Wien Prize Awarded to Weinstein and Bharara

Jack B. Weinstein ’48 and Preet Bharara ’93 honored for their outstanding public service achievements

Spring 2012

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Distinguished alumni, faculty, and guests gathered this past fall at The Pierre hotel in Manhattan to honor the 2011 recipients of the Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility, Judge Jack B. Weinstein ’48 and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara ’93.

The award, established through the generosity of prominent philanthropist Lawrence A. Wien ’27, recognizes lawyers who make outstanding contributions to the public good. Weinstein, a senior U.S. district court judge for the Eastern District of New York, has presided over numerous precedent-setting mass tort cases, while Bharara has tackled organized crime, financial fraud, public corruption, and terrorism as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Dean David M. Schizer presented the award to Weinstein, a Law School faculty member from 1952 to 1998 who has served more than 45 years on the federal bench. In receiving the honor, Weinstein noted that Columbia Law School’s enduring core has been the vibrant professor-student relationship and the responsibility students assume to create a just society. “If I have done any public good,” he concluded, “it is because of Columbia Law School.”

After accepting the award from his brother, Vinit Bharara ’96, Preet Bharara recalled a talk he gave as his office reflected on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a tragedy during which good people made a commitment to overcome their differences.

“It is a commitment to carry whatever load one’s limbs can bear, and make whatever sacrifice one’s spirit can tolerate to, in the words of Aeschylus, ‘tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world,’” Bharara said.

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Vinit Bharara, Preet Bharara, Dean David M. Schizer, Jack B. Weinstein