Home Guide for Counsel
GUIDE FOR COUNSEL IN CASES TO BE ARGUED
THE NEW YORK STATE COURT OF APPEALS
The Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest
court, is composed of a Chief Judge and six Associate Judges, each appointed to
a 14-year term. The Court was established to articulate Statewide principles of
law in the context of deciding particular lawsuits. The courthouse, known as
Court of Appeals Hall, is located at 20 Eagle Street in Albany, between Albany
County Court and City Hall. The main entrance is located on Eagle Street. The
handicapped entrance is located on Pine Street. Directions to Court of
Appeals Hall and a map showing nearby parking lots are annexed as Appendix
This guide is
designed to assist attorneys appearing for oral argument at the Court of
Appeals. Attorneys should consult the Rules of Practice of the Court of Appeals
and may contact the Clerk’s office for further information. The Clerk’s office
is open Monday through Friday, except State holidays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00
p.m. Pertinent Clerk’s
office telephone numbers are listed on this website.
The Court hears oral arguments during sessions held
throughout the year at Court of Appeals
Hall. Each session normally lasts two weeks, with arguments scheduled on
Tuesday through Thursday of each week. Requests for argument time must be
indicated on the cover of the party’s brief. If a time request does not appear
on the brief, 10 minutes will be assigned. Unless otherwise permitted by the
Court upon advance written application, counsel may request no more than 30
minutes of oral argument time. The Court considers these requests in setting the
actual argument times in each appeal.
circumstances, counsel of record will be advised of the scheduled argument date
at least one month in advance. Approximately two weeks before the scheduled
argument date, the Clerk will send to counsel of record a Notice to Counsel, the Court’s
day calendar with assigned argument times, and information on obtaining the
Court’s decision in the case.
Prior to the
date of argument, counsel must notify the Clerk’s office of any changes in
arguing counsel or of any needs of arguing counsel or co-counsel (e.g.,
accommodations for wheelchairs, requests for assisted listening devices, etc.).
Should any circumstance arise that might affect counsel’s ability to argue as
scheduled, the Clerk’s office should be notified immediately. Once the calendar
has been set, the Court is reluctant to adjourn a calendared case except for
scheduled argument date, counsel must check in with the Court’s security
personnel before 1:45 p.m. The first case is called for
argument at 2:00 p.m. The Court does not hold a calendar call. Counsel traveling
from out of town should allow ample time for delays, especially in
and co-counsel should report to security personnel with picture identification.
All persons entering Court of Appeals Hall (including arguing counsel) will be
screened by security personnel upon entering the building. Security personnel
will voucher all cameras, recording devices, legally-possessed weapons and other
prohibited items, and will return these items to their owners when they leave
the building. All cell phones and pagers must be turned off before
entering the Courtroom.
raincoats, umbrellas and hats are not permitted in the Courtroom. A cloak room
is located behind the Attorneys’ Library, next to the elevator. In addition to
the Attorneys’ Library, which contains a complete set of the official New York
Reports, counsel have access to the Attorneys’ Lounge. A floor plan showing all
public access areas of Court of Appeals Hall is annexed as Appendix
B. A Courtroom seating chart is annexed as Appendix
counsel and co-counsel must be seated at the appropriate counsels’ table before
the Court convenes at 2:00 p.m. Facing the bench, appellants are seated on the
left hand side of the courtroom and respondents are seated on the right. Counsel
in the first case to be argued should be seated at the table closest to the
bench. Other counsel should be seated by case order in the remaining counsel
tables. Up to four counsel may be seated at each table. Seating in front of the
railing is reserved for arguing counsel and co-counsel. All other spectators
must be seated behind the railing.
otherwise permitted by the Court upon advance written application, only one
counsel is permitted to argue for a party. If appellant wishes to reserve time
for rebuttal, a verbal request to reserve a specific number of minutes should be
made to the Chief Judge prior to beginning appellant’s argument. The time
reserved will be subtracted from the total time assigned to that party. When
counsel has one minute of argument time remaining, a white light on the podium
is illuminated. When argument time has expired, a red light is illuminated.
Adherence to allotted argument times is required, except that counsel may
continue responding to questions from the Court.
should be prepared for a “hot bench.” The Court will be fully conversant with
the issues in each case and will use oral argument to address any questions or
concerns prompted by the briefs. Counsel should be ready for a
question-and-answer exchange and should not expect to recount the facts in
detail or present a prepared script of arguments.
are videotaped. Copies of videotaped arguments are available for purchase from
the Government Law
Center at Albany Law School, telephone (518) 445-2329.
Seating is available in the public section of the
courtroom on a first-come, first-seated basis. The public section accommodates
approximately 60 people. Oral arguments also can be viewed over closed circuit
television in the Attorneys’ Lounge and Library.
Court’s Decision In Your Case
normally decides cases within thirty to sixty days after the oral argument date.
The Court’s decisions are available the day on which they are issued on the
Court’s Internet web site: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/ctapps/.
In addition, counsel of record are notified by phone of the decision in their
case and provided copies of the Court’s decision by regular mail. Decisions
usually are mailed on the day they are released.
If you wish the
Court to send you, via overnight delivery service at your expense, a copy of the
decision in your case on the day it is released, you must provide a
pre-addressed airbill containing your account number, telephone number and the
name (and number, if known) of your case, as well as an envelope acceptable to
the carrier, no later than the day you appear for oral argument. Airbills and
envelopes may be mailed to the Court’s Public Information Office or left with
security personnel at the front desk. If you have not provided a pre-addressed
airbill, we may not be able to honor a telephone request made on the day your
case is decided for an overnight copy of the decision. Decisions will not be
faxed or e-mailed.
(A) DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO COURT OF APPEALS HALL
(B) PUBLIC ROOMS COURT OF
(C) COURTROOM SEATING