Richard D. Simons was born in Niagara Falls, New York. He graduated law school from the University of Michigan and was admitted to practice in 1952. He served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel and then as Corporation Counsel for the City of Rome between 1955 and 1963. He was elected to the Supreme Court of the Fifth Judicial District in 1963 and was designated as an Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department in 1971. In 1973, he was designated as an Associate Justice of this Court and served until 1983 when he was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals by Governor Cuomo on January 3, 1983. He served as Acting Chief Judge of that Court between November 1992 and March 1993. Thereafter, he resumed his positions as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals and retired from the bench in 1991.