For Immediate Release:  Mar 5, 2009
2009, 03, 05

Justice Leonard B. Austin elevated to Second Department, Judges Jeffrey D. Lebowitz and Juan Merchan nominated for Court of Claims

Justice Leonard B. Austin elevated to Second Department, Judges Jeffrey D. Lebowitz and Juan Merchan nominated for Court of Claims

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Leonard B. Austin, a Hofstra Law graduate and Special Professor of Law, has been elevated to the Second Department of the New York Appellate Division.  The appointment was made by fellow Hofstra Law alumnus Governor David A. Paterson.

“Justice Austin is a highly respected judge, a beloved teacher and a wonderful individual.  He makes us proud with his accomplishments and his impact as a teacher and jurist,” said Hofstra Law Dean Nora V. Demleitner

Justice Austin, Class of ‘77, was in private practice until his election to the Tenth Judicial District of the Supreme Court in 1998.  His practice primarily focused on complex commercial litigation, matrimonial disputes, personal injury claims and real estate dealings.  In 1980 and 1981, he served as counsel to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly.  In that capacity, he was assigned to the Agriculture and Commerce, and Industry Committees.  At Hofstra Law School, Justice Austin teaches commercial and matrimonial law.

Since his election to the Supreme Court, Justice Austin has been assigned to a Dedicated Matrimonial Part in Suffolk County and a Dedicated Matrimonial and Commercial Part in Nassau County.  From October 2000 to the present, Justice Austin has been assigned full-time to a Dedicated Commercial Part.  He currently serves on the Office of Court Administration's Matrimonial Practice and Commercial Division Curriculum Committees.

Justice Austin is the President of the American College of Business Court Judges.  He served as the Presiding Member of the Judicial Section of the New York State Bar Association from 2007 to 2008.  He is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association and the House of Delegates of the New York State Bar Association.  

The Governor also nominated Judges Jeffrey D. Lebowitz and Juan Merchan, both Hofstra Law alumni, to fill vacancies on the Court of Claims.  

Judge Lebowitz is currently an Acting Supreme Court Justice in the Matrimonial Term of the Supreme Court of Queens County; his term began in January 2004.  He was an Instructor of Paralegal Studies at Long Island University in 1977. 

Judge Merchan is currently a Judge in the Family Court of New York City – a position he has held since August 2006.  In addition, he is a Hofstra Special Professor of Law and teaches in the Trial Advocacy Program – a position he has held since summer 2001. 

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The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University is located 40 minutes from New York City in suburban Long Island. Hofstra Law is home to nearly 850 students, an alumni base of more than 10,600 members and a distinguished faculty of more than 50 professors, including many scholars recognized as national and international experts in their field. The law school is part of Hofstra University and is fully accredited by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association.

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