Raymond J. Lohier was appointed to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by President Barack Obama in 2010.
Lohier is an immigrant and the son of immigrants from the Caribbean. His mother left Haiti to become a nurse in Canada. His father, a doctor, fled to Canada to avoid the dictatorship in Haiti, returning to his birthplace only once during the remainder of his life in exile. Lohier was born in Montreal, Canada. In 1972, he and his family moved to the United States, settling in Philadelphia.
In 1988, Lohier received an A.B. degree from Harvard College, where he concentrated in philosophy and was taught by some of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. Although he considered pursuing a doctorate in philosophy, Lohier instead enrolled in law school. In 1991 he received a J.D. degree from New York University School of Law, where he was a recipient of the Vanderbilt Medal and pursued courses in legal philosophy and jurisprudence with Ronald Dworkin, among other professors. He also served as a research and teaching assistant to Chief Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who was completing his seminal work on the history of race in the American legal process. Lohier’s exposure to that work sparked his interest and involvement in legal history and civil rights.
After graduation, Lohier enjoyed a brief initial stint as an associate with the law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. From 1992 to 1993, he served as a law clerk for Judge Robert P. Patterson, Jr., of the Southern District of New York, whose father, Robert P. Patterson, had been a circuit judge on the Second Circuit from 1938 to 1939.1 Lohier’s relationship with the younger Judge Patterson, an important mentor, ended only with the latter’s death in 2015.
Upon completing his clerkship, Lohier returned to Cleary, Gottlieb, where he worked as both a litigator and a corporate transactional lawyer from 1993 to 1997, while also serving on the firm’s diversity and pro bono committees.
From 1997 to 2000, Lohier lived in Washington, D.C., and served as a senior trial attorney with the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, where he spearheaded employment discrimination-related litigation and worked on other civil rights matters of importance to the federal government throughout the United States. During his tenure at the Civil Rights Division, Lohier was the vice-chairperson of the Department of Justice Association of Black Attorneys.
For the decade prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Lohier served in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he was special counsel to the United States Attorney, chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, and chief of the Narcotics Unit. Lohier was the first African American to serve in each of these positions. As chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, Lohier oversaw the investigations and prosecutions related to Bernard Madoff and Marc Dreier, the Galleon and other hedge fund insider trading cases, and several other high-profile securities and commodities fraud cases and investigations.
Judge Lohier currently serves as Chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Defender Services and on the New York State-Federal Judicial Council. He is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute and the Federal Bar Council American Inn of Court, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees and an adjunct professor of law at New York University School of Law. He is also an advisory board member of Law Alumni of Color Association and a lifetime director of the New York University Law School Alumni Association. From 2007 until his appointment, he also served as first vice-chairperson of Brooklyn Community Board 6. Judge Lohier is the recipient of several awards, including the New York University Alumni Association’s Eugene J. Keogh Award for Distinguished Public Service.
Judge Lohier’s wife, Donna Lee, is a professor of law at the City University of New York School of Law. They met in law school and married in 1999. They have two sons.
1. Judge Patterson, Jr., gave his father’s judicial robes to Judge Lohier upon his appointment to the Second Circuit.