened the evening with welcoming remarks and introduced NYS Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. The Chief Judge continued the tradition of the presentation of the Judith S. Kaye Achievement Award. This year’s honoree was Sheila L. Birnbaum, Esq., a partner at Quinn Emanuel, who was recognized for her work in the legal field, including serving as Chair of former Chief Judge Kaye’s Commission on Fiduciary Appointments.

Chief Judge DiFiore then spoke about the honorees of the night, her colleagues on the NYS Court of Appeals (in order of seniority): Hon. Jenny Rivera, Hon. Leslie E. Stein, Hon. Eugene M. Fahey, Hon. Michael J. Garcia, Hon. Rowan D. Wilson, and Hon. Paul G. Feinman.

Marilyn Marcus, Executive Director of the Society, presented a slide show sampling Society projects of the past year, including student initiatives and programming by the Young Lawyers Committee. She then introduced the film.

2018 Gala Film

The Judges of the NYS Court of Appeals took time out of their busy schedules in February, 2018 to meet in the Cardozo Room of the NYS Court of Appeals Courthouse in Albany, NY. They reflected on their early years, setting the foundation for their future careers, and how they view their important work. After individual interviews, Chief Judge DiFiore then moderated a group discussion in which the Judges discussed how their collegial body forms an important institution in the fabric of our State’s democratic process.

2017 ANNUAL GALA • Thursday, April 6, 2017

2017 Gala Program Cover
Hon. Peter Tom
, First Dept. (Acting Presiding Justice)
Hon. Randall T. Eng, Second Dept.
Hon. Karen K. Peters, Third Dept.
Hon. Gerald J. Whalen, Fourth Dept.

and Helaine M. Barnett, recipient of the first Judith S. Kaye Achievement Award

Robert J. Giuffra, Jr., Gala Chair
Lynn K. Neuner & Michael W. Leahy, Co-Chairs
Roy L. Reardon, Honorary Chair


The program opened with welcoming remarks by NYS Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. The Chief Judge spoke about the evening’s honorees, the four Presiding Justices of the NYS Appellate Divisions: Hon. Peter Tom, First Dept; Hon. Randall T. Eng, Second Dept; Hon. Karen K. Peters, Third Dept; and Hon. Gerald J. Whalen, Fourth Dept.

The Chief Judge then started a new tradition as she named Helaine M. Barnett, chair of the NYS Permanent Commission on Access to Justice, as the first recipient of the Judith S. Kaye Achievement Award for her devotion during her legal career to expanding access to justice for the poor.

2017 Gala Film

The Society film brought together the four Presiding Justices in the chambers of Presiding Justice Randall Eng, a Society Trustee. Included were excerpts from their individual stories about their childhood backgrounds and roads to the bench drawn from longer oral histories filmed that day. The film continued with a roundtable discussion among the four, with inspiring remarks in conclusion.

2016 ANNUAL GALA • Thursday, April 14, 2016

2016 Gala Program Cover
Continuity, Collaboration and Transition

Former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman & current Chief Judge Janet DiFiore

Remembering Judith S. Kaye

Continuing the tradition of providing the legal community with an opportunity to meet NYS Court Judges, the new Chief Judge and the Former Chief Judge spoke to the lawyers and judges gathered to hear them, both on film and in person. The New Chief spoke of her commitment to continuing the legacies of Judges Kaye and Lippman to access to justice, and gave a glimpse into what her priorities would be in the years ahead.

2016 Gala Film

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 ANNUAL GALA • Thursday, April 2, 2015

2015 Gala Program Cover
A 30 Year Legacy of Leadership

Honoring the Chief Judges of the State of New York
Sol Wachtler (1985-1992)
Judith S. Kaye (1993-2008)
Jonathan Lippman (2009-2015)

In 2015 the Society was proud to honor the accomplishments of New York's three Chief Judges: Wachtler, Kaye & Lippman at our Annual Gala. Since Judge Wachtler took the office in 1985 the New York courts have become national leaders in the administration of justice and have seen innovation in areas as diverse as the Commercial Division, the Problem-Solving Courts and increased emphasis on human rights.

