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Letters to a Young Lawyer
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Letters to a Young Lawyer

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  306 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
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 tha ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 17th 2001 by Basic Books (first published 2001)
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Apr 27, 2010 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matthew by: My Father
Shelves: law
Alan Dershowitz has very strong opinions about things and he is not afraid to tell you what they are. Defense attorneys should go right up to the line of what is ethical but prosecutors should not. Everyone deserves a vigorous defense no matter how big a scumbag they are, except for big corporations because defending them is like being a mouthpiece for the Mafia. Personal injury lawyers are heroes because they stand up for the little guy, but anyone who makes his living defending the big guy fro ...more
Jun 26, 2007 Becca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a young lawyer
this book was ok - prof. dershowitz reminds us of those life lessons necessary to be a good lawyer. ex. find a mentor, but dont follow that mentor blindly; try to find original ways to solve client problems that could help the greater good. a nice reminder of the part of being a lawyer that they don't teach you or train you for in law school. i thought dershowitz was preachy at points, but on the other hand, he's earned his right to be preachy. i wouldn't call it a vital read, but it's relativel ...more
Florin Andrei
Feb 04, 2016 Florin Andrei rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, non-fiction, law
I read the reviews for this book, and I am befuddled. Some say that you should stay away from this because he's defending his point of view (leftists, defence lawyer). Other say that it's a must read. It isn't. One theme in the reviews that I did agree with was that Dersh gives off a weird uncle vibe.

What most of these reviewers seem to miss is the Introduction of the book, and if they read it they missed the gist of it. Dersh says he doesn't want you to be like him. Dersh wants to share his opi
Mike Hoffman
Wow was Dershowitz pissed off about the 2000 election! Its like he writes totally extemporaneously and everything had to do with how upset he was that the election was stolen. Then it was about the necessity for social justice and equality. Yes, we understand that you want to win at all costs, and that you sleep well at night under that ethic. However, there are still morally conflicted lawyers out here with severe concerns about the people the represent, the decisions that they have to make and ...more
Jun 24, 2010 Edith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: law
Provocative ideas: defending the criminal defense law career, among some of Dershowitz's other notions such as the freedom of speech etc.

