Seiden Law celebrates Women’s History Month by reflecting on the contributions of Chief Justice Judith Kaye, New York’s first female chief judge.
In 1958, Kaye received her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College. She first worked as a reporter for the Hudson Dispatch. Then, to pave a path for her career as a foreign correspondent, Kaye received her law degree from the New York University School of Law in 1962. She was one of only ten women in her class of three hundred.
After determining her interests lay in law rather than journalism, Kaye worked as associate at the Manhattan office of Sullivan & Cromwell, and then in Olwine, Connelly, Chase, O’Donnell & Weyher as its first female partner. As a commercial litigator, Kaye represented clients such as the Lionel Corporation, New York Produce Exchange, and Ralston Purina Co. During this time, Kaye served on the New York State Bar Association’s Judicial Selection Committee, Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society, and the professional ethics committees of the New York State and New York City Bar Associations. Additionally, she was an appointee of the United States Nominating Commission for Judges of the Second Circuit.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has described Kaye as “one of the most respected judicial innovators of our time.” In 1983, Kaye was appointed as the first women on the New York Court of Appeals. She then broke ground once more when she was appointed as chief judge in 1993. From the bench, Kaye advocated for judicial reform in domestic and family violence and championed women and children’s health issues. Her notable initiatives include improving the functioning of the court system in responding to the modern needs of society.
Chief Justice Kaye’s distinguished 15-year career as a judge is one of the longest in the history of New York. Seiden Law strives to match Kaye’s vision, drive, and creativity in its future endeavors.