David Boies

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David Boies
David Boies 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Boies at the 2011 Time 100 gala
Born (1941-03-11) March 11, 1941 (age 76)
Sycamore, Illinois, U.S.
Alma mater Northwestern University
Yale University
New York University
Occupation Lawyer
Employer Boies, Schiller & Flexner
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Schuman

David Boies (born March 11, 1941) is an American lawyer and chairman of the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner.[1] He has been involved in various high profile cases in the United States, including United States v. Microsoft Corp., Bush v. Gore, Hollingsworth v. Perry, and the defense of Harvey Weinstein against sexual abuse allegations.

Early life and education[edit]

Boies was born in Sycamore, Illinois,[2] to two teachers, and raised in a farming community.[3] He has four siblings. His first job was when he was 10 years old—a paper route with 120 customers. Boies has dyslexia and he did not learn to read until the third grade.[4] Journalist Malcolm Gladwell has described the unique processes of reading and learning Boies experienced due to his dyslexia. Boies's mother, for instance, would read stories to him when he was a child and Boies would memorize them because he could not follow the words on the page.[5] In 1954, the family moved to California. Boies graduated from Fullerton Union High School in Fullerton, California. Boies attended the University of Redlands, received a B.S. from Northwestern University in 1964, a law degree magna cum laude from Yale Law School in 1966 and an LL.M. from New York University School of Law 1967; he was awarded an hononary LL.D. from the University of Redlands in 2000. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, which is a museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution.[6]

Professional history[edit]

Law firm[edit]

Boies was an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he started upon law school graduation in 1966 and became a partner in 1973.[citation needed] He left Cravath in 1997 major client objected to his representation of the New York Yankees even though the firm itself had found no conflict.[7] He left the firm within 48 hours of being informed of the client's objection and created his own firm, now known as Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. It is currently rated 17th in "overall prestige" and 12th among New York law firms by Vault.com, a website on legal career information.[citation needed]


Boies was also Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the United States Senate Antitrust Subcommittee in 1978, and served as Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee in 1979.[citation needed]


Boies has taught courses at New York University Law School and Cardozo School of Law.[citation needed]

Notable cases[edit]

