Loretta Lynch, Alan Dershowitz headlined 2018-19 Elon Law leadership speaker lineup

Two of the nation’s most recognizable legal legends traveled to Greensboro this academic year as part of an Elon University School of Law speaker series that showcases the role of lawyers in shaping American society.

Alan Dershowitz, an influential Harvard Law School professor emeritus and one of the most visible legal commentators in American media, delivered remarks in November as the first guest of the law school’s 2018-19 Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series presented by The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation.

Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman to serve as Attorney General of the United States and a distinguished former federal prosecutor, visited the law school in February to conclude the series.

Information on the 2019-2020 series will be shared later this year. 

Thursday, February 28, 2019


Loretta Lynch served as the 83rd Attorney General of the United States from 2015-2017, capping a highly distinguished career over the previous three decades.

Appointed to the role by President Barack Obama in 2015, Lynch had twice previously served as the head of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, under both President Bill Clinton and Obama. Described by Obama as “the only lawyer in America who battles mobsters, drug lords and terrorists, and still has the reputation for being a charming ‘people person,” she has been instrumental in shaping the direction of the nation on a number of tough issues.

As the first African-American woman to serve in the role, Lynch improved the relationship between local law enforcement and the communities they serve, and she took bold stances on criminal justice reform. She had spent years rising through the ranks as a prosecutor, fighting terrorism, financial fraud and cybercrime -- all while vigorously defending civil and human rights.

While leading the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, she became known for the high-profile civil rights conviction of two Brooklyn police officers who brutally assaulted Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. In private practice, Lynch served as a volunteer legal advisor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, established to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations in the 1994 genocide in that nation.

A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Lynch is the daughter of a school librarian and fourth generation Baptist minister. She has shared that she was inspired at a young age by stories about her grandfather, a sharecropper in the 1930s, who helped members of his community who had no recourse under the Jim Crow system.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Professor Emeritus Alan M. Dershowitz is a Brooklyn native who has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer,” one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights,” “the best-known criminal lawyer in the world” and “the top lawyer of last resort.”  

The Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School has argued hundreds of appeals in courts throughout the nation throughout his career and he continues to consult actively on both transnational and domestic criminal and civil liberty cases, devoting half of his practice to pro bono cases and causes.

He has recently been a prominent critic of the ongoing special counsel investigation of the Trump Administration and instead believes the best way to investigate Russian interference in American elections would be a nonpartisan investigative commission similar to one established after the September 11 terror attacks.

Dershowitz has published more than 1,000 articles in magazines, newspapers, journals and blogs. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Huffington Post, Gatestone, Newsmax, Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz, and Algemeiner.  

Dershowitz is the author of 35 fiction and nonfiction works with a worldwide audience, including the New York Times #1 bestseller “Chutzpah” and several other national bestsellers. His most recent books are “Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy” published in 2017, and “The Case Against BDS: Why Singling Out Israel for Boycott Is Anti-Semitic and Anti-Peace”, published in 2018.

Dershowitz likewise has been named America’s most “public Jewish Defender” and “the Jewish state’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion.” The Yale Law School graduate joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 – the youngest in the school’s history – and assumed emeritus status after 50 years of teaching more than 10,000 students.

He has received numerous honorary doctoral degrees and academic awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on human rights, a fellowship at The Center for the Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences and several Dean’s Awards for his books.

In 1983, the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith presented him with the William O. Douglas First Amendment Award for his “compassionate eloquent leadership and persistent advocacy in the struggle for civil and human rights.”