I will continue to fight for justice, fairness, and constitutional rights until my dying breath. -- Alan Dershowitz
On September 1, 1938, a man with one of the sharpest legal minds in American history was born in Brooklyn, New York. This man is Alan Dershowitz, a world-renowned attorney and author. At the age of 28, Dershowitz became the youngest full professor of legal studies at Harvard Law School in 1967.
He graduated from Yeshiva University High School, an independent boys' prep school located in Manhattan, New York. In his high school years, Dershowitz was known an outspoken basketball player who also had the oratory skills of a seasoned debater. His argumentation and debate skills often got him in trouble with teachers. He later said his teachers told him to do something that "requires a big mouth and no brain ... so I became a lawyer." After graduating from high school, he attended Brooklyn College and received his A.B. in 1959, majoring in Political Science.
At Brooklyn College he was president of Executive Council, the Forensic Society, and captain of the debate team! "On the debate team, Dershowitz had a handicap: as an observant Jew he couldn't write on Shabbat and most competitions were held on Saturday. Coach Charles Parkhurst taught him to make it an asset by developing a mnemonic memory. "I then never needed notes, for three years in law school," said Dershowitz. To this day, he does not allow his Harvard Law students to take notes during the first few weeks of classes. "Take it in, don't take it down," he says." "Every aspect of my life grew out of what happened here." (http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/spotlite/news/092903.htm)
The center of Dershowitz's "rebel with a cause" nature was rooted in his desire to be a voice for the voiceless. His wealth of expertise stems from a career that was solidified by a ripe understanding of criminal law and U.S. constitutional law.
Dershowitz's catalog as an author consists of books, such as "America on Trial: Inside the Legal Battles That Transformed Our Nation," which provoked much thought and debate among the nation's top legal scholars. Not only is Dershowitz an accomplished professional, he is a prominent activist.
He became the youngest Professor at Harvard Law School in its history. "Much of his legal career has focused on criminal law, and his clients have included high-profile figures such as Patty Hearst, Harry Reems, Leona Helmsley, Jim Bakker, Mike Tyson, Michael Milken, O.J. Simpson and Kirtanananda Swami. Dershowitz also reports to have been one of Nelson Mandela's lawyers. He sees himself as a "lawyer of last resort"—someone to turn to when the defendant has few other legal options—and takes those cases that are what he calls "the most challenging, the most difficult and precedent-setting cases." He is currently advising Julian Assange's legal team." (Wikipedia)
His selflessness and advocacy for his fellow members of the Jewish faith have earned him a number of truly honorable accolades. In December 2011, Dershowitz won the Menachem Begin Award of Honor by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center during a function co-organized by the NGO Monitor.
Today, youths can make a difference through eloquently using their voices to confront injustices of any kind by joining a debate team. The next female or male version of Alan Dershowitz is definitely a current debate champion at a school somewhere in America.
For more information about how to get involved with a premier youth forensics group in New York City, contact us.
- 1982: The Best Defense. ISBN 978-0-394-50736-1.
- 1985: Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bülow Case. ISBN 978-0-394-53903-4.
- 1988: Taking Liberties: A Decade of Hard Cases, Bad Laws, and Bum Raps. ISBN 978-0-8092-4616-8.
- 1991: Chutzpah. ISBN 978-0-316-18137-2.
- 1992: Contrary to Popular Opinion. ISBN 978-0-88687-701-9.
- 1994: The Advocate's Devil (fiction). ISBN 978-0-446-51759-1.
- 1994: The Abuse Excuse: And Other Cop-Outs, Sob Stories, and Evasions of Responsibility. ISBN 978-0-316-18135-8.
- 1996: Reasonable Doubts: The Criminal Justice System and the O.J. Simpson Case. ISBN 978-0-684-83021-6.
- 1997: The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century. ISBN 978-0-316-18133-4.
- 1998: Sexual McCarthyism: Clinton, Starr, and the Emerging Constitutional Crisis. ISBN 978-0-465-01628-0.
- 1999: Just Revenge (fiction). ISBN 978-0-446-60871-8.
- 2000: The Genesis of Justice: Ten Stories of Biblical Injustice that Led to the Ten Commandments and Modern Law. Warner Books. ISBN 978-0-446-67677-9.
- 2001: Letters to a Young Lawyer. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-01631-0.
- 2001: Supreme Injustice: How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514827-5.
- 2002: Why Terrorism Works: Understanding the Threat, Responding to the Challenge. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-09766-5.
- 2002: Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age. Little Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-18141-9.
- 2003: The Case for Israel. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-46502-7
- 2003: America Declares Independence. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-26482-8.
- 2004: America on Trial: Inside the Legal Battles That Transformed Our Nation. Warner Books. ISBN 978-0-446-52058-4.
- 2004: Rights From Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights. ISBN 978-0-465-01713-3.
- 2005: The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-74317-0; "Chapter 16" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 1, 2006. (111 KB).
- 2006: Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways. W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-06012-6.
- 2007: Blasphemy: How the Religious Right is Hijacking the Declaration of Independence. ISBN 978-0-470-08455-7.
- 2007: Finding Jefferson: A Lost Letter, a Remarkable Discovery, and the First Amendment in an Age of Terrorism. ISBN 978-0-470-16711-3.
- 2008: Is There a Right to Remain Silent?: Coercive Interrogation and the Fifth Amendment After 9/11. ISBN 978-0-19-530779-5.
- 2008: The Case Against Israel's Enemies: Exposing Jimmy Carter and Others Who Stand in the Way of Peace. ISBN 978-0-470-37992-9.
- 2009: Mouth of Webster, Head of Clay essay in The Face in the Mirror: Writers Reflect on Their Dreams of Youth and the Reality of Age. ISBN 978-1-59102-752-2.
- 2009: The Case For Moral Clarity: Israel, Hamas and Gaza. ISBN 978-0-9661548-5-6.
- 2010: The Trials of Zion. ISBN 978-0-446-57673-4.
- 2013: Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law. ISBN 978-0307719270.
- 2014: Terror Tunnels: The Case for Israel's Just War Against Hamas. ISBN 978-0795344312.
- 2015: Abraham: The World's First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer (Jewish Encounters Series). ISBN 978-0805242935.