Lincoln Caplan

Lincoln Caplan's picture
Tutor Writing Center, Lecturer in English

J.D., Harvard Law School, 1976

Harvard Scholar, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, 1972-‘73

A.B., magna cum laude, Harvard College, 1972


I am a longtime author and journalist about law and public affairs. I have taught at Yale since 1998, as a senior research scholar and as the Truman Capote Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and as a lecturer in the English Department. Since 2017, I have also been the writing tutor at Yale’s Davenport College.

I am a contributing editor of The American Scholar and of Harvard Magazine, and a regular contributor of journalism to both. I am a former staff writer of The New Yorker and a former member of The New York Times editorial board, for which I wrote about the Supreme Court and other elements of legal affairs, in particular criminal justice and the death penalty. I was a co-founder and the editor and president of Legal Affairs magazine. It was a finalist for National Magazine Awards for general excellence and public interest and won national magazines for design, use of illustration, feature writing, and coverage of social justice and of business and law.

I am also the author of six books about legal affairs, including American Justice 2016: The Political Supreme CourtThe Tenth Justice: The Solicitor General and the Rule of Law; and Skadden: Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire.



- “The Supreme Court Affirmative Action Rulings,” Harvard Magazine, June 30, 2023

- “This Man Should Not be Executed,” The American Scholar, Winter 2020

- “Stress Test for Free Speech,” The American Scholar, Autumn 2018

Book Reviews

- “The Democracy of Opportunity: Liberals must learn from conservatives to interpret the Constitution in all its dimensions,” A review of: The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution: Reconstructing the Foundations of American Democracy by Joseph Fishkin and William E. Forbath, Harvard Magazine, January-February 2022

- “What Reconstruction-Era Laws Can Teach Our Democracy,” A review of: The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution by Eric Foner, The New York Times Book Review, September 18, 2019

- “America’s Great Modern Justice” A review of: Oliver Wendell Holmes: A Life in War, Law, and Ideas by Stephen Budiansky, Harvard Magazine, May-June 2019


- “The Invisible Justice Problem” Daedalus, Winter 2019

- “The Root Room” Harvard Law Bulletin, Fall 2017


English 120: Reading and Writing the Modern Nonfiction Essay (Fall Term, two sections)

English 421: Reading and Writing about the Law (Spring Term)

Yale Law School: The Art of Argument (Spring Term)

Writing Tutor, Davenport College, Yale University