Alan Dershowitz Early Life
Alan Dershowitz (Alan Morton Dershowitz), professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and frequent cable news commentator, was born on 1 September 1938. Dershowitz, a graduate of Yale Law School. One of the names causing a stir is defence attorney Alan Dershowitz. The Harvard University law professor has worked on some of the world’s most famous – and contentious – legal cases, and is now offering his services to one of the most polarising presidents in United States history. He defended or advised on such high-profile cases as those of O.J. Simpson, Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein.
Alan M. Dershowitz: “I didn’t know any lawyers growing up but I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. My mother wanted me to open up a store front law office, where I did automobile accident cases, tax returns and immigration. My father said I should take the notary public exam to make sure that I always had a source of income. I didn’t want to do that but I really had no idea of what I did want to do, beyond being a criminal defense lawyer.”
“Early in my teaching career, I was asked to represent a kid from my neighborhood who was charged with murder in a Jewish Defense League case. I represented him for free and everybody said the case was unwinnable. When I won it on constitutional grounds, clients began to call. I was also writing articles for The New York Times and other publications.”
From his first major case — defending the pornographic film Deep Throat on First Amendment grounds — Mr Dershowitz has focused on civil liberties, though he has come to criticise the American Civil Liberties Union in recent years. In 2018, Mr Dershowitz slammed the organisation for what he described as its leaning towards political activism, and the millions of dollars it has spent in recent years as it has taken a more active role in American elections.
Alan Morton Dershowitz Biography and Profile
Who is Alan Dershowitz?
Alan Dershowitz was born born 1 September 1938, in Brooklyn. Dershowitz, the Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard Law School. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1962. Dershowitz was appointed law professor at Harvard in 1967 aged 28, the youngest in its history. A political liberal, he’s known for his controversial views on issues including Israel and torture. He has advised in numerous high-profile trials, including O.J. Simpson’s, which he later wrote a book about.
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.
It’s not the first time he has supported Democrats, and had previously endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2008, and Barack Obama in 2012. What’s interesting about the Biden endorsement is the former vice president’s prominence in Mr Trump’s case — the president was pushing for Ukraine to investigate none other than Mr Biden ahead of the 2020 race.
“I’m a strong supporter of Joe Biden. I like Joe Biden. I’ve liked him for a long time, and I could enthusiastically support Joe Biden,” he told SiriusXM radio last year.
Alan Dershowitz Wrote Over 1000 Articles
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.
Alan Dershowitz Autobiography, ‘Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law’
Alan Dershowitz 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.
Alan Dershowitz Other Activities
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.
Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith
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.”
Alan Dershowitz Early Career
When I started, there was no legal ‘market’. Lawyers were paid almost nothing. Nobody talked about money. Law was regarded as a learned profession rather than as a business. The American Lawyer magazine changed all that by reporting on law as a business, including salaries and earnings. Law is now very much a bottom line business.
Alan Morton Dershowitz Quick Facts
Alan Dershowitz’s first wife killed herself a decade after they separated
Alan Dershowitz met Sue Berlach in 1959 and they had two children. After 14 years of marriage, they went through what the New Yorker called “acrimonious” divorce proceedings, and he obtained custody of the children. Berlach claimed through her attorney that Dershowitz abused her and that she required medical treatment and psychotherapy as a result. In 1983, Berlach walked to the center of the Brooklyn Bridge and jumped. The year before, Dershowitz had married Carolyn Cohen, then 33; he was 45.
Some female students claim he was obsessed with false rape accusations
Alan Dershowitz is particularly interested in—and incensed by—the idea of women falsely accusing men of rape and reportedly brought it up often while teaching. One student who took a class with Dershowitz in 1991 recalled begging him to stop bringing up the subject, stating that other women in the class had been raped.
Alan Dershowitz once advocated for lowering the age of consent to 15
Alan Dershowitz wrote a 1997 op-ed for the Los Angeles Times advocating for the lowering of the age of consent to 14 or 15. He tweeted Monday reaffirming his “constitutional” support for that argument, which sparked a big reaction.
Alan Dershowitz’s alibi for Epstein-related allegations comes under fire
Virginia Giuffre alleges she had sex with Dershowitz multiple times between 2000 and 2002, which Dershowitz categorically denies. The proof he gave the New Yorker—a series of travel records—showed that “every day had been accounted for, and in most cases there was documentation.” Some of those days, however, were noted only with handwritten entries, like “New York.” As the article noted, Dershowitz lived in New York from September 2000 to June 2001, when Giuffre frequented Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.
