Justices of the Court

Dianne T. Renwick: Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, First Department

PJ Renwick's BIO

Hon. Dianne T. Renwick is Presiding Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. Her historic appointment by Governor Kathy Hochul, in June 2023, makes her the first woman of color to serve as Presiding Justice of any Appellate Division in the state, and only the second woman to lead the First Department since its creation in 1894.

Justice Renwick began her legal career representing indigent criminal defendants as a staff attorney for the Bronx office of the Legal Aid Society's Criminal Defense Division. After honing her skills as a trial attorney, she was invited to join the Federal Defenders where she represented criminal defendants before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Justice Renwick's judicial career began when she was appointed as a New York City Housing Court Judge in 1997. Later that year, she was elected as a Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York. In 2001, she was elected as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. In 2008, Governor David Patterson appointed Justice Renwick to the Appellate Division, First Department, making her the first woman of color, and the fourth woman, ever to join the Court. She served as an Associate Justice until March 2023, when she became Acting Presiding Justice, serving in that capacity until her appointment as Presiding Justice.

As a jurist committed to improving the courts and legal profession, Justice Renwick also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Historical Society of the New York Courts, the Practicing Law Institute, and the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children. During her tenure as an Associate Justice, Justice Renwick was Chair of the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board from 2009 to 2012, and inaugural Chair of the Anti-Bias Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department from 2020 to 2023. As Chair of the Anti-Bias Committee, Justice Renwick oversaw the historic installation of the sculpture, NOW, which for the first time put the figure of a woman on equal footing with the heretofore uniformly male sculptures of ancient lawgivers that adorn the courthouse roof.

Justice Renwick is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Jewish Lawyers Guild's Golda Meir Memorial Award, the Judges & Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert's Leadership Achievement Award, the Westchester Black Bar Association's Constance Baker Motley Award, and the Bronx County Bar Association's Judicial Recognition Award.

A proud graduate of Cornell University and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Justice Renwick was named Cardozo School of Law's Alumna of the Year in 2010 and delivered the commencement address for the school's 35th graduation ceremony in 2013. She is a member of Cardozo School of Law's Board of Overseers and remains involved in the community through the Cardozo Alumni Association and BALLSA (Black Asian Latino Law Students Association) Alumni. In addition, Justice Renwick has served on the Cornell University President's Council of Cornell Women, from 200.to 201. and as an Emeritus Member since 201.

Justice Renwick has an unshakable commitment to civic education and advancing issues of the bench, bar, and community. She has taught trial advocacy programs, mentors students, and serves on legal, educational and cultural boards and committees, including as a Trustee of the New York Botanical Garden. Justice Renwick is a lifelong resident of the Bronx.