Rolando T. Acosta

Judge, New York State Supreme Court

  • Columbia College, B.A., 1979
  • Columbia, J.D., 1982

The Honorable Rolando T. Acosta is the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department, of the New York State Supreme Court.  He was first elected as a New York State Supreme Court Justice in New York County in 2002, and was appointed by the governor to the Appellate Division in 2008. 

Justice Acosta is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School.  He is a recipient of Columbia University’s “Medal for Excellence” and is a member of Columbia’s Athletics Hall of Fame.  He currently serves as a Trustee of Columbia University, as a member of the Dean’s Council of Columbia Law School.  In 2013, he was awarded Columbia Law School’s Wien Prize for Social Responsibility.

Justice Acosta was raised in the South Bronx and Washington Heights, having immigrated from the Dominican Republic at the age of 14.  Prior to his judicial service, Justice Acosta held various posts with the Legal Aid Society, including Attorney-in-Charge of the largest civil trail 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.

Justice Acosta is deeply committed to community involvement and has been active in the development of the Washington Heights/Inwood social services infrastructure.  For example, he helped found the Latino Commission on AIDS and served as legal adviser to the founding board of Alianza Dominicana.  He also served as treasurer and Chair of the Policy Committee of the Hispanic Federation.  In 1995, he was a founding board member of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, and has served on the organization’s Executive Committee and chaired its Human Capital Development Committee.