Immediate Past President
NEW YORK STATE COURT OF CLAIMS
Judge Walter Rivera was nominated by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the New York State Court of Claims on June 14, 2017 and was confirmed by the New York State Senate on June 19, 2017.
Judge Rivera was born in New York City and grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, where his parents had relocated to from Puerto Rico. He attended the New York City public schools until the 9th grade when he was selected as A Better Chance Scholar, which enabled him to attend a boarding school now known as The Governor’s Academy located in Byfield, Massachusetts. He graduated in 1973 and then attended Columbia College of Columbia University. He graduated from Columbia College in three years in 1976. He obtained his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School in 1979.
Judge Rivera began his legal career at the New York State Court of Appeals in Albany, New York, where he served as a Law Clerk on the Central Legal Research Staff. Thereafter, he was appointed as an Assistant Attorney General of the State of New York by former Attorney General Robert Abrams and served as a trial attorney in the Claims Bureau in NYC until he entered private practice in January 1985. Over the next 32 years, Rivera continued to serve a variety of private, not-for-profit and municipal clients and maintained a private practice in New York City’s financial district for many years.
In 2011, Judge Rivera was elected to a four-year term as a Town Justice of the Greenburgh Town Court in Westchester County. In 2015, he was reelected to a second four-year term and served there until his appointment to the New York State Court of Claims in June of 2017. He also serves as an Acting Supreme Court Justice in the 9th Judicial District, which includes Westchester County.
Judge Rivera is an Adjunct Law Professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and has served as a Site Inspector at various law schools as part of the American Bar Association’s law school accreditation process. He is the immediate past Co-Chair of the Law Practice Management Committee of the Westchester County Bar Association and was elected as President of the statewide Latino Judges Association at the annual meeting held on June 16, 2021. Judge Rivera is a founding member and serves on the Governing Board of the recently formed Hudson Valley Hispanic Bar Association. He is a member of the Chief Judge’s ADR Advisory Committee.
Throughout his legal career, Judge Rivera has remained passionate about mentoring countless high school, college and law students about the prospects of joining the legal profession. He has also taught at the College of Westchester and is a frequent lecturer on topics related to the legal system.
Judge Rivera is married to Isabel Figueroa, Esq. He is the proud father of three adult children and also has four grandchildren.