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Our Honorees

Each year the Weinberg Center recognizes the contributions of two extraordinary individuals dedicated to change and justice.

Denis J. McInerney

Denis McInerney is a Senior Counsel in Davis Polk’s Litigation Department.  In addition to his 27 years in Davis Polk’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Group, he has held a wide variety of positions as a federal prosecutor, including Chief of the Fraud Section and Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and Associate Independent Counsel in the Whitewater Investigation.  

Mr. McInerney has devoted much of his time since 2019 as President of the Board of Sanctuary for Families, in addition to representing incarcerated domestic violence survivors in clemency petitions and applications to be resentenced pursuant to New York’s newly enacted Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act.  To date, Mr. McInerney and his teams have succeeded in approximately 15 of these cases, often after having persuaded the prosecutors to join in the applications.  Mr. McInerney views these cases, in which he and his teams have had the privilege of greeting their clients as they walk out of prison as a result of the teams’ efforts, as the most moving and meaningful cases of his career.

Catherine A. Christian

Catherine A. Christian is a highly experienced trial lawyer with more than 30 years of public service in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and as a prominent leader within the New York legal community

Ms. Christian began her legal career in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office under the legendary Robert M. Morgenthau. Her experience includes several decades of trial and investigative experience, including felony and homicide jury trials, at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the NYC Special Narcotics Prosecutor. In these offices, she held various leadership positions, including Special Assistant District Attorney for External Affairs, Senior Trial Counsel, Director of Legal Staff Training, and Chief of the Elder Abuse Unit, where she supervised the investigation and prosecution of thousands of cases involving crimes against elderly victims.

As an Assistant District Attorney, Ms. Christian also supervised investigations and prosecutions of financial fraud, conducted long-term wiretap investigations of multi-defendant international criminal organizations, and reviewed convictions where there were credible claims of innocence or wrongful conviction. She has also served as Assistant Counsel for the New York State Commission of Investigation where she investigated corruption, fraud, and mismanagement by public officials. She briefly left public service to work in private practice as a trial attorney where she obtained criminal jury trial acquittals.

As president of the New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA), a bar association of over 8,000 lawyers, Ms. Christian administered a multimillion-dollar annual budget and expanded the bar association’s pro bono program. She was the first African American, the youngest person, and the second woman inducted as president of NYCLA since its founding in 1908.

She is a member of the Appellate Division First Department’s Attorney Grievance Committee and Character and Fitness Committee. She has held numerous leadership positions in the New York City and New York State Bar Associations as well as the American Bar Association and New York Women’s Bar Association.

Ms. Christian is an MSNBC and NBC News legal analyst. She co-chaired the New York State Bar Association’s Task Force on the Modernization of Criminal Practice, which issued a Report recommending ways to modernize criminal law practice in New York to improve safety, fairness, equality, access to justice, and technological efficiency in the administration of criminal justice.