Alan Dershowitz - February 24, 2020
Professor of Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School
Professor Alan M. Dershowitz is a Brooklyn native who has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights,” “the best-known criminal lawyer in the world,” “the top lawyer of last resort.” He has been named America’s most “public Jewish Defender,” -- “the Jewish state’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion.” He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School. Dershowitz, a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School, joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 – the youngest in the school’s history -- and became an Emeritus professor after 50 years of teaching and 10,000 students.
Dershowitz has been called the “winningest” criminal lawyer in modern history and has argued hundreds of appeals in courts throughout the nation. He has won the vast majority of his homicide cases and has never lost a client to the death penalty. He continues to consult actively on both transnational and domestic criminal and civil liberty cases. He continues to devote half of his practice to pro bono cases and causes.
Dershowitz has also published more than 1000 articles in magazines, newspapers, journals and blogs. These include the New York Times, for which he has written numerous op-eds, book reviews and articles for the Week in Review, as well as for the Magazine and entertainment sections. He has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Huffington Post, Gatestone, Newsmax, Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz, and Algemeiner. Professor Dershowitz is the author of 35 fiction and non-fiction works with a worldwide audience, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Chutzpah and five other national bestsellers. His autobiography, Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law, was published in 2013 and his eBook, Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for Unaroused Voters, was published in 2016. In his latest books, Trumped Up (8/2017), The Case Against BDS (1/2018) and The Case Against The Democratic House Impeaching Trump (1/2019) Dershowitz reinforces his long standing record of presenting the issues of the day with "trenchant legal analysis" and "Using the scalpel of scholarship.”
In addition to his numerous law review articles and books about criminal and constitutional law, he has written, taught and lectured about history, philosophy, psychology, literature, mathematics, theology, music, sports – and even delicatessens.
His writing has been praised by Truman Capote, Saul Bellow, William Styron, David Mamet, Aharon Appelfeld, A.B. Yehoshua, Elie Wiesel, Richard North Patterson, Steven Pinker and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. More than a million of his books—translated in many languages -- have been sold worldwide.
He has also been the recipient of numerous honorary doctor degrees and academic awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on human rights, a fellowship at The Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences and several Dean’s Awards for his books.
In 1983, the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith presented him with the William O. Douglas First Amendment Award for his “compassionate eloquent leadership and persistent advocacy in the struggle for civil and human rights.” In presenting the award, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel said: “If there had been a few people like Alan Dershowitz during the 1930s and 1940s, the history of European Jewry might have been different.”
He has been the subject of two New Yorker cartoons, a New York Times crossword puzzle, and a Trivial Pursuit question. A Sandwich at Fenway Park has been named after him—pastrami, of course.
He is married to Carolyn Cohen, a Ph.D. psychologist. He has three children, one a film producer, one a lawyer for the Women’s Basketball Association and one a professional actor. He also has two grandchildren, one a college senior at Harvard and the other on the way to medical school.