A prominent New York lawyer, Pollak was an able defender of the rights of citizens whose activities or opinions were unpopular in American society. He argued two important freedom of speech cases before the Supreme Court.
The descendant of cultured European Jewish immigrants, Pollak graduated from Harvard in 1907 and from Harvard Law School in 1910. He was associated with several New York City law firms and practiced briefly with Benjamin N. Cardozo, who would later become a Supreme Court justice. During World War I (1917-1918), Pollak served with the War Industries Board. He accepted other state and federal public service assignments as well, most notably with the New York Park Commission (1929-1939), the state’s Law Revision Commission (1934-1940), and the National (Wickersham) Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (1929-1931).
Pollak is best remembered, however, for his work in numerous civil liberties
Civil rights and liberties
First Amendment speech tests
Gitlow v. New York
Powell v. Alabama
Whitney v. California