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Elmer Gertz Edit Profile

educator , Lawyer , author

Elmer Gertz, American lawyer, specializing in the field of Civil Rights, Civil Practice, Communications, Constitutional Law, Libel and Slander Semi-retired.


Gertz, Elmer was born on September 14, 1906 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Son of Morris and Grace (Grossman) Gertz.


Bachelor of Philosophy, University Chicago, 1928. Juris Doctor, University Chicago, 1930. Doctor of Laws (honorary), John Marshall Law School, 1999.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), Lincoln College, 1999.


Formerly associate firm, McInerney, Epstein & Arvey, Chicago sole practice, Chicago assistant to masters in chancery, Jacob M. Arvey, Samuel B. Epstein, 1930-1943; attorney for, Nathan Leopold in successful parole procs., 1957-1958; attorney various censorship litigations including Tropic of Cancer, 1962-1964; attorney for Jack Ruby in setting aside death sentence, other capital cases. Counsel commission to investigate disorders in Chicago during, spring, summer 1968; professor, John Marshall Law School, since 1970. Member mission to Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, Commission Soviet Jewry, 1981.

Successful plaintiffin landmark libel case Gertz versus Robert Welch, Inc., 1969-1983. Adjunct Professor John Marshall Law School.


  • Bar: Illinois 1930.



Director public relations Illinois Police Association, 1934. Member executive committee Illinois Committee Equal Job Opportunity. Member national, Chicago advisory board commission on law and social action American Jewish Congress.

Chairman soldier vote committee Professional and Business People, 1944. Member law and order committee Chicago Commission on Human Relations, 1945. Vice president Illinois Freedom to Read Committee.

Chairman Veterans Housing Committee, 1945-1947. Member Mayor's Housing Committee, 1946-1948, legal chairman, 1946-1947. Member Chicago Committee on Housing Action, 1947-1949.

Advisory committee Chief Justice Municipal Court Chicago, 1950-1951. President Greater Chicago council American Jewish Congress, 1959-1963. Elected delegate 6th Illinois Constitutional Convention, 1969-1970.

Chairman convention Bill of Rights committee, 1969-1970. Board directors Jackson Park Hospital. President Blind Service Association, 1988-1992.

Trustee Belefaire; national board trustees City of Hope. Member Auditorium Theatre Council. Member Public Housing Association (founder, counsel, president 1943-1949), Civil War Round Table (founder, executive committee, president, honorary life), Adult Education Council Chicago (secretary, president), Shaw Society (founder, president, exhibit chairman Shaw Centennial 1956, Darrow Centennial 1957), American Bar Association., Federal Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association (chairman legal education committee 1970-1971,chairman civil rights committee 1978-1979), Illinois State Bar Association (senior counsellor, chairman civil rights committee 1979-1980), Bar Association 7th Circuit, American Judicature Society, Decalogue Society Lawyers (manager, president, editor Journal), First Amendment Lawyers Association (president 1978-1979, chairman 1979-1980), Society Midland Authors (award 1969, secretary 1976), Authors Guild, Appellate Lawyers Association Illinois Clubs: Chicago Literary (vice president 1968-1969, 1978-1979, president 1979-1980), Cliff Dwellers, Caxton Club.


Married Ceretta Samuels, August 16, 1931 (deceased). Children: Theodore, Margery Ann Hechtman. Married Mamie L. Friedman, June 21, 1959 (deceased).

1 child, Jack M. Friedman.

Morris Gertz

Grace (Grossman) Gertz

Mamie L. Friedman

Ceretta Samuels

Margery Ann Hechtman Gertz

Jack M. Friedman Gertz

Theodore Gertz