Even though Robert “Bob” Dinerstein, ’66, spent 50 years away from his home in the Law Quad, he has never forgotten what the Law School gave him. “A Michigan education provided me the confidence to believe that I could be a first-rate lawyer and the credibility to make others believe that as well,” says Dinerstein. With a $100,000 gift, which includes a $50,000 bequest, Dinerstein seeks to reconnect with his alma mater.
“The Law School has evolved, and I want to learn more,” says Dinerstein, who returned to campus for his 50th reunion last September. It was his first visit since graduation. Dinerstein is a passionate supporter of education and considers the addition of Michigan Law to his estate plan as an extension of this interest. Rather than designating the funds in a specific way, Dinerstein chose to make his bequest to the Law School Fund, an unrestricted avenue of giving. “I would rather give for general purposes and let the Law School decide where
the money is most needed,” he says. “I would recommend it as part of any estate plan.”
Dinerstein says Michigan Law hasn’t been far from his thoughts, despite the long gap between visits. “Because I went back to New York after graduation, I just lost touch.
I also fell victim to the common misconception that the School was receiving more state funding than it was. I thought nothing I did would be impactful.” When a classmate reminded him of his fast-approaching reunion, Dinerstein decided it was the perfect time
to reengage and redefine his relationship with the Law School. “The realization that it’s
our 50th reunion—that is a long time,” he says. “I wanted to make up for my neglect and
to show support for the school that I have nothing but fond memories of.”
Walking through the Quad during Reunion Weekend, Dinerstein couldn’t help but think back to his own experience as a student, how it compared to that of the students today, and the role Michigan Law has played in his life. “I can’t tell you how important it was for me to have gone to Michigan,” he says. “I was uncertain of my career aspirations when I came
to law school. Both the education I received and the friendly, open culture of Michigan Law gave me the grounding and confidence to make informed decisions about how I wanted to apply that experience.” After graduating, Dinerstein joined the first administration of New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay, as legal assistant to the corporation counsel. Later, after four years as an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton and a six-year stint as corporate secretary and assistant general counsel of American Airlines, Dinerstein began a 30-year career in financial services. First, he was general counsel of Citicorp’s Investment Bank,
then executive vice president and general counsel for Shearson Lehman Brothers, and finally, general counsel and vice chairman of UBS Investment Bank. Dinerstein now is retired but still serves on the board of Amalgamated Bank and is chairman of Veracity Worldwide, a strategic risk advisory firm that counsels companies doing business in emerging markets.
“It has not been a linear career, but it has been exciting,” he says.
And it all began at Michigan Law. Dinerstein distinctly remembers the day he arrived
on campus. His impression that first day formed his whole outlook on the Law School experience. “This wonderful Quad and the nice people, it just reaffirmed my decisions
to go to law school and to go to Michigan,” he says. “It felt like coming home, and that hasn’t changed.” —JP