Jethro K. Lieberman

Martin Professor of Law, Emeritus

Jethro K. Lieberman

Now in his 30th year on the faculty, Jethro K. Lieberman has served in many of the school’s central academic and administrative roles. From 2000-2007, he was associate dean for academic affairs, a role he reprised as interim associate dean in Spring 2012. He served as director of the Writing Program for more than 20 years, and as Vice President, Academic Publishing, and now director of academic publishing, overseeing the Law Review, the Program in Law and Journalism, and Tribeca Square Press, the School’s publishing arm. He was also publisher of the School’s legal news blog, Legal As She Is Spoke, a project of students in the Legal Reporting classes from 2010 to 2014.

In 2013, he was appointed the Martin Professor of Law, a chair named in honor of Lester Martin, a noted New York industrialist and philanthropist.

Professor Lieberman joined the faculty in 1985. He has taught 16 different courses over the years, including Constitutional Law, Writing Skills, Freedom of Speech, Military Law, and Law and Society.

Professor Lieberman has deep roots in writing, journalism, and publishing. A student journalist in his undergraduate years at Yale, he graduated in 1964 with a B.A. in politics and economics. After earning his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1967, he practiced law for six years, including a stint of three years’ active duty in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, followed by an antitrust and trade regulation practice at a large Washington D.C. law firm. In the early 1970s he moved to New York, where he served as Vice President and General Counsel of Stein and Day, a trade book publisher. But the call of journalism proved strong, and in 1973 he became Founding Editor of the Legal Affairs Department at Business Week. In his nearly ten years at the magazine, he wrote several cover stories, including one on litigiousness and another on the direction of antitrust policy.

In 1995, Professor Lieberman earned a Ph.D. in political science at Columbia University where for several years thereafter as Adjunct Professor of Political Science he taught an undergraduate constitutional law course.

Along the way, Professor Lieberman has also pursued a career as an author. His first book was published when he was a third-year law student, and since then he has published more than 25 others. Two of them, The Litigious Society (Basic Books, 1981) and The Enduring Constitution(West and Harper & Row, 1987), won the American Bar Association’s top literary prize, the Silver Gavel, and one of his books, The Complete CB Handbook (Avon, 1976), which he wrote in three weeks during the height of the CB radio craze, wound up on a Publisher’s Weekly best-sellers list. His books also cover legal ethics, business and constitutional law, and writing, including Crisis at the Bar (Norton, 1978), A Practical Companion to the Constitution: How the Supreme Court Has Ruled on Issues from Abortion to Zoning (University of California Press, 1999), and The Lawyer’s Guide to Writing Well (University of California Press, a third edition of which is forthcoming in 2015). His most recent works are Liberalism Undressed (Oxford University Press, 2012), a political and legal analysis of the concept of harm, and Jumpstart Constitutional Law (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business), for students beginning their constitutional law courses.

Until a few months ago, Professor Lieberman lived for many decades in Westchester County, New York, with his wife Jo, where he published occasional pamphlets as proprietor of a private press. His introduction to type and printing began early in his childhood: he learned to set type at the age of nine in his father’s print shop. For many years he was the proud owner of one of the world’s most famous printing presses still in private hands, the Kelmscott/Goudy Albion iron hand press, originally used by William Morris in 1896 to publish the book known today as the Kelmscott Chaucer. The press was brought to the United States in 1924 by Frederic W. Goudy, the preeminent American type designer. In December 2013 the press was sold at auction to the Rochester Institute of Technology to become part of its graphic arts collection with the understanding that it would be put to use by students and other letterpress printers. See here for The New York Times story on the auction. In September, preparing for retirement in July 2015, Professor Lieberman and his wife moved to Bethesda, Maryland, to be near their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. On retirement he will become a full-time writer. His next book is tentatively titled Taking Offense and considers the worldwide burgeoning of offensive speech and the increasingly disproportionate reaction to it.

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Jumpstart Constitutional Law: Reading and Understanding Constitutional Law Cases. Wolters Kluwer Law Business, 2014.

Jumpstart Constitutional Law. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 2013.

Liberalism Undressed. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Foundations of Business Law and the Legal Environment and Advanced Business Law and the Legal Environment. Flat World Knowledge, 2011 (with D. Warner, D. M. Mayer, and G. J. Siedel) (published under an additional 10 titles, 2011-2012).

Eight Blocks Away: Memoirs of September 11, 2001.  Tribeca Square Press, 2011; New York Law School, 2002 (editor).

