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Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law


From clerking for Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg to becoming the youngest Harvard law professor at age 28 and on to his leading role in some of the most visible cases ever to come to court (he's currently part of Julian Assange's legal team), Dershowitz is one of the country's bestknown lawyers. His memoir, In Taking the Stand (Crown, $28), recounts how he came to the law and how his views of many issues—censorship, abortion, the use of science as legal evidence—have changed over time. This event is part of The Newsmakers Series, co-sponsored with GW Lisner.

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You can only take the Fifth to avoid answering incriminating questions in matters where you're a witness. If you're charged with a crime and choose to take the stand to testify in your own defense, you can't take the Fifth to avoid questions by the prosecution. You can, however, choose not to testify at all, and avoid all questioning on the witness stand.


Taking the Stand: We Have More to Say

Taking the Stand isn't perfect. Dershowitz suffers from the same disease as Richard Posner and Cass Sunstein, thinking that because so much of what they say is so noteworthy that anything they might say on any subject, regardless of the thought they have given it or experience they might have in it, is equally noteworthy. This is particularly troublesome in most of the second half of the book, the broad stretch between free expression and criminal law and human rights. Dershowitz repeatedly claims he is not a "celebrity lawyer," but he obviously enjoys the attention that comes with it.