Harvey Silverglate

Co-Founder of FIRE; Member, Board of Directors

Harvey Silverglate was born in New York (1942) and was educated at Bogota (N.J.) High School (1960), Princeton University (1964), and Harvard Law School (1967). He co-founded FIRE in 1999 and has served ever since on its Board of Directors.

As Counsel to Boston’s Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, Silverglate specializes in criminal defense, civil liberties, and academic freedom/student rights law. He has assisted students in trouble since 1969, when he represented student anti-war protesters on trial. He has taught at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (a public secondary school), the University of Massachusetts College III (in Boston), and Harvard Law School. Silverglate has also served on the Board of the ACLU of Massachusetts for over three decades, including two terms as Board president. He is a long-time affiliate of Harvard College’s Dunster House, where he conducts student “law tables.”

A criminal law and civil-liberties columnist for The Boston Phoenix for nearly four decades, Silverglate now regularly contributes to WGBH News. He has been published in The National Law JournalInc. magazine, The Wall Street JournalThe Boston GlobeThe Boston HeraldThe Philadelphia InquirerHarvard Law ReviewThe New York Times Book ReviewMassachusetts Lawyers Weekly,Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law ReviewMedia Studies JournalCato JournalCato Supreme Court Review, Wilson QuarterlyThe Chronicle of Higher EducationReason magazine, and elsewhere. Silverglate is also the author of The Shadow University (with Alan Charles Kors, 1998) and Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (2009). He has lectured and debated at the Ford Hall Forum, the oldest independent forum in the nation devoted to free speech.

Silverglate chaired the Independent Privacy Board of Predictive Networks, Inc., from 2000 until 2002. Earlier, he was litigation counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, advocating freedom in cyberspace. He is an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute.

Silverglate lived for many years with his wife, portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman, in Cambridge. (Dorfman passed away in May of 2020). Their son Isaac Dorfman Silverglate lives with his wife Annette Morales and their two children in New York City.

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