World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Michael Tigar

Michael Tigar
Born January 18, 1941
Nationality United States
Alma mater California
Occupation Lawyer

Michael E. Tigar (born January 18, 1941; Glendale, California)[1] is an American criminal defense attorney known for representing controversial clients. He is also an emeritus (retired) member of the Duke Law School and American University, Washington College of Law faculties.

Early life and education

Tigar earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley in 1962 and his J.D. from the Berkeley Law in 1966. As an undergraduate, he was elected to the Associated Students board as a SLATE candidate. In law school he was a member of Order of the Coif and served as editor-in-chief of the California Law Review.

Career in law

In 1966, he was hired as a law clerk by Justice William J. Brennan of the United States Supreme Court. Brennan, however, fired him the week he began his job, following complaints made by conservative columnists because of Tigar's activist background.[2] Tigar was a partner in the firm of Williams & Connolly of Washington, DC (1976–'78), where he worked underneath legendary trial attorney Edward Bennett Williams, and has been a professor at American University's Washington College of Law since 1998 [Association of American Law Schools Directory of Law Teachers 2007-08, p. 1095]. He has also been professor of law at The University of Texas at Austin from '83-'98, holding the Joseph D. Jamail Centennial Chair in Law from '87-'98.[3] He helped found the UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic, where he served as the Clinic's first Executive Director and Supervising Attorney.

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 Mr. Tigar’s career, Justice William J. Brennan has written that his “tireless striving for justice stretches his arms towards perfection.”

In 1999, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice held a ballot for “Lawyer of the Century.” Mr. 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.” Tigar's return to the courtroom for a last full-blown trial, in 2004-05, was in defense of a fellow left-oriented activist criminal-defense lawyer, Lynne Stewart, which was an exhausting ordeal and ultimately a demoralizing loss.

He is Professor of the Practice of Law, Emeritus, at Aix-en-Provence, and has lectured at law schools in several countries.

Notable clients

  • Lynne Stewart, who was charged with conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists
  • Terry Nichols, of the Oklahoma City bombing
  • Angela Davis, activist charged with murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy for her alleged involvement in the death of Judge Harold Haley[4]
  • Kiko Martinez, Chicano activist
  • John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-born immigrant accused of having been "Ivan the Terrible," a notorious Nazi concentration camp guard, whose conviction by courts in Israel was overturned but was stripped of U.S. citizenship on other grounds
  • Scott McClellan, who is scheduled to testify before Congress regarding the role of the Bush Administration in the CIA leak case regarding the identity of former CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Tigar has argued seven cases before the United States Supreme Court, and over 100 federal appellate cases. He has tried cases in all parts of the United States. In addition to activist clients, he has represented Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Rep. Ronald Dellums, Rep. John M. Murphy (during the Abscam scandal), former Gov. John Connally, Fantasy Films and Mobil Oil.

Personal life

Tigar has been married four times. He has been married to journalist Jane Blanksteen Tigar since August 22, 1996. He has three children by his previous marriages,[5] including United States federal judge Jon S. Tigar.[6]


  • Law and the Rise of Capitalism review
  • "Examining Witnesses", 2nd ed., 2003. ISBN 1-59031-256-2
  • "Persuasion," 1999.
  • "Fighting Injustice"



  • Browning, John G. "Legally Speaking: When a Lawyer Goes Too Far", "At trial, [Lynne Stewart] was represented by noted defense attorney Michael Tigar (a favorite of the left whose past clients have included '60s radical Angela Davis and Oklahoma City bombing defendant Terry Nichols), who argued..." Southeast Texas Record, 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2007-10-20.

External links

  • Books by Michael Tigar
  • [3]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.