In unanimous vote, Senate confirms Wilson to state’s highest court

Photo courtesy of Sen. Bonacic
Senate Judiciary Chair John Bonacic, left, is pictured with Rowan Wilson and his family. Pictured, from left, is his daughter Isabel, his daughter Anna, his wife Grace, and his youngest daughter Elinor.

With latest confirmation, Gov. Cuomo has now appointed all seven Court of Appeals judges


On Monday the New York State Senate unanimously confirmed Rowan Wilson to be an associate judge on the New York State Court of Appeals.

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. John Bonacic congratulated Wilson, saying “Mr. Wilson is immensely qualified to sit on the Court of Appeals, and I congratulate him on his confirmation,” Bonacic said. “As he begins his tenure on the bench, I hope that he will continue to uphold the ideals of integrity, and equality under the law.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Rowan Wilson in January to be the next associate judge on the state’s highest court to replace Judge Eugene Pigott, who retired last year.

The governor previously appointed Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Associate Judges Jenny Rivera, Sheila Abdus-Salaam, Leslie Stein, Eugene Fahey and Michael Garcia to the Court of Appeals. Judges on the state’s highest court serve for a term of 14 years upon their confirmation by the state Senate.

Wilson will be the first Long Islander to serve on the court in over two decades; he would also be the only African American male on the bench.

Wilson was born in Pomona, California. He graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts at Harvard University in 1981 and then received a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1984. While attending Harvard, Wilson was a member of the Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Law Review. The student-run publication publishes twice a year a compilation of book reviews, essays, and articles reviewing civil rights law.

Wilson went on to serve a two-year clerkship with the Hon. James Browning, chief judge of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In 1986 Wilson joined Cravath, Swaine and Moore and was made partner in 1992.

Throughout Wilson’s legal career, he has embraced the role as a legal advocate. Wilson served as chair of the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem since 1996 and also leads the pro bono work at Cravath, taking on cases in which he defends people’s civil rights. In addition he serves on the board of Wide Horizons for Children, an organization centered on protecting orphaned children globally.

“With decades of experience in complex commercial litigation and his leadership role in the firm’s pro bono work, I am confident he has the intellect, integrity, and compassion we need to continue moving New York forward,” Cuomo said.

During Wilson’s past 30 years working at Cravath, he took on cases tackling antitrust, intellectual property, contract, securities fraud, and entertainment and media issues.

The New York State Bar Association rated Wilson their highest rating of “well qualified.”

Wilson has also been endorsed by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, the Women’s Trial Lawyers Caucus, the Albany County Bar Association, the Broome County Bar Association, New York City Bar Association, and the Tri-County Bar Association (which includes Erie, Monroe and Onondaga counties).