Born on December 30, 1942 David B. Saxe was raised and educated in The Bronx, New York where he attended Bronx High School of Science, graduating in 1959. He earned his undergraduate degree from Columbia College in 1963, a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1966 and an L.L.M. from New York University School of Law in 1972.
He began his legal career in 1972, joining the firm of Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon in New York City working as an associate.
At the end of 1972, Judge Saxe was hired as a Law Secretary to the Honorable Shanley N. Egeth, Acting Justice of the State Supreme Court and Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York. Judge Egeth was, for a short time before his death, Administrative Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York.
From 1974 until 1978 Judge Saxe was the Consumer Advocate & Director of Law Enforcement for the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, responsible for the enforcement of the City’s consumer protection law.
Due to a change in the New York City administration, Judge Saxe went back to private practice working at various law firms, including a stint as solo practitioner, until he was elected in 1982 to the Civil Court of the City of New York as an Acting Justice – Supreme Court.
While serving as an Acting Justice of the Civil Court of the City of New York (January, 1982 through December, 1985), Judge Saxe also served by interim designation, in per diem assignments, as a Full-time Acting Justice of the Supreme Court.
From January, 1986 to February, 1990 Judge Saxe served as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court, New York County in IAS Part 18. He served in that capacity from the inception of the IAS System, first in a New York City Part and thereafter (November, 1988) in a General Part.
On January 10, 1990 Governor Mario M. Cuomo appointed Justice Saxe to an interim vacancy on the Supreme Court. That appointment was confirmed by the New York State Senate on February 27, 1990.
In November, 1990 Justice Saxe was elected to a fourteen (14) year term as a Justice of the Supreme Court, First Judicial District. He was endorsed by the Democratic, Republican, Liberal and Conservative Parties. As a Supreme Court Justice, he was assigned the Supreme Court, Civil Term in a Matrimonial Part followed by a General Trial Part. In May, 1997, he was assigned to the Supreme Court, Criminal Term, Part 84.
In 1998 Governor Mario M. Cuomo appointed Judge Saxe as an Associate Justice to the Appellate Division, First Department where he remained until stepping down from the bench, in March of 2017, after 19 years to join the law firm, Morrison Cohen as a Partner.
Judge Saxe, one of the most prolific and frequently cited judges in the State Judiciary, authored about 900 decisions in his career, many of which received front page coverage in the New York Law Journal and the Official State Reporter where he was a member of the Committee on Opinions representing the Appellate Division, First Department. His articles and essays were frequently published in the New York Law Journal as well as the New York State Bar Association Journal, the American Bar Association Journal, Trial Lawyers Quarterly and the National Law Journal.
Judge Saxe was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Baruch College of the City University of New York for more than 30 years. In May, 2005 he received a Certificate of Appreciation and Recognition awarded by the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College of the City University of New York for his long and distinguished service.
Over his judicial career he received many awards including the Meritorious Service Award from the New York County Lawyers’ Association in 1990, the Harlan Fiske Stone Memorial Award from the New York City Trial Lawyers in 2002 for “Outstanding contribution to American Jurisprudence,” he was admitted to membership in The Society of Benchers in 2002 in recognition of his “outstanding contribution to the profession of law and to the welfare of the School of Law of Case Western Reserve University,” and in 2014 he was awarded the Benjamin N. Cardozo Award by the Jewish Lawyers Guild at its 39th Annual Dinner.
Judge Saxe resides with his wife and two daughters in New York City.
* This biography was written by Leslie Guevara, Justice Saxe’s secretary from 2003 to 2013.
Other source material: “First Department’s David Saxe Leaving Bench for Morrison Cohen,” New York Law Journal, February 14, 2017.