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  • New York


Peter J. Kiernan

Of Counsel

Peter J. Kiernan focuses his practice in public law, public finance, legislative matters, infrastructure development, and government relations. His credentials include more than 40 years in government service, private law practice, and real estate development/investment.


Government Service

Chair, New York State Law Revision Commission (2011 – current)

Counsel to the Governor of the State of New York (2008 –2010)

  • Managed legislative program of the executive branch;
  • Coordinated all judicial matters; managed major litigation, and directed relations with the state's Indian nations
  • Participated in all major gubernatorial decisions particularly with respect to the state's unprecedented revenue crisis
  • Successfully negotiated Rockefeller Drug Law Reforms, the Public Authorities Reform Act, the Tier V Pension Plan, and other landmark legislation

Special Counsel, Administration of Governor Mario Cuomo (1984)

  • Coordinated and directed the Westway State Park Project

Counsel to the Minority, New York State Senate (1978 – 1981)

  • Acted as Primary Advisor to New York State Senate Democrats on all financial, legal and legislative matters
  • Drafted the New York City Convention Center legislation and financing plan
  • Served as Senate's statutory observer to the Emergency Financial Control Board

Counsel to the Deputy Mayor for Finance, City of New York and Assistant
to the Mayor (1975 – 1977)

  • Position created in response to the extraordinary New York City fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s
  • Primary liaison to the U.S. Treasury with respect to the federal government/City of New York revolving loan program
  • Liaison to the Emergency Financial Control Board; member of the Mayor's Fiscal Crisis Management Team; and Mayor's Advisor on Mass Transit
  • Authored the Shinn Commission Pension Reform legislation, which completely restructured New York City's five actuarially funded pension systems

Private Law Practice

Various New York-Area Firms (1969 – 2008)

  • Lead counsel for commercial transaction financings, primarily involving enterprise, project, structured and municipal finance
  • Negotiated international joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions; conducted government relations at all levels
  • Represented publicly held entities in the United States, Mexico, France, UK and privately held entities in Europe, the Middle East and South America
  • Practiced corporate law and commercial litigation


"Strengthening the Security of Public Sector Defined Benefit Plans," (co-author) The Blinken Report, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government (January 2014)

"Possible path to recovery," Times Union (August 5, 2013)

"Amending The Not-For-Profit Corporation Law – The Beginning" (co-author), New York Law Journal (July 23, 2013)

"Public Pension Politics Must Change," Times Union (Nov. 20, 2012)

“An Analysis of Hydrofracturing Gubernatorial Decision Making,” Albany Government Law Review, vol. 5, issue 3 (2012)

Reforming Capital Budgeting to Make PLANYC Effective, (co-author) (2007)

"Report on the Financing of the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Development in New York City," New York City Bar Association, (2007)

New York's Public Authorities: Promoting Accountability and Taming Debt, (co-author) (2006)

"Administrative Justice Reform," (op–ed), Gotham Gazette, (October 2005)

"Are Non Partisan Elections Right for New York City?" New York City Bar Association, (2003)

"New York City Fiscal Crisis," (case analysis) Harvard University, (1982)

Speeches and Presentations

"Hydrofracking — Balancing the 3 E's — Environment‚ Energy and Economic Development," The 2012 Warren M. Anderson Legislative Breakfast Seminar Series (February 28, 2012) New York, NY

"Cultural Institutions Round Table," (panelist) The Bond Buyer's Second Annual 501(c)3 Super Conference (Healthcare, Higher Education and Non-Profit Institutions) (Oct. 16-18, 2011) New York, NY

Previous Experience

Mr. Kiernan served as CEO of Watermark Associates, Inc., a Mexican-owned waterfront development and investment firm (1991–2001). In this role he negotiated resort development projects in the United States, Mexico and Europe, and created joint ventures and financing vehicles.

He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve.


Cornell University Law School(J.D., 1968)
Cornell University Johnson School of Management(M.B.A., 2009)
Harvard UniversityJohn F. Kennedy School of Government (M.P.A., 1981)Litnauer Fellow
John Carroll University (A.B., cum laude, 1965)

Professional Memberships

New York State Bar Association
House of Delegates (2004 – present)

New York City Bar Association
New York City Affairs Committee
Chair (2004 – 2007)

Medical Malpractice Insurance Association
Board of Directors (2000 – 2005)

Watermark Associates, Inc.
Board of Directors (1989 – 2002)

Civic and Charitable Memberships

Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corporation
Board of Directors (2008 – present)

New York State Theater Institute
Board of Directors (2010)

New York State Job Development Authority
Board of Directors (2007 – 2008)

Citizens Budget Commission
Trustee (2004 – 2008)

City Club
Trustee (2005 – 2008)

Brooklyn Sports Foundation
Chair (1998 – 2006)

Floating Facilities, Inc.
Board of Directors (1990 – 1996)

Theatre for a New City
Board of Directors (1985 – 1986)

New York City Convention Center Operating Corporation
Board of Directors (1980 – 1982)