Daniel J. Kornstein

(212) 418-8610

"Mr. Kornstein is a man of high principle, great compassion and profound intelligence who has elevated the practice of law to the level of moral statement.  He has the personal integrity to stand up for people, books and causes he believes in, even when others do not." Joe McGinniss, Acknowledgment in Blind Faith (1989)

"Mr. Kornstein is a brilliant lawyer."  Washington Times, July 24, 1994

"an outstanding defamation lawyer . . . who has fearlessly stood at the forefront of the American libel reform campaign" Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law (2012)

"a principled freedom-of-expression fighter . . . the driving force behind the most consequential free speech legislation in this century " Mark Steyn (Blog, March 24, 2014)

"Combines a very effective New York legal practice with apparently indefatigable intellectual curiosity and drive."  Michael Pakenham (retired book editor, Baltimore Sun) 2014

"Dan is a complete lawyer, a lawyer not only as a master of technique, but also a lawyer as philosopher, as historian, as humanist." Jack Fuller, former editor-in-chief and president of the Chicago Tribune (Super Lawyers Magazine New York Metro 2012)
"Armed with deep knowledge of the law, easygoing, very patient, and a gifted performer with the instincts of a boxing champion, Dan elegantly thwarts his opponents' arguments in court." Rachel Ehrenfeld, American Center for Democracy (Blog, April 4, 2014)

"a highly regarded attorney . . . a man of letters with noble values and an abiding love of America and its promise"  Michael Miller in the New York Law Journal
  (June 19, 2014)

"embodies the best of the working lawyer who draws inspiration from our legal past and writes about it with proficiency" 
Judicial Notice (2014)

Areas of Practice
Dan has an exciting and varied civil litigation practice. He was selected as a New York Super Lawyer for the past eight years and named in "The Top 100" in the 2010 New York Super Lawyers Metro Edition. For 27 consecutive years, Dan has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America in the Business Litigation category, and for 2015 is listed in five litigation practice areas: Commercial Litigation, Banking & Finance, First Amendment, Securities, and Trusts & Estates. Dan was the subject of a feature article in the New York - Metro 2012 Super Lawyers Magazine.   Click here for the article.


He has conducted over 100 trial-type proceedings (including 20 jury trials) and argued more than 70 appeals.  Dan's clients range from celebrities in the entertainment, publishing and sports world (including well-known actors, producers, writers, editors and photographers), to large corporations, financial institutions, and individuals. He has been involved in notable First Amendment cases, as well as substantial antitrust, securities, commercial, employment, product liability, family law, and international matters.

A past president of the Law & Humanities Institute, Dan has combined a busy law practice with frequent writing and speaking about the law. He has published
eight non-fiction books, eighteen law review articles, and hundreds of essays and book reviews. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and Boston Globe, and has been cited by a number of courts, including the US Supreme Court.

In 2013, King Michael of Romania named Dan an Officer of the Order of the Crown of Romania for his legal services.
Click to view  

Dan delivered the 2012 New York Court of Appeals Lecture on "Shakespeare and the Law."
 Click to view

In 2002, Dan received the prestigious Prix du Palais Littéraire from the Law and Literature Society of France.  At the award ceremony in May 2002 in the Palais d
e Justice in Paris, Dan delivered an address in French on "Balzac and the Law After 9/11: A New York Lawyer's View."

Bar Admissions
New York
U.S. District Court, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals, First, Second and Third Circuits
U.S. Tax Court
U.S. Supreme Court

Legal Career

Established Kornstein Veisz Wexler & Pollard, LLP in 1980
Solo Practitioner (1977-1980)
Associate, Baer & McGoldrick, now Schulte Roth & Zabel (1975-1977)
Associate, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (1973-1975)

J.D., Yale Law School (1973)
Note & Comment Editor, Yale Law Journal

B.S., City College of New York (1968)
Phi Beta Kappa
Honors in Economics
Felix Cohen Prize in Legal Philosophy


