Setting politics aside, as well as my general disdain for the "legal profession", if I ever got into some deep shit, I’d definitely want this guy on my side.
Born in Brooklyn, New York on September 1, 1938, Alan M. Dershowitz has risen to be one of the foremost defense attorneys in the country and a major player in the defense of civil liberties.
Dershowitz graduated from Yeshiva University high school and moved on to attend Brooklyn College. After graduation, he moved on to Yale University and earned his law degree and graduated first in his class. He was also named editor in chief of the Yale Law Journal. After a brief period of clerking for the U. S Court of Appeals and Justice Goldberg of the United States Supreme Court, he was appointed to the faculty at Harvard Law School and three years later, earned a full professorship. He was the youngest person ever to have that title in the schools history. During his period at Harvard, he has taught such courses as criminal law, psychiatry and law, constitutional litigation, civil liberties and violence, comparative criminal law, legal ethics and human rights. He has also been named chairman of the New England chapter of B'nai B'rith and served on the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Always a defender of what might be deemed unpopular causes, his client list reads like a who’s who of famous cases. Here’s a partial listing of some of his more notable clients.
Claus von Bulow
Senator Alan Cranston
Along the way, he also defended the American Nazi Party and their right to march in the streets in Skokie, Illinois and has taken on the cause of many inmates sentenced to death row. He also took on the film industry and their rating policies when many films that were considered “mainstream" were being judged as X-Rated.
Did I mention that between the years 1967 and 1986, Dershowitz argued eleven cases in front of the Supreme Court? Well, he did. To me, that’s pretty darn impressive.
He has also served on a number of Presidential Commissions :
President’s Commission on Marijuana
and Drug Abuse
President's Commission on Causes and Prevention of Violence
President's Commission on Civil Disorders
Director of the National Institute of Mental Health
Last but not least, Dershowitz has also authored several books and written countless articles for various publications. Here’s the books:
The Best Defense (1982)
Reversal of Fortune
: Inside the von Bülow Case (1982), which was made into movie
Taking Liberties: A Decade of Hard Cases, Bad Laws and Bum Raps (1988)
his autobiography (1991)
Contrary to Public Opinion (1992).
In closing, yes, I acknowledge that Mr. Dershowitz has been accused of being a publicity hound, self-promoter and grandstanding on behalf of his clients. And yes, many of his clients probably were guilty of the crimes in which they were accused. But, as Mr. Dershowitz has pointed out, the justice system in America is adversarial in nature and he is charged with putting on the best possible defense he can. In the eyes of the law, there’s a big difference between “innocence” and “not guilty.”