Alan Dershowitz says Epstein is the only person he regrets representing
Although Alan Dershowitz represented nearly 250 cases in his career, Dershowitz said on the record he definitely regrets taking on Epstein’s Florida case in 2005. According to the New Yorker, Dershowitz said he was “misled about the severity of the allegations.” Dershowitz said in March he’d always take Epstein’s call, but as of July, he told NPR he has “no relationship with him.”
Dershowitz often defended Donald Trump
Dershowitz often defended Trump on cable news over former special counsel Robert Mueller’s now-concluded investigation. But he also has described himself as a “loyal liberal who has supported every Democratic candidate for president since I campaigned for Adlai Stevenson in 1952”; and he has said he didn’t agree with some of the president’s policies, like the travel ban and ending protections for so-called “dreamers” who entered the country illegally as children.
Alan Dershowitz a strong supporter of Israel
Mr Dershowitz self-identifies as “Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestine”, even though he has been on record saying that the Palestinian people have supported genocidal war. While he supported Mr Obama’s 2012 election, he also criticised that president’s foreign policy after the Obama administration abstained from a United Nations security resolution condemning Israel for building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.
Alan Dershowitz Awards
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.
Alan Dershowitz Family
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
- Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
- Comparative and Foreign Law: Jewish Law
- Trial Practice
Alan Morton Dershowitz Controversial Cases
Mr Dershowitz’s most notable cases read like a who’s-who of controversial men. His first major legal victory came in 1976, when he successfully appealed the conviction of Harry Reems on charges of distributing obscenity for his pornographic movie Deep Throat. Then, in 1984, Mr Dershowitz had his second major victory with the case of Claus von Bülow, the British socialite who had been convicted of attempting to murder his wife, Sunny (who went into a coma in 1980, and died in 2008).
In 1995 he joined the highest profile case of his career up until now, and worked as an adviser to OJ Simpson‘s defence team, going on to write a book about the case.
Since then, he also defended the late Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 after the American financier was accused of soliciting sex from minors. Mr Dershowitz helped come to a “non-prosecution agreement”, which led to Epstein serving 13 months in jail. The convicted paedophile died in prison last year. And, in 2018, Mr Dershowitz worked as an adviser on disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein‘s case, which is currently in trial.
In 2018, Mr Dershowitz said that the reaction he received to an op-ed he had written questioning the legitimacy of the special counsel investigation into Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign, had proven that defending the president in the public eye was more difficult than defending OJ Simpson.
When asked about his penchant for defending unpopular figures, and whether Mr Trump’s case is more difficult, he told the New York Times that it is the more difficult than any of his highest profile cases: “Of course. Or Claus von Bülow or Leona Helmsley or Michael Milken or Mike Tyson. This is much worse than all that.”
He continued: “In those cases people were critical of me, but they were prepared to discuss it. They were prepared to have a dialogue. Here, the people that I’m objecting to want to stop the dialogue. They don’t want to have the conversation.”
Laurence Tribe, a longtime colleague of Mr Dershowitz’s at Harvard, told the New Yorker that his colleague enjoys those types of challenges: “He revels in taking positions that ultimately are not just controversial but pretty close to indefensible.”
Alan Morton Dershowitz Female Controversies
Two women claim they were directed to have sex with Mr Dershowitz during the time he was associated with Epstein. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s most vocal victims, stated in a 2014 court filing that Epstein lent her out for sex to his friends including Mr Dershowitz.
Alan Dershowitz Legal Hero
I urge my students not to have heroes. Every hero has clay feet. If I had to pick one hero, it would probably be the late Václav Havel, who brought real democracy to the Czech Republic without shedding any blood.
Alan Dershowitz Greatest Failure or Regret
The fact that I have been unable to turn around the growing delegitimation of Israel in much of academia. But I haven’t given up. Israel’s right to exist and to defend its citizens is one of the great human rights issues of the day, and those who abuse human rights by singling out Israel for unjust condemnation are destroying the concept of human rights. I have worked too hard to protect human rights to stand by silently and watch that concept so abused.
Alan Dershowitz Greatest Achievement
“My human rights work in helping to free many Soviet dissidents and in saving the lives of several people on death row.”
How Alan Dershowitz would like to be remembered
“He never compromised his principles and he accomplished what he did without a computer.”
Alan Dershowitz Biography and Profile (Alan Dershowitz)