U.S. Army, 1969-1975 (active duty 1969-71), Specialist Fifth Class, Legal Clerk in Staff Judge Advocate's Office, First Armored Division and First Cavalry Division (special assistant to prosecutor in My Lai Massacre court-martial of one of Lt. Calley's platoon sergeants) Awarded Army Commendation Medal for "exceptionally meritorious service . . . meticulous attention to detail, indomitable spirit and assiduous pursuit of professional excellence"

Professional Activities and Associations
Member, Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction Selection Committee (2014)
President, The Law & Humanities Institute (1991-1998)
Adjunct Professor of Law, New York Law School (1988-1996) (taught course on defamation, privacy and publicity)
Chair, Committee on Law and Literature (1999-2009) New York County Lawyers Association
Member, Association of the Bar of the City of New York
Committee on Military Justice/Military Affairs (1975-1978)
Committee on Federal Legislation (1978-1981)
Committee on Lectures and Continuing Education (1982-1985)
Committee on the Profession (1988-1992)
Committee on Women in the Profession (1992-1995)
Member, Supreme Court Historical Society
Member, Federal Bar Council
Member, New York State Bar Association
Member, American Bar Association (Section on Litigation)



Loose Sallies: Essays (Author House, 2014)

a "rich work . . . exquisitely focused, eloquently written, coherent discussion of some of the most important aspects of American exceptionalism and the practical role that seminal U.S. Supreme Court decisions play in the vitality of the American democratic experiment . . . . a love story -- a highly personal story of the author's unabashed affection and admiration for the law and the fundamental values of American exceptionalism: freedom of expression, religious liberty and the right to privacy . . . . demonstrates that good legal writing doesn't have to be boring, dense or hard to follow . . . legal writing at its very best . . . legal writing as literature . . . Kornstein's essays inspire us" -- New York Law Journal [Click here for the review]

"crisp, focused, and informative . . . . [A] solid body of insight into, and challenge of, conventional complacencies" -- Michael Pakenham, Amazon on-line review  

Something Else: More Shakespeare and the Law (Author House, 2012)

Unlikely Muse: Legal Thinking and Artistic Imagination
(Author House, 2010).

"fascinating,"  "a thought-provoking study of the influence that law may have on the creative process,"  "an important addition to the expanding study of law and literature by one of its foremost proponents" -- New York Law Journal

Partial Verdicts: Essays on Law and Life (Author House, 2008) 

"a delight . . . the perfect balance of pleasant-to-read and smart . . . a great gift for any lawyer" -- Newt Rees, Amazon on-line review

The Elsinore Appeal: People v. Hamlet (St. Martin's Press, 1996) (co-author)

"an offbeat intellectual pleasure" -- New York Law Journal

Kill All the Lawyers? Shakespeare's Legal Appeal (Princeton University Press, 1994). Cited in U.S. v. Henderson, 857 F. Supp. 2d 191, 213-14 (D. Mass. 2012)

"excellent . . . the distinctive voice of an American lawyer [who] speaks to our era in the polished cadences of an experienced advocate, who is as much at home in the courtroom as in the world of Shakespeare" -- Yale Journal of Law and Humanities
"A testimonial to cultural literacy at its best.  To have a [book] as carefully researched and gracefully written as this emerge from a literate lawyer's pen is modestly reassuring about the future of culture itself."  -- Choice (1994)

"one of the liveliest and most original books on Shakespeare" -- Theodore Ziolkowski, The Mirrors of Justice (1997)

Thinking Under Fire: Courtroom Lawyers and Their Impact on American History
(Dodd Mead, 1987)

"presents a vivid biography of great lawyers . . . as well as delivering with masterful feel the historical significance of the cases each lawyer presented" -- South Bend Tribune

The Music of the Laws (Everest House, 1982)

"a book that deftly and lovingly discusses the law and those who build their careers on it" -- Wall Street Journal

Entries on Arthur Liman and Lloyd Paul Styker in The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law (2009)

Entry on "Literature and Crime" in Encyclopedia of Crime & Justice (2002)

