The office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the appointment of the Hon. Gerald J. Whalen as Presiding Justice for the Appellate Division, Fourth Department.
He replaces Justice Henry Scudder, who has reached mandatory retirement age.
Justice Whalen was elected New York State Supreme Court Justice in 2005 in the 8th Judicial District, and was appointed to the Appellate Division, Fourth Department in 2012. Before taking the bench he was in private practice for 21 years. He was a litigation partner with Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, where he served on the firm’s Diversity Committee and was its associate and hiring partner for the Buffalo office.
Justice Whalen was awarded the Trial Justice of the Year award by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, Western Region Affiliate, in 2012.
In a press release dated Thursday, the court praised Justice Whalen as a dedicated advocate to expanding the inclusiveness of the legal profession. He has been an adjunct professor at Canisius College and was a member of the Canisius Pre-Law Advisory Committee. For twenty-five years, Justice Whalen was a member of the Judge John J. Hillery Memorial Scholarship Foundation and was the Hillery Foundation’s Man of the Year in 1997. The Foundation provides scholarships for students in need.
Justice Whalen served as President of the Supreme Court Justices Association, Eighth Judicial District, in 2012, and has also served as Chair of the Bar Association of Erie County Judges’ Committee, and on the Fourth Department, Eighth Judicial District Committee on Character and Fitness. He has also lectured at SUNY Buffalo on Constitutional Law and is a frequent lecturer on civil matters at New York State and Erie County Bar Association events.
A Canisius graduate, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree there in 1979 and his Juris Doctor degree in 1983 from the SUNY Buffalo.
Announcing the appointment, Cuomo said in a press release: “Justice Whalen has always sought to uphold the principles of our justice system and ensure that every New Yorker is treated fairly before it. His strong legal background and even more impressive character is a prime example of what we look for on the bench.”
Justice Whalen said, “I am grateful to the Governor for this opportunity to serve. … I look forward to working with the exceptional Judges and staff in the Fourth Department as we continue providing the people of our state with fair, transparent and accessible courts.”