WBASNY Congratulates Honorable Deborah H. Karalunas on Her Appointment as Administrative Judge for the Fifth Judicial District

WBASNY Congratulates Honorable Deborah H. Karalunas on Her Appointment as Administrative Judge for the Fifth Judicial District

New York, NY, Friday, June 30, 2023 – The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) proudly congratulates the Honorable Deborah H. Karalunas on her appointment as the Administrative Judge for the Fifth Judicial District. With this appointment, Judge Karalunas becomes the first female Administrative Judge for the Fifth Judicial District, marking a significant milestone in the pursuit of gender equality within the legal profession.

Chief Administrative Judge Joseph A. Zayas, with the approval of Chief Judge Rowan D. Wilson, made the appointment, effective July 10, 2023. As Administrative Judge, Judge Karalunas will assume the crucial responsibility of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the trial courts in the Fifth Judicial District, which encompasses Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego counties.

Judge Karalunas’ remarkable career and exceptional leadership skills have earned her this well-deserved appointment. In 2002, she was elected as a Supreme Court Justice in the 5th Judicial District, presiding over various civil cases related to commercial matters, personal injury, medical malpractice, intellectual property, constitutional law, and environmental issues. In 2007, she was appointed as the Presiding Justice of the Supreme Court, Commercial Division, Onondaga County. Judge Karalunas also serves as the Chair of the 5th Judicial District Women in the Courts Committee and the 5th Judicial District Library Board. She has served as President and member of the Board of Directors for the Central New York Women’s Bar Association. Furthermore, she frequently delivers lectures for state and local bar associations on a wide range of substantive law and trial practice topics.

Commenting on this significant announcement, WBASNY President Dawn A. Lott stated, “WBASNY has long championed the cause of women attorneys holding leadership positions. I am immensely proud of Judge Karalunas and have full confidence in her ability to excel in this role. Her appointment sends a powerful message of encouragement to aspiring women in the legal profession, inspiring them to pursue judicial careers and contribute to advancing our justice system. By embracing gender diversity in leadership roles, we take a meaningful step towards ensuring that our courts reflect the communities they serve and that justice is truly accessible to all.”

WBASNY applauds Judge Karalunas for her unwavering dedication to the courts she serves and extends its deepest gratitude for her commitment. We wish her the very best in her new role and eagerly anticipate continuing our collaborative efforts to further WBASNY’s mission of ensuring the fair administration of justice.


The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) is the professional membership organization of choice for nearly 4,000 attorneys throughout New York State and the largest statewide women’s bar association in the country. For more than four decades, WBASNY has been a singularly important resource for women lawyers, providing professional networking, continuing legal education programming, leadership training, and advocacy for the rights of women, children, and families. Through involvement with WBASNY’s 20 regional chapters and its 40-plus substantive law committees, WBASNY’s members collaborate with one another on a variety of issues and perform public and community service, in furtherance of its mission to promote the advancement of the status of women in society and women in the legal profession; to promote the fair and equal administration of justice; and to act as a unified voice for its members with respect to issues of statewide, national and international significance to women generally and women attorneys in particular. WBASNY holds United Nations NGO status with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, and Special Consultative status in association with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). WBASNY is also a founding member of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.