By Daniel Wiessner
ALBANY, N.Y., Jan 2 (Reuters) - Former Court of Appeals
Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick is joining the New York office
of Greenberg Traurig, the firm announced on Wednesday.
Ciparick, 71, the first Hispanic and the second female judge
in the history of the Court of Appeals, will join Greenberg
Traurig on Jan. 14 as of counsel in its litigation and appellate
practices. She left the bench on Dec. 31 after reaching the
mandatory retirement age.
"I'm very pleased that as part of the appellate practice,
I'll have an opportunity to hone my writing and advocacy skills"
and mentor junior lawyers, Ciparick said in an interview on
Ciparick said she did not know what types of cases she would
be working on but that she would "feel comfortable" handling
commercial litigation. She also said she would like to continue
performing public service and is considering an offer from Chief
Judge Jonathan Lippman to co-chair a panel on prisoner legal
In a statement, Greenberg Traurig CEO Richard Rosenbaum said
Ciparick's "hard work, unassuming nature and commitment to
service" exemplify the firm's culture.
Born in Manhattan to parents who emigrated from Puerto Rico,
Ciparick worked as a teacher while attending St. John's
University School of Law, where she received her J.D. in 1967.
After working at the Legal Aid Society and in various roles
in state and city court administration, she became the first
Hispanic female trial judge in New York's history in 1978, when
she was appointed to New York City Criminal Court.
Ciparick was later elected to state Supreme Court in
Manhattan. She was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1993 by
former governor Mario Cuomo and reappointed in 2007.
During her nearly 19 years on the court, Ciparick authored
the majority opinion in 322 cases, as well as 62 dissents and
seven concurring opinions, Greenberg Traurig said.
In the 2007 case People v. Taylor, Ciparick and the majority
vacated the death sentence of John Taylor, the last inmate on
New York's state death row. The court found that the sentence
could not stand after a 2004 decision invalidated New York's
death penalty law.
Ciparick also authored the landmark 1995 decision in
Campaign for Fiscal Equality v. New York, in which the Court of
Appeals held that the state has a constitutional obligation to
provide a "sound basic education" to all students. The ruling
and subsequent litigation ultimately led the state to overhaul
how it funds school districts.
Governor Andrew Cuomo must choose a replacement for Ciparick
by Jan. 15. The state Commission on Judicial Nomination last
month sent Cuomo a list of seven nominees: Justices Sheila
Abdus-Salaam and Rolando Acosta of the Appellate Division, First
Department; Fourth Department Justice Eugene Fahey; Kathy Chin
of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; David Schulz of Levine
Sullivan Koch & Schulz; CUNY School of Law Professor Jenny
Rivera; and Margarita Rosa, the executive director of Grand
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