Journey to Supreme Court Bench Is Labor of Love

By David Brand

Ascending to the Queens Supreme Court bench takes hard work, wisdom and a commitment to justice. You might say it’s a labor of love.

That’s certainly the case for one lifelong Queens resident.

Judge Larry Love is one of four Democratic nominees for Queens Supreme Court. Love, who has presided over courtrooms in Queens Civil Court for nearly six years, will appear on the general election ballot alongside Judge Ushir Pandit-Durant, Judge Maureen Healy and Judge Robert Caloras.

Judge Larry Love, Democratic candidate for Queens Supreme Court. // Photo courtesy of Queens Civil Court

Judge Larry Love, Democratic candidate for Queens Supreme Court. // Photo courtesy of Queens Civil Court

Love grew up in Forest Hills, where he later opened a law office, and attended Queens College before earning his law degree from Hofstra.

Throughout his life and career in Queens, Love said he has felt a sense a community — even in a place that’s home to 2.4 million people.

“As big as Queens is, on certain levels it still feels like a small town or community,” Love said. “You see a lot of familiar faces, especially with the attorneys involved on either side of cases and the court personnel.”

Love’s father is an attorney who handled personal injury cases in Queens and his mother was a public school teacher in the Elmhurst and Corona area.

“Queens has always been in the blood,” he said.

In recent years, however, some family members have begun to explore other parts of the Tristate area — and the world.

Love’s sister recently moved from Queens to New Jersey — “but I’ll forgive her,” Love said.

His son is a junior at SUNY Plattsburgh and his daughter recently graduated from SUNY Geneseo. She now teaches English in Chile.

Back in Queens, Love spends much of his time with his partner Alexia and her three children.

Before he was elected to the bench in 2012, Love served as legal counsel to Assembly Member Audrey I. Pheffer from 1993 to 2011 and legislative assistant to Pheffer from 1987 to 1993.

During that time, he also worked in private practice, a period he highlighted in a short biography for the Unified Court System’s 2012 Voter Guide.

“I have operated my own Queens-based law practice for nineteen years, assisting thousands of clients — fighting for their needs and rights,” Love said. “Having appeared before dozens of judges and interacting with hundreds of attorneys as colleagues and adversaries will afford me a unique perspective as a judge.”

Love also worked in the law offices of Marvin H. Bregman from 1992 to 1994.

In a 2012 interview with The Forum, Love said he relishes the diversity and uniqueness in the borough in which he grew up and which he plans to continue serving from the bench of the county’s top court.

“I really enjoy the diversity, all the varied neighborhoods, the food and the cultures,” he said. “I really enjoy all the many different neighborhoods and people. It’s what makes Queens so great.”

As the borough has grown even more diverse, institutions, like the court system have begun to catch up, Love said. The courts have more accurately reflect the demographics of the borough and meet the needs of people of various backgrounds, Love said.

“Queens was diverse in the Nineties, but, on the side of court staff, attorneys and the public who have to make use of the court system, it’s a lot more diverse now,” he said. “And everyone’s aware of that diversity.”

The court system includes more interpreters and services that make people feel more comfortable or confident in court, he said.

“I’d like to think that people at this point, no matter their background, feel they’re getting a fair shake and are understanding the process and getting opportunities to have their cases heard on the merits,” he said. “One of the nice things about Queens is there’s a comfort level that when you go into court you’re going to get your case heard fairly.”