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Scott Turow

Multiple Award-Winning Author; Attorney, Dentons US, LLP

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Fee Range:
$15,000 - $25,000

A retired litigator of white collar crimes and criminal cases, Scott Turow uses his deep knowledge of U.S. law to inform his best-selling novels, captivating readers with expertly executed suspense. Turow is passionate about death penalty reform and executive ethics, having served on a number of boards dedicated to these causes.

Just as he does in his novels, Turow captivates audiences at speaking engagements with his specialized experience, utilizing storytelling and his distinctive point of view to inform and enlighten viewers.


Scott Turow is the author of many bestselling works of fiction, including Testimony, Identical, Innocent, Presumed Innocent, and The Burden of Proof, and two nonfiction books, including One L, about his experience as a law student. His books have been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and have been adapted into movies and television projects. He has frequently contributed essays and op-ed pieces to publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic.

A former federal prosecutor, since 1986 Mr. Turow has been a partner in the Chicago office of international law firm Dentons US, LLP, concentrating on white collar criminal defense while devoting a substantial part of his time to pro bono matters. He has served on a number of public bodies, including the Illinois Commission on Capital Punishment to recommend reforms to Illinois’ death penalty system, and was the first Chair of Illinois’ Executive Ethics Commission which was created in 2004 to regulate executive branch employees in the Illinois State government. He was also President of the Authors Guild, the nation’s largest membership organization of professional writers, and is an Emeritus Trustee of Amherst College.

Speech Topics

Is there such a thing as a culture of corruption? How does it sustain itself? How can the same political culture produce both Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich? What are the prospects for reform? And what reforms seem essential?

A novelist talks to lawyers.

Reflections on how contemporary billing practices interfere with the practice of law.

A balanced discussion of capital punishment. As a prosecutor, Turow supported the death penalty reluctantly, but his experiences as a defense lawyer and as a member of the Illinois Capital Punishment Commission made him realize that the important question about capital punishment is not whether it’s moral but whether it can work as a legal institution to give Americans what they want from it.

A discussion of the popular image of lawyers, focusing on the dizzying ambivalence Americans feel about lawyers and tracing the reasons for both their liking and loathing: attorneys’ power in American society, their perceived dark sides and their ideals as reflected in stories in books, movies and TV.

Humorous reflections on having two careers. Tracing Turow’s early ambition to be a novelist, his many early failures and how the great break of his literary career turned out to be his decision to go to law school, with the ensuing challenges of maintaining careers as both a writer and a lawyer.

A discussion of the rewards and perils when the movies buy your books. Six of Turow’s books have been purchased in Hollywood with one movie and two TV miniseries resulting. Turow recounts the fun–interaction with stars and many good creative experiences– and the follies of Hollywood’s complex business calculations, which sometimes make sense when you understand their perspectives.

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