Hon. Nelson E. Canter

Contact Details
Tel: 914.948.3011
Fax: 914.948.3066
Email: ncanter@canterlawfirm.com


  • Seton Hall University School of Law (Newark, NJ), (J.D.) 1987
  • American University (Washington, DC), (B.A.) 1983.
  • University of London -  School of Economics, 1982 with honors.

Bar Admissions and Certifications:

  • Connecticut State Bar: 2013
  • New Jersey State Bar: 1987
  • New York State Bar: 1988
  • United States District Court:
    • District of New Jersey (1987)
    • Southern District of New York (1988)
    • Eastern District of New York (1992)
    • District of Connecticut (1993)
    • Western District of Michigan (1994)
    • Northern District of New York (2010)
    • Eastern District of Wisconsin (2012)
    • Western District of Wisconsin (2014)
  • United States Court of Appeals:
    • Fifth Circuit (1997 - Inactive Status)
    • Second Circuit (1998)
  • United States Supreme Court (1995)

Litigation Experience:

  • Assistant District Attorney in Westchester County, New York (1987 - 1992). Tried over 75 cases to verdict in Mt. Vernon and Yonkers City Courts, coordinated extensive undercover investigations while he was in the Narcotics Bureau, and presented over 150 cases to the Westchester County Grand Jury.
  • In 1992, Judge Canter entered private practice and joined former Assistant United States Attorney William I. Aronwald in various high-profile criminal defense matters including People v. Carolyn Warmus, which the press dubbed the "fatal attraction murder trial."  Judge Canter handled hundreds f criminal cases and continues to engage in criminal defense in state and federal court. 
  • In 1994, defended  domestic and foreign manufacturers in complex product liability litigation throughout the United States.  Such cases involved massive fires and traumatic explosions, wrongful death, and large-loss property subrogation.  Judge Canter has been lead counsel in hundreds of complex subrogation cases throughout the country involving major fires, explosions, building collapses, crane malfunctions, construction defects, heavy equipment failures, energy losses, turbine failures, fire suppression system failures, product liability and a myriad of complex commercial disputes.  

Public Service:

  • 2012 - 2015:  Elected to a four-year term as Harrison Town Justice for the Town of Harrison, New York.  Judge Canter presided over all civil and criminal proceedings over which the Court had jurisdiction in one of the busiest local courts in New York State.
  • 2016 to present:  Deputy Town Attorney  for the TOWN OF HARRISONa part-time post which allows Judge Canter to continue his national litigation practice.  As Deputy Town Attorney, Judge Canter handles complex land use issues, tort and contract claims against the Town, contract negotiations with vendors, employment and environmental  issues and related litigation, oversees outside counsel, provides advice to department heads, the Mayor and the Board of Trustees, and handles a wide range of general municipal law matters.
  • June 9, 2016 to present:  Westchester County Fire Investigators Association.  First responders perspective on fire and explosion losses.
  •  1987  to  1992:   Assistant District Attorney, WESTCHESTER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE.  Tried over 75 cases, engaged in over 500 adversarial felony and suppression hearings, coordingated covert investigations and presented over 150 cases to the Westchester County Grand Jury.  Assigned to Mt. Vernon City Court, Yonkers City Court, Motions and Appeals, and the Narcotics Bureau.
  • 2002 to 2004:  Appointed by Govenor Pataki to a  2-year term as a Member of the Management Advisory Board for the  MTA OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL.
  •  1978 to the present:   Active Member in the PURCHASE FIRE DEPARTMENT and currently a  Life Member.  Lieut. in  1999, Captain in 2001 and again in  2002, Asst. Chief in 2003, and has been a member of the Board of Directors for over 20 years.
Serving the Business Community:
  • Outside General Counsel to manufacturers and distributors and provides advice on a wide variety of issues ranging from commercial disputes, breach of contract cases involving the uniform Commercial Code, sensitive employment issues, environmental issues, intellectual property, trade secret protection and enforcement, preparation of distribution/supply/license agreements, analysis of antitrust and anti-competitive behavior, and litigation before local, county, state, and federal agencies.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution.  Judge Canter is a member of the Mediation Panel of the United States District Court (S.D.N.Y.) and regularly handles private mediations of complex 
  • Construction litigation.  Represent owners, contractors, subcontractors in construction related disputes.
  • Land use and Real Estate related litigation.
  • Aviation  transactions involving the aqcuisitiuon of and leasing of private jets.
 Judge Canter blends his law enforcement and prosecution skills, first-responder leadership and training,  insurance background and judicial temperament to ensure consistent, outstanding results for each of the Firm's clients.

  • Judge Canter holds the highest rating "AV" by the Martindale-Hubbell Attorney Peer Review Rating System.  

Memberships and Appointments:

  • New York State Delegate to the Attorney Advisory Committee for the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) 
  • Guest Instructor at IAAI’s annual Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony Course
  • Member, National Association of Subrogation Professionals(NASP).  Guest Speaker on fire and explosion litigation at their Annual Conferences.
  • Guest Speaker at the Propert Loss Research Bureau (PLRB)
  • Westchester County Association of Fire Marshals & Inspectors - Legal Advisor.
  • Life Member of the Ranaqua Foundation, a fund-raising organization affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Executive Board Member of the Westchester County Arson Task Force

Teaching Experience:

  • Adjunct Professor, Political Science and Legal Studies Department, Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York.
  • Guest Instructor, International Association of Arson Investigators' Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony Course, Albany, New York.
  • Shihou-Ken Karate, Instructor and 3rd degree Black Belt

Intellectual Property:

  • Co-inventor of the Dehydration Detection Device and Method of Use. Patent holder of United States Patent No. 6,750,007, issued June 15, 2004. As a patent holder, Mr. Canter understands many of the issues involving misappropriation of trade secrets and infringement of intellectual property rights and handles intellectual property litigation.

Insurance Experience:

  • NYS Property/Casualty and Life/Accident/Health insurance broker.  Judge Canter understands the nuances of complex insurance coverage issues, the underwriting and adjustment processes, and the dynamic and sensitive relationships among insurance carriers, their insureds, third-party administrators, public and independent adjusters, and experts required in the adjustment of First and Third Party claims.
  • This experience greatly assists Judge Canter in his representation of insurance carriers in first-party claims involving  arson and fraud.  Judge Canter utilizes his in depth of knowledge of insurance contracts and law, his extensive litigation background, his prosecution and judicial experience in conducting comprehensive investigations for insurance carriers regarding  suspicious insurance claims. 


Fire Training and Certifications:

  • Arson Awareness and Fire Behavior
  • Origin and Cause Determination
  • Confined Space Awareness and Safety
  • Emergency Vehicle Operation
  • Emergency Response to Terrorism
    (U.S. Dept. of Justice)
  • firemenIncident Command System
  • Radio Operations and Procedures
  • S.C.B.A.
  • S.C.U.B.A.
  • Ladder Operations
  • Pump Operations