The Barnett Group Columbia University Law School Magazine Vinit Bharara ’96 (opposite page) and Preet Bharara ’93 (left) say their father instilled in them the importance of academics and public service from an early age.Family a sk the Bharara brothers what long to convince his parents that law school, “I said, ‘Knock yourself out with that,’” motivates them to achieve, and they not medical school, should be his next step. Preet told the audience. But he knew better will point you to their 72-year-old But Vinit was also a sports nut. During than to bet against the success of his brother. Diapers.com, the father, Jagdish Bharara, who instilled the family meals, while Jagdish sat at the head Diapers.com went on to sell more than web exclusive of the table debating the death penalty or 200 million diapers last year alone, with read media coverage of Preet online business importance of academics and public service and Vinit Bharara. every night at the dinner table. discussing current events with his sons, 550,000 customers. law.columbia.edu/mag/ Vinit co-founded “[He was a] very stern disciplinarian; edu- Vinit’s attention often drifted. “I was look- Last year, in a switch of familial dynamics, bhararas in 2005, sold more cation was everything,” Vinit confirms. “School, ing at the box scores, following the Yankees,” Preet visited the Diapers.com headquarters studying, grades—it was ultra-competitive.” he recalls. for some advice. The prosecutor, who oversees But aside from that, his future appears to than 200 million Characteristically, Preet met the chal- It was no surprise when, following law more than 200 people, wanted to learn more be limitless. diapers to 550,000 lenge directly. During his younger days, he school, his initial plunge into the world of about how the company manages its employ- Meanwhile, Vinit, who rarely follows a excelled on the forensics team as a natural business involved baseball. Back during the ees. Though it may have gone unspoken, the straight line in his career, is not about to start customers last E devil’s advocate. He adopted the role of a heady Internet boom days of 2000, he and experience meant the world to Vinit. “I know now. For the time being, he is serving as Dia- as U.s. attorney for the southern District the product of a remarkable family. They rep- States, where the Bhararas settled for good year alone. lawyer in a campus production of Barefoot longtime friend Marc Lore talked regularly Vinnie really looks up to his older brother,” pers.com’s top lawyer, but he is in the process resent the only children of a Hindu mom and in Monmouth County, N.J. Jagdish built a Amazon.com in the Park, the Neil Simon comedy about about potential business ideas that could says Lore. “He’s learned a lot from Preet.” of passing that baton to another employee. of New york, Preet Bharara ’93 has a Sikh dad who came together in an arranged thriving pediatric medical practice while his a starchy young attorney charting his new incorporate their mutual interest in sports. His next big idea is anybody’s guess. Vinit bought the t marriage in India more than four decades wife stayed at home to raise their two sons. marriage to a spitfire wife played by class- “We pushed each other,” Lore recalls. he Bharara Brothers have a says he likes thinking about the Constitution ascended to one of the most important arlier this year, after five ago. Preet and Vinit’s parents, as children, Preet Bharara nodded to his father’s lin- company earlier mate Jessica Goldsmith Barzilay, who has “It was the heyday of the Internet, and we long way to go in their careers. But and that public service is important to him, and prestigious legal positions in the months of waiting for approval from federal had both been displaced by conflict after the gering influence in the family on the October this year. maintained friendships with the brothers. [liked the idea of] being your own boss.” Preet is already working at his self- just as it is to the rest of the Bharara family. antitrust regulators, Vinit Bharara ’96 sold British withdrew from the country in 1947. 