February 2, 2015: Judges Honored By New York State Bar Association for Dedication to Judicial Excellence and Diversity

By Communications Department

The New York State Bar Association has honored two judges for their dedication to judicial excellence on the bench. The awards were presented January 30 in New York City during the Judicial Section luncheon.

Betty Weinberg Ellerin, former presiding justice of the First Department, is the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Jurist Award. The award honors a jurist who embodies the highest ideals of the Judicial Section and recognizes judicial excellence and extraordinary commitment to the rule of law. The recipient of the inaugural award in 2014 was Judge Judith S. Kaye.

“From the day of my admission to the bar, I have been privileged to have Justice Ellerin as a mentor and a friend,” said Judge Ellen M. Spodek (Supreme Court, Kings County) presiding member of the Judicial Section.

Ellerin was the first woman appointed deputy chief administrative judge for the courts of the City of New York. She was also the first woman appointed associate justice and later presiding justice of the Appellate Division, First Department. She is a founding member and director of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York.

Karen Peters, presiding justice of the Third Department, is the recipient of the Award for Advancement of Judicial Diversity. The award was created to recognize a jurist who has strived to achieve a diverse bench. “Justice Peters has set an example for judges throughout the state with her support of judicial diversity,” Spodek said.

Peters was appointed to the Third Department in 1994, and became the first woman appointed a presiding justice of the Third Department in 2012. She was also the first woman elected to the Supreme Court in the Third Department in 1992, and re-elected in 2006. She has served as a member of the Commission on Judicial Conduct since 2000.

The 74,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.


Contact: Christina Couto

Senior Media Writer

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