Albany Law School is proud to announce that the Honorable Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the State of New York, will deliver the keynote address at the Law School's 168th Commencement, to be held at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York, on May 24, 2019.
In addition, Chief Judge DiFiore will receive an honorary Albany Law School degree.
"I am honored and delighted to accept Albany Law School's invitation to address the Class of 2019 at the upcoming commencement ceremony in May," Chief Judge DiFiore said. "I look forward to this exciting opportunity to share with a new generation of attorneys my passion for the law and public service. Hopefully, I can impart some words of wisdom and inspiration to help guide them in their professional and personal lives."
"Chief Judge DiFiore is a brilliant jurist, a principled leader, and a great friend to Albany Law School," said Alicia Ouellette, President and Dean. "We're thrilled to have her address our graduates as they transition into their careers. And I'm personally looking forward to welcoming Chief Judge DiFiore to the Albany Law School community as an honorary member of the Class."
Chief Judge DiFiore presides over the Court of Appeals—New York's highest court—and also oversees the New York State court system. Her signature "Excellence Initiative," launched in February 2016, is making significant strides in reducing case delays, streamlining court operations, and improving access to justice for New Yorkers.
Chief Judge DiFiore has a long record of public service in New York. Before her appointment as Chief Judge, she served as the District Attorney of Westchester County. Early in her career she was an Assistant District Attorney in the Westchester County District Attorney's Office, where she later served as Chief of the Narcotics Bureau. In 1998, she was elected to the Westchester County Court, presiding over criminal and civil matters and sitting by designation in the Family Court, Surrogate's Court, and Supreme Court. She served as a County Court Judge until 2002, when she was elected a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court. As a Supreme Court Justice, she additionally served as Supervising Judge of the Criminal Courts of the Ninth Judicial District. In 2005, she was elected Westchester County District Attorney, serving in that position for 10 years.
On December 1, 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo ’82 nominated her to the position of Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the State of New York. Her nomination was confirmed by the New York State Senate on January 21, 2016. At Chief Judge DiFiore's swearing-in, Governor Cuomo said, "She has been a true champion for preventing and reversing wrongful convictions … as a prosecutor she never forgot her job was to do justice—not amass convictions."