Chapter 38A on "Impeachment of Partial Verdicts" in Criminal Defense Techniques (Matthew Bender 1982)

Law Review Articles
"The Myths of Thane Rosenbaum," 4 Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal 33 (2006)

"Does Love of Literature Promote International Law?" 12 ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law 491 (2006)

"Mark Twain's Evidence," 72 Tennessee Law Review 1 (2005) (on the Shakespeare authorship debate)

"A Comment on Prof. Halper's Reading of Measure for Measure," 13 Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature 265 (2001)

"He Knew More: Balzac and the Law," 21 Pace Law Review 301 (2000)

“A Practicing Lawyer Looks Back on Law and Literature,” 10 Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature 117 (1998)

“The Byronic Hero Meets the Law and Literature Movement,” 46 Emory Law Journal 1615 (1997)

“The Double Life of Wallace Stevens: Is Law Ever the ‘Necessary Angel’ of Creative Art?” 41 New York Law School Law Review 1187 (1997) ("an engaging, brilliant exploration" --Legal Studies Forum)

“Fie Upon Your Law!” 5 Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature 35 (1993)

“Twisted Vision: Janet Malcolm’s Upside Down View of the Fatal Vision Case,” 1 Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature 127 (1989)

“The Case Against Lillian Hellman: A Literary/Legal Defense,” 57 Fordham Law Review 683 (1989)

“The Success of the Word: The Literary Critic as Constitutional Theorist,” 4 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 277 (1985)

“Inheritance: A Constitutional Right?” 36 Rutgers Law Review 41 (1984). Cited in Klauser v. Babbitt, 918 F. Supp. 274 (W.D. Wis. 1996).

“Impeachment of Partial Verdicts,” 54 St. John’s Law Review 663 (1980). Cited in State v. Shomo, 129 N.J. 248 (1992).

“A Bayesian Model of Harmless Error,” 5 Journal of Legal Studies 121 (1976). Cited in U.S. ex rel. Bilyew v. Franzen, 686 F.2d 1238 (7th Cir. 1982); McQueeney v. Wilmington Trust Co., 779 F.2d 916 (3d Cir. 1985).

“Taps for the Real Catch-22,” 81 Yale Law Journal 1518 (1972). Cited by Justice Potter Stewart in Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733 (1974) (dissenting opinion); 478 F.2d 772 (3d Cir. 1973); Stolte v. Laird, 353 F. Supp. 1392 (D.D.C. 1972).

“A Defendant’s Right to Inspect Pretrial Congressional Testimony of Government Witnesses,” 80 Yale Law Journal 1388 (1971). Cited in Calley v. Callaway, 519 F.2d 185 (5th Cir. 1975) (Bell, J., dissenting); 382 F. Supp. 650 (M.D. Ga. 1974).

“Insurance Mergers and the Clayton Act,” 78 Yale Law Journal 1404 (1969). Cited by the Federal Trade Commission in 1972 Trade Reg. Rep. (vol. 3) 20,163 at 22, 148 n.8 (FTC decision).

Other Articles
(partial list)

Review of "The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture," New York Law Journal, Feb. 18, 2015

"Eloquence, Reason and Necessity: Gitlow and New York After 9/11," 10 Judicial Notice 18 (Fall 2014)

"'Robinson Crusoe' the Second Time Around," New York Law Journal, Sept. 26, 2014

"A Female Lawyer Superhero" 
New York Law Journal, June 30, 2014.

"A Lawyer Superhero?" New York Law Journal, Jan. 23, 2014.

"Sibling Preference vs. Meritocracy," New York Law Journal, Nov. 26, 2013.

Review of "The Great Dissent" by Thomas Healy, New York County Lawyer, Oct. 2013.

Review of "Liberalism Undressed" by Jethro Lieberman, New York Law Journal, April 23, 2013.

"Hitchens vs. Holmes," 
New York Law Journal, Jan. 31, 2012. 

Review of "New York Rules of Professional Conduct,"  New York Law Journal, Sept. 28, 2010

"Roll Over, Cardozo," New York Law Journal, Aug. 12, 2010

"Pass the 'Speech' Act Now," New York Law Journal, July 13, 2010.

"What a Tangled Life . . .," New York Law Journal Magazine, Feb. 2009

Review of "Brethren and Sisters of the Bar" by David Robertson, New York Law Journal, Jan. 20, 2009

"Areopagitica Remembered," New York Law Journal, Dec. 12, 2008

Review of "Freedom for the Thought that We Hate" by Anthony Lewis, New York County Lawyer, Sept. 2008

"Bill Buckley the Witness," New York Law Journal Magazine, June 2008

"English Revolution Redux," New York Law Journal Magazine, Dec. 2007

"Dear Diary . . . " New York Law Journal Magazine, May 2007

"The Roberson Privacy Controversy," Journal of the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York (Issue No. 4; 2006)

"No Ruling Without Reading!" New York Law Journal Magazine, Feb. 2006

Review of "Abogado" by Martin Gallin, New York County Lawyer, Dec. 2005

Review of “Into It” by Lawrence Joseph, New York Law Journal, Oct. 21, 2005

“One Nation (Under God) . . .,” New York Law Journal Magazine, Oct. 2005

“Julien Sorel Is Us,” New York Law Journal Magazine, May 2005

Review of "Lincoln at Cooper Union" by Harold Holzer, New York Law Journal, Aug. 10, 2004

"Draft All Barlows," New York Law Journal, June 16, 2004

"The Cardozo Mystery," 75 New York State Bar Journal (No. 4) 47 (2003)

"Abolish Private Schools," New York Law Journal, Dec. 29, 2003

"In Praise of the Solo and Small Firm Practice," New York Law Journal, Nov. 10, 2003 (Special Section)

"Law and Literature -- Louis Begley," New York Law Journal, Oct. 29, 2003

"Is Nepotism Sending the U.S. Back to the Middle Ages?" Baltimore Sun, Oct. 12, 2003

"Easy Reading," New York Law Journal Magazine, June 2003

"Is 'Shyster' Anti-Semitic?" New York Law Journal, May 21, 2003

"William O. Douglas -- An Inspiring, Maddening American," Baltimore Sun, Mar. 16, 2003

"Lawyers Rule," New York Law Journal Magazine, Feb. 2003

"The $1.2 Million That Just Fell Off the Truck," Baltimore Sun, Oct. 13, 2002

"Auchincloss' Talents," New York Law Journal, Oct. 10, 2002

"The Latest Legal Fiction," New York County Lawyer, Apr. 2002

"Mortimer Chose Muse Over Law," New York Law Journal, Apr. 25, 2002

"Commercial Division v. CPLR," New York Law Journal, Mar. 6, 2002

"Putting the Second Commandment in Context," Forward, Jan. 4, 2002

"Life Imitates Art with Secret Military Tribunals," New York Law Journal, Nov. 28, 2001

"An Unlikely Muse," New York Lawyer, Oct. 2001

"Icons Beget Iconoclasts," American Lawyer, Sept. 2001

"Prague: Breathing 'Reality' Into Law," New York Law Journal, Feb. 15, 2001

"Of Death and Taxes," American Lawyer, Jan. 2001

"Protect and Defend: High Lawyerly Verisimilitude," Baltimore Sun, Dec. 17. 2000

"Bartleby the Associate," New York Law Journal, Sept. 6, 2000

"Improve Your Writing, Gain a Potent Weapon," New York Law Journal, Sept. 5, 2000 (Special Section)

"Why Are All These Lawyers Setting U.S. Public Policy?" Baltimore Sun, Aug. 13, 2000

"Defining Privacy - A Task Still Undone," Baltimore Sun Dec 10, 1995 (book review)

"The Rehnquist Court:  High on the Middle Ground," Baltimore Sun, Aug. 20, 1995 (book review)

