Harvey Silverglate

Picture of Harvey Silverglate

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 serve as a member of the Board of Directors for, 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

Bar and Court Admissions Massachusetts
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
Professional Affiliations

Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
Co-founder and Member of Board of Directors.

Cato Institute
Adjunct Scholar

Justia Lawyer Rating
Super Lawyers
Martindale-Hubbell - AV Preeminent - Peer Rated For Highest Level Of Professional Excellence 2020
Recognized by Best Lawyers
Best Lawyers - Best Law Firms
Client Reviews
I hired Mr. Duncan to deal with a very sensitive issue that my daughter had. Since the first contact, I had a very good impression of him. He transmitted confidence and appeared to know exactly what to do. I called and emailed him many times, he was polite and comprehensible with the anxiety of a father and appeared to know every step to solve the case. I strongly recommend Mr. Duncan. Flavio Lajoia
If you are reading this review, it means either you or a family member is in trouble and needs immediate legal counsel. Please know your search can end right now because Zalkind, Duncan & Bernstein is the law firm to hire. They are honest, responsive, compassionate and have the experience and expertise to bring... Client
I contacted Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein to assist with a Title IX case. From our initial conversation, Naomi Shatz had a strong understanding of Title IX policies and conducted each step of the process with professionalism, honesty and a responsiveness that did not disappoint. Ms. Shatz displayed confidence and just as important, compassion when needed. Client
I worked with Emma Quinn-Judge and Monica Shah. And from my first contact on the phone, on to my first meeting in their office and during the trial, I found them and the firm's entire team to be a group of consummate legal professionals who are very knowledgeable, patient, dedicated, fair, honest and caring... Chantal C.
I am forever grateful to all the staff at this firm, but in particular, Ms. Shah, Mr. Zalkind and Mr. Silverglate. They represented my son who was being sought for extradition to Scotland. The case took years to fight, covering new legal ground, setting precedence. But each one of these legal eagles went above and beyond the duty of office... Suzanne D.