  • At Cravath, Boies assisted top litigator Thomas D. Barr in defending IBM in the 13-year antitrust cases brought by the Justice Department and many private competitors.
  • Also at Cravath, he represented the Justice Department in the United States v. Microsoft Corp. case. Boies won a "victory" at trial,[8] and the verdict was upheld on appeal. The appellate court overturned the relief ordered (breakup of the company) back to the trial court for further proceedings. Thereafter, the George W. Bush administration settled the case. Bill Gates said Boies was "out to destroy Microsoft".[9] In 2001, the Washington Monthly called Boies "a brilliant trial lawyer", "a latter-day Clarence Darrow", and "a mad genius" for his work on the Microsoft case.[8]
  • Boies represented New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in a suit against Major League Baseball. This involved an action against all the teams. The Atlanta Braves were owned by Time Warner, a longtime Cravath client, who objected to his representation of the Yankees.
  • He defended CBS in the action brought by General William Westmoreland. The general abandoned his case during the trial.
  • Following the 2000 U.S. presidential election, he represented Vice President Al Gore in Bush v. Gore.[9] In Jay Roach's Recount, which focuses on the case, Boies is played by Ed Begley Jr.
  • Boies defended Napster when the company was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for facilitating copyright infringement.
  • In November 2003, he represented Andrew Fastow, deposed Chief Financial Officer of Enron.
  • Boies' firm was retained by the SCO Group, during the SCO–Linux controversies, in their pursuit of alleged infringement of their rights to the Unix intellectual properties. He spoke to the media about the case, but never personally appeared in court.
  • In 2006, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP negotiated a major settlement with The American International Group on behalf of its client, C. V. Starr, a firm controlled by Maurice R. Greenberg, the former chairman and chief executive of A.I.G.[10] In 2015 Boies won at trial a claim that the government's $85 billion bailout of AIG had been unfair to the company's owners.[11] Boies has appealed, asking for greater money damages.
  • Boies negotiated on behalf of American Express two of the highest civil antitrust settlements ever for an individual company: $2.25 billion from Visa, and $1.8 billion from MasterCard.[12]
  • Boies is representing filmmaker Michael Moore regarding a Treasury Department investigation into Moore's trip to Cuba while filming for Sicko.[13]
  • On June 24, 2009, following the California Supreme Court ruling on Strauss v. Horton, Boies joined former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, the opposing attorney in Bush v. Gore, in the lawsuit Perry v. Brown seeking to overturn the state of California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.[14] In August 2010, the District Court judge ruled in their clients' favor, finding Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the proponents of Proposition 8 did not have standing to challenge the ruling, allowing the District Court judgment to stand. Same-sex marriages resumed in California on June 28, 2013.
  • Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP assisted the government in obtaining a $155 million settlement from Medco Health Solutions related to a qui tam complaint which alleged that Medco, "systematically and intentionally switched patients' prescriptions in an effort to increase the market share for certain pharmaceutical manufacturers, and thereby increased hidden rebate payments it received from pharmaceutical manufacturers."[15] In response to the settlement, Mr. Boies said, "I am very happy that lawyers from Boies, Schiller & Flexner were able to contribute to the litigation and settlement of this qui tam case, which will result in important changes in the way pharmacy managers do business by increasing their level of accountability to their patients. We are also very happy we could help the government recover the money it was erroneously billed by Medco, and that Medco agreed to execute a Corporate Integrity Agreement which will govern their conduct in the future."[16]
  • On August 20, 2009 the Golden Gate Yacht Club announced that he had been retained in their ongoing dispute with Société Nautique de Genève regarding the 33rd America's Cup.[17]
  • In March, 2010, David Boies joined the team of attorneys representing Jamie McCourt in her divorce from Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.[18]
  • Boies was part of the legal team representing the National Football League in their antitrust litigation, Brady v. NFL.[19]
  • Boies represented the National Basketball Players Association during the 2011 NBA lockout. He joined sides with Jeffrey Kessler, who opposed Boies as a representative for the players in the 2011 NFL lockout.[20]
  • Boies was the lead counsel for Oracle Corporation in its lawsuit against Google on the use of Java programming language technology in the Android operating system. The case decided that Google did not infringe on Oracle's patents.[21]
  • In 2012, Boies represented three tobacco companies, Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Liggett Group LLC, in their appeal of a $2.5 million Tampa jury verdict in the death of smoker Charlotte Douglas.[22]
  • In late 2012, Boies defended Gary Jackson, former president of Academi (previously known as BlackWater), in a federal prosecution which alleged he and his co-defendants illegally hid firearm purchases from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.[23]
  • In December 2014, Boies, as Chief Counsel for Sony Pictures Entertainment, announced on a public affairs show on CNN that, notwithstanding threats by North Korea and a hacking incident against his client, Sony would be making the motion picture The Interview available for distribution to the public in some fashion, and that the release of the film was not cancelled, simply delayed. Boies also warned media outlets not to republish material stolen from Sony Pictures in the hacking incident, with little success.
  • In 2015, Boies represented Harvey Weinstein in renegotiating Weinstein's employment contract.[24][25]
  • In February 2016, Boies agreed to both sit on the board of directors and act as the attorney for troubled Silicon Valley startup Theranos. The controversial dual role was deemed difficult as he would have to represent both the company (as lawyer) and investors (as a director).[26]
  • In 2017, Boies agreed to join the legal team for Lawrence Lessig's legal fight against winner-take-all Electoral College vote allocations in the states.[27]
  • Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hired Boies in 2017 to advise on Jones's legal strategy against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL compensation committee in the wake of the suspension of running back Ezekiel Elliott.[28]


In his 2001 book, prosecutor and author Vincent Bugliosi criticized Boies' abilities as a trial lawyer, arguing that Boies "wasn't forceful or eloquent at all in making his points" in Bush v. Gore. "[A]lthough he seemed to have a very good grasp of the facts, he seemed completely incapable of drawing powerful, irresistible inferences from those facts that painted his opposition into a corner".[29]

In 2017, Boies' firm reportedly directed private intelligence company Black Cube to spy on alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein's sexual abuse and on reporters who were investigating Weinstein's actions.[30] Over the course of a year, Weinstein had Black Cube and other agencies "“target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories." [31][32] [33] A few days later, The New York Times announced it had “terminated its relationship” with Boies' firm.[34]

According to The Wall Street Journal, Boies negotiated Harvey Weinstein’s contract without saying to Weinstein Co. Directors he had investment in the company’s movies.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Boies owns a home in Westchester County, New York,[36] Hawk and Horse Vineyards in Northern California, an oceangoing yacht, and a large wine collection.[37]

Boies is dyslexic.[38] He is frequently described as having a photographic memory that enables him to recite exact text, page numbers, and legal exhibits. Colleagues attribute his courtroom success in part to this ability.[39][40]