2009 day he was sworn in as U.S. Attorney. Back in the old days, Barzilay recalls, After lots of conversation, the pair founded described dream job, one that he refers So do not be surprised if another Bharara nation. Meanwhile, his entrepreneurial “Preet would always talk about wanting and successfully launched ThePit.com, a to as “the honor of my life.” He has played winds up in government someday. And this the online diapers business he co-founded to Rather than treating those circumstances “Given the sacrifices he has made, the exam- whiz kid brother, Vinit, who followed Amazon.com for $540 million in cash. as a distraction, Jagdish Bharara, Preet and ple he has set, and the life he has led, he will to make a difference. ‘I have to make an kind of stock exchange for trading cards that down speculation about political ambitions, one, born in the U.S.A., actually could be a It was, he says, one of the most memora- Vinit’s father, buried his nose in schoolbooks. never be more proud of me than I am of him,” impact,’ he would say.” Vinnie spent a lot of allowed fans to buy and sell the rights to cards which have proved irresistible to some of his contender for the nation’s highest office. By Carrie Johnson Preet in the law school Class of 1996 ble days of his life, and no one was prouder of Vinit—who is known to friends and He became the first member of his family to attend college. Then, following his marriage Bharara told the numerous federal judges and New York City dignitaries in attendance. those years thinking about “something that would excite him, another puzzle to solve,” bearing images of professional athletes. The value of the cards went up or down based predecessors as U.S. Attorney. Preet is quick to point out to audiences that as a natural- Carrie JohNsoN covers the U.S. Justice and co-founded the wildly successful she adds. on how the athletes were playing. Topps, the family as “Vinnie”—than his big brother, and the birth of Preet, Jagdish made the dif- Fast forward a couple of years. On a warm ized U.S. citizen, he cannot be president. Department for NPr. website Diapers.com, is garnering Preet Bharara ’93, the U.S. Attorney for the ficult decision to leave India—and, tempo- spring night in April, Preet has traveled to The first big challenge Preet and Vinnie sports card company, bought the website after Southern District of New York. rarily, his young family—to start his medical Washington, D.C., to address Columbia faced as youngsters involved trying to avoid just a year, in 2001, and Vinit began working plaudits from far and wide for his a career in medicine, since the Bhararas, like as an attorney at Topps. He became the com- The Bharara brothers, who rose to the top residency in England. After reuniting in the Law School alumni gathered at a restaurant business acumen. of their respective fields by their early 40s, are early 1970s, the family moved to the United near Georgetown’s harbor. many high-achieving Asian parents at the pany’s general counsel a few years later. time, had decreed their sons would be doctors. Vinit says his legal background has been Last year, Ultimately, in a rare case of domestic instrumental to his business success. “As a in a switch of26 COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL MAGAZINe fALL 2011 PHOtOGrAPHeD By Peter freeD LAW.COLUMBIA.eDU/MAGAZINe 27 resistance, Preet simply said no. lawyer, I bring certain types of skills to a busi- “I declared pretty early on I didn’t want to be ness,” he says. “Lawyers can connect concepts familial dynamics, a doctor,” he recalls. “In seventh grade, I read together and tell narratives. [In business,] Preet visited the On this evening, as white lights sparkle in whose pockets Vinnie used to hide “piles and Inherit the Wind, which was phenomenal.” you need to connect everything together and the leafy tree behind him, Preet has another piles of lima beans” from their unsuspecting Preet soon came to idolize the defense attor- see what it sounds like, whether it makes headquarters of story to tell about Bharara family pride. But mother so he would not have to eat them ney portrayed in the play, Clarence Darrow, sense. That’s what you get trained for. I think Diapers.com for this one involves his mom and his kid brother. at dinnertime. But Preet ultimately reveals for his incisive, skillful witness examinations lawyers can do that better than most.” “It was not until the day my brother’s deal that his brother was a good kid growing up. and his quest for justice. (Preet still watches In 2005, Vinit put that training to the test some advice. was announced for over half a billion dollars,” “Vinnie was very, very well behaved . . . in the DVD of Inherit the Wind every so often, with a new business venture. He again linked he told the crowd, “[that] my mom called the upper echelon of good behavior,” Preet but only the version with Spencer Tracy.) up with Lore, this time to start Diapers.com. up [CNN medical correspondent] Sanjay declares. “The problem was, I was even “I figured if you are going to become a Now more experienced, the entrepreneurs Gupta’s mom and said, ‘Eat your heart out.’” more well-behaved.” lawyer, you want to become the kind that did painstaking research and identified new Humor is a virtue, it seems, for all of