Wien Prize Awarded to Cardozo and Michelson

Michael A. Cardozo, ’66, and Gertrude G. Michelson, ’47, are honored
 for their public service.
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James O’Neill 212-854-1584 Cell: 646-596-2935
November 5, 2007 (NEW YORK) - The 25th annual Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility was awarded to Michael A. Cardozo, ’66, and Gertrude G. Michelson, ’47, at a luncheon at the Rainbow Room in Manhattan on November 5, 2007.
Columbia Law School Dean David M. Schizer presented the award, noting that the legal profession is often maligned in the popular imagination. In reality, he said, both Cardozo and Michelson embodied the noblest traditions of the law in their commitment to public service.
Cardozo, who was introduced by his former classmate, NBA Commissioner David Stern, ’66, is the Corporation Counsel for the City of New York and helped to impose the city’s smoking ban and bring about school reform. He also initiated major litigation against illegal gun dealers, and a suit against the IRS that settled for $280 million. Prior to becoming corporation counsel in 2001, Cardozo was a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP.
Michelson worked for more than 40 years for R.H. Macy & Co., where she was labor relations manager and senior vice president for personnel, labor and consumer relations. After retiring in 1992, she continued as an adviser and member of the board until 1995. Michelson became the first woman to lead an Ivy League board of trustees, when she was elected chair of Columbia’s board in 1989. She was introduced by former Columbia University President and Law School Dean Michael I. Sovern, currently the Chancellor Kent Professor of Law.
Stern praised Cardozo’s “unflappable nature in the heat of battle.” No matter how busy he was in his corporate practice, Cardozo always managed to find time for public work, Stern said.

To view video of Stern's presentation to Cardozo, click here.
“I came late to working in public service full-time,” Cardozo said. But his years as corporate counsel have been his most professionally rewarding, he said.
Because of the relatively low salaries in public law, law schools have a duty to emphasize the moral and intellectual rewards in such work, Cardozo said. “Law schools must also seek to ease the financial strain of young lawyers in the public field,” he said.
Cardozo praised Columbia Law School’s efforts toward loan forgiveness, and said the government should become more involved by subsidizing public interest lawyers.

To view video of Cardozo's speech, click here.
Sovern introduced Michelson as someone who has “avoided the spotlight but has been quietly trailblazing the way for women.”

To view video of Sovern's presentation to Michelson, click here.
Michelson professed her admiration for Lawrence A. Wien, ’27, the lawyer, real estate investor and philanthropist. As part of his push for corporate philanthropy, Wien approached R.H. Macy and asked the company to contribute more to charity. “Larry convinced us to give one percent annually of our pre-tax revenue, which was a big deal at the time,” said Michelson, who sits on the Columbia Law School Board of Visitors.
Michelson summed up her philosophy with a nod to Benjamin Franklin, who stressed that individual happiness was impossible unless the community also prospered.

To view video of Michelson's speech, click here.
The Wien Prize honors individual attorneys who put their resources and legal skills to work for the public good. The recipients serve as positive role models for both the profession and for law students.
Lawrence A. Wien enjoyed a career of imaginative professional leadership and creative philanthropy. The founder and senior partner for 60 years of Wien & Malkin, he served as chairman of the board of trustees of Brandeis University and as president and chairman of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, and vice chairman of the Institute of International Education, WNET/Channel 13, the UN Association of the USA, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
He was also an alumni trustee of Columbia University and was a mayoral appointee to the New York City commission against poverty. He is widely regarded as the pioneer who made possible investment by individuals in real estate through the first public real estate syndication. His holdings included the Empire State Building.
The prize, established in 1982, is bestowed annually with the participation of the Wien family. This is the 25th annual award.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law.