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Ariel Belen

Hon. Ariel E. Belen (Ret.), FCIArb

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee/Special Master, Neutral Evaluator

Case Manager
Shakiya Wright-McDuffie
T: 212-607-2761
F: 212-751-4099
620 8th Ave, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10018

Ariel E. Belen is available to conduct cases virtually. JAMS is equipped to provide virtual ADR services on a variety of online platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, and more.


Hon. Ariel E. Belen (Ret.), FCIArb joined JAMS in 2012 after nearly 18 years of judicial service to the State of New York in both the trial and appellate parts. Justice Belen helped create the Commercial Division in Kings County (Brooklyn) and then presided over complex commercial cases from 2002 to 2005. He sat in the Appellate Division, Second Department before joining JAMS.

Justice Belen presided over many construction matters as both trial and appellate judge. He has continued to work in the construction practice area as a mediator and arbitrator at JAMS.

Justice Belen is fluent in Spanish and can effectively communicate with Spanish speaking litigants and clients.

Download Justice Belen's biography in Spanish

Representative Matters

Since joining JAMS in 2012, Judge Belen has acted as a mediator or arbitrator in a wide range of construction disputes, including:

  • Construction
    • Arbitrated construction defect matter involving damages resulting from a burst water pipe in a landmark hotel converted into luxury condominiums
    • Mediated construction defect case involving the installation of an HVAC system and the damage caused by allegedly faulty functionality
    • Mediated case involving claims arising from a freeze-up and water leakage of a pipe located in an apartment building
    • Mediated construction defect case involving a dispute between a major hotel conglomerate and the manufacturers of installed heat pump units in guest rooms
    • Mediated breach of contract construction matter in connection with the construction of a nine-story condominium building
    • Mediated collapse of commercial building during construction of an adjacent luxury hotel in lower Manhattan
    • Served as court appointed mediator in federal bankruptcy case related to the construction of a luxury skyscraper in midtown Manhattan
    • Mediated a class action lawsuit arising from Superstorm Sandy damages to waterfront property in lower Manhattan
    • Arbitrated first party insurance claims resulting from catastrophic Superstorm Sandy damages to a graphics and printing plant
  • Select Honors 
    • Latino Lawyer of the Year, Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County, 2019
    • New York State Bar Association Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, Tenth Anniversary Award, 2002
    • William Goldstein Memorial Award, Association of Law Secretaries of the Supreme and Surrogate’s Courts, 2007
    • Hon. John Carro Award for Judicial Excellence, Association of Judges of Hispanic Heritage, 2010
    • Puerto Rican Bar Association Award Recipient, 2007
    • Saint Thomas More Award, Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County, 2007
    • Jurist of the Year Award, Metropolitan Black Bar Association, 2005
  • Memberships
    • Member, Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts, June 2020-Present
    • Member, New York City Bar Association (NYCBA), International Commercial Disputes Committee, April 2018-Present
    • Co-Chair, New York State Bar Asssociation (NYSBA), Dispute Resolution Section Legislative Committee, April 2018-Present
    • Member, Judicial Task Force on the New York State Constitution, July 2016-Present
    • Member, CPR Advisory Council: International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution Panel of Distinguished Neutrals, 2013-Present
    • Member, Board of Advisors, Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, December 2015-Present
    • Chair, ADR Committee, New York County Lawyers Association, 2013-2016
    • Member, New York State Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh and Thirteenth Judicial Districts
    • Member, Committee on Character and Fitness, Appellate Division, First Department, Supreme Court of the State of New York
    • Member, Cornell University Committee on Alumni Trustee Nominations, 2013-2017
    • Vice Chair, Cornell University Council, 1998-2010
    • Life Member, Cornell University Council, 1996-Present
    • Member, New York State Bar Association, Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, Executive Committee
    • Member, Hispanic National Bar Association, Task Force on Judicial Selection
  • Professional Activities
    • Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS
    • Member, Judicial Task Force on the New York State Constitution, July 2016-Present
    • Fellow, Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center
    • Vice Chair, Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission on Minorities, New York State Unified Court System, 1998-2015
    • Founding Member, The Cervantes Society, 1996-Present
    • Member, Task Force to Implement the New York State Unified Court System’s Program on the Profession and the Courts Subcommittee on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Subcommittee on Part 130 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 1996-1997
    • Member, Cornell Latino Alumni Association
  • Publication
    • Co-author along with Edward Birnbaum and Carl Grasso, New York Trial Notebook, (James Publishing, 2008) (supplemented annually), an 850-page comprehensive practice treatise for the trial of a civil case in New York
  • Lectures and Teaching
    • Panelist, Civil CLE Program, "ADR in the Private Sector," Association of Law Secretaries to Supreme and Surrogates' Court, October 2019
    • Speaker, CLE Program, “Commercial Arbitration Training for Arbitrators and Counsel,” Dispute Resolution Section—New York State Bar Association, June 2019
    • Panelist, Global Pound Conference, Guatemala City 2017
    • Presented to the Federal Bar Council at the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, "Effective Techniques in Mediation Advocacy," March 2016
    • Presented to a delegation of attorneys from the Japanese Medical Malpractice Information Center, “Medical Malpractice Mediation in New York,” JAMS, 2014
    • Moderator, Constructive Perspectives,"Are New York's Construction Safety and Insurance Laws Serving the Public?", New York City Bar Association, March 2014
    • Moderator, CLE Program, "Effective Techniques in Mediation Advocacy," JAMS, February 2013
    • Speaker, "2013 CPLR Update: 2012-2013 Major Appellate Decisions," Colombian Lawyers Association, April 2013
    • Moderator, "Effective Techniques in Mediation Advocacy," Asian American Bar Association of New York, April 2013
    • Moderator, "Bootcamp for Lawyers: The Ultimate Trial Clinic," New York State Trial Lawyers Institute, May 2013
    • Served as a member of the New York State Unified Court System Civil Law Curriculum Development Committee and taught for many years at the New York State Judicial Institute
    • Cornell Extern and Shadow Programs and the Brooklyn Law School Judicial Clerkship Clinical Program. Clinical programs at Hofstra Law School, Brooklyn Law School, and St. John’s University Law School
  • Associate Justice, Appellate Division, Second Department, Supreme Court of the State of New York, 2008-2012
  • Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, 1995-2012
    • Administrative Judge, Civil Term, Supreme Court, Kings County, 2007-2008
    • Associate Justice, Appellate Term, Supreme Court, Second and Eleventh Judicial Districts, 2005-2012
    • Justice of the Commercial Division, Supreme Court of the State of New York, 2002-2005
  • Chief, Bronx Borough Office, City of New York Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, Tort Division, 1994-1995
  • Deputy Chief, Brooklyn Tort Division, City of New York Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, 1993-1994
  • Assistant Corporation Counsel, City of New York Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, 1990-1993
  • Supervising Attorney, Legal Aid Society of New York, Criminal Defense Division, 1986-1989
  • Criminal Trial Attorney, Legal Aid Society of New York, Criminal Defense Division, 1981-1986
  • J.D., with Specialization in International Legal Affairs, Cornell Law School, 1981
  • B.A., cum laude, Brooklyn College, 1978