Their oldest friends describe the Bharara argues in court,” he says. Preet recalls the parents as a market segment where, if com- the Bhararas. household as a warm and welcoming place inspiration he gained from a course in trial panies built up trust, the business relation- Back in New York City, the two brothers where a funny, outgoing mother fussed over practice taught at the Law School by then dis- ship could extend for years. have gathered to talk about their careers in visitors and insisted on fixing guests some- trict court judge and eventual attorney gen- By this time, Preet had tried numerous a sunny eighth-floor space at the U.S. Attor- thing to eat regardless of whether they were eral Michael B. Mukasey. “He held you to an cases in New York as a federal prosecutor and ney’s Office for the Southern District of New hungry. The brothers became each other’s incredibly high standard,” Preet says, adding moved to Washington, D.C., to serve as the York, where Preet has Bruce Springsteen closest adviser as teenagers, a pattern that that Mukasey provided a practitioner’s view top legal adviser to Senator Chuck Schumer. songs playing in an endless loop. He takes a continues to this day. of preparing opening and closing statements. At his speech in Washington this spring, Preet moment to needle his kid brother about his “Preet taught Vin a lot growing up that Just as Preet was graduating, his younger recalled the day his brother told him about the choice of clothing—specifically, his jeans. carried through,” says Lax Chandra, who brother arrived at the Law School. After tak- new company . . . selling diapers. “You couldn’t find something else to wear?” met the Bharara brothers as a kid. “I think ing some constitutional law classes in col- “Like door to door?” Preet responded. Preet asks, before concluding the jeans Vin would say one of his biggest influences, lege, Vinit found that he thoroughly enjoyed “‘No, on the Internet,” Vinit shot back. were probably far pricier than the no-name if not his biggest influence, was his brother. the process of examining arguments and “Marc and I are thinking about launching a denim pants they wore as children, and in Preet set a really high standard.” searching for gaps in logic. It didn’t take diapers website and quitting our jobs.” 28 COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL MAGAZINe fALL 2011 LAW.COLUMBIA.eDU/MAGAZINe 29
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MARKING C omedy 101: It’s all in the timing. If you rush the punch line or pause too long, you kill the joke instead of the audience. The same principle holds TIME true for sports. Whether a batter whiffs or “goes yard” depends, in part, on estimating that precise, magical moment when bat crushes ball. In fact, temporal perception, and especially interval timing—the way in which we perceive the passage of time in the seconds-to-minutes range—drives many animal behav- iors, scientists say. It helps predators, for example, to time their attacks before dinner scurries away. Among humans, it is no less essential. Temporal perception underlies our ability to survive, learn, develop expectations about what will happen when, and interact with other people Studying temporal and our surroundings. We understand what it means to have the floor for two minutes. We squirm during awkward pauses in perception makes conversation. We predict how often we can hit “snooze” and still get to work on time. Yet, despite its being fundamental to human operation, the teacher-scholar slippery notion of temporal perception has caused many great minds to lie awake at night. It so distracted Augustine that he Matthew Matell’s devoted Book XI of his Confessions to the topic. He wrestled with the enigma of what constitutes the present moment, clock tick which “flies by from the future into the past with such haste that it seems to last no time at all.” GIVE OR TAKE A MINUTE By Suzanne Wentzel Temporal perception has the same fascination for another great mind: Matthew Matell, PhD, associate professor of Psychology and director of the Temporal Perception Lab in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. A specialist in behavioral neurosci- ence, Dr. Matell was attracted to the field in general because it united two of his loves: biology and psychology. But it was through his studies as a master’s and doctoral student at Duke Time flies in the Temporal Perception Lab, where Matthew Matell, PhD, associate professor, Psychology, tries to answer one of the questions that baffle scientists: How does the brain measure time? 26 VILLANOVA MAGAZINE FALL 2012 VILLANOVA.EDU 27The Barnett GroupVillanova UniversityVillanova Magazine