"Don't Punish Bill Clinton for his Vietnam
Draft Status," Chicago Tribune, Nov. 27, 1992 (Op-Ed)

"A 'Free Speech' Claim that Distorts the First Amendment," Boston Globe, Jan. 13, 1991 (Op-Ed)

"Book vs. People, or: Does Souter Read
Too Much?" Chicago Tribune, Sept. 17, 1990

"Medical Privacy and the Right to Know," Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, December 1987

"Mathematics With a Human Face ," Wall Street Journal, June 11, 1984 (book review ) 

"Life as a 'Prisoner's Dilemma," Wall Street Journal, Apr. 26, 1984 (book review ) 

An Important Vietnam Novel ," Wall Street Journal, Feb. 15 , 1984 (book review )

"Amnesty and Calley," N.Y. Times, Mar. 22, 1975 (Op-Ed)

"The Law and Literature," New York State Bar Journal (May - June 1994)
"Shakespeare the Unacknowledged Legislator," New York State Bar Journal (Jan. 1994)
"Justice Holmes in Love," New York State Bar Journal (July - Aug. 1992)
"The Qualities of an American Advocate,"  New York State Bar Journal (Nov. 1989)
"Declining Professionalism and Its Causes," The Record of the Assoc. of the Bar of the City of New York (Mar. 1992)
"Punitive Damages in Securities Arbitrations," Commodities Law Letters (July - Aug. 1991)

Keynote Speaker on "Creative Lawyering" at Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Winter Meeting (March 2015)

Panelist, Award Ceremony for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction at the Library of Congress (August 2014)

Panelist, Award Ceremony for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction at the National Press Club (September 2013).

Lecture on
 "Libel Tourism and American Exceptionalism"at American Foreign Law Association (March 2013)

Delivered 2012 N.Y. Court of Appeals Lecture on "Shakespeare and the Law" (May 2012)

Speaker on "Libel Tourism" Panel at Fordham Law School sponsored by the American Branch of the International Law Association and the International Law Students Association (October 2011)

Presenter at the CLE program for the Judicial Institute of the State of New York on "Legal Issues in Shakespeare's Plays"  (October 2011)

Keynote speaker at Westminster Legal Policy Forum on UK Libel Law Reform (London, May 2011)  (Topic: "An International Perspective")

Presenter at CLE program for the Judicial Institute of the State of New York on "Legal Issues in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice"  (February 2011)

Speaker on "Libel Terrorism" at meeting of ABA Section on International Law (April 2010)

Speaker at The Free Speech Leadership Summit sponsored by The Writers Guild of America, East Foundation; PEN; and The Creative Coalition (October 2009)

Presenter at Conference on "Libel Terrorism" and the First Amendment, at the American Enterprise Institute (March 2009)

Appellate Counsel for Antonio, moot court based on The Merchant of Venice, Cardozo Law School (December 2008)

Guest Lecturer, NYU Law School, Class on "Libel Tourism" (September 2008)

Lecturer, CLE Class on "Libel Tourism" at the Institute of American and Talmudic Law (September 2008)

Panelist, New York County Lawyer's Association (NYCLA) Program on "Libel Tourism" (April 2008)

Panelist, Conference on "Free Speech in an Age of Jihad" sponsored by Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the New Criterion (April 2008)

Discussion Leader, Program on Measure for Measure at Brooklyn Inn of Court (November 2007)

Discussion Leader, Boston Federalist Society Program on "Shakespeare and the Art of Judging" (June 2007)

Moderator, NYCLA Law & Literature Award Ceremony for Anthony Lewis (May 2007)

Speaker, Joint NYC Bar Association – NYCLA Program on An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (November 2006)

Panelist, 1st Annual Fordham Law Film Festival (October 2006)

Trial Counsel for King Lear, moot court at Cornell Medical School (September 2006)

Moderator, Panels on Plea Bargaining and Attorney-Client Privilege, at Joint Conference with Le Barreau de Lille and NYCLA, Lille, France (October 2005)

