News Press

Open Letter from the Legal Community on the Governor’s Nomination of a Chief Judge

January 11, 2023


Kate Blumm
[email protected]

We write as representatives and leaders of the New York legal community to strongly endorse the appointment of Justice Hector D. LaSalle as Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. After a rigorous formal vetting process, as well as review by several independent bar associations, Justice LaSalle has been found highly qualified for this critically important post, with the experience and temperament necessary to lead our state’s large and complex court system.

As the state Senate carries out its responsibility to confirm the appointment, we urge that body to consider Justice LaSalle’s experience as the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department, as well as his many years as a respected judge and prosecutor. We trust that the Senate will give Justice LaSalle a fair hearing—one that focuses on his strong qualifications, dedicated public service, and civic-mindedness, rather than recent mischaracterizations of his record.

For New York state to credibly pursue shared objectives of equity, justice, and economic opportunity, our courts must command the respect and trust of all sectors of the public. Justice LaSalle is a leader who has engendered respect and trust throughout his distinguished career precisely because he is even-handed in his rulings and treats every case on its merits. At a time when our society is challenged by deep divisions, Justice LaSalle brings proven skills as a consensus builder. The chief judge oversees the work of the state’s Unified Court System, and Justice LaSalle has a proven track record of ensuring the efficiency and fairness of the state’s largest Appellate Division.

We believe that the governor has made a superb choice in this nomination, selecting someone who is an outstanding jurist, an experienced manager, and represents the great diversity for which our state justifiably takes pride. We urge the Senate to act expeditiously to confirm Justice Hector D. LaSalle as Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals.

Signed (in our individual capacities),

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Erik W. Kahn, Partner

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Neil Barr, Chair & Managing Partner
Angela Burgess, Partner

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Peter A. Furci, Presiding Partner

Ehrenkranz Partners L.P.
Joel S. Ehrenkranz, Partner & Co-Founder
Andrew Sommers, Managing Partner 

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
David J. Greenwald, Chairman

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Candace K. Beinecke, Senior Partner
Meaghan Gragg, Partner
Ted Mayer, Chair
Daniel H. Weiner, Partner

Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Sophia Hudson, Partner
Atif Khawaja, Partner
Matthew Solum, Partner

Mayer Brown LLP
Matthew Ingber, New York Office Managing Partner
Richard Spehr, Global Head of Litigation
Jon Van Gorp, Chair

Milbank LLP
Dan Bartfeld, Partner
Scott A. Edelman, Chairman
Roland Estevez, Partner
Jaime Ramirez, Partner

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Steven Banks, Special Counsel
Jeh Johnson, Partner
Brad S. Karp, Chair
Loretta Lynch, Partner

Steve Ellis, Chair

Ropes & Gray LLP
David C. Djaha, Managing Partner
Adam Greenwood, Partner
David Hennes, Partner
Julie Jones, Chair
Scott Rolnik, Partner
John Sorkin, Partner
Paul Tropp, Partner
Gregg Weiner, Partner
Jane Willis, Partner

Shearman & Sterling, LLP
Adam Hakki, Global Managing Partner
Doreen Lilienfeld, Partner

Sidley Austin LLP
Michael Schmidtberger, Partner & Chair of the Executive Committee

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Alden Millard, Chair, Executive Committee

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Alexander Drylewski, Partner
Eric J. Friedman, Executive Partner
Jay Kasner, Partner
Paola Lozano, Partner
Scott Musoff, Partner

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Rodgin Cohen, Senior Chair
Robert J. Giuffra, Jr., Co-Chair
Scott Miller, Co-Chair
Joseph Shenker, Senior Chair

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz 

Andrew R. Brownstein, Partner
Adam O. Emmerich, Partner
Ilene Knable Gotts, Partner
Edward D. Herlihy, Partner
David A. Katz, Partner
Martin Lipton, Partner
Theodore N. Mirvis, Partner
Jonathan M. Moses, Partner
Daniel A. Neff, Partner
Andrew J. Nussbaum, Partner
Jeannemarie M. O’Brien, Partner
Steven A. Rosenblum, Partner
John F. Savarese, Partner
William Savitt, Partner
Jodi J. Schwartz, Partner
Herbert M. Wachtell, Partner

Zetlin & De Chiara LLP
Michael S. Zetlin, Senior Partner