Judge Joseph J. Esposito combined his interest in political science together and his law school education into a lifelong career that has been filled with enjoyment.
“My life has been a lot of finding myself in the right place at the right time,” he said. “Circumstances being such, I went where God took me.”
The lifelong Queens resident studied political science at St. John’s University as an undergraduate looking to one day teach. He continued his education at The New School for Social Research, where he received a master’s degree in political science in 1974. But he put aside his intentions to get a Ph.D. because of poor job prospects at the time. Esposito changed his career’s direction and went to law school.
With no previous knowledge of law, he applied to many schools, but was not accepted to any. Not letting the rejection deter him, he applied once again and got into Fordham Law School. During that time, Esposito worked for Paul O’Dwyer, who was president of the City Council.
“It was really a big thrill for me to work in City Hall,” he said. “This was like a practical application of my studies. I was very happy and I became enthusiastic about government.”
In 1981, Esposito began working as a court attorney in the civil court of the City of New York. He then made his way to work as a law secretary for Supreme Court Justice Vincent F. Naro in the Criminal Term in Queens County.
During 18 years on the job, until Naro retired, Esposito worked on some of the most violent crimes committed in the borough.
“I was looking at the end of a career with someone that was like a father to me,” he said. “He encouraged me to become a judge, which I wasn’t really completely looking to do.”
Esposito’s career continued as he worked four more years in the Criminal Term of the Supreme Court. In 2005, he was elected as a judge in the Civil Court of the City of New York in Queens County. In January he was also appointed as a supervising Judge in the same court.
By next year, his term as a civil court judge will come to an end and he hopes to get re-elected.
“At the end of this year, who knows where God will take me?” he said. “It’s a rewarding experience being a judge. It really gives me an opportunity to serve my country and my city. When this job stops being fun, that’s when I’m going to stop. ”
Two of Esposito’s three sons have decided to follow in their father’s footsteps. One has graduated from St. John’s Law School and another is planning to attend the same school this fall.
When he is not in the courtroom, Esposito enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons.