Hon. Reinaldo Rivera attended Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola in Puerto Rico and received his diploma with honors in 1969. In 1973, he attended St. Peter’s College in New Jersey and received his Bachelor of Science. He pursued his law degree in 1976 receiving a juris doctorate from St. John’s University School of Law. He followed in 1977 with an LL.M from Columbia University School of Law. Shortly thereafter he entered into private practice of law specializing in Criminal Defense, Civil litigation, Matrimonial and Family Law, Administrative Law, Real Estate and Commercial Business Transactions, and Surrogate Matters until 1991. Then he was elected and began serving on January 2, 1992 as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Second Judicial District. In 1993, he began teaching as an Adjunct Professor of Law at St. John’s University School of Law and continues to present day.
On June 11, 2002 he was appointed as an Associate Justice for the Appellate Division, Second Department. He is the first Latino ever to be appointed as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, first Latino member of the Board of Directors of the St. John’s University School of Law Alumni Association, and first Latino Trustee of the Brooklyn Bar Association and the Brooklyn Bar Association Foundation Inc. Assigned Counsel 18-B Felony Trial Panel. He received a citation from the Brooklyn Borough President in 2002. In 2003, he received the Emilio Nunez Award for Judicial Excellence from the Puerto Rican Bar Association. Then in 2004, he received the Outstanding Achievement in the Science of Jurisprudence and Public Service Award from the Brooklyn Bar Association.