Alan M. Dershowitz

Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law

Biography

Professor Alan M. Dershowitz is 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,” “America’s most public Jewish defender” and “Israel’s single most visible defender – the Jewish state’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion.” He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Dershowitz, a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School, joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 after clerking for Judge David Bazelon and Justice Arthur Goldberg.

He has also published more than 1000 articles in magazines, newspapers, journals and blogs such as The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, Huffington Post, Newsmax, Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz. Professor Dershowitz is the author of 30 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 October 2013 by Crown, a division of Random House. Earlier titles include “an exceptional, action packed book,” The Trials of Zion, a novel which has been called “a thought-provoking page turner;” Rights From Wrong; The Case For Israel; The Case For Peace; Blasphemy; Preemption; Finding Jefferson; and Shouting Fire.

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, and Henry Louis Gate, Jr. More than a million of his books—translated in many languages—have been sold worldwide.

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." Professor Dershowitz has been awarded the honorary doctor of laws degree by Yeshiva University, Brooklyn College, Syracuse University, Tel Aviv University, New York City College, Haifa University and several other institutions of learning. He has also been the recipient of numerous 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.

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 PhD psychologist. He has three children, one a film producer, one a lawyer for the Women’s National Basketball Association and one a professional actor. He also has two grandchildren, one a college junior and the other a college freshman.

Areas of Interest

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