Millstein Gift Establishes New Post-Graduate Public Service Fellowship

Columbia Law School announced today a $1.5 million gift from Jim Millstein ’82 and Ira M. Millstein ’49 establishing the Millstein Public Service Fellowship to provide funding to recent graduates who have secured positions with the federal government in the area of financial regulation.

The Millsteins established the fellowship to encourage graduates who have demonstrated a substantial commitment to government service to pursue opportunities to work in the U.S. Congress or in an executive branch agency on issues related to financial regulation. The gift arose from the Millsteins’ experience during the recent financial crisis, when Jim Millstein served as the Chief Restructuring Officer in the Treasury Department and Ira Millstein founded the Systemic Risk Council, a private sector initiative to ensure that legislators and regulators remained vigilant in addressing the underlying causes of the crisis.

In conversations with Columbia Law School Dean Gillian Lester, they conceived the fellowship as a way to introduce recent graduates to government service early in their careers, and thereby ensure that the Law School remains at the forefront of discussions of the regulation of the financial services industry for decades to come. 

Jim Millstein (left) is the founder of Millstein & Co., a financial advisory firm with offices in Washington, D.C. and New York, a firm he formed after his government service as the Treasury Department’s chief restructuring officer.  In that role, Jim Millstein—a former Lazard investment banker and Cleary, Gottlieb lawyer—was the principal architect of AIG's restructuring and recapitalization and a participant in the policy-making process that ultimately led to the passage of the Dodd-Frank legislation.“This generous gift from Jim and Ira Millstein, each distinguished public servants—and distinguished leaders in the worlds of law and finance—reflects our ambitions for the Law School as we continue to consider how best to nurture leadership, support public service careers, and encourage students to employ their legal training to effect positive change,” said Dean Lester, the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. “The Millsteins’ foresight and commitment will benefit the Columbia Law School community for years to come, as well as the policy world at large.”

“As the crisis revealed, regulation of the financial services industry can have an enormous impact on the functioning of the real economy, for good and for bad. As the industry continues to evolve, financial regulation needs to evolve as well in order to protect depositors and investors—and the integrity of financial markets—and to ensure that the industry promotes the growth of the real economy,” said Jim Millstein. “My father and I decided to establish the Fellowship to ensure that the Law School and its graduates continue to have a strong voice in this important area of regulation.”

The Millsteins have long been strong supporters of the Law School, starting with Ira Millstein, (right) a world renowned authority in corporate governance and antitrust regulation who currently serves as a senior partner at the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Among his many accomplishments within both the private and public sectors, Ira Millstein remains well known as a key player in reforming New York State’s numerous public authorities—serving at the request of Governors George Pataki ’70, David Paterson, and Andrew Cuomo as chairman of various task forces charged with overseeing successful implementation of the new public authorities’ laws. In 2014, Ira Millstein was the recipient of the Medal for Excellence, the Law School’s highest honor, exemplifying the School’s core values of excellence, integrity, and service. 

Post-graduate fellowships are essential to students and recent graduates determined to pursue public interest careers. The Millstein Fellowship will add to the already robust list of post-graduate career opportunities that are available exclusively to Law School students and recent graduates.


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Posted September 29, 2016

Homepage image courtesy of Architect of the Capitol.