New York, NY (March 30, 2022) – Television icon Judge Judy Sheindlin ’65 will give the keynote address for New York Law School’s first traditional in-person commencement ceremony in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Sheindlin will receive her second honorary degree from NYLS from her daughter, Nicole Sheindlin ’93, and will also have the honor of presenting her granddaughter, Sarah Rose ’22, with her law degree at the commencement.
The commencement will be held on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with 373 total J.D. and LL.M. candidates graduating this year. The class of 2020 had 330 graduates and the class of 2021 had 319 graduates.
“We are beyond thrilled for Judge Judy Sheindlin to return to Brooklyn and her alma mater for New York Law School’s first in-person commencement since the pandemic began and are elated for our students who have worked tirelessly towards this moment to celebrate and share with their loved ones,” said Anthony W. Crowell, NYLS Dean and President. “Judge Sheindlin is an outstanding example of the heights grit and hard-work can take our graduates, and her success in our profession began at a time when there were few women. In a year where we celebrate the resiliency of our NYLS community, and that of our City, she embodies this spirit perfectly.”
During the ceremony, graduates from spring 2020 and spring 2021 will have the opportunity to walk across the stage and receive their degrees in front of their loved ones, as their graduations were celebrated virtually due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be an additional moment to spotlight the nearly 30 percent of NYLS graduating students who are first-generation to college and law school in their families. One out of three students enrolled at New York Law School are first-generation college students.
“My return to New York Law School to celebrate three classes of graduates, to present a degree to my granddaughter and to receive an honorary degree from my daughter represents the capstone of my career which began over a half century ago,” said Judge Judy Sheindlin. “Grateful is an understatement.”
Judge Judy Sheindlin is the presiding judge on Judy Justice, which premiered in November 2021 on IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service. The program was recently renewed for a second season. Her granddaughter Sarah Rose serves as her Law Clerk on the series. In September 2021, Judge Sheindlin wrapped a historic 25 year-run of the Emmy Award-winning Judge Judy, one of the most successful programs in the history of television. Judge Judy finished as the #1 program in first-run syndication for 12 consecutive seasons and was #1 in daytime from 1998–99 season until it concluded in 2021.
Judge Sheindlin created the television court hit Hot Bench and has written several best-selling books. Over the past two decades, Judge Sheindlin has won numerous accolades and awards from the legal, academic and media worlds, and she has sponsored worthy philanthropic initiatives. Judge Sheindlin was appointed to the bench by Mayor Ed Koch in 1982 and was the Supervising Judge at Manhattan Family Court for a decade from 1986 to 1996, just three blocks from NYLS. After graduating NYLS, she worked as an Assistant Corporation Counsel at the New York City Law Department Family Court Division, where many of the School’s alumni currently work.
In January, Judge Sheindlin gave a historic gift to NYLS to support women in the legal profession establishing the Judge Judy Sheindlin Honors Scholars Program. This will support ten women annually with excellent credentials and demonstrated financial need who will receive a full-tuition scholarship, book stipend and a summer employment fellowship after their first year of law school. This gift also formalized an enduring partnership with Her Honor Mentoring, one of the region’s most prominent mentoring programs for young women founded and developed by Judge Sheindlin and Nicole Sheindlin in 2006. The partnership will enable girls and women who wish to pursue a degree to have an opportunity to participate in the NYLS Law School Pipeline Program and receive support including law-related classwork and projects, pre-law counseling, free professional LSAT preparation, and application assistance. NYLS Pipeline programs are essential in reaching potential law students that are first-generation or from underrepresented populations.
Judge Judy’s gift builds upon NYLS’s efforts to continue expanding access and diverse representation in the legal profession. Earlier this month, New York Law School announced “NYLS Pro,” a redesigned Evening Division to meet the evolving needs of 21st century working professionals committed to transforming their careers. The program aims to ensure the pursuit of a law degree part-time meets modern needs in a more accessible, flexible, and affordable way, providing the same academic rigor as always but with new class schedules, programs, and scholarships necessary to better facilitate career advancement. In recent years, NYLS commencement speakers have included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, New York Attorney General Letitia James, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, the Emmy Award-winning co-creator of “Making a Murderer” Laura Ricciardi ’96, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, U.S. Senator Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), and the late Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Robert A. Katzmann.