As graduates of Columbia Law School, members of the Class of 2013 will have unique opportunities to serve in high-ranking leadership positions around the world, said Preet Bharara , U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who delivered a powerful keynote address May 23 during the graduation ceremony at Columbia University.
“You will have opportunities for leadership that are available to almost no one else, and, in short order, you will be perched at the very pinnacles of power, counseling some of the most influential people in the world,” he said, according to a press release.
In those roles, Bharara urged graduates to be good people and to work in the service of others.
Bharara addressed this year’s J.D., LL.M., and J.S.D. candidates, who hail from 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and 23 countries; their families and friends; and the faculty members who led the students through their rigorous academic training.
As the Southern District of New York’s top prosecutor, the Indian American lawyer oversees more than 220 assistant U.S. attorneys dealing with a wide range of cases, including those involving terrorism, narcotics, public corruption, organized crime, and white-collar crime. In 2012, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine for his work in ferreting out insider trading and other financial crimes on Wall Street.
Bharara, who this year celebrates the 20th anniversary of his graduation from Columbia Law School, asked graduates to dedicate at least five years of their careers to public service in any form. In 2011, he was awarded the Law School’s Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility.
“The virtues of serving the public, I think, cannot be overstated,” he said. “Not only does the world benefit, but you benefit. You grow, and you gain, and the world gains too.”