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Who serves on the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary?
There are nineteen members who serve on the Committee pursuant to Executive Order No. 4 of 2014.
How does the Committee function?
The Committee takes steps to recruit and encourage highly qualified persons to serve as a judge of the Criminal, Family, or on an interim basis, the Civil Court. The Committee engages in outreach efforts to ensure a diverse and broad pool of individuals with the highest qualifications for judicial office, including outreach to various bar associations. The Committee's additional functions are described in Executive Order No. 4, and are further discussed here in subsequent sections.
What are the eligibility requirements for appointment by the Mayor to serve as a judge of the Criminal, Family, or on an interim basis, the Civil Court?
In order to be eligible to be appointed as a judge, you must be admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York for at least 10 years and must be in good standing. In addition, you must be a current resident, or be willing to move to New York City in the event of your appointment.
(a) Complete the Committee's Uniform Judicial Questionnaire ("UJQ"). The UJQ can be downloaded from the city's website at www.nyc.gov/judiciary
as a fillable PDF. Please follow the instructions carefully and answer each question accurately and thoroughly. Return the original
printed version of the completed UJQ, signed and dated
, together with all necessary attachments.
(b) Before returning the questionnaire, contact the Committee office for confidential information waivers. Forward the completed UJQ, together with the executed waivers and a wallet-size photograph to the Committee office.
What is the purpose of the confidential information waivers?
In order to be considered for a judicial appointment, you must complete and return a complete set of waivers necessary to process your application. These include federal and New York State tax releases, general release for the New York City Department of Investigation, Fair Credit Report, release for information from schools and employers, as well as investigative agencies.
Is there a deadline or timetable for submission of my application?
Judicial vacancies arise throughout the year and applications are accepted on a continuing basis by the Committee. Applications should be complete upon submission.
Why is the Civil Court appointment on an interim basis?
Ordinarily, New York City Civil Court judges are elected to the bench. A vacancy typically arises when a Civil Court judge is subsequently elected to the Supreme Court. If a vacancy should arise, the Mayor has the authority to appoint an interim Civil Court judge to fill the vacancy until the end of the year. Since the number of Civil Court vacancies varies from year to year, the Committee cannot assure candidates that a vacancy will be available for reappointment the following year.
Are interim Civil Court judges assigned to the Civil Court?
Not necessarily. In most cases, judges appointed on an interim Civil Court line have been appointed to either the Criminal Court or Family Court according to the needs of the court system. Applicants should always specify the court for which they have both special interest and aptitude based on experience and training.
Are the numerous applications received preliminarily screened?
Yes. After filing a UJQ, you will receive an acknowledgment letter. Your application will then be preliminarily screened and a determination will be made as to whether your application will be processed further. In the first instance, a determination is made whether there exists on the face of the application any matter that may be objectively disqualifying, such as the failure to attain the requisite years of admission to practice or the failure to meet other technical requirements. Next, applications are reviewed in comparison with the total applicant pool in order to assess whether an application on its face is competitive with the strongest pending applications for appointment to the New York City courts. Factors taken into consideration at this stage include, but are not limited to, length and quality of practice experience, evidence of scholarship in the subject matter areas relevant to the particular courts for which appointment is sought and any relevant quasi-judicial experience. If as a result of this initial review it is determined that your application is clearly not competitive with the strongest candidates for appointment, you will be notified of that decision in writing.
What are some other examples of issues that may serve as an impediment to the further processing of my application?
Lack of practical, litigation, and courtroom experience in the specific court(s) to which you seek appointment; letters of caution issued against you by the attorney grievance committees; the number and type of complaints filed against you including malpractice claims; termination or disciplinary action taken by prior or current employers; if you were the subject of any governmental agency investigation (other than routine background checks), including the FBI; unexplained brushes with the criminal justice system; failure to timely file your taxes; judgments entered against you; pending litigation; extensive movement between jobs and short periods of employment; and lack of demonstrated writing ability.
Does anyone verify the information provided in the UJQ?
Yes. If it is determined that your application will be processed for further consideration, the information you provided will be verified. All schools listed in the UJQ are contacted to verify degrees conferred and graduation. Current and former employers are contacted to verify employment history. Inquiries are made of grievance committees, bar associations, investigative agencies or other bodies as necessary to verify information provided in the UJQ. A false statement in response to any question in the application will result in automatic disqualification from consideration for judicial appointment.
What happens to the applications that pass this preliminary screening?
As judicial vacancies arise or as vacancies are anticipated, applications are selected from the total pool of applications for further review by a subcommittee of the Mayor's Committee on the Judiciary. Individuals familiar with the performance of applicants in law practice or on the bench are interviewed. Ultimately, the subcommittee interviews the applicant and makes a recommendation as to whether the applicant should be referred to the full Committee for further consideration.
Will every applicant for appointment eventually be interviewed by a subcommittee of the Mayor's Committee?
No. Because of the volume of applications and the limited number of vacancies, the process remains continuously competitive. Your selection for interview will always depend on the comparative quality of the applicant pool at the time that vacancies arise.
What can I do to enhance the chances that my application will be selected for consideration by a subcommittee?
