Former United States District Court Judge Noel L. Hillman Returns to Private Practice to Lead Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice at Gibbons


March 1, 2024

Gibbons P.C. is pleased to announce that the Hon. Noel L. Hillman (Ret.) has joined the firm to lead its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practice. Judge Hillman, who spent 18 years as a United States District Court Judge for the District of New Jersey, will practice from Gibbons’s Philadelphia, Newark, and New York offices. Judge Hillman will also provide counsel in the firm’s expanding White Collar & Investigations Group.

“After nearly two decades as a federal judge, I am excited to return to private practice, at Gibbons. The firm’s knowledge, proficiency, and experience in ADR has helped a broad range of clients avoid costly litigation. I look forward to working with Gibbons’s other skilled ADR attorneys and the White Collar & Investigations Group to raise the bar even higher,” said Judge Hillman, adding, “I am thrilled to join Gibbons whose namesake, John J. Gibbons, personified integrity, leadership, scholarship, and compassion both as a judge and a lawyer. He was an inspiration to all who knew him. I hope to honor his legacy in my time at the firm.”

Seasoned litigators in Gibbons’s standalone ADR practice represent parties at every level and forum of the dispute resolution process. The firm’s ADR attorneys are committed to providing flexible and cost-effective legal services, including as mediators, arbitrators, and special masters, to manage all forms of disputes, from the relatively simple to the complex, in construction litigation, employment and labor relations, products liability and securities class actions, intellectual property, and antitrust. Whether acting as a neutral facilitating settlement, as an arbitrator, or in a quasi-judicial role as special master, compliance monitor, or bankruptcy examiner, Judge Hillman will enhance the ADR practice’s superlative judicial resources, which include James R. Zazzali, former Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Judge Hillman was appointed to the U.S. District Court in 2006 by President George W. Bush after receiving the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary’s highest ranking (“Unanimously Well-Qualified”) and unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate (98-0). His appointment followed a storied career in the Department of Justice (DOJ), culminating in his service as Chief of the DOJ Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section (PIN) in Washington, DC, where he spent five years and oversaw DOJ’s anti-corruption, election crimes, and campaign finance prosecutions nationwide. As Chief of PIN, he led some of DOJ’s most impactful and sensitive criminal prosecutions. As a senior career prosecutor, he played important leadership and policy roles at DOJ including: Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division; Advisor to the Election Assistance Commission; Counsel to the Integrity Committee of the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, overseeing inspectors general; and as a member of the FBI’s Criminal Undercover Operations Review Committee, providing advice to senior FBI management in their most sensitive criminal investigations.

Prior to these positions, from 1992-2001, he held numerous roles as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey: Trial Attorney, Campaign Finance Task Force; Customs Crimes Coordinator; Acting Attorney-in-Charge, Camden; and Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. Judge Hillman twice received the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys’ Director’s Award, DOJ’s highest award honoring line prosecutors, and was also honored with the Attorney General’s Award for Fraud Prevention and the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Leadership in Law Enforcement. As a judge, he chaired the Third Circuit Model Civil Jury Instructions Committee and the District of New Jersey’s Criminal Law Committee and served on the Third Circuit Committee on Re-Entry Courts and the U.S. Courts’ COVID-19 National Task Force. He has tried or presided over nearly 100 civil and criminal jury and bench trials to verdict. As a judge, lawyer, professor, and author, he has become an authority in the areas of evidence, criminal and civil procedure, employment law, constitutional law, national security law, antitrust, intellectual property, trial advocacy, public corruption, campaign finance, money laundering, securities fraud, customs law, arms and export control, AI and sentencing policy, music publishing, copyright, and defamation.

Judge Hillman has significant international experience in criminal law. At DOJ, he was a delegate to Global Forums III and IV, anti-corruption conferences in Korea and Brazil; a member of the U.S. negotiation team for the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Vienna, Austria; and on DOJ training missions to Ukraine and Italy. As a judge and State Department-designated anti-corruption expert, he assisted in the Council of Europe’s compliance efforts under the Group of States against Corruption treaty, co-authoring reports on member-states Ireland and Turkey; lectured on judicial integrity at the Central and Eastern European Law Institute in the Czech Republic; and advised public and private entities in Costa Rica, Serbia, and Paraguay.

Before public service, Judge Hillman was an associate with Lord Day & Lord, Barrett Smith in New York, New York, after clerking for the Hon. Maryanne Trump Barry, then a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of New Jersey. Judge Hillman holds a J.D., cum laude from Seton Hall Law School, where he was an Articles Editor of the Law Review; LL.M.s in Trade Regulation (antitrust and intellectual property) and Judicial Studies from NYU Law School and Duke Law Schools, respectively; and a B.A. in English from Monmouth University. Admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, Judge Hillman is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the American Law Institute (ALI), acting as Advisor to ALI’s forthcoming Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Defamation and Privacy. He has been an adjunct faculty member of both the University of Pennsylvania Carey and Rutgers Law Schools, teaching federal criminal law, and taught trial advocacy at Emory University School of Law and the National Advocacy Center, DOJ’s permanent training facility in Columbia, South Carolina.

“Judge Hillman brings an invaluable depth of experience to the firm’s ADR and White-Collar practices. He will help us greatly broaden our reach and build on the stellar services we offer our clients,” said Peter J. Torcicollo, Gibbons Managing Director. “His judicial perspective, in particular, will provide extraordinarily helpful insight.”