The 2015 Gala honored these three leaders of the bench and featured a conversation between them and Charlie Rose in which they considered their legacy, contributions and the role of the Chief Judge in the legal system of New York. That film is available below.

2015 Gala Reception
Guests at the pre-dinner Reception of the 2015 Annual Gala
2015 Gala Video Program
Guests watching the 2015 Gala video, hosted by Charlie Rose

2015 Gala Film

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.

ANNUAL GALAS 2007-2014


2014 Gala Program
2014 Gala: We Celebrate the New York State Commercial Division, What a Success!

March 13, 2014

One of the most important developments in the recent history of the New York courts, the Commercial Division has provided a venue for resolving complex business disputes in the state. After two decades, the Society recognized the Division & the people who helped it succeed at our most recent Gala.

2014 Gala Film

For the 2014 Gala the Society produced a film looking back at the first 20 years of the Commercial Division, featuring interviews with judges & attorneys who had been involved with its development.

2013 Gala Program
2013 Gala: Honoring Lady Justice
New York State Court of Appeals Women Jurists

April 18, 2013

In 2013 the Society was proud to honor the five women judges who had sat, or who were sitting, on the Court of Appeals: Judith S. Kaye, Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, Victoria A. Graffeo, Susan Phillips Read & Jenny Rivera.

2013 Gala Film

Watch interviews with the five women judges of the Court of Appeals as they recount their experiences and paths to the Court.

2012 Gala Program
2012 Gala: The Rich Legacy of
The New York State Bar Association and Salute its Presidents

April 2, 2012

Since its founding in 1876 the New York State Bar Association has been a force for reform in New York, and the Society honored this tradition at the 2012 Gala. Featuring the participation of many past Presidents of the Bar Association, this event examined the many facets of the organization.

2011 Gala Program
2011 Gala: We Salute Roy L. Reardon
A Lawyer for all Seasons

April 21, 2011

Roy Reardon, in addition to being the Exexutive Vice President of the Society, is one of the most prominent attorneys New York State, having argued extensively in the state and federal courts. Perhaps his best-known case was his pro bono representation of Casey Martin in his suit against the PGA for preventing from using a golf cart in competition. Our 2011 Gala recognized his contributions to New York.

2010 Gala Program
2010 Gala: Hail to the Chief
Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York

April 8, 2010

In 2009 Judge Lippman succeeded Judith Kaye as Chief Judge of New York, and in 2010 the Society recognized the new Chief at that year's Gala. Judge Lippman already had a distinguished career in the New York courts, rising from an entry-level court attorney position to become Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department before being nominated for Chief Judge by Governor David A. Paterson.

2009 Gala Program
2009 Gala: Making History
Judith S. Kaye: Court of Appeals, 1983-2009

April 16, 2009

In her final year as Chief Judge, the Society recognized the historic career of Judith S. Kaye. Starting as a pioneering woman attorney in New York City, Chief Judge Kaye became the first woman judge on the Court of Appeals in 1983 before becoming New York's first woman Chief Judge in 1993. Her tenure, stretching over 14 years, also made her the longest serving Chief Judge in the history of the state. The Society was proud to honor its Founder at the 2009 Gala.

2008 Gala Program
2008 Gala: Marking Important Anniversaries
80th Anniversary of the New York County Courthouse
40th Anniversary of Hon. Norman Goodman as NY County Clerk

April 7, 2008

2008 marked important anniversaries for everyone involved in the justice system in Manhattan. The beautiful County Courthouse, designed by architect Guy Lowell, and colloquially called 60 Centre Street, marked its 80th year. Meanwhile the County & Supreme Court clerk Norman Goodman celebrated his 40th year in office.

2007 Gala Program
2007 Gala: Honoring the Retired Judges of the New York Court of Appeals

April 10, 2007

This historic event brought together all of the retired judges of the Court of Appeals, whose combined tenure spanned the years 1973 through 2006...over 30 years of judicial experience. This initial Gala set the bar for all of the future events.

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