Burt Neuborne

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Burt Neuborne
Burt Neuborne by David Shankbone.jpg
Born 1941
Bronx, New York
Nationality United States
Alma mater Harvard Law School
Scientific career
Fields Civil liberties
Institutions New York University School of Law

Burt Neuborne is a nationally renowned civil liberties defender.[1] Professor Neuborne has acted as lead counsel in the recent Holocaust Litigation against the Swiss Banks. A former National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, he is currently on the faculty of New York University School of Law and Legal Director of the Brennan Center for Justice. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School from which he received an LL.B in 1964. Neuborne has been called a defender of lost causes.[2] He defended Air Force pilots who refused to bomb Cambodia in the Vietnam War, the Socialist Labor Party's effort to be on the ballot and legal-aid lawyers suing the government.[2]

Holocaust survivors[edit]

In 1998 Neuborne won a $1.25 billion settlement for Jewish Holocaust survivors in a lawsuit against Swiss banks who helped the Nazis steal money from Jewish victims.[3] After undertaking the initial litigation pro bono, Neuborne gave notice that he intended to be paid for his work on the settlement. He applied for $4.1 million in fees for "8,000 hours over the past seven years" of work he did in the settlement against the banks. Some Holocaust survivor organizations in the United States filed an objection to Neuborne's claim. The editorial board of the New York Times admonished Neuborne, stating, "The dollar amounts are troubling and so are the slipshod hourly records that Mr. Neuborne submitted," and criticizing his $700 hourly rate as "unseemly" and more suited to corporate clients.[4] The Times also criticized the survivors for expecting "arduous, complicated legal work without pay."[4] When asked about the controversy, Neuborne said, "At the end of my career, to have to listen to people say, 'You lied to us, you cheated, you did this to us!'...it hurts, especially since they are survivors."[2]

Neuborne was acquitted by professional review boards and judges involved in the case itself. According to Neuborne, he never intended to donate the time he spent administering the case settlement and, indeed, pursuant to his other responsibilities, could not have.[5][2]


  1. ^ Debating 'Citizens United', The Nation (2011-01-13)
  2. ^ a b c d Getting His Due, Joel Siegel, New York Magazine, October 9, 2006.
  3. ^ Holocaust Survivors Angry Over NYU Law Professor Burt Neuborne’s Fees, Peter Lattman, Wall Street Journal Law blog, February 27, 2006
  4. ^ a b Billing Holocaust Victims, The New York Times, June 29, 2006.
  5. ^ Burt Neuborne, Class Discussion, "Procedure," Fall 2006, NYU School of Law (L09.2001.003.FA06).

External links[edit]