White Plains attorney Philip M. Halpern has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as a federal judge.
The Senate approved his nomination Feb. 12 by a 77-19 vote, including support from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and opposition by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Halpern, who lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, has strong connections to Westchester County. He will receive $208,000 as a judge.
He graduated from Pace University Law School – now the Elisabeth Haub School of Law – in 1980. He teaches a class as an adjunct professor, titled Anatomy of a Trial: The burden of Proof, and he stated on a Senate questionnaire that he would like to continue teaching at Pace upon confirmation.
He was managing partner of Collier Halpern & Newberg LLP in White Plains for 36 years.
And Fox News legal analyst and court show “judge” Jeanine Pirro, a former Westchester judge and district attorney, recommended Halpern to President Trump for the post.
Trump nominated Halpern in 2018 to fill a vacant seat in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Halpern has never held a judicial office, but after graduation from Pace he clerked for federal judge Ben Cooper.
Most of his career has focused on complex business and commercial litigation, according to the Senate questionnaire, representing plaintiffs and defendants in accounting, banking, finance, entertainment, insurance, labor and real estate and other industries. Most of his work has been in the state courts and about 40% in federal courts. He also has served as a mediator and arbitrator.
Halpern was employed in recent years as a manager of Knox LLC, a Las Vegas investment company, and he has held board positions with FluGen Inc. in Wisconsin, Harrison-Rye Realty Corp., Key Bank and Shine Medical Technologies in Wisconsin.
He has held positions with several nonprofit organizations, including Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, The Mancheski Foundation in Long Island, Mayacoo Lakes Country Club in Florida, Metropolitan Golf Association, Montel Williams MS Foundation in New York City and Westchester Country Club.
Halpern was unable to quantify his pro bono work, but stated he has given substantial time to disadvantaged individuals and those who cannot afford to pay for legal help. Having worked as a club cleaner and golf shop manager at an Eastchester golf club from ages 12 to 23, he has made a point of providing legal services to greenskeepers, caddies and golf pros.
He has received many awards over the years, including the 2007 Pace Setter award from the Westchester County Business Journal.
Halpern is registered as a Republican, according to The Vetting Room website, but has donated to Democrat and Republican political candidates, and he has a “fairly bipartisan political history.”
He states on the questionnaire that he was recommended to Trump by “Judge Jeanine Pirro,” who was a TV judge beginning in 2008 with a courtroom show on the CW Television Network and then “Justice with Judge Jeanine” on Fox News.
Pirro served as an actual judge from 1991 to 1993, and was the first woman to do so in Westchester County. She also became the county’s first woman district attorney, serving from 1994 to 2005.
Pirro is a staunch supporter of the president and a fierce critic of Democrats. In 2018, Trump posed with her and her new book, “Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy.”
Her ex-husband, Albert Pirro, was once Halpern’s law partner. Albert Pirro left the firm in 2000, according to The Vetting Room, after he was convicted of tax fraud, and Halpern later represented Pirro in a state bar action.