Rolando Acosta brings over 25 years of experience as a sitting New York judge to guide clients through all phases of litigation.

Justice Acosta has decades of experience as a trial and appellate judge on the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Most notably, he served on the Appellate Division, First Department for 15 years, including as Presiding Justice for six years. Widely recognized as one of the foremost jurists in the United States, Justice Acosta has earned a reputation for his uncompromising adherence to the rule of law. Throughout his tenure as Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department, the Court underwent a swift and strategic modernization, achieving improved efficiency and affording the public greater access to justice.

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Justice Acosta presided over hundreds of bench and jury trials and thousands of appeals of complex civil and criminal cases, including but not limited to commercial disputes, torts, and real estate matters. For example, Justice Acosta handled an appeal and authored the majority opinion in a dispute over the America’s Cup, where the plaintiff alleged that the defendant club breached a contract by rejecting plaintiff’s timely application to compete in the sailing regatta. In addition, Justice Acosta presided over and authored the majority opinion in an appeal involving the novel issue of whether a statute required a private developer on public land to post a bond to guarantee an affiliate's performance under a construction management agreement.

Justice Acosta served as President of the Latino Judges Association and was awarded the Association’s John Carro Award for Judicial Excellence “in recognition of his leadership and scholarly work as a New York State jurist and his work as a mentor and teacher with the Latino Community.” He was named Judge of the Year by the National Hispanic Bar Association in 2004 and received the Jewish Lawyers Guild’s Golda Meir Memorial Award in 2013.

Prior to his judicial service, Acosta held various posts with the Legal Aid Society, including Attorney-in-Charge of the largest civil trial office and Director of Government and Community Affairs. He also served as First Deputy Commissioner and as Deputy Commissioner for Law Enforcement at the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

Professional Highlights

  • Awarded the Columbia University Medal for Excellence
  • Awarded Columbia Law School’s Wien Prize for Social Responsibility
  • Received the New York State Bar Association Judicial Section’s Distinguished Jurist Award

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  • Honors & Awards
    • Recipient, the Latino Judges Association’s John Carro Award for Judicial Excellence
    • Recipient, Jewish Lawyers Guild’s Golda Meir Memorial Award
    • Named Judge of the Year by the National Hispanic Bar Association
  • Memberships & Associations
    • Member, Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts
    • Member and former Vice President (2011-2012), the New York City Bar Association
    • Member, the New York City Bar Association’s Task Force on Free Expression in the Digital Age
    • President, Latino Judges Association
    • Treasurer and Chair of the Policy Committee (1990-1997), the Hispanic Federation
    • Founding Board Member, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone
  • Speaking Engagements
    • “Demystifying the Transition from Appellate Attorney to Trial judge: Encouraging Judicial Service By the Appellate Bar,” New York County Lawyers Association, October 30, 2023. Moderator.


  • J.D., Columbia Law School

    B.A., Political Science, Columbia University


  • New York


  • Spanish