Susan Estrich

Susan Estrich (born December 16, 1952) is an American lawyer, professor, author, political operative, and political commentator. She is best known for serving in 2016 as legal counsel to the former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.

Susan Estrich
Personal details
Born (1952-12-16) December 16, 1952 (age 68)
Marblehead, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Marty Kaplan (Divorced)
EducationWellesley College (BA)
Harvard University (JD)

Early life and educationEdit

Estrich was born in Lynn, Massachusetts,[1] the second of three children of Helen Roslyn Freedberg, a medical office manager, and Irving Abraham Estrich, an attorney.[2] She grew up in Marblehead on the Massachusetts North Shore, where she attended the Dr Samuel C Eveleth School.[3]

Estrich graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wellesley College in 1974, and received her J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1977.[4][5][2] In 1976, Estrich was elected the first female president/editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review, where she ran against Merrick Garland.[6][7] In 1983, Estrich was elected to the Common Cause National Governing Board.


Estrich served as a law clerk for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978-1979. In 1988, she was the campaign manager for Michael Dukakis' presidential run, even though she had never before managed a political campaign. She was the first female campaign manager of a major presidential campaign, and the first female campaign manager of the modern era.[8]

Estrich appears frequently on Fox News as a legal and political analyst, and also substituted for Alan Colmes on the debate show Hannity & Colmes.[9] She writes regular articles for the conservative website NewsMax, for which she is a pundit.[10] She has served on the Board of Editorial Contributors for USA Today.[11] She writes a nationally syndicated print column distributed through Creators Syndicate.[12]

She is currently a law professor at the University of Southern California School of Law and a political science professor at its affiliated undergraduate school. Before joining the USC faculty in 1989, she was Professor of Law at Harvard University, where she was one of the youngest woman in the school's history to receive tenure.[13] On January 10, 2008, Estrich joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, a law firm based in Los Angeles, where she chaired their Public Strategy in High Profile Litigation: Media Relations practice area.

In several of Estrich's books, including Sex & Power and The Case for Hillary Clinton, she discusses her experience as a survivor of rape. Her book Real Rape talks about the history of rape law in the United States. In 2004, Estrich challenged Los Angeles Times editorial page editor Michael Kinsley for under-representing women on the editorial page.[14][15] Estrich was outspoken during the 2008 presidential race, particularly on the subject of women in politics in light of the candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Estrich supported Clinton in the Democratic primaries,[16] and was strongly critical of Palin.[17]

Estrich and the former American Civil Liberties Union president in Massachusetts, Harvey A. Silverglate, joined attorneys representing two alleged Boston al-Qaeda funders, Emadeddin Z. Muntasser and Muhammed Mubayyid who were indicted on May 11, 2005 for lying about the true nature of their organization and their charitable, tax-exempt activities. In their October 5, 2006, motion for dismissal, attorneys Estrich, Malick Ghachem, Norman Zalkind and Elizabeth Lunt, argued that the defendants lawfully exercised their religious freedom and obligation to give "zakat" (Islamic charity). Their motion cites Chapter 9, verse 60, of the Koran, which describes "those entitled to receive zakat."

In July 2016, Estrich was retained as legal counsel to the former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes — whom she met on the George H. W. Bush campaign trail in 1988 and whom she considers a close friend.[18] Ailes lost his job after a number of women who worked for Fox News accused him of sexual harassment. Her attacks against Gabe Sherman, the New York reporter who broke the scandal, were negatively viewed by some who felt the representation to be inconsistent with Estrich's pro-feminist philosophy.[19]

In October 2018, Estrich joined Boies Schiller Flexner LLP as a partner in its Los Angeles office.[20]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1986, Estrich married screenwriter, professor and former speechwriter Marty Kaplan, with whom she has a daughter, Isabel, and a son, James. They have since divorced.[21] She is Jewish, having celebrated becoming a Bat Mitzvah at Temple Israel in Swampscott, Massachusetts, and has written about her religion in her column.[22]

