United States District Court Judge for New York's Southern District known for presiding over such high-profile cases as the Securities and Exchange Commission v. Citigroup and the Associated Press v. Dept. of Defense.
After serving as student body president at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, he studied at Oxford University and went on to earn a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
He taught classes at Columbia University's law school and he has published numerous articles on the topic of the legal treatment of white collar criminals. In the 2002 case United States v. Quinones, he ruled that, on the federal level, the death penalty was unconstitutional.
A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he later settled in New York and married Ann Rakoff. His brother, Todd, had a career as a Harvard Law School professor.
In October of 1995, then-United States President Bill Clinton nominated Rakoff to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.