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The Barnett Group Columbia Law School’s New Magazine Can’t view this? Click here. rnett g ba BG the barnett group ro the up cr y nc at e iv e age for small use Columbia law school magazine, fall 2011 While creating interactive solutions for our clients, we haven’t forgotten our roots: Print Design. This beautiful publication for Columbia Law School is a prime example of a successful relationship with a great client. What do our interactive and print concepts have in common? They all start with the best possible user experience. Regardless of the medium, we encourage the viewer to become engaged in what they’re seeing, and to return over time. And when we design print and interactive in tandem, your brand is integrated with consistency. The Barnett Group has been designing annual reports, B2B and B2C brochures, and publications since 1984, and we always welcome the opportunity to do quality print design. BREAKING U.S. energy policy is a mess. The situation at the global level is even worse. THROUGH Could it be that lawyers hold the key to getting things turned around? by Daniel Gross W e live in an age of ferment and innovation in be an understatement. New York this summer passed energy production, use, and technology. As on-bill financing legislation, which lets people borrow tiny start-ups, like BigBelly Solar, a Newton, Mass.–based money for energy efficiency improvements and pay off firm that makes solar-powered trash compactors, prom- the loan through utility bills. Next door, in New Jersey, ise to change the world, thousands of electricity-powered Governor Chris Christie has pulled back funding for Nissan Leafs hit the roads each month. New solutions for formerly aggressive renewable energy requirements. kicking the fossil fuel habit, shrinking humanity’s carbon “There are a large number of disparate laws in opera- footprint, and mitigating global warming abound—from tion, and many of them are at war with each other,” the practical (motion-detecting sensors that automati- notes Michael B. Gerrard, the Law School’s Andrew cally turn lights off) to the pie-in-the-sky (seeding the Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and director clouds with crystals to combat global warming). And of the Center for Climate Change Law. Subsidies for through it all, the hectoring on the need to turn off the renewables coexist with subsidies for fossil fuels. Envi- lights is producing results. “We’re now producing out- ronmental laws like the Endangered Species Act make put for less energy consumption than we did before,” it difficult to build large-scale solar facilities in the sun- says Michael J. Graetz, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher drenched Mojave Desert. Professor of Law and Columbia Alumni Professor of Tax Gerrard recently published The Law of Clean Law. “That’s the happy part of the story.” Energy, a 688-page treatise cataloging federal and But there is a sad part, too. As Graetz notes: “We also state laws and regulations dealing with renewable drive bigger cars, have bigger houses, and have our houses energy and energy efficiency. He has set up a sepa- located further from work than those in most other coun- rate website (law.columbia.edu/mag/energy-survey) tries.” Even as clean-up efforts continue in the Gulf of with a 50-state survey to chronicle the “incoherent Mexico, U.S. crude oil production, fueled in part by a hodgepodge.” Tax credits and subsidies for faddish boom in North Dakota, rose to 5.5 million barrels per day solutions rise and fall like pop stars. last year. Because that is not nearly enough to keep our “Eight presidents, from Nixon to Obama, have all said SUVs fueled, the U.S. continues to import huge quantities we have to eliminate our addiction to oil,” says Graetz, of oil, sustaining hostile, undemocratic whose latest book, The End of Energy: governments in Venezuela and Iran, and The Unmaking of America’s Environ- complicating foreign policy. Petroleum ment, Security and Independence, alone accounts for more than 48 percent web exclusive smartly chronicles the depressing Read the professors’ work of America’s gaping trade deficit. dealing with energy policy. cascade of policy failures over the past Calling U.S. policy toward energy law.columbia.edu/mag/ four decades. “And the victories we’ve and efficiency a jumbled mess would energy-scholarship achieved are rather hollow.” 36 COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL MAGAZINE FALL 2011 ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID PLUNKERT LAW.COLUMBIA.EDU/MAGAZINE 37 View magazine Design. Marketing. Interactive. 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