Your Honor

Courthouse named after Richard J. McCord, JD ’80

By Andrea McCaffrey November 11, 2023

Judge Richard McCord seated on the bench named in his honor.

One of the longest-serving elected judges in New York’s Nassau County, Richard J. McCord, JD ’80, will have his name and distinguished career immortalized on the City of Glen Cove Courthouse he presided over for more than three decades.

To commemorate his 34 years of service to the city, including seven years as an associate judge and 27 years as an elected judge, the Glen Cove City Council unanimously passed a resolution in December 2022 to rename its courthouse the Richard J. McCord City of Glen Cove Courthouse.

“I was elected to my first term commencing on January 1, 1995, and that happened to be the first day that the courthouse officially opened for business. I was the only elected judge to sit on that bench until my retirement on January 1, 2023,” said McCord. “For both me and my family, it is a tremendous honor to have the city’s courthouse named for me.”

Born and raised in Glen Cove, McCord has established deep roots in the city he oversaw as a five-time elected judge.

“For more than 40 years, I've been serving in this community where I was born, where my wife was born, and where my wife’s parents were born,” said McCord. “The population of Glen Cove is very diverse, but the relationships that I have within this community have helped me to be a better judge and truly understand the needs of its residents.”

It is that deep commitment to the community that underscored his judicial career and inspired him in 2000 to launch Teen Court. Over the past 20 years, Glen Cove’s Teen Court has garnered state and national attention for its hands-on approach to educating high school students about the judicial system.

“I was becoming very concerned with the fact that I couldn't get through to these kids standing in front of my bench, these young members of our community, because they were so afraid of the judicial system.”

While earning high school credit, Teen Court students can actively participate in real case trials involving their peer offenders. Under the supervision of their advisers, the students alternate as judge, juror, prosecution and defense throughout each trial period.

Building off his long-time motto that “education is the best form of crime prevention,” Teen Court was designed to help the next generation develop a familiarity with the court system while learning first-hand the repercussions of violating the law. The positive impact inspired other courts throughout the county to implement similar programs.

With a professional reputation for being tough yet fair, it was McCord’s great uncle Thomas DeBellis who inspired him to pursue a career in law. DeBellis served as an administrative law judge in New York and worked for Thomas Dewey, the 47th governor of New York and two-time Republican nominee for president in the 1940s.

“Growing up, he always impressed me with his intelligence and how articulate he was about so many things. He was able to simplify the law for us to understand," said McCord. "He was always proud to be an attorney and would tell us that the practice of law was an honorable profession. By my early teens, I knew I was going to be an attorney."

McCord attended Columbia University before pursuing his law degree at Bridgeport Law School and graduating from Quinnipiac's School of Law in 1980. Over the years, McCord has returned to his alma mater to participate in School of Law lectures and Business Law Club events, where he shares his expertise in complex business negotiations, commercial litigation matters and bankruptcy law. Though officially retired from the bench, McCord remains active as a partner with the Long Island-based firm of Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman LLP, where he serves as co-chair of the Bankruptcy and Creditor RightYours Practice Group.

When it comes to personal legacy, he hopes his name will represent all that is honorable in judicial law for generations to come. For him, inspiring a fair judicial system means more than creating a positive professional reputation; the community impact is personal. He will remain active in his hometown with his wife of 35 years, Maryann, and their daughters, Courtney and Amanda, along with their families.

"I'd like my legacy to be that I served the community fairly and impartially," said McCord. "I found that people just want to be heard. And whether they win or lose, they should always feel like they were treated fairly.”

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