Skip to main content

Michael E. Tigar

Michael Tigar is Emeritus Professor of the Practice of Law at Duke University Law School and Professor Emeritus at American University’s Washington College of Law. He has also held full-time academic positions at UCLA and the University of Texas.

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.

Tigar has authored or co-authored 13 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 books, Mythologies of State and Monopoly Power, Nine Principles of Litigation, Thinking About Terrorism, Fighting Injustice (his memoir), Examining Witnesses and Persuasion are all available from P.E.G.

His clients have included Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, John Connally, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, The Washington Post, Fantasy Films, Terry Nichols, Allen Ginsberg, Leonard Peltier, Fernando Chavez and Lynne Stewart. He is a past chair of the 60,000 member American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation and a past 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.

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.”