Legal History

Top Chicago Litigators to Retry 2,400-Year-Old Socrates Case Before 7th Circuit's Judge Posner


Star litigators in Chicago are preparing to retry a controversial 2,400-year-old free speech case that famously resulted in the death of Socrates, now considered the father of Greek philosophy, when he drank a cup of poisonous hemlock.

Dan Webb of Winston and Strawn and plaintiffs lawyer Robert A. Clifford, a former chair of the ABA Section of Litigation, will represent Socrates at the Jan. 31 proceeding, which is being held as a fundraiser by the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago. The case for the City of Athens will be made by former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, now a partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, and Patrick M. Collins of Perkins Coie.

Judge Richard A. Posner of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will head a three-judge panel that also includes his federal appeals court colleague William J. Bauer and Cook County Circuit Judge Anna Demacopoulos.

A website about famous trials hosted by the University of Missouri at Kansas City discusses the Socrates trial in detail. A Time magazine recap of the world’s top 10 trials provides a one-paragraph overview.

Another UMKC page provides a translation of Plato’s version of the apology offered by Socrates at his trial.

Hat tip: Chicago Reader.

Related coverage:

Telegraph (2009): “Socrates trial and execution was completely justified, says new study “

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