MacArthur Fellows Program

Anthony Amsterdam

Attorney and Legal Scholar | Class of 1989

Attorney and Legal Scholar
New York, New York
54 at time of award
Published August 1, 1989

About Anthony's Work

Anthony Amsterdam is a lawyer, a legal thinker, and a teacher who has influenced the development of contemporary law in the areas of civil rights, race discrimination, and criminal procedure.

He has been a strategist and manager for hundreds of cases litigated in efforts to abolish capital punishment.  He is the author of The Defensive Transfer of Civil Rights Legislation from State to Federal Courts (1964), Trial Manual for the Defense of Criminal Cases (5th ed., 1989), and co-author of Trial Manual for Defense Attorneys in Juvenile Court (1991) and Minding the Law (2000).  At New York University Law School, Amsterdam created and teaches a three-year curriculum that uses simulation exercises to develop both a theoretical and a practical understanding of such lawyers’ skills as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and advocacy.


After serving an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia, Amsterdam assumed his first teaching position at the University of Pennsylvania in 1962.  He moved to Stanford University in 1969, where he was named the Montgomery Professor of Clinical Legal Education.  In 1981, he joined the faculty of New York University’s School of Law and currently serves there as a University Professor.

Amsterdam received an A.B. (1957) from Haverford College and LL.B. (1960) from the University of Pennsylvania.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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