Jonathan Lippman

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Jonathan Lippman
Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
In office
February 13, 2009 – December 31, 2015
Appointed by David Paterson
Preceded by Judith S. Kaye
Succeeded by Janet DiFiore
Presiding Justice of the First Judicial Department
In office
Appointed by Eliot Spitzer
Preceded by Peter Tom
Succeeded by Peter Tom
Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York
In office
Appointed by Judith S. Kaye
Preceded by E. Leo Milonas
Succeeded by Ann Pfau
Personal details
Born (1945-05-19) May 19, 1945 (age 71)
New York City, New York
Alma mater New York University (B.A, J.D)

Jonathan Lippman (born May 19, 1945)[1] is an American jurist who served as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals from 2009 through 2015. He is currently Of Counsel in the Litigation & Trial Department of Latham & Watkins’ New York office.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Lippman is a Manhattan native. He attended New York City public schools, including Stuyvesant High School, graduated from New York University (NYU) in 1965, and received his law degree from the New York University School of Law in 1968.[3]

Legal career[edit]

In 1989, he became the deputy chief administrator for management support of the New York State court system, responsible for the day-to-day management.[3] In 1995, then-Governor George E. Pataki appointed Lippman as judge of the New York Court of Claims.[3] In 1996, Lippman became New York's chief administrative judge.[4] He served in that capacity for 11 years until 2007, the longest anyone has spent in that position.[4] In 2005, he was elected to the State Supreme Court for a 14-year term. In May 2007, then-Governor, Eliot Spitzer, appointed Lippman to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Judicial Department.[5]

On January 13, 2009, Governor David Paterson appointed Lippman to the position of Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.[5] Lippman was chosen from a list provided to Governor Paterson by the New York Commission on Judicial Nomination, in a process that drew scrutiny in 2008 when the commission did not refer any female or minority candidates to the governor for selection.[5][6] Lippman was confirmed in his position by voice vote of the State Senate on February 12, 2009.[6][7] He succeeds Judith S. Kaye, who served as the state's first female Chief Judge from 1993 to 2008.[3][6][7]

Much of Lippman's career in the justice system in New York has been in administrative roles. He has been credited with persuading the state legislature to double the financing of the court system and pass other reform measures creating special purpose courts and updating the jury system. Justice Lippman wrote a summary of this work in January 2009 in the New York Law Journal.[8] His resume as an appellate judge has been described as "thin," but in the 20 months that he was Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department he presided over more than 2,000 cases and wrote 14 opinions.[9]

Tenure as Chief Judge[edit]

Under Chief Judge Lippman, the number of non-unanimous rulings made by the Court of Appeals has been on the rise.[10][11] According to the court, unanimous rulings declined from about 82 percent during 2008, Judge Kaye’s final year, to 69 percent in Judge Lippman’s first year.

When wearing his hat as Chief Judge of the State of New York, Lippman has been a consistent advocate for increased attention to civil legal services.[12] In addition to creating the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York,[13] he has increased funding to civil legal services,[14] enacted mandatory pro bono requirements for law students,[15] and proposed making attorney pro bono reporting requirements public to encourage greater participation.[16] These proposals have been somewhat controversial[17][18] and the plan to make pro bono hours public has not been enacted.[19]

Lippman stepped down as Chief Judge on December 31, 2015, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Private Practice[edit]

Lippman joined Latham & Watkins’ New York office as Of Counsel in the Litigation & Trial Department on January 7, 2016 upon retirement from the bench.[20]


  1. ^ "Historical Society of the New York Courts | New York Legal History / Legal Luminaries : New York State Court of Appeals". New York State Unified Court System. Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  2. ^ "Latham & Watkins LLP - Global Directory - Judge Jonathan Lippman". Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d Eligon, John (2009-01-13). "Paterson Picks Chief Judge Nominee". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  4. ^ a b Stanshenko, Joel (2009-01-14). "Lippman Is Pick for Chief Judge". New York Law Journal. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  5. ^ a b c "Jonathan Lippman Named New York State's Highest Judge". Bloomberg L.P. 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  6. ^ a b c Jeremy W. Peters (February 12, 2009). "Senate Confirms Top Judge On State Court of Appeals". New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b "Senate confirms Jonathan Lippman as Chief Judge". Associated Press (via Newsday NY). February 12, 2009. 
  8. ^ Jonathan Lippman (January 26, 2009). "Celebrating Collaboration of Bench and Bar". New York Law Journal. 
  9. ^ John Eligon (February 10, 2009). "Chief Judge Nominee Draws On Administrative Skill". New York Times. 
  10. ^ "Top Judge Sets Liberal Course for New York". The New York Times. 18 February 2010. 
  12. ^ Moy, Lillian (2012-03-12). "Justice, Justice, Shall You Pursue for Rich and Poor, High and Low Alike" (PDF). Albany Law Review. 75 (2): 635. Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  13. ^ System, New York State Unified Court. "New York State Unified Court System". 
  14. ^ Caher, John; Stashenko, Joel (2012-01-18). "Governor Reacts Positively to Judiciary's Spending Plan". New York Law Journal. Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  15. ^ Stashenko, Joel; Simmons, Christine (2012-09-20). "Lippman Unveils Rule Detailing Bar Admission Pro Bono Mandate". New York Law Journal. Retrieved 2016-01-16. 
  16. ^ Stashenko, Joel (May 1, 2013). "Court System Enacts Disclosure Mandate for Pro Bono Service". New York Law Journal. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Stashenko, Joel (2013-06-26). "State Bar Set to Oppose Disclosure of Pro Bono Data". New York Law Journal. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Zaretsky, Staci (May 2, 2012). "New York Forces Pro Bono Requirements Upon Would-Be Lawyers Because No One Else Cares About Poor People". Above the Law. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  19. ^ Stashenko, Joel (12 September 2013). "Pro Bono Reporting to Remain Confidential, for Now". The New York Law Journal. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "Latham & Watkins LLP - About Us - News - Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman Joins Latham & Watkins in New York". 2016-01-07. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
E. Leo Milonas
Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York
Succeeded by
Ann Pfau
Preceded by
Peter Tom
Presiding Justice of the First Judicial Department
Succeeded by
Peter Tom
Preceded by
Judith S. Kaye
Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
February 13, 2009 – December 31, 2015
Succeeded by
Janet DiFiore