Alumni Spotlight: Sali (Qaragholi) Rakower '94

I graduated from Cornell in 1994, having been both a College Scholar and NES major.  Cornell, and the NES department headed by Professor Ross Brann, hold a special place in my heart and memory.  I also grew up hearing from my grandfather about his years as a graduate student in the Agriculture school at Cornell, where he had come to study from Iraq. 

As a College Scholar, I wrote my thesis on Islamic Spain because I was struck by this remarkable period of integration and collaboration between Jews, Muslims and Christians.  Professor Brann was both my advisor and mentor.  He and my English professor, Edgar Rosenberg, had a significant and lasting impact on me.

After graduating from Cornell, I worked in Washington, D.C. for two years as a Press Officer at the Jordan Information Bureau, where I covered the press and conducted research on U.S. politics.  I then attended law school at the University of Virginia School of Law, where I met my husband, Michael Rakower.

I moved to New York after graduation and worked for eight years as an associate at the global law firm of White & Case LLP, where I worked on cases involving complex commercial litigation, international law and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

During my time at White & Case, I took a sabbatical year and traveled with my husband, Michael, through southern and east Africa.  We volunteered for a portion of this trip at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where we assisted in the prosecution of four former high-ranking military leaders who were primary perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.

After leaving White & Case, I became the first Director of the West Point Center for the Rule of Law, and then served as a Senior Fellow there for several years.

I joined Rakower Law PLLC, the law firm Michael founded more than a decade ago, as a partner, where I work with him and other highly skilled commercial litigators.

Our biggest joy and adventure is our family.  Michael and I have five children:  Rachel (14), Becca (13), Hannah (11), Jacob (9), and Sammy (3). 

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Sali Rakower portrait