How the Honorable Judith Gische got her start at SUNY Buffalo Law School without going into crushing debt
The Honorable Judith Gische is an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division of New York State’s Supreme Court, First Department. Prior to her most recent appointment, she was elected Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, and also sat in Civil Term of the Supreme Court. While her experience speaks for itself, her long and storied career on the bench began as a law student at UB.
“I had been living at home attending Queens College, and I wanted the experience of going away to school,” explains Hon. Gische. She transferred to UB, where she graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. “The transition from philosophy to law is a pretty natural one,” she explains, “because there is a real basis in philosophy regarding rational thought, and I think that is consistent with law. That has proven itself over the course of my career.”
Building on her liberal arts education, Hon. Gische continued to take a variety of courses that were “a little bit off the beaten track” as she continued her studies at UB’s Law School. She knew the program at UB was not just preparing her for the bar exam, it was going to provide her with many different opportunities, and she was determined to take advantage of all there was to offer. “I think that law school prepares you to get out and get your law degree and do with it what you want.”
Today, Hon. Gische believes that the economics are equally as important as academics when choosing a law school. At the time that she graduated, the market was pretty tough in terms of job opportunities. Now, many young people are graduating with large amounts of debt that may limit their options in terms of what they can do. “I think for many, UB provides an opportunity to those who otherwise could not afford to continue their education, if they so choose,” she says. “It also provides an opportunity for those to get out of law school without crushing debt.”
Hon. Gische has worked hard to achieve her career goals, and she feels very privileged that she has received so much support from her alma mater. “I feel a debt of gratitude to the law school because it did provide me with a very satisfying professional life, with opportunities that – at the time when I went to law school – I could not imagine that I would have.”