Center for America

Legal Reform Leaders





Walter K. Olson Biography



"Perhaps America's leading authority on over-litigation". That's what Investor's Business Daily has called Walter Olson, whose writings have helped set the terms of debate about the excesses of the nation's civil justice system.  His latest book, The Rule of Lawyers (St. Martin's, 2003) has been hailed everywhere from Barron's (a "marvelous combination of irony, insight and outrage") and Forbes ("truly gripping" and "brilliant") to The American Lawyer ("wry, amusing", "provocative and enjoyable"). The Excuse Factory (Free Press, 1997), his book on litigation in the workplace, was met with accolades in the London Times (which called it "riveting"), and the A.B.A. Journal ("wittily scathing").  His widely discussed first book, The Litigation Explosion (Dutton, 1991), was cited by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in a major Supreme Court opinion.  The Washington Post has dubbed Olson an "intellectual guru of tort reform".


A longtime senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, the think tank in New York City, Mr. Olson's writing appears regularly in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the New York Post and Reason.  He has served as an adviser to a number of campaigns, transition teams and administrations, including George W. Bush's successful 2000 presidential campaign. An experienced public speaker, he has appeared numerous times before Congress and has approximately 400 broadcast appearances under his belt, including all the major news networks, "Crossfire", "MacNeil-Lehrer", "Oprah", "Donahue".  He founded and continues to publish the widely acclaimed website, a mix of serious and entertaining commentary.


A Yale graduate and father, he resides in the New York area.









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Walter Olson

Senior Fellow,

Manhattan Institute