Celebrity Lawyers become famous for a variety of reasons. They may become authors, legal analysts, or reality show participants. Some lawyers become famous simply for being a lawyer but this is usually due to representing celebrity clients or working on highly publicized cases. Whatever the reason for their fame, celebrity lawyers quickly become household names.
We have compiled the list of the top 20 celebrity lawyers.
- 1. Amal Clooney
- 2. Harvey Levin
- 3. Gloria Allred
- 4. Vincent Bugliosi
- 5. Johnnie Cochran
- 6. Mark Geragos
- 7. Clarence Darrow
- 8. F. Lee Bailey
- 9. Joe Turner
- 10. Marcia Clark
- 11. Robert Kardashian
- 12. David Boies
- 13. Martin Garbus
- 14. Howard K. Stern
- 15. Allen Grubman
- 16. Jim Garrison
- 17. Gerald Shargel
- 18. Leslie Abramson
- 19. Alan Dershowitz
- 20. Robert Shapiro
- Related Articles
1. Amal Clooney
Amal Clooney may get some fame from her marriage to actor George Clooney but she is a renowned attorney in her own right. In her youth, her family escaped from the Lebanese War, an event that likely shaped her interest in civil rights.
She obtained her degree in Jurisprudence from Oxford in 2000. She joined New York University’s School of Law master’s program in 2001 and passed the New York State bar in 2002.
Clooney is an attorney specializing in human rights and international law. She frequently represents victims of mass atrocities, including genocide and sexual violence. She also represents political prisoners worldwide, securing the freedom of reporters who have been detained for their work around the world.
In 2015, she began lecturing as a senior fellow at the Columbia University Law School’s Human Rights Institute. She has also lectured on international criminal law at the Law School of the School of Oriental and African Studies, The University of London, The New School in New York City, The Hague Academy of International Law, and The University of North Carolina.
2. Harvey Levin
Harvey Levin was an attorney in California between 1975 and 1996. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago. Following this, he worked as an attorney and taught law at Whittier College and the University of Miami.
In 1982 he covered legal issues for KNBC. Later, he joined KCBS where he spent a decade doing legal analysis and investigative reporting. He won accolades for his pieces on corruption in the jury system, abuses by the Beverly Hills Police Department, and lawyers who pad their bills. His most notable coverage was that of the O.J. Simpson trial.
In 1997 he was named a producer and on-air legal anchor for The People’s Court. In 2002 – 2005, he was a producer of Celebrity Justice.
Now he spends his days delivering celebrity stories on TMZ. Far from his former investigative research, his work now focuses on ambush-style interviews, celebrity sightings, and in-depth coverage of scandals.
3. Gloria Allred
Gloria Allred is well-known for her work on women’s rights cases. Her expertise includes areas such as employment, physical handicap, and sexual orientation discrimination; sexual harassment; wrongful termination; discrimination; and civil litigation.
In addition to being an attorney, Allred holds the credentials to teach in secondary school. She did this for 6 ½ years. She also lectured at the University of Southern California for several years.
Allred is well-known for her representation of the late Nicole Brown Simpson’s family in the O.J. Simpson case. Since then she has represented Paula Jones, Amber Frey, Rob Lowe’s nanny, and Britney Spears’s bodyguard. Her name is well-known when it comes to celebrity law.
4. Vincent Bugliosi
Well-known for being the prosecutor in the Charles Manson case, Vincent Bugliosi received an in-depth look at the dark side of 60s counterculture. This led him to his prolific writing career in which he produced works such as Helter Skelter.
Bugliosi had only been a deputy district attorney for five years when his superiors assigned him to the Manson murders. At that time, he had a track record of 21 wins and no losses. He was promoted to chief prosecutor two months into the seven-month trial.
During his 8 years in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Bugliosi successfully prosecuted 105 of 106 felony jury trials. 21 of these were murder convictions. In 1972 he left the DA’s office and went into private practice as a defense attorney.
