Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney who was fired by Trump administration after refusing to resign earlier this month, is headed to the NYU School of Law. Bharara will join the law school as a distinguished scholar in residence starting April 1, the university announced on March 21, 2017.
“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,” Bharara said in a statement through the school. “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.”
Other distinguished scholars in residence at the school typically pursue their own research, participate in panel discussions and student forums, and collaborate with various centers devoted to specific areas of law and public policy.
The position is considered a full-time one with the school but does not preclude Bharara from taking on other engagements, NYU law spokesman Michael Orey told The Washington Post. “He may also teach, but we have no specifics on that at this time,” Orey said.
Bharara is no stranger to the NYU campus. He had previously given talks and participated in panel discussions at the law school, including one last January on cybersecurity and another in 2015 on insider trading prosecutions and public corruption. Bharara was also the law school’s convocation speaker in 2015.
“Speak simply and listen intently. Those are the hallmarks of great leaders, not just great lawyers,” he told the graduating class then. “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.”
Bharara graduated from Harvard College and Columbia Law School. On March 11, Bharara’s nearly eight-year tenure as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York came to an abrupt end after he said he was fired. Bharara had refused to tender his resignation after the Justice Department asked all 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama to leave their offices.
Bharara had developed a reputation for being one of the most influential and independent prosecutors in the country, best known for going after Wall Street as well as members of both political parties.
In 2015, The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins described Bharara as “the most powerful prosecutor in the country” for whom “no target is apparently too big.” Bharara also had developed a reputation for wit and outspokenness; FBI Director James B. Comey said the impression he gave was “if Jon Stewart was a prosecutor.”
During his tenure, Bharara has indicted 17 prominent New York politicians for malfeasance — 10 of them Democrats, Jenkins reported. He also investigated New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo after he closed an ethics commission. In 2012, he was named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people.