In 1993, Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye appointed a blue ribbon panel of lawyers and judges from throughout New York State to
explore the scope of public dissatisfaction with the legal profession, ascertain the causes of that dissatisfaction and
discuss and recommend meaningful solutions. The Committee on the Profession and the Courts -- better known, perhaps, as
the Craco Committee, after its chair, Louis A. Craco -- went about its work in a diligent, open and inclusive manner. The
Committee, which consisted of a diverse group of judges and lawyers from urban and rural areas, reviewed voluminous
published materials, met with representatives from every sector of the legal profession, including bar leaders, law school
deans and attorney disciplinary counsel, and traveled to all corners of the state to hold public hearings and learn the
views of New York's consumers of legal services.
In August 1996, the Administrative Board of the Courts adopted in principle all but two of the recommendations set forth by
the Committee on the Profession and the Courts. Just a few of the significant reforms that have come out of the work of the
- A continuing legal education requirement for the New York Bar, including a special Bridge-the-Gap component for
newly-admitted lawyers that focuses on ethics and professionalism, practical skills and law office management.
- Expanded court rules addressing frivolous conduct by attorneys, including replacement of the $10,000-per-case limit
on costs and sanctions with a $10,000-per-incident limit.
- Standardization of grievance committee practices around the State to promote uniformity of practices and procedures
among the Grievance Committees in the Four Departments. Additionally, development of a mediation program to address
complaints against attorneys that are legitimate but not sufficiently serious to warrant imposition of sanctions.
- Adoption of an aspirational Code of Civility that sets forth standards of behavior to which the bench, the bar and
court employees should aspire.
- A Statement of Client’s Rights posted in every New York law office to serve as a valuable educational tool for
clients concerning what they may reasonably expect from their lawyer.
- A Statewide program to resolve attorney-client fee disputes by arbitration or mediation, which is still in the works.
- Establishment of a permanent entity devoted to promoting professionalism and the bar's awareness and understanding
of ethical issues.
Continuing Legal Education
Statement of Client’s Rights
Statement of Client’s Responsibilities
Amendments to Part 130 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator
Standards of Civility
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