Several themes connect and characterize the judiciary's efforts during the past year - my fifth as Chief Judge. Above all else, our focus is on our central role of resolving the disputes of breathtaking range that continue to overfill our dockets. We have sought the benefit of modern advances, whether technological or programmatic, to do what we do more efficiently. And we have sought out innovative new approaches, where appropriate, to do what we do differently. Finally, we have tried to build bridges to the public because their trust and confidence are essential to an effective court system.

Essential too are the singular efforts of every judicial and nonjudicial member of the Unified Court System, especially Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, a tireless source of good cheer and good ideas; my Court of Appeals colleagues; the Presiding Justices; and our court administrators throughout the State. I have been fortunate indeed to have these extraordinary partners in all of our endeavors. I am grateful as well to our partners in the Executive and Legislative branches of government, and in the bar. While the Judiciary is crucially independent in its decisionmaking, we are nonetheless all vitally linked in our efforts to assure the very best justice system for all New Yorkers.

I end this fifth year as Chief Judge satisfied that the New York court system is in good shape, and hopeful that in the year ahead we will continue to earn and enjoy the respect of the public we serve.

Judith S. Kaye

March 23, 1998