Reunion Brings Crowd of More Than 1,100 to Law School

Winter 2010

This past June, more than 1,100 alumni returned to the Columbia Law School campus to reconnect with fellow graduates at the 2009 alumni reunion weekend. The two-day event offered cocktail socials, campus tours, and an array of panel discussions and lectures for members of 10 graduating classes: 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, and 2004.

Briefly taking the spotlight during the weekend was Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59, who spoke to a crowd of more than 300 in Jerome Greene Hall about the history of Columbians on the U.S. Supreme Court. Ginsburg also took a few minutes to field questions from the crowd, expounding on the collegiality of the Court, the role of international law in drafting Supreme Court decisions, and how she has always longed to be an “opera diva.”

In addition to Ginsburg’s talk, reunion attendees were also treated to various panel discussions focusing on issues such as bankruptcy, public service, national security, and artists’ rights. Each day culminated in an evening of dinner and friendly conversation.

“I was looking to get back in touch with classmates, and to get back in touch with the Law School,” said James Weinberger ’99, a partner at Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu in New York and a co-chair of his class reunion committee. “In your first 10 years out, it’s all too easy to focus on your career and where you’re going without stopping to consider where you’ve been.”

Alan Bain ’64, the founder of World-Wide Business Centres and a reunion committee member, agreed. “Reunions serve as a catalyst for reflection and, in particular, for assessing the benefits gained from the Law School experience,” he said. “I derive a great deal of pleasure in bringing together those with whom I have shared an important period in my life.”

For Nina Appel ’59, a professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law who celebrated her 50th reunion along with Ginsburg and nearly 100 other classmates, the weekend provided time for contemplation. “We are all ‘survivors’ of one sort or another and have had so many experiences—both good and not so good—that we could not possibly have envisioned all those many years ago,” Appel said. “And through it all, we remain colleagues and friends bonded together in our memories of the Law School.”