5. Johnnie Cochran
Johnnie Cochran became a household name in 1994 when he took on the defense of O.J. Simpson. His trial tactics included a demonstration of the sloppy practices and incompetence of the Los Angeles Police Department. While this case was the defining moment in his career, Cochran also represented such celebrities as Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Todd Bridges, Jim Brown, and Snoop Dogg.
In 1962 he earned his law degree from Loyola University. He worked for two years as a prosecutor for the city of Los Angeles. He then moved on to private practice.
In the early 2000s, Cochran oversaw 10 law firms throughout the U.S. He was the chairman of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, which was a publicly funded agency that was used to seek out economic development for the neighborhoods of Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood. He also established a scholarship for African American men at UCLA, called the Johnnie L. Cochran, Sr. Scholarship.
6. Mark Geragos
A well-known celebrity lawyer, Mark Geragos has been in the news for representing clients like Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, and Chris Brown.
He was one of the lead lawyers in two federal class-action lawsuits against AXA and New York Life Insurance. He first came into the limelight after representing convicted Whitewater figure Susan McDougal, who was also the former business partner of President Clinton. He secured her Presidential pardon in January 2001.
Geragos was the co-conspirator in the Avenatti Nike extortion scandal but was never charged. He maintained that he advised Avenatti that he had crossed a line.
7. Clarence Darrow
Clarence Darrow was born in 1857 and died in 1938. He was most well-known for being in touch with the working man. He defended the “Leopard and Loeb” case, shocking American society with eloquence and law theory. He also defended the Scopes Monkey Trial. Rare for his time, he defended a black family who fought against a mob that had invaded their home.
He was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1878 after finishing only one year of law school. He moved to Chicago in 1887 where he immediately took on efforts to free the anarchists charged with murder in the Haymarket Riot. He was appointed to the Chicago city corporation council in 1890 until he became the attorney for Chicago and North Western Railway.
He left the railway to defend Eugene v. Debs. Even though his clients were convicted, Darrow established himself as a labor and criminal lawyer. He achieved an acquittal for William D. Haywood for the assassination of former Idaho governor Frank R. Steunenberg. He stepped down from labor litigation when, in 1911, the McNamara brothers switched their plea to guilty in the middle of their trial.
8. F. Lee Bailey
One of the more controversial celebrity lawyers, F. Lee Bailey represented many famous clients, like O.J. Simpson, Patty Hearst, and the Boston Strangler. He was well-known for taking on the cases of society’s darkest individuals. For instance, the Boston Strangler confessed to Bailey and he still chose to defend him.
He was disbarred in the state of Florida in 2001 for handling stock owned by a drug dealer. Shortly after he was also disbarred in Massachusetts. In 2014 his request to obtain a law license in Maine was denied.
9. Joe Turner
Joe “Mad Dog” Turner is recognized for his passionate defense of his clients. He is the only former federal prosecutor in the Austin, Texas area that specializes in federal criminal defense cases.
He has successfully defended celebrities and high-profile clients. Turner had Willie Nelson’s marijuana possession charges dropped on the pretense of an unauthorized search. He also defended Matthew McConaughey, resulting in his charges being dropped as well. The case that garnered him the most attention was his defense of Ruth Riddle, which resulted in him appearing on Nightline, CNN, and other national news media sources.
10. Marcia Clark
Best known for her work as the prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial, Marcia Clark has been a household name. Before that case in 1981, she became the district attorney. In just over a decade she won 19 cases against high-profile defendants like the murderer of actress Rebecca Schaeffer and LA vigilante James Hawkins.
Following the O.J. Simpson case, Clark took a 2-year leave of absence. She finally left the District Attorney’s Office in 1997. She has since become a very successful author, both in fiction and nonfiction. She also serves as a legal analyst for networks like CNN. She has served as a correspondent on cases like the George Zimmerman trial.
11. Robert Kardashian
Controversially known as O.J. Simpson’s friend, Robert Kardashian was part of the football player’s defense team. Simpson stayed the night at Kardashian’s house to avoid the media following his ex-wife’s murder. Kardashian was observed carrying Simpson’s garment bag. Prosecutors believed this bag to have held either bloody clothes or the murder weapon.
