Stephen Burzio is a candidate for Civil Court Judge in Brooklyn’s 3rd Judicial District covering the neighborhoods of Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick, Brooklyn. Stephen’s legal career began in this district, protecting North Brooklyn tenants in Housing Court for more than seven years.
A seasoned litigator, Stephen Burzio has nearly sixteen years of diverse courtroom experience and understands how the legal system impacts the lives of people as tenants, consumers, and parents each day. New York City Civil Court is often described as the “People’s Court” and Stephen has the knowledge and experience in various areas of the law that this position requires. Of note, Stephen has been found qualified to serve as a Civil Court Judge by the Judicial Screening Committee of the Kings County Democratic Party.
Stephen’s career as a public interest attorney was inspired by his upbringing. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he lived in the Ocean Park neighborhood and attended Parroquia Santa Teresita through first grade. At the age of seven, Stephen moved to New York. He was raised by his mother, a single parent who worked hard to raise her son under difficult circumstances. Without any support from his father, he and his mother often struggled, at times relying on public assistance and often living under threat of eviction, which sometimes meant staying with family friends and living in substandard housing. Out of these experiences, Stephen became committed to a career in law and public service.
Stephen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He graduated magna cum laude and was nominated to Phi Beta Kappa, psi chapter. During that time, he was a member of the student government, various campus organizations, and was a DJ at the campus radio station, WHRW. In 1995, he spent the summer in Olztyn, Poland, as a teaching assistant with the Kosciuszko Foundation. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina Law School at Chapel Hill. While there, he was co-chair of the student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and worked on immigration matters as part of his third-year legal clinic. Of note, while a law student, Stephen assisted Barbara Prear, President of UE local 150, with a proposal to make substantive changes to the grievance process for housekeepers at UNC at Chapel Hill.
Stephen began his career defending tenants living in Bushwick and Williamsburg from eviction. For more than seven years as an attorney with the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (now known as Riseboro), Stephen advocated on behalf of hundreds of families and seniors, including public housing residents, in danger of becoming homeless. During that time, Stephen routinely conducted trials and argued motions in Housing Court. He also secured significant repairs for tenants and fought to restore basic services such as heat and hot water. Stephen also served as Director of the agency’s anti-eviction program, the Bushwick Housing and Legal Assistance Program for more than three years. In that capacity, Stephen trained and supervised attorneys and other staff, while maintaining a full case-load. He also defended homeowners from foreclosures for nearly a year as a staff attorney for the agency’s foreclosure prevention program.
For the last eight years, Stephen has been the principal law clerk for a New York State Supreme Court Judge. During this time he has gained significant experience in many different areas of the law, including matters involving municipal liability, civil rights, matrimonial law, labor law, negligence, mental health/civil commitment, and contract disputes. As a principal law clerk, he conferences matters with attorneys before the court, helps to manage the courtroom, and works collaboratively with the Judge to research and draft decisions.
Stephen has also been an active member of Brooklyn’s legal and civic community. In 2008, he was selected to participate as a “We Are All Brooklyn Fellow” by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. He also served from 2007 through 2012 as a member of his local community board, where he was co-chair of the transportation committee. For over five years, Stephen served as a member of the King’s County Democratic Party Judicial Screening Committee. In his spare time, he has written articles on law and government for City Limits Magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review. Recently, he was named to be a member of the board of Somos, Inc., an organization that focuses attention to the needs of New York State’s hispanic community. A committed Democrat, Stephen has been a member of the Kings County Democratic Party County Committee for many years. Stephen is also a member of the New York State Bar Association, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the Columbian Lawyers Association of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bar Association.
Stephen lives in Brooklyn with his wife Katie and his daughters Sofia and Anna.