“An immigrant who reached the top ranks of her profession” (Saxon).
Justice Myriam J. Altman was born Myriam Jarblum on April 12, 1939 in Antwerp, Beligum. In 1941, the Nazi occupation forced her family to flee the country. They escaped through Vichy France, Spain, and Portugal until they were able to take a refugee ship to Cuba and settle in the United States when Altman was seven years old. Altman graduated from Barnard College in 1959 and received her law degree from New York University School of Law in 1963, the same year she was admitted to the Bar.
Altman worked in private practice and as a law secretary in court before joining the bench in 1978, when she was appointed a Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York. The following year, she became an Acting Supreme Court Justice for the First Judicial District. In 1987, Altman was elected a Supreme Court Justice for the First Judicial District, where she served in its Civil Term until 1994, when she was promoted to the Appellate Division, Second Department by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo.
A leader in her field, Altman chaired the Appellate Division’s In-House Continuing Legal Education Committee, the Litigation Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and co-chaired the Office of Court Administration Committee on Case Management Education. Altman was a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the New York State Bar’s Standing Committee on Civil Practice Law and Rules, the Commercial Courts Task Force, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Ethics Commission of the Unified Court System, the New York Women’s Bar Association, Metropolitan Women’s Bar, the New York State Association of Women Judges and the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. Additionally, she authored and lectured extensively on topics including appellate practice, commercial law, ethics, and civil procedure.
She was married to State Supreme Court Justice Herbert I. Altman, with whom she had three children, Michael, Daniel, and Sarah, and nine grandchildren. Complications from myelofibrosis caused Altman to retire from the bench in 2005. She died just days later in New York on January 29, 2005 at the age of 65.
Appellate Division, Second Department, 100th Anniversary. 25. The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York, 1996. Web. 24 Aug. 2011. http://www.courts.state.ny.us/history/pdf/Library/Courts/App_Div_Sec_Dept_100th_Anniv.pdf.
“Myriam J Altman.” Biographical information sheets. Appellate Division, Second Department Library, Brooklyn.
Saxon, Wolfgang. “Myriam J. Altman, 65, New York State Appeals Court Judge.” New York Times (1923-Current file): B7. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2007). Feb 04 2005. Web. 17 Aug. 2011 http://search.proquest.com/docview/92986555?accountid=8012.