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10 Surprising Famous People with Law Degrees

I read law at the University of Exeter and I remember beginning my application to UCAS with the following quote from my second favourite book (the number one spot belongs to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, FYI):

“The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in the courtroom” – Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird

Arguably, Tom Robinson’s lawyer in Harper Lee’s timeless classic has inspired many to pursue a law degree with the hope of becoming a lawyer that represented their client’s interests with conviction, integrity and candour.

I have compiled a list (in no particular order) of 10 well-known individuals who graduated with a law degree, some of whom went onto practice and others who excelled in another field.

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1. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as Mahatma Gandhi

Born on October 2, 1869.

Law School: University College London, Faculty of Law

Went on to become: a lawyer, leader of the Indian independence movement and renown advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience.

2. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, better known as Mandela or Madiba

Born on July 18, 1918.

Law School: University of South Africa Law School

Went on to become: figurehead of the anti-apartheid revolutionary movement in South Africa after the Rivonia Trial and the first black President of South Africa after serving 27-years in jail.

3. Barack Hussein Obama II, better known as President Barack Obama

Born on August 4, 1961.

Law School: Harvard Law School

Went on to become: associate at the Chicago office of Sidley Austin LLP, Illinois State Senator and the first African-American President of the United States of America (“USA”) serving two terms (2008-2016).

Twitter bio: Dad, husband, President, citizen.

4. Michelle LaVaughn Robinson better known as Michelle Obama

Born on January 17, 1964.

Law School: Harvard Law School

Went on to become: associate at the Chicago office of Sidley Austin LLP, first African-American First Lady and hopefully the first female…

Twitter bio: Girl from the South Side and former First Lady. Wife, mother, dog lover.  Always hugger-in-chief.

5. Hillary Diane Rodham, better known as Hillary Clinton

Born on October 26, 1947.

Law School: Yale Law School

Went on to become: associate and the first female partner of Rose Law Firm (third oldest law firm in the USA), First Lady, first female New York Senator, Secretary of State during Obama’s administration from 2009-2013 and the fifth presidential nominee to win the popular vote but not secure the presidency.

Twitter bio: Wife, mom, women+kids advocate, FLOTUS, Senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate.

6. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, better known as Fidel Castro

Born on August 13,1926.

Law School: Havana Law School (“Havana oh na na”)

Went on to become:  a Communist revolutionary in Cuba who led the communist revolutionary group, the Movimiento 26 de Julio (26th of July Movement) alongside his brother Raúl Castro and guerrilla fighter, Che Guevara that overthrew the administration of President Fulgencio Batista. Following the Cuban Revolution, he served as Prime Minister and later President of Cuba until his passing on 25 November 2016.

Twitter bio: Lider de la Revolución, Salvador del Pueblo Cubano.

7. Melanie Elizabeth Wilson, better known as Rebel Wilson

Born on March 2, 1980.

Law School: University of New South Wales Law School

Went on to become: a writer, producer and actress who has starred in the hit rom-com Bridesmaids and the popular Pitch Perfect franchise.

Twitter bio: Actress/Writer/Producer/Rebel

8. Robert George Kardashian Sr, better known as Robert Kardashian

Born on February 22,1944.

Law School: University of San Diego Law School

Went on to become: member of the “Dream Team” (comprising Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran and others) that were the defence lawyers for former Buffalo Bills running back, O.J. “The Juice” Simpson.

The Juice was acquitted of the double homicide of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman in the “Trial of the Century”. (If you have not already, I would strongly recommend that you Netflix and chill with The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story).

Potentially not so surprising, although he was the father of the now-famous Kardashian clan, of whom none are lawyers.

9. Andrea Bocelli

famous people with law degrees

Born on September 22, 1958

Law School: University of Pisa Law School

Went on to become: a court-appointed lawyer (equivalent to a lawyer employed directly by the Legal Aid Agency in the jurisdiction of England and Wales) and a critically acclaimed singer, songwriter and producer who is arguably most famous for his rendition of “Con te Partirò”.

10. Gerard James Butler, better known as Gerard Butler

Born on November 13, 1969

Law School: University of Glasgow Law School

Went on to become: a trainee solicitor at Morton Fraser and, following his dismissal one week before qualification, pursed his passion to become an actor. This led to roles in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, The Phantom of the Opera and, most notably, as King of Sparta, Leonidas I in the blockbuster hit, 300.


Published: 25/01/18     Author: Hilda-Georgina Kwafo-Akoto

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