Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association hosts lunch with Justice Robert Reed

June 20, 2024 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
Justice Robert Reed shares a smile during the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association's “Lunch with a Judge” Zoom meeting on June 18, 2024. Screenshot via Zoom
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The Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association (BWBA) held its regular “Lunch with a Judge” meeting on Tuesday via Zoom, featuring Justice Robert R. Reed. Members of the BWBA had the opportunity to learn about Justice Reed’s journey from Compton, California, to his current role in the New York County Supreme Court’s Commercial Division.

“You were born and raised in a very famous city as far as I’m concerned,” said Hon. Cenceria Edwards, who will soon be installed as president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association. “The Williams sisters talk about Compton, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg talk about Compton. I’ve watched ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ but your path is a lot different. How did you get from Compton to Stanford University?”

“Yes, I am straight out of Compton,” Judge Reed confirmed. He explained that his family moved to Compton because it was one of the few places where Black families could buy property due to segregation. He also pointed out that his mother liked that there was a local community college in the area.

“Having worked for some time in the Naval shipyard, they were able to afford a small place in Compton,” Justice Reed said. “Education was critical to my mother’s whole thought process. She wanted her children to go to college and saw Compton College as a way to ensure her nine children went to college.”

Justice Reed shared both the positive and challenging aspects of his upbringing. “Life is complex,” he said of growing up in Compton. “There is nothing in the movies that isn’t true, but there are different realities. Some of my memories are sad ones. I went to Cub Scouts with a kid whose father was killed, and then he killed himself.”

BWBA members and Justice Robert R. Reed smile for the camera during their virtual “Lunch with a Judge” meeting on June 18, 2024.
BWBA members and Justice Robert R. Reed smile for the camera during their virtual “Lunch with a Judge” meeting on June 18, 2024.

During his time at Harvard Law School, Reed formed connections with notable peers, including Hon. Rowan Wilson, now chief judge of New York State, and former U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, and briefly mentioned his involvement in the Commercial Division and a trial involving former President Donald Trump.

The conversation also touched on Juneteenth and Reed’s wife, Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, who wrote the book “On Juneteenth.” Gordon-Reed, a law professor at New York Law School, who was scheduled to appear on MSNBC’s Morning Joe the following day to discuss Juneteenth.

Justice Reed, a native of Compton, California, is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School. Elected to the New York City Civil Court in 2007, he has served in various judicial capacities and was elected to the Supreme Court in 2016, currently serving in the Commercial Division. 

His legal career includes extensive experience in private practice and public service, with notable involvement in mediation and neutral evaluation. Justice Reed is an active member of several bar associations and community organizations, recognized for his contributions to the legal field and community service.


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