168th Commencement: Watch Live
After a 14-year term on the New York Court of Appeals, Judge Victoria Graffeo '77 will join Harris Beach as a partner in its Albany office. She will lead the firm's Alternate Dispute Resolution Practice Group and also practice in the Government Compliance and Investigations, the Appellate Litigation and Advocacy, and the Business and Commercial Litigation Practice Groups.A frequent participant in law school symposia and other events, Judge Graffeo was honored with the Albany Law School Distinguished Alumni in Government Award in 2006. More recently, she helped the Law Clinic & Justice Center launch a new initiative through which Albany Law students and supervising attorneys will provide legal resources to detained immigrants through presentations in English and Spanish.Judge Graffeo was nominated to the New York State Court of Appeals by then-Governor George E. Pataki and was confirmed by the New York State Senate on Nov. 29, 2000. She has authored more than 250 civil and criminal majority opinions of the court.
In April 1998, she was designated to serve as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court in the Third Judicial Department. In September 1996, Judge Graffeo was appointed to fill a justice vacancy on the New York State Supreme Court in the Third Judicial District and was elected to a full term of office commencing Jan. 1, 1997. From Jan. 1995 to Sept. 1996, Judge Graffeo served as Solicitor General and Counsel to the New York State Attorney General. As Solicitor General, she was directly responsible for management of the state's federal and state appellate litigation and the rendering of Attorney General Opinions to state agencies and municipalities. Judge Graffeo had responsibility for the review and approval of more than 1,000 briefs and motions to the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the New York State Court of Appeals and the Appellate Divisions of the New York State Supreme Court.Her judicial appointments included chair of the New York State-Federal Judicial Council, chair of the Advisory Committee on the Pro Bono Scholars Program, co-chair of the Advisory Committee on New York State Pro Bono Bar Admission Requirements, chair of the Advisory Committee on Pro Bono Service By In-House Counsel In New York State, Court of Appeals Liaison to the New York State Board of Law Examiners and member of the American Bar Association’s Legal Education and Bar Admission Section.Previously, Judge Graffeo had a number of posts in state government from 1982 to 1994, including a brief period in a private practice that she started. She served as Chief Counsel to the Assembly Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly, Counsel to the Minority Leader Pro Tempore of the New York State Assembly and Assistant Counsel of the New York State Division of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse. She began her legal career as a litigation associate in an Albany law firm.Judge Graffeo is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Albany County Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, and is past president of the Capital District Chapter. She is currently vice-president of the Capital District Italian-American Bar Association. She is also a Fellow of the New York State Bar Foundation.