Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Saturday, October 17, 2015

In New York we use a merit selection process for appointments to our highest court, the Court of Appeals. For the upcoming Chief Judge vacancy the Commission on Judicial Appointments has named the following, from among which the governor will pick:

Janet DiFiore, Westchester County District Attorney;
Carey Dunne, partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell;
 Michael Garcia, partner at Kirland & Ellis;
 Caitlin Halligan, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher;
 A. Gail Prudenti, executive director of the Center for Families, Children and the Law at the Hofstra School of Law;
 Rowan Wilson, partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore;
 Stephen Younger, partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler;

DiFiore and Prudenti are the only two nominees to have served on the bench. DiFiore was a Supreme Court justice and Prudenti was a justice in the Appellate Division, Second Department. I've never met any of them, and can't really speak to their qualifications in any meaningful way. I did read Younger's monthly column in the New York Bar Bulletin back when he was president of the New York State Bar Association, but that gives me no real insight. He is a commercial litigator, and he's tight with Cuomo. Mr. Dunn does white collar criminal defense. Mr. Garcia was US Attorney for the Southern District, and now works the other side of the street at Kirkland & Ellis. Ms. Halligan was with the New York County DA, and seems to be mostly an appellate maven now. Mr. Wilson's Cravath bio says that he does "complex litigation, including antitrust and competition, intellectual property, contract, securities fraud, entertainment and media, and civil rights and employment matters." He's Harvard squared (H2 in the vernacular) but he's also African-American which means that he'd bring some diversity.

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