I commenced legal practice in 1967 and, in 1969, joined with Norman Zalkind to form the pioneering firm of Zalkind & Silverglate, where I practiced until 1973, although Norman and I continued to try cases together long after I left the partnership. In the years before and since that time, I have practiced with many of the area’s leading lawyers. I have been involved in some of the defining and high-profile criminal cases of recent decades, and always work assiduously and creatively to protect and defend my clients’ interests.Practice Focus
I concentrate my practice in three areas: criminal defense (trial and appellate), students’ rights and academic freedom, and civil liberties, including First Amendment and reporter’s privilege and news media rights. I have practiced in state and federal courts, civilian and military, and academic and administrative tribunals around the country.Professional Activities
I co-founded the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and was the first Special Litigation Counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I formed and chaired the Independent Privacy Board of Predictive Networks, Inc., of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was a long-time Board member, and former President of, the ACLU of Massachusetts.
I have also taught at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Harvard Law School.Speaking & Publishing
I have written widely on legal matters in my fields, including articles and columns in The Harvard Law Review, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Cato Supreme Court Review, New York Times, New York Times Book Review, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Herald, Boston Phoenix, Criminal Defense Techniques, Reason Magazine, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, National Law Journal, Forbes.com (“Injustice Department”), Wall Street Journal and others.
I have co-authored The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses (Free Press, 1998; HarperPerennial paperback, 1999) about my experiences representing students and faculty in campus and legal tribunals, and am the author of Three Felonies A Day: How The Feds Target The Innocent (Encounter Books 2009, updated paperback 2011), about the dangers of being prosecuted for innocent conduct under vague federal criminal statutes. I co-wrote Conviction Machine: Standing up to Federal Prosecutorial Abuse (Encounter Books, 2000).
I co-founded, and currently chair, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (www.thefire.org), for which I also co-authored student and faculty guides to free speech, due process, and religious liberty on campus.Why I Became a Lawyer
I was destined for medical school until the summer after my sophomore year in college, when Princeton got me a summer job in Paris and I left the country, and my friends and family, for the first time. By the time I returned for my junior year, I had decided that I was more bothered by the problems that people caused other people than I was bothered by the problems caused by germs. I switched my life plan in order to attend law school rather than medical school. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
LL.B., Harvard Law School, 1967
B.A., Princeton University, cum laude, 1964
U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. Court of Military Appeals
U.S. Supreme Court
Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
Co-founder and Chair