References from practitioners, judges or agencies familiar with your work over your ten or more years of practice is by far the most important distinguishing factor among the numerous applications of appointment received by the Mayor's Committee. References from persons not familiar with your professional performance are not helpful, no matter their status on the bench, the bar or in government.
What happens when my candidacy is forwarded to a subcommittee?
The subcommittee contacts individual and institutional references to gain a complete and accurate assessment of the candidate's professional reputation, performance, and aptitude for judicial responsibility, including, but not limited to the length and quality of practice experience, knowledge of the law, written and oral communication skills, character, integrity, industry and temperament. Thereafter, the candidate is interviewed by the subcommittee and examined concerning his or her qualifications for judicial appointment. During this interview, the candidate has the opportunity to address issues raised by the subcommittee's reference checking process.
Are applicants subject to a background investigation?
Yes. All candidates forwarded to a subcommittee for evaluation are required to complete a New York City Department of Investigation ("DOI") questionnaire and submit to a background investigation which includes a criminal history check and verification of tax filing dates. Any false statement or intentional omission discovered in the course of the DOI background investigation will result in disqualification.
What happens after my subcommittee interview?
After your interview with a subcommittee, you will be notified as to whether your candidacy is being referred to the full Committee for further consideration.
What happens when my candidacy is forwarded to the full Committee?
The subcommittee responsible for vetting a candidate will prepare a report for consideration by the full Committee. In addition, the full Committee will have access to the UJQ and all materials collected in connection with the application for judicial appointment, including all letters providing information concerning the applicant, written opinions or other writing samples, transcripts of court proceedings, results of grievance proceedings or complaints and any other relevant information. The candidate is then interviewed by the full Committee. The full Committee will first determine whether a candidate is highly-qualified for appointment to a specific court(s). Among the candidates found highly-qualified, the Committee must nominate three candidates for each vacancy. Each candidate is notified of the decision of the full Committee.
What happens if I am recommended to the Mayor for appointment to a New York City court?
The Committee's report to the Mayor for each candidate recommended for appointment is reviewed by senior staff and the candidate is preliminarily interviewed to insure that all information necessary for the Mayor to make an informed choice has been provided. Thereafter, each of the three nominees recommended by the committee is interviewed by the Mayor. The Mayor then selects one nominee for appointment to the available vacancy.
What happens after my interview with the Mayor?
You will be notified whether you have been selected by the Mayor for judicial appointment. If you have been selected, your candidacy will be forwarded to the Judiciary Committee of the New York City Bar for approval which involves a similar screening process.
What happens after my interview with the New York City Bar's Judiciary Committee?
If you are approved for a specific court, the Mayor's Advisory Committee on the Judiciary conducts a public hearing. Members of the public may present information concerning the fitness of each nominee for judicial office. Notice of the hearing is published in the New York Law Journal and on the Committee's website.
How long does the selection process take?
The judicial selection process is extensive and challenging. Although the time involved can vary depending on available vacancies, the complete process could take up to 8 months from initial evaluation to judicial appointment.
Will I be kept apprised of the status of my application?
Every effort is made to keep you apprised as to the status of your application. Applicants that are deemed clearly not to be competitive with the most highly qualified in the pool are notified of that determination as soon as practicable. Those applicants who are forwarded to a subcommittee for further consideration are promptly notified as well. Those applicants deemed qualified but who have not yet been selected for consideration for a judicial vacancy may remain pending for a time without any notification as to status. Applicants are encouraged to contact the office of the Mayor's Committee after a reasonable period of time to inquire concerning the status of their application and to express continued interest in being considered for a judicial appointment.
Will my application be kept on file for future consideration?
If you are not contacted by the Committee for further consideration within the one-year period but remain interested in a judicial appointment, you must affirmatively inform the Committee of such interest in writing. Please be sure to include any updated information you wish to make to your application.
If I am not selected for judicial appointment, will I be advised as to the reason why?
Because of the necessary assurances of confidentiality that must be provided to insure that information received is candid and uninhibited, candidates are not informed as to the specific reasons why the Committee has chosen not to recommend his or her appointment.
What is the salary for a New York City Judge?
The salary of a New York City Criminal Court and Civil Court judge is $193,500. The salary of a Family Court judge is $208,000.
If I am appointed as a judge of a New York City court, to which borough will I be assigned?
Court assignments are determined by the Office of Court Administration.
What are some helpful tips for completing the application?
It is important that you thoroughly and accurately answer each question and provide as much detailed information as possible to describe your experience and background. Question 32 provides the best opportunity to describe how your career has prepared you for a judgeship. Please be sure that all questions on your UJQ are answered, and that all supplemental material and addenda are attached. Be sure to:
- On the cover page, date your UJQ and indicate the court(s) to which you are applying;
- Provide the correct dates of school attendance, including degrees received;
- For all periods of employment, be sure to include the complete name and address of the firm/employer, the name of former/current supervisor, precise dates of employment, position held, a brief explanation of your duties/responsibilities, and the reason for leaving, if applicable;
- Be sure to provide all necessary documentation, where appropriate (i.e., Question 16, 17, 21, 22, etc.);
- Thoroughly answer questions 32-40, providing as much detail as possible, including the current contact information for those individuals listed;
- Sign and date the last page of your UJQ.