Numerous people are being recognized this week by various sections of the New York State Bar Association, which is conducting its annual meeting through Saturday at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City.
The Commercial and Federal Litigation Section recognized Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti on Wednesday with its 2015 Stanley H. Fuld Award.
The award, named for the late chief judge of the state Court of Appeals, is awarded for outstanding contributions to the development of commercial law and jurisprudence in New York.
Judge Prudenti has led the court’s efforts to promulgate new rules to promote active case management, settlement and streamlined discovery.
“Judge Prudenti has helped New York’s Commercial Division convey a clear message to the business community that it is committed to being a leader in the resolution of commercial disputes,” said Paul D. Sarkozi (Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt), section chair.
Judge Prudenti has been chief administrative judge of the courts of New York state since Dec. 1, 2011, overseeing the administration and operation of the statewide court system. Prior to her appointment, she served as the presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, the first woman to hold that position. She also was the first woman from Suffolk County to serve as an associate justice of the Second Department.
Past recipients of the Fuld award include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, former state Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, former state Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau and last year’s winner — U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York.
Distinction in International Affairs Award: Judith S. Kaye, former chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, is the 2015 recipient of the Distinction in International Law and Affairs Award, given by the International Section.
The award recognizes those who have made a major contribution to international peace, understanding and democracy. Judge Kaye received her award on Monday.
“Judge Kaye has helped significantly, through the Court’s jurisprudence, to strengthen the appeal of New York law as a preferred choice of law for international commercial transactions,” said section chair Thomas N. Pieper of New York City (Hogan Lovells US LLP).
Since retiring from the Court of Appeals in 2008, Judge Kaye has worked tirelessly to enhance the role of New York as a center for the resolution of cross-border and transnational disputes.
Judge Kaye is a founding member and chair of the New York International Arbitration Center, which opened in June 2013. She also served as an advisor to the NYSBA Task Force on New York Law in International Matters.
The first woman to serve on the state’s highest court, she was appointed associate judge in 1983 by then-Gov. Mario Cuomo who designated her chief judge in 1993. She is a graduate of Barnard College and New York University School of Law.
Diversity Trailblazer Award: Tracy Richelle High is the recipient of the 2015 Diversity Trailblazer Award, presented by the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.
She was honored Monday with the award recognizing individuals who demonstrate a strong commitment to enhancing diversity in the legal profession.
In 2008, High became the first African-American woman partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. She also is the first woman to co-chair its Diversity Committee.
“Tracy has been a leader and mentor almost from the moment she arrived at the firm,” wrote William J. Snipes in a nomination letter. “She has the rare ability to tell people what they don’t want to hear, which not only makes her the lawyer of choice for clients, but, also, the person young, diverse lawyers instinctively turn to for guidance.”
High is deputy managing partner of the firm’s litigation group and a member of its criminal defense and investigations practice. She focuses her practice on representing financial institutions and other corporations in complex civil litigation, including shareholder derivative and class action suits, regulatory enforcement proceedings, corporate internal investigations, and employment and labor matters.
In addition to co-chairing the firm’s diversity committee, High founded and co-chairs its Women’s Initiative Committee. She also oversees the firm’s participation in the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Program, Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Inc. and the Legal Outreach Program. High has mentored young students and associates and is an advocate for young lawyers of color.
Outstanding Young Lawyer Award: Jessica Lee, a Manhattan attorney who has combined her passion for entertainment with a successful legal career, Wednesday received the state bar association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for 2015, presented by the Young Lawyers Section.
The award honors attorneys in practice for fewer than 10 years who have demonstrated outstanding service to both the community and the legal profession.
State Bar President Glenn Lau-Kee and Sarah Gold, chair of the Young Lawyers Section, presented the award to Lee, a senior associate in the New York City office of Loeb & Loeb.
An advocate for at-risk teenagers with an interest in the arts, Lee concentrates her practice on emerging media, technology, advertising and promotions, privacy and intellectual property matters. She has served on several boards of youth-in-the arts programs. She is secretary and a board member for Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, a nonprofit that provides free filmmaking programs for teens.
Lee has also served as a mentor for the Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Programs and sits on the board of Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison. She co-chairs the IP & Technology Committee of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and is a member of the Public Service Committee and the Special Committee for Prison Reform of the Federal Bar Council.