Paul Feinman

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Paul G. Feinman
Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
Assumed office
June 21, 2017
Appointed by Andrew Cuomo
Preceded by Sheila Abdus-Salaam
Personal details
Born (1960-01-26) January 26, 1960 (age 58)
Spouse(s) Robert Ostergaard
Alma mater

Paul George Feinman[1] (born January 26, 1960)[2] is an American judge. Since June 2017, Feinman has been an associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals, New York's highest court.

Feinman spent 20 years as a state judge prior to his elevation to the Court of Appeals,[3] first as a justice of the New York Supreme Court (the trial-level court of general jurisdiction in the New York State Unified Court System), and the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division (the intermediate appellate courts in New York State).

Early life and education

Paul G. Feinman grew up in a Jewish family in the Long Island town of Merrick. His father was a small business owner in New York City, his mother a bookkeeper and later a Nassau County Department of Social Services employee.[4]

Feinman earned an undergraduate degree in French literature from Columbia University in 1981. He attended the University of Minnesota Law School on a full scholarship.[4]

Legal career

Feinman began his legal career as a public defender with the Legal Aid Society, working in Nassau County and then in New York City; at the time, the courts had a crowded criminal docket due to the crack epidemic.[4]

Feinman then served as law clerk to Justice Angela Mazzarelli for seven and a half years, from 1989 to 1996, first when Mazzarelli was on the state trial court bench and then when she was on the state Appellate Division.[1][4] Feinman became involved in the L.G.B.T. Bar Association and in Democratic politics in the Manhattan neighborhoods of Chelsea and the West Village.[4]

Judicial career

In 1996, he won an election to the New York City Civil Court bench, and at times was an acting New York Supreme Court justice. In 2007, Feinman was elected to the Supreme Court; in 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo elevated to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department.[4] Feinman was a member of the Supreme Court Justices Association of the State of New York, serving first as its first vice president[1] and then as its president.[5] Feinman also served as treasurer of the Citywide Association of Supreme Court Justices in New York,[1] and was president of the International Association of LGBT Judges from 2008 to 2011.[5]

In June 2017, Cuomo nominated Feinman to the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, to the seat left vacant by the death of Sheila Abdus-Salaam.[6] He was unanimously confirmed by the New York Senate the same month. Feinman is the first openly LGBT person to serve on New York's highest court.[4][7]

Feinman is regarded as having a "thoughtful and methodical" judicial approach. Judge David Saxe, who served alongside Feinman on the Appellate Division bench, considers Feinman "a moderate with progressive instincts."[4]

Personal life

Feinman married web publisher Jay Robert Ostergaard in 2013.[1] The couple lives on Roosevelt Island.[4]

Feinman is a Francophile and fan of the New York Mets.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Robert Ostergaard and Paul Feinman, New York Times (December 1, 2013).
  2. ^ profile
  3. ^ Kylee Tsuru, New York's highest court welcomes first openly gay judge, CNN (June 22, 2017).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j McKinley Jr., James (21 June 2017). "First Openly Gay Judge Confirmed for New York's Highest Court". New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Paul G. Feinman (’85) Confirmed to Serve on New York’s Highest Court, University of Minnesota Law School (June 22, 2017).
  6. ^ Josefa Velasquez and Rebecca Baker (15 June 2017). "Governor Chooses Feinman to Fill Court of Appeals Vacancy". New York Law Journal. Retrieved 15 June 2017. 
  7. ^ "LeGaL Congratulates Judge Paul Feinman on His Confirmation to the New York Court of Appeals". LeGaL. Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
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