…the struggle for liberty, justice and anything else worth pursuing never stays won.

Alan Dershowitz, Letters to a Young Lawyer, p. 23, Basic Books, 2005

In Letters to a Young Lawyer, Alan Dershowitz offers his practical insights into America’s legal profession and criminal justice system.

Don’t let the title lead you astray. This is not only career advice from a seasoned mentor. This is a grounded and philosophical examination of the practice of criminal law.

The book is a collection of thirty-seven short essays, divided into three categories: I) Life and Career; II) Winning and Losing; and III) Being a Good Person.           

Dershowitz examines the ethical issues that pervade the practice of criminal law.

He sensitizes us to the potential landmines that exist in our professional lives and encourages us to avoid the pitfalls of self-doubt and self-sabotage. (Writers may want to start with chapter fifteen: The Perfect is the Enemy of the Excellent.)

He also reminds us that winning and public praise from strangers are not useful metrics for meaningful self-evaluation of our work. 

The golden thread that runs through the book is an inspiring commitment to due process and zealous representation. 

It is a book worth revisiting at different stages of your professional career.


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