"For those of you who would censor in the name of political correctness, I urge you to look back to the history of the 1950s, when political correctness prevailed on campuses. But the people with the power to define what was correct in those days came from the right rather than from the left. McCarthyism was the 1950s version of today's political correctness, b
Jun 27, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, enjoyable read that touches on deep ethical issues. This book came to me at the most opportune time--- right when I was questioning the relationship between law and justice. He doesn't mince words and he does raise points that are hard to swallow and make you feel queasy. The ethics that lawyers must follow is not always the ethics that men follow, but no matter how disillusioning (damning) this is, Dershowitz shows us the humanity and morality behind-- and therefore the significance to a ...more
Aug 25, 2015 Noah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dershowitz has a little bit of a loony uncle vibe sometimes, but he knows his stuff. A decent read if you're an attorney or just weirdly into the subject.
insightful though not entirely reliable
Jul 15, 2016 Adrienne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, law, 2016
Dershowitz definitely has some pet issues, occasionally goes off on tangents, and quotes himself a little too often for my taste, but if you've done as much as he has that's your prerogative, I suppose. If nothing else, I have to admire and respect his absolute commitment to his principles, and I found the legal ethics discussion particularly insightful and highly relevant. Overall a solid little book for lawyers and laymen alike (and not just "new lawyers") by a lifelong practitioner dedicated ...more
May 29, 2015 Evan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for future advocates, and even more so for any future defense lawyers. Dershowitz gives no quarter to injustice, but also writes from a perspective that fairly confronts the complex, real-world issues lawyers will encounter, and the difficult moral conflicts/questions they must answer for themselves. The writing is top notch, and the advice is far from preachy. I plan on coming back to these chapters throughout my future life in the legal community.
Jan 01, 2013 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As much as I find Dershowit'z politics to be annoying (loud, militaristic), this was a pretty good book. Or well, the introductory chapters were pretty good: Dershowitz admits that that there isn't much to career advice except for how to get the career of the person giving the advice, and even then, even if you took all the same steps, it's unlikely you'd have the same life. All said, Dershowitz has definitely had an interesting life.
Jun 08, 2012 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: guidebook
Dershowitz eloquently discusses the moral landscape of the legal profession in a manner accessible to a young lawyer (or anyone, for that matter.) Dersh's use of personal stories to highlight points he is making is highly effective, and the bite-size chapters make it all easy to digest. It's great to get the perspective of a long-standing defender of constitutional rights before embarking into a legal career.
Jan 28, 2014 Taylor rated it it was ok
Good advice, but perhaps I don't share the author's cynacism for the America's criminal justice system. Very thought provoking and got me thinking about my goals and my interactions with attorneys every day.
Aug 05, 2007 kathy rated it it was amazing
Every aspiring lawyer, especially criminal lawyer, should read this book. Alan Dershowitz, in his typical no-nonsense style, lays out the cold hard facts: that in the pursuit of justice, you encounter corruption, politics, and enemies on a daily basis. There are no illusions here. This is reality. The best we can do is do what we do best. That is all the world can ask from us.
Mar 30, 2011 Tamara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great read for the eponymous young lawyer, especially if he or she intends to practice criminal defense. Alan Dershowitz's writing style is compelling and persuasive--as any good lawyer's should be--and although the book isn't particularly long, it leaves a lasting impression. If lawyers had souls, this book would be chicken soup for them.
Oct 14, 2007 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a random find from the Strand, this book was OK. Dershowitz is brutally honest about prevalent cheating, corruption, and outright immorality in the lawyer profession. His advice is not anything that I haven't heard before but I enjoyed reading his book for a sobering reminder of the profession I am about to enter.
Nov 11, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great insight into a trial lawyer's life and experiences. Gives practical advice not only on being a lawyer but on how the world of law interacts with the rest of life. Passes along conventional wisdom - be passionate, be ethical, love your job - in an entertaining and quick-reading fashion.
May 26, 2013 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the book is a great read for those who are thinking about law school. It's realistic and yet within that perspective he is not entirely pessimistic. It's an light read and he appears to have witty sarcasm that stands out.
Jan 09, 2011 Kyle rated it it was ok
A little too scattershot to be an authoritative advice book. Also a bit too much material that is specific to the practice of criminal law. Still a good read for pre-1L's and maybe the rising 3L trying chart a career path.
Aug 05, 2007 Adrienne rated it did not like it
Not surprising, really, that an "advice" book by a prominent attorney includes bits of wisdom such as "don't follow advice" and anecdotes of how accomplished the author thinks himself to be. Alas.

I was amused to receive this as a gift. Kind of maudlin and silly, but Dershowitz can rant with the best of them. He takes some cheap shots that I found entirely gratifying.
Izwan Z
Jul 17, 2012 Izwan Z rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: legal
Excellent read. As a student of law, I wish I've read this book sooner. Tells you a lot about the lawyering profession and practical tips on managing expectations.
Jul 13, 2013 wenshuren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As this is a non-fiction, hence to me this book is more exciting and more thrill than reading John Grisham's fictions.
May 03, 2007 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't care what anyone says about Dershowitz - the man's coonviction is amazing. See how he justifies criminal defense.
Jeff Doucette
Short and he reuses some material from some of his earlier works, but still offers some good, though general advice.
May 28, 2008 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author was one of the lawyers on the OJ Simpson defense team and a very insightful author.
Apr 26, 2014 Will rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far (and premature) it, and Mr. Dershowitz's writing style, fascinate and edify me!
Jan 03, 2009 Jeff is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This guy is real smart. I think he might have defended O.J. Simpson.
Jan 03, 2008 Judy rated it liked it
great for any young person beginning their career.
Jan 02, 2008 Marie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was very cheap at the Strand. I couldn't finish it.
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Alan Morton Dershowitz is an American lawyer, jurist, and political commentator. He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is known for his career as an attorney in several high-profile law cases and commentary on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

He has spent most of his career at Harvard, where, at the age of 28, he became the youngest full professor in its history, until No
More about Alan M. Dershowitz...

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