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Preet Bharara Joins NYU School of Law
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Preet Bharara

Summary: NYU School of Law has invited recently unemployed Preet Bharara to be a distinguished scholar in residence at their school.

NYU School of Law has the lucky opportunity of adding Preet Bharara as a distinguished scholar in residence at their school starting April 1. After being dismissed from his position on March 11 as United States attorney for the Southern District of New York by the Trump administration, Bharara was on the market. Since his dismissal, speculation has been soaring about where Bharara would end up. Any law firm or institution would have been crazy to not what him as a member of their team.


Labeled in 2012 as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people, Bharara as being outspoken and powerful. Viet Dinh said of him, “Without drama, his Manhattan team has battled terrorism, convicting the Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad; crippled international criminal networks run by Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, Jamaican drug trafficker Christopher Coke and Colombian rebel group FARC; and in March secured a half-billion-dollar forfeiture from computer contractor SAIC in the biggest fraud ever against New York City. Those are good cases well prosecuted.”

As a US attorney, Bharara went after public corruption on Wall Street and elsewhere, bringing prosecutions against politicians at the city and state levels. Some of the most notable cases may be against Sheldon Silver, speaker of the New York State Assembly, and Dean Skelos, State Senate Majority Leader.

The Trump administration asked him and 45 other US attorneys to resign. Bharara refused so he was fired instead. He was appointed to the position of Manhattan’s US attorney in 2009 by then-President Barack Obama.

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His other work during his time as US attorney was overseeing prosecutions of financial crimes, including insider trading. This led to the case against Bernie Madoff and his associates in addition to suits against Citibank and Bank of America relating to the financial crisis. His office also secured a record-setting $1.2 billion financial penalty against Toyota along with the understanding that an independent monitor would oversee their public statements and safety reporting.

Bharara said, “I am honored to join the NYU School of Law, one of the great educational institutions in America, and I welcome the chance to contribute in such a thoughtful setting. I am thrilled for this opportunity to continue addressing the issues I so deeply care about – criminal and social justice, honest government, national security, civil rights, and corporate accountability, to name a few.”

Before becoming a US attorney, Bharara served Senator Chuck Schumer as chief counsel. The time he was with Schumer included the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the selective firings in 2007 of US attorneys. Before entering public service, Bharara also spent several years in private practice. He graduated from Harvard College and Columbia Law School.

Bharara has already spent time at NYU Law, providing the convocation speech for the JD graduation in 2015. He has also given talks and participated in panel discussions such as one on Cybersecurity last January and one on insider trading prosecutions and public corruptions in 2015.

During his speech to the 2015 graduating class, Bharara said, “Speak simply and listen intently. Those are the hallmarks of great leaders, not just great lawyers. The law is merely an instrument, and without the involvement of human hands, the law is as lifeless and uninspiring as a violin kept in its case.”

Others in the same position that Bharara is taking on generally pursue their own research, collaborate with centers devoted to specific practice areas and participate in panels and student forums. A distinguished scholar in residence is considered a full-time position but does not prevent him from taking on other engagements. NYU Law spokesman Michael Orey said, “He may also teach, but we have no specifics on that at this time.”

Do you think Preet Bharara should turn to teaching? Would you like to take a class from him? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about Preet Bharara, read these articles:




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