  • Professorial chairs:
    • $1.5 million to the Tulane University Law School to establish the "David Boies Distinguished Chair in Law." Two of Boies' children earned their law degrees at Tulane.[41]
    • A "David Boies Professor" was established at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently held by Professor of History and Sociology Thomas Sugrue. The professorship is named after David Boies' father, a high school teacher of government and economics.
    • A "David Boies Chair" at the Yale Law School was formerly held by Professor Robert Post before he became dean of the law school.
    • David and Mary Boies endowed a chair in government at the University of Redlands, the college that David Boies attended. Arthur Svenson currently holds this chair.
    • Mary and David Boies also endowed a "Maurice Greenberg Chair" at the Yale Law School.
  • David Boies and his wife, Mary, donated $5 million to Northern Westchester Hospital, in Mount Kisco, New York. Part of an ongoing capital campaign, the Boies' money is being used to build the hospital's new emergency room.[42]

David and Mary Boies also fund the "Mary and David Boies Fellowships" for foreign students at the Harvard Kennedy School. The Boies give an annual picnic at their home for the incoming Teach for America corps for New York City (300–500 people). They support the Central European and Eurasian Law Institute (CEELI), a Prague-based institute that trains judges from newly democratized countries in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. There is a "Mary and David Boies Reading Room" at the CEELI Institute in Prague.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Time Magazine named Boies "Lawyer of the Year" in 2000.[43] Boies was a runner-up to George W. Bush as "Person of the Year."
  • Milton Gould Award for Outstanding Advocacy, October 1996
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from LD Access Foundation, October 2001
  • Outstanding Learning Disabled Achievers Award from the Lab School in Washington, DC
  • William Brennan, Jr. Award from the University of Virginia School of Law, 2002
  • Pinnacle Award, International Dyslexia Association, November 2005
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Honorary Doctorate of Laws, New York Law School, 2007
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America


  1. ^ "Boies Schiller Flexner". Boies Schiller Flexner LLP. 
  2. ^ "David Boies profile". bsfllp.com. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  3. ^ Newman, R.K. (2009). The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law. Yale University Press. p. 57. ISBN 9780300113006. Retrieved December 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ Zuckerman, Laurence (November 4, 2001). "Private Sector; For a Hardened Lawyer, A Tender Personal Moment". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  5. ^ Gladwell, Malcolm (2013). David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. New York: Little, Brown and Company, p. 107.
  6. ^ "National Constitution Center, Board of Trustees". National Constitution Center Web Site. National Constitution Center. July 26, 2010. Archived from the original on July 27, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Why David Boies Left Cravath - Businessweek". businessweek.com. Retrieved December 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Andrew Cockburn, "Gates of Hell" (review of Pride Before the Fall: The Trials of Bill Gates and the End of the Microsoft Era, by John Heileman), in Washington Monthly, March 2001, p. 53; Brendan I. Koerner, "Fatal Error", (review of World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies, by Ken Auletta), in Washington Monthly, March 2001, p. 54.
  9. ^ a b Tapper, Jake (November 19, 2000). "Boies vs. Olson". Salon. Retrieved April 27, 2009. 
  10. ^ Anderson, Jenny (6 December 2006). "Insurer and Ex-Chief's Firm Settle 18 Cases" – via NYTimes.com. 
  11. ^ Smythe, Christie. "How Boies Did It: Relentless Focus on the U.S. Unfairness to AIG". Bloomberg. Retrieved 5 February 2016. 
  12. ^ The Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2008. wsj.com/law
  13. ^ "Boies, Schiller & Flexner Defends Michael Moore Against Federal Investigation into "Sicko"". Boies Schiller Flexner LLP. 
  14. ^ Williams, Carol J. (May 26, 2009). "Bush vs. Gore rivals challenge Prop. 8 in federal court". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 26, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP, and the U.S. Government Settle $155 Million False Claims Act Case Against Medco Health Solutions. PharmaLive News". 
  16. ^ "Ibid". 
  17. ^ "GGYC Statement – August 20, 2009". Archived from the original on August 15, 2009. 
  18. ^ Silverman, Billy (March 9, 2010). "Jamie McCourt Retains Famed Trial Lawyer David Boies". Huffington Post. 
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ Belson, Ken (November 14, 2011). "Lawyer for N.F.L. in Lockout Joins Players in N.B.A. Fight". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 15, 2011. 
  21. ^ Jury verdict: Android doesn't infringe Oracle's patents cnet.com Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  22. ^ "Florida justices hear arguments in smoker's death | TBO.com, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times". www2.tbo.com. Retrieved December 7, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Exclusive: Erik Prince on Blackwater's Secret CIA Past - The Daily Beast". thedailybeast.com. Retrieved December 7, 2014. 
  24. ^ Gangel, Jamie; Stelter, Brian (October 12, 2017). "Can the company Harvey Weinstein founded survive his scandal?". CNN. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  25. ^ Twohey, Megan (11 October 2017). "Weinstein Company Was Aware of Payouts in 2015". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  26. ^ Solomon, Steven Davidoff (2 February 2016). "David Boies's Dual Roles at Theranos Set Up Conflict". The New York Times' Dealbook. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  27. ^ Perry, Douglas (October 3, 2017). "Electoral-college reform would have defeated Donald Trump; now some Republicans back effort, seek action before 2020". The Oregonian. Retrieved 5 October 2017. 
  28. ^ Beeson, Ed. "David Boies Could Be Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones' Hail Mary - Law360". Retrieved 2017-11-27. 
  29. ^ The Betrayal of America
  30. ^ Farrow, Ronan (6 November 2017). "Harvey Weinstein's Army of Spies". The New Yorker. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  31. ^ Ronan Farrow, Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies. New Yorker November 6, 2017 https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/harvey-weinsteins-army-of-spies
  32. ^ Harvey Weinstein Hired ex-Mossad Agents to Track Women Accusing Him of Sexual Assault. Haaretz November 7, 2017 https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.821445
  33. ^ Jim Rutenberg. Nov. 7, 2017. “Report Details Weinstein’s Covert Attempt to Halt Publication of Accusations New York Times” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/us/harvey-weinstein-new-yorker.html?_r=0
  34. ^ Rebecca Shapiro. Nov. 11, 2017. “New York Times Fires David Boies’ Law Firm Over ‘Reprehensible’ Work For Weinstein” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-york-times-fires-law-firm-david-boies-harvey-weinstein_us_5a02711ee4b04e96f0c64720
  35. ^ Keach Hagey. Nov. 13, 2017. “Weinstein Co. Directors Dispute Lawyer David Boies’s Role” https://www.wsj.com/articles/weinstein-co-directors-dispute-lawyer-david-boiess-role-1510618918
  36. ^ "Hawk and Horse Vineyards - David Boies". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2013-04-10. Retrieved December 7, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Get Me Boies!" TIME magazine
  38. ^ http://dyslexia.yale.edu/boies.html
  39. ^ "The Information Age". The Nineties. 2017. CNN. 
  40. ^ V. Goliath: The Trials of David Boies, by Karen Donovan, 2007, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, ISBN 9780375726552, p. 81
  41. ^ ""Ace attorney gives Tulane 'extraordinary' $1.5M gift"". Archived from the original on 2009-04-13. 
  42. ^ ""Northern Westchester Hospital gets $5 million pledge from lawyer couple" The Journal News. 10-31-06". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. 
  43. ^ "Person Of The Year 2009". Time. Archived from the original on June 21, 2007. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 