In popular cultureEdit

Estrich is portrayed by Allison Janney in the film Bombshell (2019).[23][24]


  • Dangerous Offenders: The Elusive Target of Justice. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1985. ISBN 0-674-19065-3.
  • Real Rape. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1988. ISBN 0-674-74944-8.
  • Making the Case for Yourself: A Diet Book for Smart Women. New York: Riverhead Hardcover. 1997. ISBN 1-57322-083-3.
  • Getting Away with Murder: How Politics is Destroying the Criminal Justice System. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 1998. ISBN 0-674-35411-7.
  • Sex and Power. New York: Riverhead Books. 2001. ISBN 1-57322-893-1.
  • How to Get into Law School. New York: Riverhead Trade. 2004. ISBN 1-59448-035-4.
  • The Case for Hillary Clinton. New York: Regan Books. 2005. ISBN 0-06-083988-0.
  • Soulless: Ann Coulter and the Right-Wing Church of Hate. New York: Regan Books. 2006. ISBN 0-06-124649-2.


  1. ^ "Susan Estrich Film Bio". Internet Movie Database (IMDB).
  2. ^ a b Carlin, Peter Ames (March 23, 1998). "I Love to Lose". People Magazine. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  3. ^ "Dr Samuel C Eveleth School". Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  4. ^ Estrich, Susan (1989). "Commencement Address of Susan Estrich '74". Wellesley College. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  5. ^ "Interview with Susan Estrich". No Quarter USA. National Public Radio ( March 16, 2003. Archived from the original on March 19, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  6. ^ Butterfield, Fox (February 6, 1990). "First Black Elected to Head Harvard's Law Review". New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  7. ^ Lavoie, Denise (March 28, 2016). "Supreme Court nominee formed lasting bonds at Harvard". San Diego Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  8. ^ Toner, Robin (May 6, 1988). "Behind the 2 Democratic Contenders, 2 Hard-Driving Campaign Managers; Susan Estrich Brings Assurance And Toughness to Dukakis Drive". New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  9. ^ "Susan Estrich appearances on Fox News". Fox News. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Susan Estrich columns on Newsmax". Newsmax. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Susan Estrich Bio". Fox News. Archived from the original on November 25, 2010. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  12. ^ Estrich, Susan. "Susan Estrich syndicated column". Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  13. ^ Breitman, Rachel (July 6, 2009). "Quinn Emanuel's Susan Estrich Redefines Multitasking". AM Law Daily. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  14. ^ Kurtz, Howard (March 7, 2005). "For One Ed, Strong Op: Susan Estrich Addresses the Male". Washington Post. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  15. ^ Stranahan, Susan Q. (February 25, 2005). "Interview: Susan Estrich on Gender, Missing Voices, and That Nasty Email War". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  16. ^ Estrich, Susan (2008). "The Heat in the Kitchen: A Commentary". Rasmussen Reports. Creators Syndicate. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  17. ^ Estrich, Susan (November 11, 2008). "Sarah Palin Mattered". Creators Syndicate. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  18. ^ Farhi, Paul (August 4, 2016). "What is feminist hero Susan Estrich doing representing Roger Ailes?". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  19. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (September 11, 2016). "The Curious Case of Susan Estrich". New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  20. ^ Flaherty, Scott (October 10, 2018). "Boies Schiller Nabs Prominent Attorney Susan Estrich From Quinn Emanuel". The Recorder. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  21. ^ "Susan Estrich Bio". NNDB.
  22. ^ Estrich, Susan (2007). "A Lot Like Christmas". Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  23. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (September 20, 2018). "Allison Janney To Play Attorney Susan Estrich In Annapurna's Movie About The Roger Ailes Fox News Harassment Scandal". Deadline. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  24. ^ Allen, Nick (January 3, 2020). "Who's Who in Bombshell: A Character Guide". Vulture. Retrieved September 12, 2020.

External linksEdit