The Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court: Watch and learn how the Commercial Division has transformed litigation in New York State

Friday, April 1, 2016 - 11:32

“People from all over the world, businesses from all over the world, investors, really respect the opportunity the [Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court] provides for having the real expertise to adjudicate business matters.”

So says Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, in a new video explaining how the Commercial Division has transformed litigation in New York State and made the state a preferred venue – rather than a dreaded one – for complex business disputes.

In less than 15 minutes, the professionally filmed video, produced by the Historical Society of New York Courts and the Commercial Division Advisory Council, describes the origins and evolution of the court, with glowing testimonials from no fewer than 10 general counsel of major corporations:

Gregory Palm of Goldman Sachs

Joseph Wayland of ACE Limited

Michael Fricklas of Viacom, Inc.

Michele Mayes of the New York Public Library

Daniel Jonas of ConMed Corporation

Stephen Cutler of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Elizabeth Moore of Consolidated Edison, Inc.

Richard Walker of Deutsche Bank AG

Douglas Lankler of Pfizer Inc.

David Ellen of Cablevision Systems Corp.

Some examples: 

  • “You want to make sure that your ability to conduct business against the legal framework is going to be fair, is going to be appropriate, and New York’s Commercial Division, from my experience, has always provided that, and that’s really important to a business like Pfizer.” – Douglas Lankler
  • “New York has become a model for other states. Other jurisdictions have come here and looked to see what you have accomplished and tried to do the same thing.” – Gregory Palm
  • “It was comforting to know that we had a court system that was familiar with the kinds of disputes that companies are involved with. They understand economics. They have experience with complicated contractual language. They understand the importance of getting it right and following the rule of law.” – Michael Fricklas
  • “When we choose New York, we’re going to get a smart judge, we’re going to get a timely resolution of our dispute, and we’re going to get a judge who doesn’t waste our time.” – Joseph Wayland
  • “I’ve never encountered a counterparty who had an objection to the New York State Commercial Courts. They are so well-respected among the nation’s practitioners.” – Daniel Jonas

Others heard from in the video include former New York Chief Judges Judith S. Kaye and Jonathan Lippman; litigator David Boies, Chairman of Boies Schiller & Flexner; a dozen judges of the Commercial Division; and Robert Haig, a partner at Kelley Drye & Warren who chairs the Commercial Division Advisory Council.

“In 1995, when the Commercial Division first started, the prevailing attitudes in the New York state courts were that there were too many cases in the court system and not enough money, and that nothing could be done about it,” Haig says in the film.

As the judges and litigators make clear, the modern Commercial Court smothers the “nothing can be done about it” pre-1995 attitude and demonstrates the “can do” assertiveness that led to the formation of what is now a renowned forum for handling business disputes.

The video can be viewed through https://vimeo.com/151074229. It is also available on the court system’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTCPmOlPXcc. A full transcript is available on the court system’s website at http://www.nycourts.gov/COURTS/ComDiv/PDFs/CommercialDivision2016Transcript.pdf.

The video is being distributed to corporate counsel throughout the United States and in other countries. The Advisory Council believes that the film has a practical benefit to practitioners because it portrays improvements to court rules, procedures and operations that have been designed make the business litigation process more cost-effective, predictable and expeditious, thereby providing a more hospitable environment for business litigation.