Kardashian reactivated his license so that he could volunteer to assist Simpson’s legal team. In doing this, he precluded himself from being able to testify against his friend. However, following the acquittal, both Robert and his wife Kris voiced concerns about the validity of Simpson’s innocence.
He is most well-remembered as a family man. He was the father of Kourtney, Khloe, Kim, and Rob Kardashian, who he shared with his first wife, now known as Kris Jenner.
12. David Boies
David Boies’s career took off during his defense of IBM against antitrust allegations. He also represented Al Gore in the case of Bush v. Gore. Since then he has teamed up with his opponent, in that case, Ted Olson, to fight California’s Proposition 8.
On behalf of Steinbrenner and the Yankees, he has handled talks with Major League Baseball regarding an Adidas deal. He has represented filmmaker Michael Moore. Recently, he sued Starbucks on behalf of Carly Simon.
He was brought under public scrutiny and investigation by the District Attorney when two of his high-profile clients were outed for nefarious deeds. Harvey Weinstein was branded a sexual predator and Theranos was exposed as a fraud. Boies was accused of being part of an undercover operation to smear the names of Weinstein’s victims and to deceive The Times. For this reason, The Times openly fired Boies’s firm.
13. Martin Garbus
Martin Garbus is a legendary First Amendment advocate. He has taken part in many cases involving libel, defamation, intellectual property, and copyright. He has defended both Lenny Bruce and Don Imus for their right to speak freely. Other notable clients include Nancy Regan, Marilyn Monroe, Cesar Chavez, Random House, Penguin Books, and The Sundance Film Festival.
He is critical of the Supreme Court’s approval of various faith-based initiatives. He believes these initiatives breach the separation of church and state and thereby violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
He helped to draft the constitutions of Czechoslovakia and Hungary. He has represented the Rwandan government. Garbus has jailed opponents of the Taiwanese regime and defended the chief justices of the Indian Supreme Court.
He earned his Juris Doctor at New York University. He has also taught at Yale and Columbia Universities.
14. Howard K. Stern
Howard K. Stern’s claim to fame was his infamous representation of and relationship with Anna Nicole Smith. He took on her suit against her deceased husband’s estate. After the case was closed, Stern participated in Smith’s reality TV show. He later claimed publicly to be the father of her daughter, but this was later proven to be untrue.
After Smith’s death, things took a downward spiral for Stern. He was charged in 2009 with assisting two physicians with giving Smith thousands of prescription pills before her death in 2007. Stern was the go-between, helping to falsify names on prescriptions. He was found guilty of the felony charges in 2010 but a judge later threw out the case at his sentencing.
15. Allen Grubman
Allen Grubman has been known to represent A-list clients as well as the major labels at the same time. He has played a major part in many of the largest entertainment deals over the last four decades. He is recognized as a deal maker, negotiator, and trusted advisor.
He has represented many clients in the music industry, including Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, and Elton John. He has also represented several major record companies and music publishing companies, like iHeartMedia and MTV. Outside of the music realm, he has served many high-profile entertainers, like Robert DeNiro, Barbara Walters, and Martha Stewart.
In his personal life, he is known for being the father of publicist Lizzie Grubman. Having been jailed for running over several people outside a nightclub in 2001, she brings negative publicity to her father.
16. Jim Garrison
Jim Garrison came into the spotlight when he began his investigation into John F. Kennedy’s assassination. He is credited with the first public viewing of the Zapruder footage. During his investigation, he became convinced that a group of men conspired with the CIA to bring about the assassination in retaliation for the President attempting to obtain peace settlements with Cuba and Vietnam.
Unlike other conspiracy theorists, Garrison was given a half-hour block on NBC to discuss his investigation. He was given more credence than others due to his position as district attorney and his knowledge of how the media worked. He was skilled at driving media coverage in the direction of his choosing.