The Lawyer’s Guide to Writing Well. 2nd paperback ed. (University of California Press, 2002; 1st paperback ed., 1991; hardcover ed., McGraw-Hill, 1989) (with T. Goldstein).

The Lawyer’s Craft: An Introduction to Legal Analysis, Writing, Research, and Advocacy. (Anderson Publishing, 2002) (with C. Glaser, R. Ruescher, L. Su & E. Mills).

A Practical Companion to the Constitution: How the Supreme Court has Ruled on Issues from Abortion to Zoning. (University of California Press, 1999) (annual supplements, 1999-2008).

The Cumulative Supplement to a Practical Companion, 2008-2013 (Dialogue Press, 2013).

The Decennial Supplement to a Practical Companion (Dialogue Press, 2009).

Business Law & the Legal Environment. 3rd ed. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992 (with G.J. Siedel); 2nd ed., Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988; 1st ed., Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985.

The Evolving Constitution: How the Supreme Court Has Ruled on Issues From Abortion to Zoning.Random House, 1992 (annual supplements, 1994–1996, Dialogue Press).

The Legal Environment of Business. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989 (with G.J. Siedel).

The Enduring Constitution: A Bicentennial Perspective.West and Harper & Row, 1987.

Stroock, Stroock & Lavan: An Informal History of the Early Years, 1876 to 1950. Stroock, Stroock & Lavan, 1987.

The Manager’s Guide to Resolving Legal Disputes: Better Results Without Litigation. Harper & Row, 1985 (with J.F. Henry).

The Role of Courts in American Society: The Final Report of the Council on the Role of the Courts.West, 1984 (principal editor).

Checks and Balance: The Alaska Pipeline Case. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1981.

The Litigious Society. Basic Books, 1981; paperback edition, Harper Colophon, 1983; Japanese translation, Toshiaki Hasegawa, 1993.

Free Speech, Free Press,& the Law. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1980.

Crisis at the Bar: Lawyers’ Unethical Ethics And What to Do About It. W.W. Norton, 1978.

Privacy & the Law. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1978.

The Aleph Solution. Stein and Day, 1978; American paperback edition, Berkley Books, 1981; British Commonwealth edition, Melbourne House, 1978; British paperback edition, New English Library, 1982; Swedish translation (Gisslan Tagen!), Manhattan Publishers, 1982; Italian translation (Reazioni a Catena), Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 1981 (writing under the pseudonym Webster Mews; with Sandor Frankel).

Milestones! 200 Years of American Law: Milestones in Our Legal History. West & Oxford University Press, 1976.

The Complete CB Handbook. D. McKay Co., 1976 (with N.S. Rhodes); four paperback editions, Avon, 1976–1980.

How the Government Breaks the Law. Stein & Day, 1972; paperback edition, Penguin Books, 1973.

The Tyranny of the Experts: How Professionals and Specialists are Closing the Open Society.Walker, 1970.

The Obscenity Report. Stein and Day, 1970; British edition, Macgibbon & McKee, 1970 (writing anonymously).

Are Americans Extinct? Walker, 1968.

Understanding Our Constitution. Walker, 1967; paperback edition, Fawcett Crest, 1968.

Court In Session.Sterling, 1966.



“New York Law School and the Crisis of September 11.” Chapter in Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma, at 45-58, edited by Carolyn Lunsford Mears. Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

“Toward a Theory of Injury.” Chapter in Pernicious Ideas and Costly Consequences: The Intellectual Roots of the Torts Crisis, at 99–115. National Legal Center for the Public Interest, 1990.

“To Reach and Teach the Public, Write Better.” Chapter in Understanding the Law: A Handbook on Educating the Public, at 23–28, edited by R.S. Peck& C.J. White. American Bar Association Press, 1983. Reprinted in 32Virginia Bar News 9–13 (October 1983).

“Some Reflections on Self-Regulation.” In Chapter The Professions and Public Policy, at 89–97, edited by P. Slayton & M.J. Trebilcock. University of Toronto Press, 1978.

“How to Avoid Lawyers.” Chapter in Verdicts on Lawyers, at 105–117, edited by R. Nader & M. Green. Thomas Y. Crowell, 1976.



“Bad Writing: Some Thoughts on the Abuse of Scholarly Rhetoric” (New York Law School Faculty Presentation Day II), 49 New York Law School Law Review 649-664 (2004-2005).

“Legalization.” Essay in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Volume 13, at 8693–8697 (N.J. Smelser & P.B. Baltes, eds.). Elsevier, 2000.

“The Art of the Fact.” 5 Legal Writing25–54 (1999).

