Graduate Publishes Courtroom Memoir

Winter 2010

In his recently published memoir, Sidney B. Silverman ’57 recalls his 43 years as a trial lawyer and his desire, upon retirement, to indulge in the intellectual challenges of graduate school.

Silverman’s four decades in the law, he says, were filled with sturm und drang, as well as joys and rewards. When he ended his legal career, he opted for a new challenge. In the book, A Happy Life: From Courtroom to Classroom, Silverman recalls the decision that changed his life: “Was there a place populated by gentle people where intellectual activity reigned? I always had the idea that a university was such a place. Why not spend my retirement in a university?”

Suddenly, he says, “retirement” was not a dirty word.

Silverman enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University, where he received a master’s degree in philosophy. Following his graduation, Silverman briefly turned to chess, a game he had played for many years but decided he wanted to master. He studied under an expert, read chess books, and entered tournaments. Although he won some matches, he lost too many to reach his goal.

For the next step in his retirement, Silverman has turned to writing. Since completing his memoir, he has begun work on another book—this time, a novel.