The Honorable Judge Jed S. Rakoff

Headshot of the Honorable Judge Jed S. Rakoff

U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York

Jed S. Rakoff has served since March 1996 as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York.  He frequently sits by designation on the 2nd and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals.  His most noteworthy decisions have been in the areas of securities law and criminal law. He is an Adjunct Professor at both Columbia Law School and NYU Law School, and also teaches at Berkeley Law School and the University of Virginia Law School. He has written over 170 published articles, 750 speeches, and 1800 judicial opinions, and has co-authored 5 books.  He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. 

Judge Rakoff holds a B.A. degree from Swarthmore College (1964), an M.Phil. degree from Oxford University (Balliol, 1966), and a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School (1969).  He clerked for Hon. Abraham L. Freedman, US Court of Appeals, 3d  Circuit. From 1973-80, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, the last two years as Chief of Business & Securities Fraud Prosecutions.  From 1980-95, he was a litigation partner at two large law firms in New York.

Judge Rakoff served on the National Commission on Forensic Science (2013-17) and as co-chair of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Eyewitness Identification.  He served on the New York City Bar Association’s Executive Committee and was chair of the Association’s Nomination, Honors and Criminal Law Committees. He was Chair of the Second Circuit’s Bankruptcy Committee, and of the Southern District of New York’s Grievance Committee and Criminal Justice Advisory Board.  He served on Swarthmore College’s Board of Managers, on the Governance Board of the MacArthur Foundation’s Project on Law and Neuroscience, and on the Committee on the Development of the 3rd Edition of the Manual on Scientific Evidence.  He assisted the U.S. Government in the training of foreign judges in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia, Dubai, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey.  He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute. He is a Judicial Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.  He is a member of the board of the Touro Synagogue Foundation and of the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation.  Among other awards, he received in 2018 the Federal Bar Council’s Learned Hand Medal for Excellence in Federal Jurisprudence.

Judge Rakoff is married to Dr. Ann Rakoff, a child development specialist.  They have three daughters and two grandsons.  Judge Rakoff has officiated at over 70 weddings.  He is the author of numerous lyrics and humorous poems, several of which have been published. His and his wife’s hobby is ballroom dancing.  In 2014, Judge Rakoff was listed by Fortune Magazine as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.