Document Type



Tribute to Norman Dorsen, 58 Annual Survey of American Law 29 (2001)


If this were a Dickens tale with Norman in the role of Scrooge, I would surely be cast as the Ghost of Dorsen's past. For I will have known Norman for a full 50 years next September—longer, I suspect, than most of the other speakers.

We met for the first time at Harvard Law School. Though several months younger, Norman was already a second-year student enjoying the lofty status of a Law Review editor, while I was an awkward beginner fresh from the raw frontier of Beverly Hills. Oddly enough, most of our early contacts were on the basketball floor, where we represented the Law School in various local tournaments under assumed names like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Dembitz Brandeis. Why we needed assumed names I cannot now recall; surely, our amateur status neither needed nor deserved protecting. Whatever the reason, basketball provided important clues about Norman's nature. Though very successful on the court, he never relied on height, speed, or exceptional coordination. He played with his mind, always disciplined enough to perform within his capabilities and always smart enough to be in the right place at the right time, well ahead of his slower-witted opponents.

Date of Authorship for this Version