Book Review of Silencing the Opposition: Government Strategies of Suppression of Freedom of Expression, by Craig R. Smith. 13 New York Law School Journal of Human Rights 699–712 (1997).

“Harlan Without Relish.” Review of John Marshall Harlan: Great Dissenter of the Warren Court, by Tinsley E. Yarbrough. 36 New York Law School Law Review 243–254 (1991).

“Lessons from the Alternative Dispute Resolution Movement (Symposium on Litigation Management).” 53 University of Chicago Law Review 424–439 (1986).

Book Review of Partisan Justice, by Marvin E. Frankel. 27 New York Law School Law Review 695–697 (1981).

“Putting Law Into Ethics.” Liberal Education, Summer 1979, at 259–265.

“The Relativity of Injury.” 7 Philosophy& Public Affairs 60–73 (Fall 1977).

“Will Courts Meet the Challenge of Technology?”60 Judicature 84–91 (1976).

“Cafeteria Workers Revisited: Does the Commander Have Plenary Power to Control Access to his Base?” 25 Judge Advocate General Journal (Navy) 53–56 (1970).

“Developments in Antitrust During the Past Year.”39 Antitrust Law Journal 578–629 (1970).

“Note on Elfbrandt v. Russell and Loyalty Oaths.”2 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Journal160–165 (1966).



Fifty Years a Typesetter: Adventures in Printing Together with Some Meditations on Theory and Craft.(The Press at James Pond, 2003).

Essays on constitutional topics in Encyclopedia ENCARTA (Microsoft CD-ROM, 1999).

“Freedom of Assembly.” Entry in The World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 7, at 504–505. World Book, 1999.

“Freedom of Speech.” Entry in The World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 7, at 506–507. World Book, 1999.

“Freedom of the Press.” Entry inThe World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 7, at 507–508. World Book, 1999.

“An Editing Checklist (Plum Paper No. 1).” Dialogue Press, 1993 (with T. Goldstein).

“Ruminations on a Crescendo of Litigation.”National Forum, at 3–8 (Fall 1991).

“Lessons from a Writing Audit (excerpt from The Lawyer’s Guide to Writing Well).” 75 American Bar Association Journal 86–90 (October 1989) (with T. Goldstein).

Book Review of The Rule of Experts, Occupational Licensing in America, by S. David Young. Washington Monthly, July 1987.

“Why Have Lawyers Proliferated?” New York Times (Op Ed), at A27 (August 6, 1986) (with T. Goldstein).

“Writing like Pros(e).” 6 California Lawyer 43 (January 1986) (with T. Goldstein).

“An ADR Manual for Judges.”(Center for Public Resources, 1985) (ed. with E.S. Fine). Distributed at the National Conference on Litigation Management, New Haven, Conn.

Editor, Alternatives to the High Cost of Litigation (Law & Business, Inc. and Center for Public Resources, 1982–1985).

Book Review of Total Justice, by Lawrence M. Friedman. 71 American Bar Association Journal 86–88 (June 1985).

Book Review of Money and Justice: Who Owns the Courts? by Lois G. Forer. 70American Bar Association Journal 94–96 (June 1984).

“Salvation: Idle the Lawyers.” Washington Post (Outlook), at B5 (August 12, 1984).

Book Review of Justice Under Law? by Jerold S. Auerbach. New York Times Book Review, at 13 (June 5, 1983). Reprinted in 96 Los Angeles Daily Journal B18 (June 14, 1983).

Book Review of The Age of Triage, by Richard L. Rubenstein.Venture, February 1983, at 115.

Book Review of Overdrive, by William F. Buckley. Venture, August 1983.

Legal Affairs Editor, Business Week, (1973–1982) (authored over 250 stories: including six cover stories and seventeen book reviews).

“When Should Lawyers Squeal on Their Clients?” Washington Post, at C1 (December 21, 1982).

“The Burgeoning of Litigation.”Proceedings of the American Insurance Association, at 28–29 (May 1981).

Case Editor, Legal Briefs for Editors, Publishers, and Writers (McGraw Hill, 1977–1978).

“How Much Government?” 10 The Center Magazine 63 (May/June 1977).

“Law, Business and Economics: A Roundup Review.” New York Times Book Review, at 16 (January 16, 1977).

“Suing Fever.” 22 Skeptic Magazine 38 (November/December 1977).

“New Ways to Cut Legal Fees.” New York, February 14, 1976, at 83ff.

“The Race Admission Case.” 4 Juris Doctor 22–23 (1974).

“The Finance Cases.” 42 Harvard Law Record 5 (April 14, 1966).