Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Thursday, October 16, 2003

The Honorable Eugene F. Pigott Jr, the Presiding Justice in the Appellate Division, Fourth Department has made the short list to fill the Court of Appeals seat vacated by Judge Wesley. Judge Pigott took himself out of the running the last time there was an opening at New York's top court; I noted at the time that it was the first time in his judicial career that he had not been promoted when there was an opening. The others selected by the panel are Syracuse University law professor and former Dean Daan Braveman; Queens County Supreme Court Justice Steven Fisher; New York County Supreme Court Justice Helen Freedman a (Smith grad!); Stephen Friedman, former member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (and a Brennan clerk-- cool); Robert Smith, a Manhattan lawyer and former instructor at Columbia Law School; and Guy Miller Struve, a Manhattan attorney and former lawyer with Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel in the Iran-contra case.

I've appeared many times before Justice Freedman-- she is a terrific judge. My exposure to Justice Fisher has been more limited, but he is also the sort of judge you are glad to draw, and he must be well thought of, since this is the third time he's made the list. I don't know the others, so I can't speak to their merits, except to note that the Commission on Judicial Nomination has always impressed me as a group that makes the sort of quality selections that I wish all judicial selection processes were capable of. All that said, the only downside to Justice Pigott's elevation to the Court of Appeals is that we will not get to appear before him as much. I cannot conceive of what a better judge would look like in terms of intellect, enthusiasm, fairness or temperament.

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