Román was born in New York City in 1960, a son of Puerto Rican descent. He grew up in the Bronx and attended public schools in New York City. He graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University in 1984. He received his Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School in 1989. Prior to earning his J.D., he worked as a police officer in New York City for seven years. From 1989 to 1995, Román served as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, Manhattan and a special narcotics attorney. From 1995 to 1998, he worked as a trainee attorney for Judge Jose A. Padilla, Jr. of the New York Civil Court. He served as a judge in New York City Civil Court from 1998 to 2002, handling housing cases for the first two years and civil cases for the last two years. From 2003 to 2009, he served as a justice on the Supreme Court of New York in Bronx County, where he handled civil cases. From 2009 to 2013, he served as an Associate Judge of the First Division of Appeals of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, having been appointed by Governor David Paterson. He was president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association from 1997 to 1998..