Counsel Comments

    • "I have practiced throughout the nation for 38 years on both the plaintiff and defendant sides. Judge Belen is, unequivocally, the best mediator I have ever worked with. Judge has a quiet, graceful, low key, patient approach that gets the opposing sides gradually toward a resolution. During the process he makes sure the client is completely and totally heard. He makes sure that the experience is cathartic for the client. Judge Belen slowly, methodically, and tenaciously pulls the opposing sides together with his understated, compassionate approach. His style is not slick nor fancy. But, his approach is steeped with integrity; frankly, you find that you don’t want to disappoint him."

      - Insurance Coverage Attorney
    • "I have had the privilege of working with Judge Belen on several commercial mediations. During each mediation, he was incredibly well prepared, thoughtful, and creative. I have also recommended Judge Belen to numerous friends and colleagues who have all been very happy with his work ethic, demeanor, and results."

      - Commercial Litigator
    • "Judge Belen is the consummate professional and a master of his craft. He works tirelessly to resolve a case and educates himself as to the facts and evidence of the matters before him to an incredibly intimate level. In an extremely complex products liability matter with over ten (10) parties, Judge Belen worked to settle the case over the course of several months. His Honor kept working hard on the matter until it resolved for a settlement number that no one thought possible."

      - Products Liability Litigator



Practice Areas


Available worldwide


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