Speaker, “International Law and the Humanities” at Program Sponsored by the International Law Association (October 2005)

Appellate counsel for State of Denmark, moot court appeal based on Hamlet at the Shakespeare Society, New York City (November 2004)

Moderator, Program on "So You Want to be a Fiction Writer" (NYCLA) (June 2004)

Speaker, "Mark Twain's Evidence" at Conference on "Who Wrote Shakespeare? An Evidentiary Puzzle," University of Tennessee College of Law (June 2004)

Moderator, Program on "Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What Is Right," Association of the Bar of the City of New York (April 2004)

Faculty Speaker, "Tips for Effective Legal Writing" at NYCLA Continuing Legal Education Program (April 2004)

Moderator, NYCLA Law & Literature Award Ceremony for Louis Begley (October 2003)

Moderator, NYCLA Law & Literature Award Ceremony for Louis Auchincloss (October 2002)

Appellate counsel for State of Denmark, moot court appeal based on Hamlet at Yale Law School (October 2002)

Speaker, CLE program at Yale Law School on "Representing Artists and Entertainers" (October 2002)

Lecture in French, "Balzac and the Law After 9/11: A New York Lawyer's View" at award ceremony at the Palais de Justice in Paris (May 2002)

Counsel in "Pied Piper of Hamelin," moot court at American Bar Association Litigation Section meeting in Phoenix, Arizona (May 2001)

Debated on "The Place of Balzac in the Law and Literature Canon," at Law and Humanities Institute, New York City (April 2001)

Chair of Panel Discussion on The Merchant of Venice at Suffolk Law School, Boston, sponsored by the Federalist Society (February 2001)

Speaker at Program "How To Use Your Legal Background to Launch a Writing Career," sponsored by The Association of the Bar of the City of New York (February 2001)

Lectures, Association France-Amériques in Paris, "Balzac and the Law" (June and October 2000)

Faculty Speaker, "Legal Writing" at NYCLA Continuing Legal Education Program (April 2000)

Faculty Speaker, "Legal Writing for Litigators" at NYCLA Continuing Legal Education Program (February 2000

Lecture on "Law and Artistic Creativity," at Law and Literature Colloquium, University College, London (June 1998)
Moderator of Panel on Politics at Program on "Modes of Law: Music and Legal Theory" at Cardozo Law School (April 1998)
Lecture on "Shakespeare and the Law" at the Palais de Justice, Paris (October 1997)
Appellate Counsel for Shylock in moot court at N.Y.C. Bar Assoc. (September 1997)
Moderator of Program on "Law and Creativity: Is There a Conflict?" at NYCLA (June 1997)
Lecture on Wallace Stevens at New York Law School (April 1997)
Appellate Counsel for Shylock in moot court during Law and the Arts Symposium at Hofstra Law School (October 1996)
Moderator of Program on "Shakespeare Cross-Examination: Were the Shakespeare Plays Actually Written by Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford" at N.Y.C. Bar Assoc. (October 1995)
Panelist at a "Renaissance Roundtable" on Shakespeare and the Law at Guilford College, North Carolina (September 1995)
Lecture on "King Lear" at Law and Literature Symposium at Boalt Hall, Berkeley (September 1995)
Panelist on Program "Lawyers Who Write: Where Do They Find The Time" at NYCLA (January 1995)
Appellate Counsel for Hamlet in moot court at N.Y.C. Bar Assoc. (October 1994)
Panelist at Forum on "Legal Issues Surrounding Life Stories and Docudramas" at NYCLA (April 1993)
Featured Speaker at Federation of Insurance and Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting (August 1990)
Panelist at Symposium on "A Cultural Bill of Rights" at Williams College (February 1988)
Lecture on "Medical Privacy and the Right to Know" at a Conference on the "Diffusion of Health Information to the Public" at the N.Y. Academy of Medicine (April 1987)
Testified on behalf of N.Y.C. Bar Assoc. before congressional subcommittee on military draft registration (1979)


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