By Naeisha Rose
As elected officials like Mayor Bill de Blasio and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz received a designation to run for re-election late last month at the Flushing headquarters for the Democratic Organization of Queens County, a local lawyer who grew up in Harlem was among them.
A designation is when “district leaders vote to support candidates running for office,” said Michael Reich, executive secretary of the Democratic Organization. “They are allowed to say that they are supported by the Queens County Democratic Organization. They still have to go on and get petitions to be on the ballot.”
There were three candidates who asked for support as judges, and the three were unanimously supported by the Democratic district leaders present.
One of them was Philip Hom, who will be running as a judge for Municipal Court 6, which covers Flushing, Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck. The seat was vacated by William Viscovich, a new Queens County Supreme Court judge.
Hom was the chief of staff for former Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) from 2002-2005, and is currently an attorney at law for Windels, Marx, Lane & Mittendorf.
He started to get a taste for what it might be like to become a judge while working for Liu, a friend from their days at Bronx High School of Science and Binghamton University.
“When I was John Liu’s chief of staff, surprisingly a lot of things that I did was what judges do,” said Hom. There were “disputes over many different things. It was something that I enjoyed helping people resolve.”
Hom had a knack as a mediator, but it was Liu who gave him an extra push in that direction.
“He had said to me, ‘You have been doing this for 10 years now. You have experience working with people and you help draft laws. You should think about becoming a judge,’ ” Hom said.
He did. Hom volunteered as a small claims arbitrator at Queens Civil Court, he helped write transportation laws for New York City and recouped public assistance money for the city while working at the Department of Human Services and Infrastructure Divisions. He has drafted laws in other cities across the United States and helped to write hire vehicle laws in Canada. These laws provided protections for passengers in taxis and limousines and protections for drivers.
As a potential judge, Hom hopes that he can be someone whom his constituents find accessible.
“I want to be someone that people feel like they can approach. A lot of times when you were in law school and you hear that you are going to go before a judge, it’s usually not good news and it’s usually kind of intimidating,” Hom said. “I’m the kind of person, when they come before me, I will talk to people in plain English and explain what is happening as many times as possible.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose