Ariel Belen

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

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

Case Manager
Burton King
T: 212-607-2758
F: 212-751-4099
620 Eighth Ave., 34th Floor, New York, NY 10018


A retired Justice of the Appellant Division of the New York Supreme Court, former Commercial Division Justice and Administrative Judge of the Supreme Court in Kings County, Justice Belen co-authored New York Trial Notebook, a comprehensive trial practice treatise. He was an instructor at the New York State Judicial Institute. Justice Belen has a wealth of experience in managing and evaluating civil disputes. Based upon his administrative, trial and appellate experience, he is well suited for appointment as a Special Master/Discovery Referee and for other court related referrals.

Representative Matters 

  • Temporary Trustee appointed to marshal and manage the assets of a multi-million dollar trust pending complex litigation in the New York Commercial Division
  • Special Referee under CPLR 4317 appointed to hear and determine damages in a legal malpractice action
  • Neutral evaluation of the merit of an appeal from a multi-million dollar verdict in a medical malpractice action
  • Special Referee under CPLR 4317 appointed to supervise a forensic review of multiple computer devices and to hear and report whether privileged communications were unlawfully obtained through the use of spyware
  • Special Discovery Master appointed to supervise discovery in a complex commercial litigation pending in the New York Commercial Division
  • Special Master selected to conduct privilege reviews in a complex commercial arbitration involving a dispute between institutional investors and managers of a large hedge fund in dissolution
  • Select Honors 
    • Chambers Band Two Mediator, Chambers and Partners, 2022
    • Recipient, Cornell University Franklin H. T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award, 2022
    • 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, Task Force on Judicial Selection, Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA)
  • Professional Activities
    • Co-chair, Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section, HNBA, 2020-present
    • Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators (CCA), 2020-present
    • 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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