Michael E. Tigar
Oriental, North Carolina
Michael E. Tigar is Professor Emeritus of the Practice of Law at Duke University Law School and Emeritus Professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law.
He has also held full-time academic positions at UCLA and the University of Texas. He has been a lecturer at dozens of law schools and bar association in the United States, Europe, Africa and Latin America. He is a 1966 graduate of Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley, where he was first in his class, law review editor-in-chief and Order of the Coif.
He has authored or co-authored 14 books, three plays and scores of articles and essays. He has argued seven cases in the Supreme Court of the United States, about 100 federal appeals, and has tried cases in all parts of the country in state and federal courts. His memoir, Fighting Injustice, and his books Nine Principles of Litigation and Life, Examining Witnesses, Thinking About Terrorism and Persuasion are available from P.E.G.
P.E.G. also has published his opening statement and closing argument in U.S. v. Terry Lynn Nichols. He has been active on several continents in promoting and protecting human rights.
His clients have included Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, John Connally, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, The Washington Post, Fantasy Films, Terry Nichols, Allen Ginsberg, Leonard Peltier, Fernando Chavez, Mobil Oil and Lynne Stewart. He has been chair of the 60,000 member American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation and chair of the Board of Directors of the Texas Resource Center for Capital Litigation.
In his teaching, he has worked with law students in clinical programs where students are counsel or law clerks in significant human rights litigation. He has made several trips to South Africa, working with organizations of African lawyers engaged in the struggle to end apartheid, and after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, to lecture on human rights issues and to advise the African National Congress on issues in drafting a new constitution. He has been actively involved in efforts to bring to justice members of the Chilean junta, including former President Pinochet. Of Tigar’s career, Justice William J. Brennan has written that his “tireless striving for justice stretches his arms towards perfection.”
Lawyer of the Century
In 1999, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice held a ballot for “Lawyer of the Century.” Tigar was third in the balloting, behind Clarence Darrow and Thurgood Marshall. In 2003, the Texas Civil Rights Project named its new building in Austin, Texas, (purchased with a gift from attorney Wayne Reaud) the “Michael Tigar Human Rights Center.”