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Jed Rakoff Biography





Jed Saul Rakoff is a United States District Judge on senior status for the Southern District of New York.

Judge Rakoff was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 1, 1943. He grew up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and attended Central High School of Philadelphia. Rakoff graduated with honors in English literature from Swarthmore College (B.A. 1964), earned his M. Phil. from Balliol College at Oxford University (1966), and received a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School (1969), where he was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. He has received honorary degrees from Saint Francis University and from Swarthmore. After serving as law clerk to the late Honorable Abraham Freedman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Rakoff spent two years in private practice at Debevoise & Plimpton before spending seven years as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. For the last two of those years, he was Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Prosecutions Unit. He then returned to private practice where he was a partner first with Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, Alexander & Ferdon, and then with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. He headed both firms' criminal defense and civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) sections.

On October 11, 1995, Rakoff was nominated by President Bill Clinton to fill a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by David N. Edelstein. He was confirmed by the Senate on December 29, 1995, appointed on January 4, 1996, and entered on duty on March 1, 1996. On December 31, 2010, he assumed senior status.

Rakoff is Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He has taught at the law school since 1988, teaching seminars on White Collar Crime, the Interplay of Civil and Criminal Law, and Science and the Courts. He also served on the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College and serves on the Governing Board of the MacArthur Foundation's Law & Neuroscience Project. Judge Rakoff was elected to the American Law Institute in 2009 and serves as an Adviser on the ALI project to revise the sentencing provisions of the Model Penal Code.

In July 2011 and August 2012, Rakoff sat by designation on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and Seattle, respectively.

On April 13, 2013, Rakoff was on a list released by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) of Americans banned from entering the Russian Federation over their alleged human rights violations. The list was a direct response to the so-called Magnitsky list revealed by the United States the day before. On March 20, 2014, Rakoff was listed by Fortune Magazine as one of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders.



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