Q&A: Judge Jenny Rivera

, New York Law Journal


Jenny Rivera
Jenny Rivera

A: It is a professional dream to sit on the Court of Appeals, working through complex legal issues and writing opinions on cases in a variety of subject areas. It is public service of the highest order, and the work is intellectually challenging and meaningful.

Q: What have you discovered about the court or your new colleagues that has surprised you?

A: I did not realize how much the staff at the Court of Appeals is like a family, celebrating one another's successes and supporting each other during difficult times. They gave me a very warm welcome and made me feel at home.

Q: What do you want to achieve on the court?

A: As with every professional endeavor I have ever undertaken, my goal is to do an excellent job. I also keep in mind that our decisions impact individuals, and that the practical implications of our opinions are very real, and do not merely reflect abstractions about justice.

Q: What can you share with us about the process that led to your appointment to the Court of Appeals?

A: The appointment process was extensive and demanding—exactly what we should expect in order to ensure that the legal profession has done a thorough and exhaustive vetting of candidates. Over the course of several weeks after the Commission on Judicial Nominations issued its list of candidates to the governor, I interviewed with members of several bar associations, who represented different sectors of the legal profession and communities throughout our state. They asked questions about my preparedness to serve on the bench, including how my work experience might affect how I approached cases, they asked about the issues raised in my scholarship, and what I viewed as the greatest challenge to a transition from legal education to the judiciary. The questions were thoughtful and challenging.

Q: How is your perspective reflected in your opinions?

A: I think each of us brings a perspective to the court that reflects our unique professional experiences. In my opinion, these different perspectives enrich the deliberative process.

Q: Do you feel an obligation to encourage other Latinas to join the legal profession and the judiciary?

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