Judge Rachel Kretser was appointed to the Albany City Criminal Court in December 2005, and was elected to that position in November, 2006, becoming the first woman ever to serve on a criminal court bench in the Third Judicial District. In 2016 she was appointed Acting County Court Judge for Domestic Violence matters. She is currently an adjunct professor at Albany Law School. Before her ascension to the bench, Judge Kretser was an Assistant Attorney General for more than twenty-five years, serving in the Litigation Bureau, as Deputy Bureau Chief of the Legislative Bureau, Bureau Chief of both the Albany Consumer Frauds Bureau and the Legal Education and Staff Development Bureau, and a member of the Attorney General's Executive Staff. Prior to joining the Attorney General's Office, Judge Kretser was associated with the Manhattan law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
Judge Kretser is active in numerous professional and community organizations. She chairs the OCA Third Judicial District Gender Fairness Committee, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the ABA National Conference of State Trial Judges.
She served as Vice President of the N.Y. Chapter of the National Association of Women Judges and President of the N.Y.S Association of City Court Judges. She is also Past Presiding Member of the NYS Bar Association's Judicial Section, and co-authored the 2014 NYSBA Judicial Diversity Report. From 2003-2009 she served as Vice President of the N.Y.S. Bar Association, representing the Third Judicial District. Judge Kretser is Past President of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York (1995-1996) and Past President of the Capital District Women's Bar Association (1991-1992). She is a founding member of the CDWBA Legal Project and the Women's Bar Foundation, and is a Life Fellow of the NYS Bar Foundation. She also serves on the Honorary Boards of the CDWBA Legal Project and the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Association. Judge Kretser is a member of the Albany County Bar Association, the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association and the Women Pilots Association. She is a lifetime member of Hadassah, serves on the steering committee of the Brandeis Baruch Society and is a member of the United Jewish Federation of NENY. She is a long time member of the board of the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society.
Through her public service and volunteer activities, Judge Kretser has worked to provide access to legal services for victims of abuse, to expand education and services for breast cancer victims, and to increase judicial diversity. In recognition of her dedication to the profession and to the community, she has received a number of prestigious awards including the Ruth Shapiro Memorial Award from the NYS Bar Association, the Marilyn Menge Award from the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York, the Woman of Excellence Award from the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce, the Kate Stoneman Award from Albany Law School, the Distinguished Member Award from the Capital District Women's Bar Association, the Cardona Award from the Albany County Family Court Children's Center, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Attorney General's office.
Judge Kretser is a licensed private pilot.