WHITE PLAINS, NY, April 7, 2011–Pace Law School will confer an honorary degree on Chief State Judge Jonathan Lippman, an influential figure in the New York State judicial system for the past four decades, when he delivers the commencement address on Sunday, May 8.
Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, was appointed by Gov. David A. Paterson in Jan. 2009 and confirmed by the New York State Senate in Feb. 2009. As Chief Judge, he has a upheld the constitutional rights of the accused, insisting that the Fourth Amendment requires particularized concrete information to justify intrusive searches; striking down the warrantless secret planting of a GPS device on a citizen’s vehicle; and requiring trial courts to carefully scrutinize guilty pleas to ensure that they are truly informed and voluntary.
Lippman has been in the news recently for his fervent push, in the face of a state fiscal crisis, to increase funding for civil legal services programs that help low-income New York residents faced with foreclosures, evictions, domestic violence, and other legal problems.
Lippman symbolizes a dedication to social justice embodied in Pace Law School’s clinics, centers, pro bono opportunities and externship programs. Founded in 2008, Pace’s Public Interest Law Center (PILC) provides counseling, resources and opportunities for students and alumni focused on public interest work. The Pro Bono Justice Program through PILC enables students to gain valuable legal skills through pro bono projects and internship opportunities while addressing the community’s most pressing issues, including predatory lending, mortgage foreclosure, domestic violence, juvenile crime and denial of unemployment benefits. PILC’s Summer Public Interest program offers grants to students who work in public interest areas over the summer, including legal services organizations that provide representation to the poor, district attorneys’ offices, environmental advocacy organizations, and government offices.
A history of service, touching every aspect of the judicial system
Over his long career, Lipmann, born in New York City in 1945, has been involved in every aspect of the state judicial system. After starting out as an entry level court attorney and as a law clerk in the Supreme and Surrogate’s court, he went on to serve as Principal Court Attorney for the Supreme Court in New York County, Civil Term; Deputy Chief Administrator for Management of the Statewide Court System; and Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.
Lippman was also the longest-serving Chief Administrative Judge of all New York State Courts in state history, holding the position from January 1996 to May 2007. In this role, he was instrumental in developing innovative courts, such as drug courts and mental health courts, which divert disabled persons charged with crimes from the criminal justice system to rehabilitation. Lippman also implemented important jury reform; established a permanent task force on wrongful convictions; and fought for fair salaries for state court judges.
Lippman is the recipient of several awards, including the William Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. He previously served on the Board of the National Center for State Courts, and as President of the Conference of State Court Administrators. Lippman lectures frequently in New York and around the country on judicial branch leadership, independence and innovation.
He received his B.A. in 1965 from New York University, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude, with a major in Government and International Relations. He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1968, the same year he was admitted to the New York Bar.
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Founded in 1976, Pace University School of Law has over 7,000 alumni throughout the country and the world and is consistently ranked among the nation’s top four programs in environmental law. It offers full- and part-time JD programs on its White Plains, NY, campus and offers the Master of Laws degree in Environmental Law and Comparative Legal Studies, and a Doctor of Laws in environmental law. The School of Law is part of Pace University, a comprehensive, independent, and diversified university with campuses in New York City and Westchester County. www.law.pace.edu