60 Famous J.D.'s Through Time

By Neetal Parekh on April 23, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you read our pre-President's Day post, you may already know that 26 of the 44 U.S. Presidents were attorneys before taking office. Which makes one wonder, which other famous J.D.'s have flexed their muscle in notable ways, and across all fields.  However the recent law school rankings affect you (or don't), here's a list of 60 famous J.D.'s through time...
  1. Bob Woodruff, television journalist
  2. David J. Stern, Commissioner of the NBA
  3. Nina Zagat, co-founder of Zagat Survey
  4. Brad Meltzer, author and tv show co-creator
  5. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland
  6. Jerry Springer, talk show host
  7. Charlotte E. Ray, first African American woman to earn a J.D., in 1872
  8. John Cleese, writer, director, actor and comedian
  9. William Sanderson, actor
  10. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
  11. Howard Cosell, sportscaster
  12. Mike Leach, football coach at Texas Tech University
  13. Jay Bilas, sports analyst for ESPN, former professional basketball player
  14. Ben Stein, actor, tv show host, author, commentator
  15. George Pataki, former Governor of New York
  16. Greta Van Susteren, tv show host and journalist
  17. Barbara Jordan, former U.S. Congresswoman
  18. David Baldacci, novelist
  19. Alan Page, former professional football player
  20. Elizabeth Wurtzel, writer and journalist
  21. Oscar Hammerstein II, director of musicals
  22. Henri Matisse, painter
  23. David E. Kelley, screenwriter and tv producer
  24. Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner
  25. F.W. de Klerk, former President of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner
  26. Marjorie Scardino, CEO of Pearson PLC
  27. Roland Berrill and Lance Ware, founders of MENSA
  28. Fidel Castro, former President of Cuba
  29. Andrea Bocelli, opera crossover singer
  30. Robert M. Parker Jr., wine critic
  31. Paolo Conte, singer, pianist, and composer
  32. Niccolo Machiavelli, philosopher, writer and founder of modern political science
  33. Marian Wright Edelman, activist and founder of Children's Defense Fund
  34. Nicolaus Copernicus, astronomer and mathematician
  35. Star Jones, television personality
  36. Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles
  37. Philip Graham, publisher and former co-owner of the Washington Post
  38. Elijah Bond, invented the Ouija Board and a steam boiler
  39. Margaret Mellon, scientist and director at Union of Concerned Scientists
  40. Kalyn Free, tribal member of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, lawyer, and former political candidate
  41. Robert Rines, inventor, composer, professor, and holder of more than 80 patents
  42. Frederick Weatherly, author, songwriter of over 3000 songs
  43. Vladimir Lenin, revolutionary of Russia and head of the Soviet Union
  44. Mohandas Gandhi, father of Indian independence and pioneer of satyagraha
  45. Otto Preminger, film director
  46. Tim Greene, radio and tv personality and former professional football player
  47. Daniel Dolan, founder of It's Just Lunch
  48. John F. Kennedy, Jr., magazine publisher and former New York City prosecutor
  49. Gerald Posner, investigative journalist and author
  50. Catherine Crier, tv personality and author
  51. Geraldo Rivera, tv host, reporter, and author
  52. Louis Renault, jurist, educator, Nobel peace prize winner, and famous arbitrator of high-profile international cases
  53. John William Corrington, tv writer, novelist, and poet
  54. Lana Cantrell, singer
  55. Wallace Stevens, poet and lawyer
  56. Paul Robeson, artist, athlete, scholar, activist 
  57. Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England
  58. Willie Banks, three-time Olympian in triple jump
  59. Etty Hillesum, author and activist
  60. Robert M. Cohen, founder of California Pizza Kitchen


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*Please note: this post has been updated to correct Barbara Jordan's name that was incorrectly written. Thanks to the reader who caught the error.

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