Category Archives: Jerome Michael

Legal Advice: Pound the Facts, Pound the Law, Pound the Table

Alan Dershowitz? Jerome Michael? Jacob J. Rosenblum? Oliver Wendell Holmes?

Dear Quote Investigator: A few years ago I saw a famous quotation about legal strategy attributed to a celebrity professor [ADFW]:

Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz shares with his students a strategy for successfully defending cases. If the facts are on your side, Dershowitz says, pound the facts into the table. If the law is on your side, pound the law into the table. If neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table.

But I thought that this saying was originally from a Columbia professor named Jerome Michael and not from a Harvard professor. Could you investigate this?

Quote Investigator: There is good evidence that Jerome Michael used a version of the saying while teaching, but the adage was in use before he graduated from Columbia Law School. QI has traced it back ninety-nine years and will present selected citations in reverse order.

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