Amalya L. Kearse '59

Alumnae Achievement Awards 1981

Amalya L. Kearse '59
Judge, US Court of Appeals


Amalya Kearse, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District in New York, graduated from Wellesley College in 1959. Although she majored in philosophy, she took a course in international law that sparked her desire to become a trial lawyer. She graduated from the University of Michigan Law School cum laude, after having argued in moot court and served as editor of the Law Review, and soon accepted a position at the prestigious Wall Street law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed in 1962. She was named a partner at the firm in 1969, and since 1973, she was in charge of the firm’s hiring committee.

In 1979, Judge Kearse was named to the federal court by President Carter, and she is the first woman to be appointed to that position. Judge Kearse is a member of the American Law Institute and has served as the chairman of the conduct and ethics committee of the New York Bar Association.

In addition to being an accomplished lawyer, Judge Kearse is an accomplished bridge player. She was the National Women’s Pairs Bridge Champion in 1971 and 1972, and she has described her attachment to bridge as “a rather consuming hobby.” She is the author and translator of several books and articles about bridge, including Bridge Conventions Complete and Bridge at Your Fingertips. She translated Championship Bridge from French and was the editor of the third edition of the Official Encyclopedia of Bridge. In 2004, she reported that she had been elected to the American Contract Bridge League Hall of Fame.


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