E. Leo Milonas, a New York-based Pillsbury Litigation partner with 26 years of judicial experience, has a longstanding commitment to improving the administration of justice.

Judge Milonas has won major victories for clients at trial and on appeal. In addition to complex commercial litigation, Judge Milonas focuses on alternative dispute resolution, as counsel, arbitrator and mediator. His judicial experience includes 16 years as associate justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York State, First Department, and as chief administrative judge of the State of New York, where he instituted lasting reforms and managed the state court operations.

Representative Experience

Achieved significant victories for clients in major litigations, particularly in New York State Supreme Courts, New York Appellate Divisions, U.S. District Courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

Represented numerous global clients including GE, Viacom, Pfizer, Schering-Plough, Bombardier, Inc., Deutsche Bank, BNY Mellon, Marubeni America Corp., American Express, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. and The Bank of Cyprus.

Revamped the New York State Court’s jury system and created the Commercial Divisions of the Supreme Court, the Community Courts and Problem-Solving Courts during his judicial career.

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  • Supervising Judge of the Bronx Criminal Courts
  • Supervising Judge of the Manhattan Criminal Courts
  • Deputy Chief Administrative Judge of the New York City Courts
  • Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York
  • Associate Justice, Appellate Division, First Department

Professional Highlights

New York City Bar Association, past president

American Bar Association Fellow

New York State Bar Association, Federal and Commercial Litigation Section, executive committee member

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  • Recognized by Best Lawyers, Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation (2007-2019) and Bet-the-Company Litigation (2007-2015)
  • Chairs the Pre-Argument Conference of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, First Division and co-chairs the Commercial Courts Task Force
  • Governor’s Departmental Judicial Screening Committee, First Judicial Department (Appellate Division)
  • New York State Commission on Judicial Nomination (Court of Appeals)
  • Legal Aid Society (Director)
  • Judges & Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert (Director)
  • New York State Bar Association (Federal and Commercial Litigation Section – Executive Committee)
  • New York State Office of Court Administration (ADR Advisory Committee)
  • New York Urban League (Board)
  • National Center for State Courts (Board)
  • New York State Board of Law Examiners (Board)
  • Fund for the City of New York (Board)
  • Federal Bar Council Inn of Court (Master)
  • The Chief Judge’s Commercial Division Advisory Council (Member)
  • The Chief Judge’s Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services (Member)
  • The Chief Judge’s Pro Bono Scholars Program Task Force (Member)
  • College of Commercial Arbitrators (Member)
  • Honors & Awards
    • The Fund for Modern Courts, John J. McCloy Memorial Award. For outstanding contributions by a lawyer to improving the New York State justice system
    • New York State Bar Association, Special Award. In recognition of outstanding and continued dedication, leadership, and service to the judiciary, the courts and the legal profession.
    • New York State Bar Association, Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, Award for Distinguished Public Service.
    • New York County Lawyers’ Association, Distinguished Service Award.
    • Open Doors, The New York City Board of Education and Open Doors Certificate of Recognition for “Outstanding Contribution to Law and Citizenship Education in the New York City Schools.”
    • Jewish Lawyers Guild, Golda Meir Award.
    • Brooklyn Law School, Alumnus of the Year.
    • Association of Trial Lawyers of the City of New York, Harlan Fiske Stone Memorial Award for “Outstanding Contribution to American Jurisprudence.”
    • National Conference of Metropolitan Judges, Tom C. Clark Award.
    • Metropolitan Black Bar Association, Public Service Award.
  • Other Awards
    • American Bar Association
    • Association of Criminal Court Judges of the City of New York
    • Association of Law Secretaries
    • Bronx Women’s Bar Association
    • Constitutional Rights Foundation
    • Eastern Orthodox Lawyers Association
    • National Center for State Courts
    • New York State Association of Women Judges
    • New York State Court Officers Association
    • St. Paul’s Society (New York City Police Officers)



  • LL.B., Brooklyn Law School, 1960


  • New York

    United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

    United States, Eastern District of New York

    United States, Southern District of New York