Hon. Janet DiFiore
Hon. Janet DiFiore
Honorary President

About Hon. Janet DiFiore

Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the State of New York, was born in Mount Vernon, New York.

She graduated from C.W. Post College, Long Island University (B.A. 1977) and from St. John’s University School of Law (J.D. 1981). She was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York in 1982. Chief Judge DiFiore served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office from 1981-1987, and from 1994-1998 as Chief of the Office’s Narcotics Bureau. From 1987-1993, Chief Judge DiFiore practiced law with the firm of Goodrich & Bendish. In 1998, she was elected a Judge of the Westchester County Court, presiding over criminal and civil matters and sitting by designation in the Family Court, Surrogate’s Court and Supreme Court. She served as a County Court Judge until 2002, when she was elected a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court.

As a Supreme Court Justice, she served as Supervising Judge of the Criminal Courts of the 9th Judicial District. In 2005, Chief Judge DiFiore resigned from the bench and was elected Westchester County District Attorney. She served in this position from 2006-2016. On December 1, 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated her to the position of Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the State of New York. On January 21, 2016, her nomination was confirmed by the New York State Senate.

Chief Judge DiFiore lives in Bronxville, NY with her husband Dennis E. Glazer. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Hon. Saliann Scarpulla
Hon. Saliann Scarpulla

About Hon. Saliann Scarpulla

Justice Saliann Scarpulla was elected to the New York State Supreme Court in 2012 and has served in the New York County Commercial Division since February 2014. In 2019, she was appointed to handle all international commercial arbitration matters for the New York State Supreme Court.

Justice Scarpulla is a graduate of Boston University and Brooklyn Law School, cum laude. After law school, Justice Scarpulla became Principal Court Attorney to the Hon. Alvin F. Klein. In 1987, she joined Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelsohn as a litigation associate. In 1993, Justice Scarpulla moved to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as Senior Counsel in the New York Legal Services Office. In 1997, she became Senior Vice President and Bank Counsel to Hudson United Bank. Justice Scarpulla returned to the New York State court system in 1999, as Principal Court Attorney to the Hon. Eileen Bransten. She was elected to the Civil Court in 2001 and was appointed an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court in 2009.

In 2017 Justice Scarpulla was honored as one of Three Wise Women by the National Association of Italian American Women and was awarded the Louis J. Capozzoli Gavel Award by the New York County Lawyers Association. She is a contributing author to the Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts treatise, has authored several articles on commercial litigation and is a frequent lecturer for the New York City Bar Association, the New York County Lawyers Association, the Practicing Law Institute, and the New York State Judicial Institute. Justice Scarpulla is active in several New York City and statewide bar associations.

Vilia B. Hayes

About Vilia B. Hayes

Vilia B. Hayes is Senior Pro Bono Counsel at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP. She is Co-Chair of the Firm’s Pro Bono Committee and supervises numerous pro bono matters in federal and state court. Ms. Hayes litigates pro bono cases in the areas of prisoner’s rights, voting rights, immigration, family law and housing, among others. Previously, Ms. Hayes had 35 years of experience as a litigation associate and partner at Hughes Hubbard concentrating on product liability, insurance, bankruptcy, employment and complex business disputes, as well as counseling and negotiations on employment law and insurance law.

Ms. Hayes is President Emeritus of the Federal Bar Council, having served as President from 2015-2016. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and a member of the Board of Directors of Legal Momentum and the Fordham Law Alumni Association. She is on the Executive Committee of the New York American Inn of Court. She previously served as a member of the Boards of Directors of VOLS, Legal Services NYC and the New York County Lawyers Association, where she served as chair of the Audit Committee. She graduated from Marymount College with honors and from Fordham University Law School, cum laude.


Claire P. Gutekunst
Executive Director

About Claire P. Gutekunst

Before joining JALBCA as Executive Director in November 2017, Claire P. Gutekunst was the President of the 72,000-member New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) in 2016-2017, having served as President-Elect in 2015-2016.  Her signature presidential initiative was a joint Domestic Violence Initiative with the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York.  Claire was a commercial litigator for nearly 30 years at Proskauer.  She then served as Special Master for the New York City Asbestos Litigation and was an independent mediator and arbitrator.

Claire has held many other leadership positions at NYSBA (including Vice President and the first woman Treasurer) and has been a member of the ADR and Arbitration Committees of the New York City Bar Association and the ADR Committee of the Westchester County Bar Association.  She is a member of the ABA House of Delegates.  For many years, Claire was the chair of the Advisory Council of the Academy of Women Leaders of the YWCA of New York City.  Claire lives with her husband in Yonkers, New York.  They have two grown sons.

Contact Info:
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Judges’ Division

Lawyers’ Division

Advisory Board

*Indicates Past Co-Presidents