Philip B. Heymann

James Bar Ames Professor of Law, Emeritus


Philip Heymann is the James Barr Ames Professor of Law at the Harvard University Law School. Heymann has served at high levels in both the State and Justice Departments during the Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton administrations including Deputy U.S. Attorney General (1993-1994). A former Fulbright Scholar with degrees from Yale University and Harvard Law School, Heymann has served as clerk for Supreme Court Justice John Harlan, Assistant U.S. Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division (1978-81) and Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Justice Department, Acting Administrator of the State Department's Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Organizations, Executive Assistant to the Undersecretary of State, and Deputy U.S. Attorney General (1993-94). In addition, he was a former associate prosecutor and consultant to the Watergate Special Force.

Since then, he has been integrally involved in the national debate about the conditions necessary to keep high officials accountable to the system of criminal justice. Heymann’s global work has reached from Guatemala, to Peru, Northern Ireland, the Palestinian Authority, South Africa, and Russia. At Harvard Law School he leads efforts to encourage national and international public service by lawyers.

Heymann has authored and edited seven books and numerous articles on terrorism, management in government, criminal justice, and combating corruption. His most recent book, Protecting Liberty in Age of Terror, co-authored with Juliette Kayyem from the Kennedy School of Government, explores threats to national security and civil liberties posed by terrorism. Informed by meetings with senior counterterrorism experts from the United States and United Kingdom, Protecting Liberty in Age of Terror (2005) provides a legal framework for policymakers faced with decisions on coercive interrogation, detention, electronic surveillance, targeted killing, and racial profiling, among other issues. Jeffrey H. Smith, former General Counsel of the CIA, has said that Protecting Liberty in an Age of Terror “should be read by the President and Congress, who should then move quickly to adopt as many of its suggestions as possible,” and former Republican Congressman Bob Barr warned, “current and future policymakers ignore this blueprint at our peril.”

Terrorism, Freedom, and Security (2003), Heymann’s previous book on terrorism, prompted Rand Beers, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Combating Terrorism, to describe Heymann as “one of the leading thinkers in the world on the subject of terrorism.” Ariel Merari, founder and former commander of Israel’s Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Management Team, described Heymann’s book Terrorism and America, as “by far the best treatise on coping with terrorism.”

Areas of Interest