We are delighted to share the news of a recently released book honouring the life and words of the late Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals Judith S. Kaye (1938-2016). Judith Kaye was the first woman appointed to the New York Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court. Ten years later, she was the first woman appointed Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. At her retirement in 2008, Judge Kaye had served longer as Chief Judge than any of her predecessors. Judge Kaye was a trailblazer in many ways and an ardent supporter of women.
Judith S. Kaye in Her Own Words: Reflections on Life and the Law, with Selected Judicial Opinions and Articles, celebrates Judith Kaye’s successful career as a seasoned advocate and the first woman Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. The book covers various periods of Judge Kaye’s life, concluding with opinions, articles, and speeches.
Judge Kaye was highly respected and dearly loved by her colleagues and the New York legal community. She was an ardent leader, modernizing the practice of law with an eagle eye on efficiency. She selected specialized, thoughtful platforms to launch key initiatives in New York, including for women and children.
Of crucial importance to the arbitration community, Judge Kaye launched the New York International Arbitration Center (NYIAC), inspired by her belief that New York should have a dedicated space for arbitration hearings seated in New York as well as a centralized venue for arbitration practitioners, academics and arbitrators to exchange and develop thought leadership in arbitration and capitalize on New York’s role at the epicentre of trade, commerce, and law. Judge Kaye was the founding Chair of NYIAC’s Board of Directors. During her tenure as Chair, she promulgated best practices and invited the arbitration community to think critically about arbitration jurisprudence. “Judge Kaye was an inspiration and had a unique way of making each of us feel special. She was tenacious in pursuing her objectives while succeeding in accomplishing them with the utmost grace,” commented Edna Sussman, Chair of NYIAC’s Board of Directors. “We were fortunate to have her choose international arbitration in New York as one of her two missions after her mandatory retirement from the bench, along with improving the lives of children.”
The book offers pathways to Judge Kaye’s life and work, including her resilience and warmth. “Judge Kaye was a larger-than-life figure who inspired her audience no matter the size with a unique mix of tenacity, kindness, and humour,” noted Rekha Rangachari, Executive Director of NYIAC. “It is an honour to work in the space Judge Kaye created, advancing her goals for New York as a pivotal player in the international arbitration landscape.”
Judge Kaye was an ArbitralWomen Member and supporter. We were honoured to have Judge Kaye attend and participate in our 2011 ArbitralWomen Annual General Meeting (AGM). ArbitralWomen Co-Founder Mirèze Philippe remembers Judge Kaye’s kindness and modesty at the 2011 ArbitralWomen AGM and how she contributed meaningfully to the discussions and offered suggestions in an understated and humble way, as would a young newcomer to the field as opposed to a seasoned and respected judge and arbitrator. “She was a truly noble person and an amazing role model,” Mirèze Philippe commented.
Submitted by Rekha Rangachari, Executive Director of the New York International Arbitration Center