Journal of the Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics


Alan Dershowitz

Publication Date



Thank you so much. Whenever Monroe asks me to do anything, I always say "yes." And when Monroe described the class in which he said I was exhilarating, it was for one reason-we were teaching it together. Monroe makes the most wonderful foil and counterpuncher in discussing any kinds of ethics issues. He mentioned that I'm sometimes called an attorney of last resort. I was so introduced in Israel a few years ago at the Hebrew University and the newspaper got it wrong in translation, and it came out that I was America's last resort lawyer, which is probably why Leona Helmsley hired me to represent her hotels.

Well, I'm going to start out with a story that takes place in Boston when poor Mr. Schwartz gets very sick and he's taken to the Massachusetts General Hospital, to the Phillips Pavilion, where only the fanciest people, the actors, the celebrities, the presidents go. He lasted there exactly one day and he insisted on being taken to Beth Israel, a smaller, not as distinguished hospital down in Brookline. And the intern in Beth Israel, who wished he had been an intern at Mass General said, "Mr. Schwartz, I see you agree with us that the medical care in Mass General is not what it's cracked up to be." Schwartz says, "No, it was wonderful over there. I can't complain." "The food? Was there too much watercress salad?" "No, no, the food was great. I can't complain." "Were the nurses too cold?" "The nurses were warm. I can't complain." The intern says, "Then why, Mr. Schwartz, did you shift to our hospital?" And Schwartz says, "Simple, here I can complain." And so today, I want to complain a little.



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