An accomplished attorney, Alan Dershowitz was Harvard University’s youngest tenured Professor of Law even though he graduated from Harvard’s rival, Yale Law School. Dershowitz specializes in criminal appellate matters and today is Harvard’s Felix Frankfurter Professor. Known for his excellent win rate, Dershowitz has won a remarkable 13 out of 15 of the murder cases he has defended.
Dershowitz’s role goes beyond that of educator. Along with other prominent attorneys, Dershowitz served as a consultant on the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Some other celebrity clients he has worked with include televangelist Jim Bakker, socialite Leona Helmsely, boxer Mike Tyson and publishing heiress Patricia Hurst. Dershowitz has also represented other well-known celebrity lawyers including F. Lee Bailey and William Kunstler.
One of the most famous trials Dershowitz participated in was that of Claus von Bulow. Von Bulow was convicted for the attempter murder of his wife, a charge that Dershowitz had successfully overturned. During the mid-1970’s he also had the conviction of Harry Reems overturned. Reems was accused of aiding in the distribution of obscenities due to his performance in the adult film, Deep Throat.
With respect to civil liberties, Dershowitz is very vocal. He believes that Americans should not have the right to carry weapons, yet feels that pornography is perfectly acceptable. In fact, Dershowitz is a contributor to Penthouse magazine! Dershowitz does not wish to see the Second Amendment banished, because he believes this may lead to other changes in the Constitution. One issue that is not in the Constitution or Bill of Rights that Dershowitz supports is animal rights. Along with being a supporter against cruel treatments towards animals, Dershowitz also feels torture against people is unnecessary. He voiced his concerns against the use of torture practices during interrogations in his 2001 publication, “Want to Torture? Get a Warrant.”
Dershowitz has long been recognized for his work pertaining to the preservation of civil liberties. Presently, he has been awarded eight honorary doctorate degrees and been recognized by Newsweek for his work defending and protecting civil rights. A member of the Jewish faith, Dershowitz has been public speaking out against those who he views as anti-Semitic, most notably Cardinal Josef Glemp of Poland; whom Dershowitz filed an anti-defamation suit against requested by his Jewish client. This feud, which began in the 1980’s has been mentioned in Dershowitz’s 1991 publication, Chutzpah and as recently as 2007 in an article Dershowitz penned for the Jerusalem Post.