Friday, June 5, 2015

Top 5 Most Influential Lawyers of All Times

For centuries, certain Americans have had an outsized role in shaping our legal system. Here is a look at the most influential lawyers throughout history.

1. Abraham Lincoln
Talk about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Well before our country’s most storied president entered the White House, he opened his own shop as a self-taught country lawyer.

2. Thurgood Marshall
Arguably the most influential attorney of the past century, Thurgood Marshall played a formative role in transforming the nation’s law to fight racial injustice. A lawyer in the trenches of the NAACP, his biggest victory was Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, which ended racial segregation in U.S. schools.

3. William Jennings Bryan
Thrice-defeated presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan never failed to captivate a nation throughout his career. Even though he was one of the most influential populists of his time, Bryan is perhaps best known for his anti-evolutionary stance during the 1920s Scopes monkey trial, as depicted in the film Inherit the Wind.

4. John Marshall
While chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Marshall established the precedent of judicial review, which allowed the federal courts to strike down laws enacted by Congress or actions implemented by the executive branch.

5. Johnnie Cochran
Who doesn’t know Johnnie Cochran? Perhaps more famous than influential, Cochran is best known for his larger-than-life representation of O.J. Simpson but also successfully represented well-known clients such as Michael Jackson and Sean “Puffy” Combs.

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