Harvey A. Silverglate was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1951. He graduated with honors from Harvard University in 1972 and went on to get his J.D. at Harvard Law School in 1975. After Harvard, he joined Caplin & Drysdale, where he practiced corporate and tax law. He then went on to found the law firm Silverglate & Good, which specialized in a broad range of legal services from estate and tax planning to intellectual property to administrative law.
Harvey was appointed as a Special Assistant Attorney General in 1981 by the attorney general for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After that, he partnered with Cambridge lawyer Joel K. Segal to form Silverglate & Segal in 1983, which had expanded its practice to include civil rights and civil liberties, media law, and criminal defense.
By the mid- to late-1990s, Harvey had become a well-known civil liberties lawyer in the Boston area. He had authored the books Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent and The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses. He had also become a prominent voice in the fight against post-9/11 government policies on surveillance and civil liberties.
In 2001, Harvey expanded the scope of his practice to include class action lawsuits. His firm represented college students protesting for editorial control of student yearbooks and a major class action against Volkswagen relating to their failure to properly disclose applicable warranties.
Harvey’s civil liberties work and high profile cases have also brought them into the national spotlight. In 2014, Harvard Law School held a symposium to honor the 40th anniversary of its historic Bakke ruling, where Harvey gave a keynote address.
Harvey Silverglate’s legacy can be seen in his work — fighting for the civil rights of individuals facing legal trouble and safeguarding liberty in America. His career has spanned the course of four decades, taking on cases ranging from small pro bono cases defending civil liberties to class action lawsuits. His commitment to justice and the law has spread far and wide, making him one of the most influential attorneys of our time.