At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we take great pride in the remarkable contributions our attorneys make to the greater legal community. On the evening of November 20, 2023, legal professionals gathered at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian for the New York State Trial Lawyers Association’s (NYSTLA) inaugural Fall Judicial Gala, an event held to honor newly elected members of the bench. BOM Partner David Scher, who currently serves as NYSTLA’s President, led the event’s planning committee alongside NYSTLA President-Elect Victoria Wickman.
At the event, Mr. Scher proudly introduced the two speakers of the night: Rowan Wilson, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals and Joseph Zayas, Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Unified Court System. While addressing the crowd, Mr. Scher emphasized the significance of civil justice in upholding democracy, acknowledging the hard work done by members of the bench in ensuring widespread access to the New York court system.
“Civil justice is the cornerstone of our democracy, and members of the bench do the vital work of upholding the law for all,” said Scher. “It brings me great pride to celebrate and welcome our new judges as they join the most honorable members of our judiciary in ensuring that every New Yorker has just and fair access to our vibrant court system.”
The choice of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as the venue for the gala was deliberate, as Chief Judge Rowan Wilson noted. He emphasized the significance of the location, highlighting the diverse perspectives on justice within different communities. Judge Wilson drew attention to the contrasting approaches of the traditional Western system of justice and the Native American system. While the former focuses on punishment and individual responsibility, the latter takes a more holistic approach, considering the injury to the community and the necessary steps to repair it. Judge Wilson hopes to utilize this more holistic approach in his work surrounding New York’s family court system.
In his speech, Chief Administrative Judge Joseph Zayas underscored the crucial role played by associations like NYSTLA in collaboration with the court system to reduce case backlogs. Judge Zayas expressed gratitude for the association’s mission to strengthen the courts, enhance access to justice, and expedite the trial process.
Andrea Krugman, a member-elect of the New York City Civil Court, reflected on the success of the evening, which is affectionately referred to as “Judge Night”, saying, “As a newly elected member of the bench, I applaud the trial lawyers for bringing many generations of lawyers and judges together. Judge Night presents a wonderful opportunity for the bench and bar to meet and helps build bridges in the courtroom.”
As a partner at Block O’Toole & Murphy, David Scher’s involvement in NYSTLA’s inaugural Fall Judicial Gala reflects our firm’s dedication to progress and collaborative approaches to the practice of law. We applaud Mr. Scher’s contributions and remain committed to upholding the values of justice, integrity, and community that were celebrated on this memorable evening.