Letters to a Young Lawyer

Letters to a Young Lawyer

by Alan M. Dershowitz
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Letters to a Young Lawyer by Alan M. Dershowitz

As defender of both the righteous and the questionable, Alan Dershowitz has become perhaps the most famous and outspoken attorney in the land. Whether or not they agree with his legal tactics, most people would agree that he possesses a powerful and profound sense of justice. In this meditation on his profession, Dershowitz writes about life, law, and the opportunities that young lawyers have to do good and do well at the same time.We live in an age of growing dissatisfaction with law as a career, which ironically comes at a time of unprecedented wealth for many lawyers. Dershowitz addresses this paradox, as well as the uncomfortable reality of working hard for clients who are often without many redeeming qualities. He writes about the lure of money, fame, and power, as well as about the seduction of success. In the process, he conveys some of the "tricks of the trade" that have helped him win cases and become successful at the art and practice of "lawyering."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465016334
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 04/11/2005
Edition description: REV
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 588,145
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Alan Dershowitz is Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Known as a defense lawyer, he is also a litigator, columnist, lecturer, book reviewer, and prolific author. His recent books include Sexual McCarthyism, on the Starr investigation, and Reasonable Doubts, on the O. J. Simpson case. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Letters to a Young Lawyer 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book ¿ well written, cogent and persuasive ¿ the perfect launch of the new Art of Mentoring series. Alan M. Dershowitz, an impassioned and outspoken attorney, is keenly aware of the risks and pitfalls of legal practice. He squarely confronts the fact that lawyers often find themselves having to make moral or ethical choices in ambiguous circumstances in which the lesser of two evils is the only possible choice because there is no clear good ¿ and yet, no clearly lesser evil. The book does not pretend to be objective. It is a compilation of advice, great courtroom war stories, practical tips and philosophical conclusions. Dershowitz is a fighter who chose his side long ago and has no intention of deserting it. Some of his more liberal positions will seem wrong-headed or ill-considered to those who disagree. Well, not ill-considered; he is a thoughtful man who takes lawyering seriously. We recommend this book to you whether or not you intend to study or practice law. It is valuable for an audience far broader than only young lawyers, including those who hire them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of those books that has a promising preface, which made me want to read the rest of it. I am not a lawyer and it is hard for me to comment on virtues of authors legal insights. However, I found the book quite informative with regards to author's professional field - law. I found the weakest part of the book to be author's philosophical discussions about religion and goodness of human character. However, reader who has never heard of Hillel or Kohelet, may find these chapters of book quite educational.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Caution: This book contains some strong language that will offend some. I found it no worse than what is said on television talk shows every day, if you can read lips. . I highly recommend this book to all those who are thinking of going to law school, are attending law school, or are planning their legal careers. Professor Dershowitz (whose student I have been) tells it like it is about the many flaws in the legal system, the ways that law and personal morality come into conflict, and the flagrant abuses of power that occur. His purpose is to prepare you for what is coming, so that you can make a good decision about where practicing or teaching law fits the balance of professional challenge and personal integrity that makes sense to and for you. He also warns against those who give advice, noting that most describe how you can become like them . . . or repeat all of their mistakes because they have never learned from those experiences. Law is ¿ethically ambiguous terrain.¿ Then, section by section, he describes those moral ambiguities, especially as they occur in the criminal justice system. Although not everyone will agree with his advice, you will certainly see the terrain clearly. Perhaps the most interesting argument is that ¿the truly moral person . . . does the right thing without . . . reward or . . . punishment.¿ In making this case, he moves to a notion of morality that is beyond religious ethics. I could see myself again traveling down the road of disillusionment that Professor Dershowitz describes. First, we find a legal hero. What we don¿t realize is that this hero also has human flaws of which we will not approve. When we find out about those flaws, our sense of the idealism of the law is diminished. Then, we experience the rude shock of realizing that the process of law is about disposing of disputes, rather than creating ¿blind justice.¿ Your job as a lawyer is to go to the ethical limits on behalf of your client, even if you hate the client and her or his cause. Can such a ¿hired gun¿ emerge with honor? Professor Dershowitz argues ¿yes¿ but indicates that one¿s personal conscious will often be left bruised in the process. If you don¿t want to deal with that, many areas of the law aren¿t for you. He tells you which ones to avoid. He also tells you to find out what¿s coming, rather than to whine about it when it arrives. I agree wholeheartedly with that advice. I wish I had had this book to read as a young law student. I certainly intend to give it as a gift to young people who are thinking about or are beginning their legal studies or careers. Pay particular attention to the advice to balance what you are good at doing with what feels good to you. What should a profession provide in the way of satisfactions, opportunities, rewards, and challenges? Seek to be the professional whom you would like to hire for yourself! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise