LETTERS TO A YOUNG LAWYER

Alan M. Dershowitz, Author . Basic $22 (206p) ISBN 978-0-465-01631-0

Dershowitz helps inaugurate a new series called the Art of Mentoring with this volume of advice and reflection on practicing law. Several unifying themes run throughout, most prominently the ethical traps—for defense attorneys, prosecutors and even judges—inherent in the practice of criminal law. Dershowitz alerts a fledgling lawyer to the systemic bias, corner-cutting and outright cheating that he sees permeating the criminal courts. While Dershowitz recognizes the ethical ambiguity that suffuses much of the law, he is more concerned with communicating the moral absolutes he believes in. These include the uncompromising obligation of a defense lawyer to work for the accused's acquittal by all legitimate means. A believer in telling the truth, Dershowitz excoriates deceitful lawyers and hypocritical judges alike. Along with the moral imperatives, the author tells some war stories and settles a few scores, for example, with critics who took him to task for defending O.J. Simpson, and with the Supreme Court, whose decision in the 2000 election case Dershowitz finds dishonest and unprincipled. The young lawyer (to whom these mini-essays are addressed) will perceive how ethically messy and complicated the law can be and how many core issues in our national life the law touches. Even more, the reader will come away with a sense of Dershowitz himself as teacher, tenacious advocate and self-described provocateur. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 206 pages - 978-0-465-01633-4
Ebook - 225 pages - 978-0-7867-2230-3
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