Skip to Content
MIT News magazine

Ken Isaacson '75

Plotting legal thrillers outside the box.

Practicing law for 27 years has given Ken Isaacson the qualifications and plenty of material to indulge his passion for writing legal thrillers. But it was his undergraduate experience at MIT that taught him to think like an author. Isaacson published his first novel, Silent Counsel, last September.

“Thinking outside the box in constructing problems and plot points is extremely helpful, and MIT is a place where you learn to think outside the box,” says Isaacson, who lives in Morristown, NJ, with his wife, Sylvia. “To construct any plot at all–and certainly to construct any intricate plot–involves a kind of analysis and analytical point of view that MIT certainly helped with.” Silent Counsel centers on a mother’s quest to learn the identity of a hit-and-run driver who killed her child. The driver hires a lawyer to negotiate a plea bargain and claims attorney-­client privilege to keep his name secret.

Isaacson came to MIT as a freshman with his sights on a career with the U.S. space program. But midway through his undergraduate years, his focus shifted to law. Isaacson enrolled in Course XI, urban studies and planning, and went on to Columbia School of Law. He received his JD in 1979.

While at MIT, Isaacson served on the Student Center Committee. One of the committee’s accomplishments has helped keep students awake ever since. Isaacson explains that the center’s library was open all night, but there was no place for students to get a cup of coffee. The committee petitioned to convert a room into a 24-hour coffeehouse. The students furnished it with cast-off furniture and hired staff to sell coffee and bagels. Isaacson gets a latte-warm feeling when he visits MIT and sees the coffeehouse still in operation.

Isaacson knows the value of all-nighters–another quintessential MIT experience. By day he is on the job as general counsel for Allstates WorldCargo, an international transportation company. But late at night–and often into the early morning hours–he works on his second novel, another legal thriller.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.