Press Release Article


Date: Nov 02, 2015
Press Release Number: 173-2015

Agency’s new top lawyer Hon. Richard J. Holwell is a former federal judge and law firm partner whose legal career spans nearly 45 years

The Port Authority announced today that the Honorable Richard J. Holwell – a former federal judge with nearly 45 years of experience in the legal profession – has been appointed the agency’s interim General Counsel.  Judge Holwell, a partner of the law firm of Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP, will serve as the bi-state agency’s interim General Counsel while a nationwide search is conducted for a permanent successor to former Port Authority General Counsel Darrell Buchbinder, who retired recently after more than 35 years of service.

In his new position, Judge Holwell will oversee the agency’s Law Department, composed of 65 lawyers and outside counsel who handle litigation, contract, employment, finance, leases, public securities and other legal matters, while maintaining his practice at his firm.

“Judge Holwell is one of the most respected attorneys in our region, having served with distinction on the federal bench following a long and eminent career in private practice,” said Port Authority Chairman John Degnan.  “We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Judge Holwell’s legal stature and broad experience to lead our Law Department during this period of transition.”

“We are pleased to have a world-class lawyer willing to help this agency as it returns to its core transportation mission and continues to navigate through ongoing reform initiatives,” said Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler.  “We are extremely confident that Judge Holwell’s experience and dedication to the practice of law will be a great asset to all of us.”

“During an illustrious legal career of near a half century, Judge Holwell is known in legal circles as a brilliant, thoughtful jurist and practitioner able both to admirably handle highly complex legal matters and manage lawyers,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye.  “He will also play an important role in the search for a permanent Port Authority General Counsel.”

“It is an honor to be asked to lead the agency’s Law Department during such a critical time of reform,” said Judge Holwell.  “I look forward to working with the Board of Commissioners to promote a culture of transparency and ethical conduct at the Port Authority.”

Judge Holwell began his legal career in 1971 in private practice, becoming a partner at White & Case LLP and a member of that firm’s Management Board.  During his 32 years at the firm, he specialized in securities, complex commercial litigation, antitrust, bankruptcy and financial market matters, as well as civil and criminal investigations.

On September 17, 2003, following his nomination by former President George W. Bush, Judge Holwell was confirmed by the United States Senate for a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

During his nine years on the federal bench, Judge Holwell handled several high profile civil cases, including a 2008 ruling that New York City could lawfully require fast food restaurants to post calorie information on their menus.  Judge Holwell also presided over notable criminal cases involving organized crime, terrorism and financial fraud, including the insider trading trial of Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam.

During his time as acting General Counsel, Judge Holwell will remain a partner at his firm and will continue to serve the firm’s clients.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit

Web Site Disclaimer    |    Privacy Statement
© 2001-CurrentYear The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. All Rights Reserved.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
(212) 435-7000  •  4 World Trade Center, 150 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007