The 15 Most Famous Lawyers In the History of the United States

These men and women became notable attorneys through their various political leadership roles, scandals, and the defense, or prosecution of famous cases and celebrities. These attorneys have dominated the headlines throughout history, and some continue to do so today.


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#15 Robert Shapiro

Robert Shapiro is an American civil litigator. He was granted to the State Bar of California in 1969, and is most recognized for playing a role in the “dream team” which successfully gained O.J. Simpson freedom from the charges against him for murder. He is also one of the co-founders of legal zoom.

#14 Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani is an American lawyer, businessman, public speaker, and the former mayor of New York City, who is best known for his leadership in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. He received his licence for law in New York, after graduating magna cum laude from New York University School of Law.

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#13 Marcia Clark

Marcia Clark is an American prosecutor, author, and television correspondent who is best known for her role as the lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder case. She was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1979. In recent years, Clark has authored multiple books and has worked as a legal commentator for NBC, Fox and CNBC.

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#12 Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall was a lawyer, and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, becoming the 96th justice, and its first African-American judge. He became a licensed lawyer in Maryland, and is known for his success in the case Brown vs. Board of Education, which desegregated public schools.

#11 William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft served as the 27th President of the United States, and as the 10th Chief Justice of the United States, becoming the only man to have held both offices. Taft was admitted to the Ohio bar, and became assistant prosecutor for Hamilton County, before eventually becoming President of the United States.

#10 Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson was a politician and academic who was a lawyer, and who served as the 28th President of the United States. He was admitted the the State Bar of Georgia, and after becoming bored with his job as an attorney, he returned to school to earn his Ph.D.

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#9 Johnnie Cochran

Johnnie Cochran was an American lawyer, who is known for his active leadership role in the defense and acquittal of O.J. Simpson. He has also represented Sean Combs, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Todd Bridges, Jim Brown, Snoop Dogg, and others. He was licensed in California in 1963, and began working as a deputy criminal prosecutor in Los Angeles.

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#8 Robert Kardashian

Robert Kardashian is best known for his legal aid in the O.J. Simpson case. He received his law degree from the University of San Diego, and after taking time off of being a lawyer to pursue other businesses, he reactivated his lawyer’s license following Mr. Simpson’s arrest. Since his passing in 2003, his fame has grown even more with the success of his families television show "Meet the Kardashians".

#7 Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is an American politician who was a lawyer, the 67th Secretary of State under President Obama, a U.S. Senator from New York, the First Lady of the US, and the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in the 2016 election. After failing her first attempt at the Washington D.C. Bar Exam, she successfully passed the Arkansas bar exam in 1974.

#6 Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was a soldier, lawyer, statesman, US Senator, Military Governor, a US House of Representatives Member, and the 7th President of the United States. He was admitted to the North Carolina bar in 1787, and was appointed prosecuting attorney at the age of 21. He is known for being the founder of the Democratic Party during his presidency. He is also featured on the American $20 bill.

#5 Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton is a politician who was a lawyer, the Governor of Arkansas, and served as the 42nd President of the U.S. He received his license to practice law in Arkansas, but after the famous Monica Lewinsky scandal, his law license was suspended in Arkansas for five years.

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#4 Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon was a politician who was a lawyer, served as a U.S. Representative and Senator from California, was Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower, and was the 37th President of the United States. He practiced law in California, after graduating law school from Duke University in 1937. He is the only president to resign from office after the infamous Watergate Scandal.

#3 Barack Obama

Barack Obama is an American politician who was a lawyer, United States Senator, member of the Illinois Senate, and the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African American to be elected into that office. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law in 1991. After law school, Obama returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer, before his transition into the political field.

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#2 Franklin Roosevelt

Franklin Roosevelt was a political leader who was a lawyer, and served as the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945, becoming the only president to win four presidential elections. He passed the bar in New York, and practiced law for a few years before jumping into politics, and winning his first election to the New York State Senate.

#1 Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was an American politician, and lawyer who became the 16th president of the United States of America. He passed the bar in 1836 in Springfield, Illinois, and began working under his wife’s cousin, John T. Stuart. Lincoln represented clients in both civil and criminal matters. In all, Lincoln and his partners handled over 5,000 cases.

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Resources: | Wikipedia | Abraham Lincoln Research Site