Hofstra Law Dean A. Gail Prudenti Delivers 2018 Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture

Since 1950, Hughes Hubbard has sponsored a lecture in conjunction with the New York County Lawyers Association on the ideals of public service and the education of lawyers and the public. This year, Hofstra Law Dean A. Gail Prudential delivered the 54th Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture.

About Dean Prudenti

On May 1, 2017, Judge A. Gail Prudenti was appointed Dean of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, where she also serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law. Prior to joining Hofstra, Judge Prudenti distinguished herself as a well-respected jurist and hands-on administrator.

As Chief Administrative Judge of the courts of New York State, from 2011 to 2015, Judge Prudenti supervised the administration and operation of the statewide court system — the largest in the United States — with a budget of over $2.7 billion, 3,600 state and locally paid judges and 15,000 non-judicial employees in over 350 court facilities. Judge Prudenti’s career includes a number of “firsts”. She was the first woman to serve as the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department in New York State; the first woman from Suffolk County to serve as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department; and the first and only Surrogate in New York to hold the position of a District Administrative Judge.

In August 2011, then-presiding Justice Prudenti was designated to serve as a Judge of the Court of Appeals for the hearing and determination of the appeal and any related motions in the case of Matter of World Trade Center Bombing Litigation. Judge Prudenti earned her law degree from the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland, which also awarded her an honorary Doctorate of Laws in 2004 and an honorary appointment as Professor in the School of Law. She graduated from Marymount College of Fordham University with honors. Her legal writings are extensive. Hundreds of Judge Prudenti’s decisions have been published, and she has contributed articles to many publications. In addition she is a frequent lecturer.

In February 2016, Judge Prudenti was appointed Chair of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children and served in that capacity until January 2018. She continues to serve as a member of the Commission. In addition, she serves on many national and regional advisory boards, and committees.In her various leadership roles, Judge Prudenti has developed innovative programs and instituted many initiatives to enhance the administration of justice and promote the public’s trust and confidence in the courts.


On Nov. 8, 1948, the Board of Directors of the New York Country Lawyers' Association (NYCLA) established the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Lecture. Hughes Hubbard assumed sponsorship of the lecture series in 2007.

The Series was instituted by NYCLA to honor Justice Hughes for his "devotion to the betterment of the law and the maintenance of its supremacy," and "for his service as President of our Association where he endeared himself to us by his fine qualities of mind and heart, and as an inspiration to the members of our profession whose high ideals and noble traditions he upheld and strengthened throughout his long and distinguished career."

Few lawyers in the first half of the 20th century had a more distinguished career or a greater impact on the evolution of law and public policy. Charles Evans Hughes's service as Governor of New York State, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, presidential candidate, Secretary of State, Judge of the Permanent Court of International Justice and Chief Justice of the United States reflected a lifelong dedication to the legal profession. Justice Hughes served as NYCLA's eighth president from 1919-1921, leaving to serve as United States Secretary of State upon his appointment by President Warren G. Harding. In 1930, Justice Hughes received his appointment as Chief Justice from President Herbert Hoover.

Chief Justice Hughes was reluctantly unable to attend the dedication ceremonies on May 26, 1930 because the Supreme Court was in session, but sent a message that President William Nelson Cromwell read to the gathering.

In that message the Chief Justice illuminated the highest aspirations of the organized bar and the legal profession:

“As books and office furniture do not make a lawyer, so a library and reception halls do not make a bar association. The significance of such an association is found not merely in a common technique, but in the reinforcement of the standards of sound learning, loyalty to the law and fidelity to trust, and the readiness for expert public service, which have given a peculiar dignity to the profession of the law.” Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes

Past Speakers

For more than half a century, the men and women who have delivered the Charles Evans Hughes Lecture have embodied those aspirations. 

The series has had speakers from the highest levels of the profession including U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

2018 - Dean A. Gail Prudenti
2017 - Hon. Robert A. Katzmann
2015 - Hon. Jonathan Lippman
2014 - Loretta E. Lynch
2013 - James R. Silkenat
2012 - Hon. Judith S. Kaye
2011 - Hon. Denny Chin
2010 - Preet Bharara
2008 - Hon. José A. Cabranes
2007 - Kenneth C. Frazier
2005 - Robert MacCrate
2003 - Hon. John S. Martin
2000 - Hon. Seth Waxman
1999 - Dean Kristin Booth Glen
1998 - Hon. Joseph M. McLaughlin
1997 - Dean David W. Leebron
1996 - Dean Rudolph C. Hasl
1995 - Dean Joan G. Wexler
1994 - Hon. Jack B. Weinstein
1993 - Dean Harry H. Wellington
1992 - Dean Lance Liebman
1991 - Prof. Curtis Berger
1990 - Dean John D. Feerick
1989 - Dean John E. Sexton
1988 - Dean Monroe E. Price
1987 - Hon. Andrew J. Maloney
1986 - Hon. Frederick A.O.Schwarz Jr.
1985 - Dean Norman Redlich
1984 - Dean Patrick J. Rohan
1983 - Prof. Benno C. Schmidt Jr.
1982 - Dean Albert J. Rosenthal
1981 - Hon. Lawrence H. Cooke
1979 - Dean Harry H. Wellington
1977 - Dean Monrad G. Paulsen
1975 - Dean Joseph M. McLaughlin
1974 - Dean Michael I. Sovern
1973 - William T. Gossett
1972 - Dean Robert B. McKay
1971 - Hon. Shirley M. Hufstedler
1970 - Whitney North Seymour
1969 - Hon. Sheldon S. Cohen
1968 - Hon. J. Edward Lumbard
1967 - Hon. Charles S. Desmond
1965 - Dr. Russell D. Niles
1964 - Prof. Leon Lipson
1963 - Hon. Henry J. Friendly
1961 - Prof. Paul A. Freund
1960 - Hon. John Clark Knox
1958 - The Right Hon. Lord Nathan, T.D.
1956 - Hon. Harold Medina
1954 - Hon. Arthur T. Vanderbilt
1952 - Hon. John T. Loughran
1951 - Hon. Bernard Shientag
1950 - Dean Roscoe Pound