Acting Supreme Court Justice Ann Pfau (See Profile), whose yearning to return to the courtroom prompted her to resign as chief administrative judge in late 2011, plans to retire at the end of May.

Pfau, 66, has served as the Statewide Coordinating Judge of the New York Medical Malpractice Program since stepping down as chief administrative judge.

She has spent her entire legal career with the Office of Court Administration, starting as an assistant deputy counsel shortly after graduating from Brooklyn Law School in the mid 1980s. Pfau was appointed to the New York City Criminal Court by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1997 and has held a number of judicial and administrative posts since.

As chief administrative judge, Pfau managed the state court system during an unusually turbulent 4½ years, a period in which the judiciary struggled through layoffs and budget cuts and which infuriated judges were denied pay raises.

Despite the pressures of the administrative post, Pfau, the first woman to ever hold the position, was known for her calm, graceful leadership. She continued to maintain a regular commercial caseload during her tenure as administrative judge, and opted to return to the bench full time after submitting her final Judiciary budget in December 2011.

In an interview, Pfau said her return to the courtroom the past 2½ years “was just plain fun. I loved the trials. I loved settling cases. It was a wonderful, wonderful way to end my career.”

Pfau, who in recent years wrote the medical malpractice litigation column for the Law Journal, said she and her husband plan to travel and spend time with their three grandchildren.