  • Cover Story, Forbes Magazine: "David Boies Takes on Eliot Spitzer in the Fight over AIG", by Daniel Fisher, Carrie Coolidge and Neil Weinberg, May 9, 2005
  • Cover Story, New York Magazine: "The Trials of David Boies Why one Superlawyer has a Hand in Virtually All the High-profile cases of the Day. And How Bush v. Gore became the One that Got Away" by Chris Smith, February 26, 2001
  • Cover Story, New York Times Sunday Magazine, "David Boies: The Wall Street Lawyer Everyone Wants" by Cary Reich, June 1, 1986
  • Newsweek Magazine: "Microsoft's Tormentor How an affable trial lawyer with an understated canniness is driving Gates & Co. to the wall", March 1, 1999
  • Vanity Fair "1999 Hall of Fame" December 1999
  • The Financial Observer: "The Golden Boies", by Renee Kaplan, September 18, 2000
  • Vanity Fair: "The Man who ate Microsoft" by David Margolick, March 2000
  • The National Law Journal: "Lawyer of the Year", January 3, 2000
  • Esquire Magazine: "What Does $750 an Hour Get You? A week in the datebook of David Boies" by Andrew Chaikivsky, May 2003
  • Vanity Fair: excerpt from David Boies book Courting Justice, September 2004
  • Schneider-Mayerson, Anna (December 18, 2006). "The Boies Family: Super-lawyer David Boies has been the go-to guy for legions of powerful people and institutions, including Al Gore, George Steinbrenner and CBS. Plus he's friends with both his ex-wives". New York Observer. Archived from the original on May 18, 2007. 
  • Olive, David (November 24, 2003). "Betrayal catches Black by surprise". Toronto Star. 


  • Courting Justice: From New York Yankees vs. Major League Baseball to Bush vs. Gore, 1997–2000 (Miramax Books, 2004) ISBN 0-7868-6838-4
  • v. Goliath: The Trials of David Boies, by Karen Donovan (Pantheon, 2005) ISBN 0-375-42113-0

External links[edit]