Born and raised in Compton, California, Justice Robert R. Reed graduated from Stanford University in 1981, with an A.B. in Political Science, and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1984. Elected to a 10-year term on the New York City Civil Court in a county-wide election in November 2007, Justice Reed was inducted in January 2008 and assigned initially to serve as an Acting Family Court Judge in Bronx Family Court. After sitting in Bronx Family Court for just over two years, Justice Reed was assigned in February 2010 to Bronx County Civil Court. In February 2012, Justice Reed began sitting in New York County Civil Court. In 2014, Justice Reed began serving as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court, presiding over a general individual assignment part in New York County Supreme Court, Civil Branch. Justice Reed was elected a Supreme Court Justice in 2016. In October 2020, Justice Reed was assigned to the Supreme Court’s Commercial Division.
Prior to taking the bench, Justice Reed practiced law for 23 years. From 1984 to 1988, Justice Reed served as an associate first at Carpenter Bennett & Morrissey in Newark, New Jersey, and later with Sive, Paget & Riesel, P.C., in Manhattan. He joined the New York State Attorney General's Office under the Honorable Robert Abrams in 1988 and stayed until 1993, serving as Assistant Attorney General in the Litigation and Criminal Prosecutions Bureaus before becoming Deputy Bureau Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau. Justice Reed returned to private practice from 1993 through 2007, serving in senior positions at Williams & Harris LLP and Bryan Cave LLP, before a brief stint exploring solo practice. During his years in law practice, Justice Reed acted as a neutral with the New York County Supreme Court Commercial Division ADR Program, as a neutral with the Eastern District of New York Early Neutral Evaluation and Mediation Panels, and as a mediator for the Southern District of New York Mandatory Mediation Panel.
Justice Reed is an Executive Committee Member of the NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch, a long-time member of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, a long-time member of One Hundred Black Men, Inc., a Trustee of Park Avenue United Methodist Church, and Membership Secretary of the Supreme Court Justices Association of the City of New York, Inc. He is a former Board Member of the Children for Children Foundation and of the New York League of Conservation Voters. Justice Reed is also a member of the New York State Bar Association, the New York City Bar (Special Committee to Encourage Judicial Service), the New York County Lawyers Association, the New York Women's Bar, the Asian American Bar Association of New York, the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York, the Jewish Lawyers Guild, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York, the Caribbean Attorneys Network, the National Bar Association Judicial Council Division, the National Association of Women Judges, the Judicial Friends Association, the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, and the Board of Justices of the First Judicial District.
An active community servant, Justice Reed was presented the “Mentor of the Year Award” at the 28th Annual Benefit Gala of One Hundred Black Men, Inc., the “Man of the Year Award” at the 20th Annual Ruth Whitehead Whaley Scholarship Luncheon of the Association of Black Women Attorneys, and the “Roy Wilkins Judicial Excellence Award” at the 17th Annual Freedom Fund Luncheon of the NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch, and was named “Jurist of the Year” at the Metropolitan Black Bar Association’s 35th Anniversary Awards Gala. Justice Reed routinely serves as a panelist for the Metropolitan Black Bar Association’s Annual Theodore T. Jones, Jr. Trial Advocacy Program, and was honored to have been asked to serve as a judge of the Final Round of the 68th Annual National Moot Court Competition. Justice Reed often serves as panelist/speaker/moot court judge/moderator at community or bar association programs, including, for example, the New York City Bar’s Thurgood Marshall Professional Development Series, the Medgar Evers College “Conversations With Success” speaker series, the Legal Outreach Summer Law Institute, the New York Women’s Bar Association’s “MentorJet: Speed Mentoring & Networking” program, and the National Bar Association’s annual regional Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Advocacy Competition. Justice Reed had the pleasure of serving as master of ceremonies at the New York City Bar’s Diversity & Inclusion Celebration Dinner in June 2019.