Chief Judge Janet DiFiore will conduct a public hearing Monday on the state’s unmet civil legal services needs, the Unified Court System announced Sept. 15.
DiFiore will preside over the hearing, where several top legal officials are slated to provide testimony, including Alphonso David, chief counsel to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Also expected to provide testimony is Kenneth C. Frazier—the CEO of the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc. who recently departed President Donald Trump’s manufacturing council over the president’s failure to condemn white supremacists—president of the New York City Bar John Kiernan and C. Randall Hinrichs, the administrative judge of Suffolk County.
The hearing panel, scheduled to take place at the Court of Appeals in Albany Monday afternoon, will include all four presiding justices of the Appellate Division, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks and New York State Bar Association president Sharon Stern Gerstman.
DiFiore, who was sworn in as chief judge in January 2016, has made eliminating backlogs and delays a top priority of her judgeship (NYLJ, March 31, 2016). Last September, DiFiore urged the court’s continued focus on civil legal services (NYLJ, Sept. 27, 2016), saying that the rise of funding for civil legal services over the last several years “makes sense economically and as a matter of public policy.”