Steven Lubet

Edna B. and Ednyfed H. Williams Memorial Professor of Law
Director, Fred Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy


Steven Lubet is the Edna B. and Ednyfed H. Williams Memorial Professor of Law. As Director of the Law School's award winning Bartlit Center on Trial Advocacy, he teaches courses on Legal Ethics, Trial Advocacy, Lawyer Memoirs, and Narrative Structures. The author of fifteen books and over 100 articles on legal ethics, judicial ethics, and litigation, he has also published widely in the areas of legal history, international criminal law, dispute resolution, and legal education.  He blogs at The Faculty Lounge.

Professor Lubet’s latest book is The “Colored Hero” of Harper’s Ferry: John Anthony Copeland and the War against Slavery (Cambridge University Press, 2015), which tells the stories of the African-American abolitionists who joined John Brown’s attempt to free the slaves of Virginia. His other recent books include John Brown’s Spy: The Adventurous Life and Tragic Confession of John E. Cook (Yale University Press, 2012; finalist for the Society of Midland Authors Biography Award),  Fugitive Justice: Runaways, Rescuers, and Slavery on Trial (Harvard University Press, 2010; honorable mention, Langum Prize for American Legal History), The Importance of Being Honest: How Lying, Secrecy and Hypocrisy Collide with Truth in Law (NYU Press, 2008), Lawyers’ Poker: 52 Lessons that Lawyers Can Learn from Card Players (Oxford University Press, 2006), Murder in Tombstone: The Forgotten Trial of Wyatt Earp (Yale University Press, 2004), and Nothing But the Truth: Why Trial Lawyers Don’t, Can’t, and Shouldn’t Have to Tell the Whole Truth (NYU Press, 2001). 

Professor Lubet’s textbook, Modern Trial Advocacy (4th ed., 2009), has been adopted by over 90 United States law schools, and has been translated or adapted for use in Japan, Canada, Israel, the Republic of China (Taiwan), the People’s Republic of China, and Chile.  Two of his other books have been translated into Portuguese and Korean.

Professor Lubet is the coauthor of Judicial Conduct and Ethics (with James Alfini, Charles Geyh, and Jeffrey Shaman), which is recognized as  the nation’s leading authority on judicial ethics, and which has been cited by numerous courts in over 40 state and federal jurisdictions. His other books include Evidence in Context, Exercises and Problems in Professional Responsibility, and Problems and Materials in Evidence and Trial Advocacy (all co-authored with Professor Robert Burns); Arbitration Advocacy (coauthored with John Cooley); and Expert Testimony: A Guide for Expert Witnesses and the Lawyers Who Examine Them (coauthored with Elizabeth Boals).

In addition to his scholarly writing, Professor Lubet’s humor and opinion pieces have appeared frequently on the op-ed pages of newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Detroit Free Press, and many others, as well as in the online journals Slate and Salon. His satirical commentaries have been heard on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. 

He was once interviewed by Stephen Colbert for a segment on The Daily Show with John Stewart (in the early days, before they had famous guests).

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Areas of Expertise

  • Professional Responsibility
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Legal Ethics
  • Judicial Ethics
  • Historic Trials
  • Story Structure
  • Abolitionist Lawyers

Selected Publications

  • The “colored Hero” Of Harper’s Ferry: John Anthony Copeland And The War Against Slavery (Cambridge University Press 2015).
  • John Brown’s Spy: The Adventurous Life And Tragic Confession Of John E. Cook (Yale University Press 2012).
  • Fugitive Justice: Runaways, Rescuers, And Slavery On Trial (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2010).
  • Modern Trial Advocacy: Analysis And Practice (NITA 2010).
  • Lawyers' Poker: 52 Lessons That Lawyers Can Learn From Card Players (Oxford University Press 2006).
  • Murder In Tombstone: The Forgotten Trial Of Wyatt Earp (Yale University Press 2004).
  • Nothing But The Truth: Why Trial Lawyers Don't, Can't, And Shouldn't Have To Tell The Whole Truth (New York University Press 2001).

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  • BA, Northwestern University
  • JD, University of California, Berkeley

Prior Appointments

  • Class of 1940 Research Professor, 1997-1998, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Associate Professor of Law, 1978-1981, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Assistant Professor of Law, 1976-1978, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, 1975-1976, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Instructor, 1974-1975, DePaul University School of Law
  • Staff Attorney, 1973-1975, Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago

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