Following his interview, he arrested and prosecuted Clay Shaw for conspiring to murder J.F.K. with Lee Harvey Oswald. In the few months following Shaw’s arrest, the media tide began to turn on Garrison, becoming critical of his investigative methods and the tactics being used to generate testimony against Shaw. Shaw was acquitted of all charges of conspiracy.
Garrison was appointed the New Orleans District Attorney in 1961. He established an excellent track record of not losing a case in the first two years of the appointment. He is also credited with hiring the first female assistant attorney in New Orleans history. In 1973 he lost his seat as DA to Harry Connick, Sr.
17. Gerald Shargel
Best known for his defense of mobsters like the Gottis of the Gambino crime family, Gerald Shargel took cases that involved high stakes. He was removed from a case against John Gotti, Sr. as the judge referred to him as house counsel for the Gottis. Shargel is most well-known for his work on acquitting John Gotti in 1991 of the charges of murdering a labor union official.
He was the target of a multi-year federal investigation into his relationship with the mob. No charges were ever brought against him.
He has defended Joe Halderman against charges of trying to extort money from David Letterman. He has represented Marc Dreier, a lawyer-turned-felon, who was convicted of stealing from his clients and hedge funds. He also defended Irv Gotti against money laundering charges.
His most recent, notable case was that of Daniel Pelosi. Pelosi had been charged and convicted of the second-degree murder of Ted Ammon.
Before his retirement, Shargel was a member of the New York State Bar. He served as both a trial and appellate attorney. He represented both white-collar and ordinary criminal defendants. He served as a Practitioner-in-Residence at Brooklyn Law School, teaching evidence and criminal procedure.
18. Leslie Abramson
Most famous for her defense of Eric and Lyle Menendez, who shot their parents in 1989 in their Beverly Hills home, Leslie Abramson is also known for her unruly hair and outspoken advocacy of her clients.
During the penalty phase of the Menendez case, it was revealed that Abramson asked one of the witnesses to alter their statement. She pleaded the Fifth when questioned by the judge and was removed from the case.
Other high-profile cases include those of Dr. Khalid Parwez and Arnel Salvatierra. She obtained an acquittal for Dr. Parwez, who was accused of killing and dismembering his 11-year-old son. he was able to get a reduction in charges to manslaughter for Salvatierra, who was accused of killing his father.
In 2004, Abramson was hired on as the attorney for Phil Spector’s defense against charges of murdering actress Lana Clarkson. She later resigned from the position, citing conflicts between the two of them. Spector was convicted of the charges under different counsel.
She obtained her Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law in 1969 and was accepted as a member of the California State Bar in 1970. She began her career in the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office. In 1976 she moved to private practice as a defense attorney. She only lost one case to the death penalty and that was the case against Ricky Sanders, who shot 11 people in a walk-in freezer, killing 4 of them.
19. Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz has gained attention from his writings and media appearances, particularly where he defends civil liberties, especially freedom of speech. He has also been involved in numerous prominent legal cases.
Dershowitz first became famous when he led the appeal of Claus von Bulow. Von Bulow was accused of attempting to kill his wife, Sunny. Sunny survived in a coma for 20 years following her attack. The conviction was overturned and the event was transformed into a movie called Reversal of Fortune.
He also appealed the conviction of actor Harry Reems successfully. As one of the actors in Deep Throat, Reems had been convicted of federal charges of conspiracy to disseminate pornography across state lines.
Another high-profile case that more people may be familiar with is the defense of O.J. Simpson. Dershowitz was a member of the team of powerhouse attorneys that secured the acquittal of the football star.
20. Robert Shapiro
Most known for his role on O.J. Simpson’s dream team of lawyers, Robert Shapiro is an American civil litigator. He is also known for his defense of Christian Brando against manslaughter charges. He negotiated a settlement for Darryl Strawberry, who agreed to vacate his contract following his admission of drug abuse. He has taken on cases for companies like Rockstar Energy Drink, Diamond Resorts International, and Cadeau Express.