James Zirin
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James Zirin

James D. Zirin
Jim Zirin.jpg
Born (1940-01-10) January 10, 1940 (age 80)[1][2]
OccupationAttorney, philanthropist, author
Notable work

James David Zirin (born January 10, 1940) is an American lawyer, author, and television talk-show host.

Early life and education

James David Zirin was born in New York City to Morris G. Zirin, a lawyer and author, and Kate Zirin (née Sapir).[3][2] He graduated from Princeton University in 1961 and the University of Michigan Law School, where he was an editor of the Michigan Law Review.[2][4][5][6]


For three years he was an Assistant United States Attorney in Manhattan, and served in the criminal division under Robert M. Morgenthau, who served as District attorney from 1975-2009.[7] Zirin was a partner in the law firm of Breed, Abbott & Morgan in New York before he joined Sidley Austin, a firm focused on transactional and litigation matters, in 1993.[5][8]

In 2003, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed Zirin to the New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption.[9] He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and the past chair of its International Law Committee.[1][10] He is a current trustee of the Asia Society, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[11][12]


Zirin is the author of three books. He wrote The Mother Court (2014), which contains a history of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. It received both positive and negative reviews.[13][14][15][16] In 2016 he published Supremely Partisan detailing his views that the Supreme Court of the United States is influenced by politics.[17] In September 2019, he published Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits.[18][19] The book was favorably reviewed in The Washington Post,[20]The Times,[21] and the The Spectator.[22]

Zirin has written op-ed pieces for publications on legal, political and foreign policy subjects. His essays have appeared in Forbes,[23]Time,[24]Huffington Post,[25]The Hill,[26][27] and The Nation.[28]


Zirin hosts Conversations with Jim Zirin, a PBS-syndicated television program.[29]


Zirin and his wife, Marlene Hess Zirin, donated money toward construction of the Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin Lounge at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in Midtown Manhattan.[30]

Zirin is a member of the Consolidated Corporate Fund Leadership Committee of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.[31]

Zirin has contributed to Princeton University's Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative.[32]

Personal life

In 1990, Zirin married Marlene Hess, daughter of businessman and former New York Jets owner Leon Hess.[5]


  1. ^ a b "International Academy of Trial Lawyers". Home. January 10, 1940. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Who's Who in America, 1998. 2 (52nd ed.). New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who. 1997. p. 4785. ISBN 0-8379-0183-9.
  3. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths Zirin, Morris G." The New York Times. October 22, 1998. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ Grech, Dan (March 1, 2017). "Blind Justice Skewed by Raw Politics". Princeton Alumni Weekly.
  5. ^ a b c "Marlene Hess, a Banking Executive, Is Married to James Zirin, a Lawyer". The New York Times. May 19, 1990.
  6. ^ Michigan Law Review (PDF). 62. November 1963.
  7. ^ "United States of America, Appellee, v. George Gillette, Appellant,, 383 F.2d 843 (2d Cir. 1967)". Justia Law. US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. James D. Zirin, Asst. U. S. Atty., So. District of New York
  8. ^ Zirin, James. "Partner, Sidley Austin".
  9. ^ Zirin, James. "Commissioner".
  10. ^ "James Zirin". KentPresents. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ "Co-Chairs and Trustees". Asia Society. January 21, 2014. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ "Member Directory". Council on Foreign Relations.
  13. ^ Dickson, David J. (September 15, 2014). "Book reviews: The Journal Online". www.journalonline.co.uk.
  14. ^ Rakoff, Jed S. (June 19, 2014). "The Court of Courts". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ "Courtly love". The Economist. June 28, 2014. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ Roberts, Sam (June 27, 2014). "First if No Longer Foremost". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Beloff, Michael (February 4, 2017). "How impartial is the US judiciary?". The Spectator.
  18. ^ (2019, ISBN 9781250201621, OCLC 1079845440).
  19. ^ Zirin, James D. (September 24, 2019). "The Lawsuit That Changed Donald Trump's Life". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ Fahrenthold, David (November 22, 2019). "Trump's legal strategy: If you can't beat the case, beat the system". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ Mance, Jonathan (November 14, 2019). "Plaintiff in chief by James D. Zirin review -- how Trump is using the law as a tactical tool for his own advantage". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ "Donald Trump and the art of the lawsuit". Spectator USA. October 21, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ Zirin, Jim. "It's the Law". Forbes.
  24. ^ "James D. Zirin". Time. Retrieved 2018.
  25. ^ "James D. Zirin". www.huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2018.
  26. ^ Zirin, James D. (December 5, 2019). "The shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley". The Hill. Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ Zirin, James D. (December 16, 2019). "Will the Supreme Court protect the rule of law, or Donald Trump?". The Hill. Retrieved 2019.
  28. ^ "James D. Zirin". The Nation. March 24, 2014. Retrieved 2018.
  29. ^ "Conversations with Jim Zirin". PBS.org. 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  30. ^ The Associated Press (June 2, 2017). "MoMA expanding its Manhattan space, view of NYC outdoors". WTOP. Retrieved 2018.
  31. ^ "NewTalk: Expert Profile". NewTalk. August 19, 2008. Retrieved 2018.
  32. ^ "The Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative". Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. July 9, 2013. Retrieved 2018.

Further reading

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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