Who are the world’s five most famous lawyers of all time?

world's five most famous lawyers

Welcome to our new series on some of the world’s famous lawyers. Ranking the world’s top five most famous lawyers of all time is challenging because recognition can differ between geographies, eras, and legal specialties. However, the following five famous lawyers are highly regarded for their noteworthy accomplishments and influence and below we look at famous lawyers by jurisdiction both past and present, alongside our current ‘best law firms & lawyers’ resources.

The lives and accomplishments of the five most prominent lawyers in history

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that lawyers have been instrumental in influencing the course of history and promoting justice and equality. Certain legal minds have ascended to prominence and left an indelible mark on the legal profession and society as a whole throughout the ages. In this article, we will examine the lives and accomplishments of the five most prominent lawyers in history, whose work continues to inspire and influence generations.

Abraham Lincoln: A Champion of Equality and Justice

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865), renowned as the 16th President of the United States, began his career as a lawyer. Lincoln’s unwavering commitment to justice and equality propelled him to the forefront of American law and politics. Through his skillful advocacy, he championed causes such as emancipation and civil rights, leaving a lasting impact on American society. Recommended Reading: Wikipedia on Abraham Lincoln

Mahatma Gandhi: Law as a Weapon of Peaceful Resistance

Mahatma Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was a lawyer by trade, despite being largely recognised as a political and spiritual figurehead. Through nonviolent civil disobedience, he was a key figure in the campaign for India’s independence. Gandhi became a legendary figure both in India and around the world thanks to his legal prowess and commitment for justice and human rights. Recommended Reading: Wikipedia on Mahatma Ghandi

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Trailblazer for Gender Equality

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (March 15, 1933 – September 18, 2020), an iconic figure in American jurisprudence, made significant strides in advancing gender equality during her tenure as a Supreme Court Justice. She was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until she passed away in 2020. Dubbed “the Notorious R.B.G.”, with her brilliant legal mind, Ginsburg fought tirelessly for women’s rights and became a symbol of hope and progress. Her landmark decisions and fearless advocacy continue to shape the legal landscape. Recommended Reading: Wikipedia on Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Nelson Mandela: A Legal Luminary in the Fight Against Apartheid

Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was an attorney in addition to being well-known as a political figure and an anti-apartheid rebel. He served as the first president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. His legal knowledge and dogged work were instrumental in bringing down South Africa’s repressive apartheid regime, despite having served 27 years in prison, split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. Mandela won acclaim from people all across the world for his commitment to justice, equality, and healing. Recommended Reading: Wikipedia on Nelson Mandela

Thurgood Marshall: Leading the Charge for Civil Rights

Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was the first African American to serve as a justice on the US Supreme Court was Thurgood Marshall, an American lawyer and civil rights leader. A number of important civil rights cases, including Brown v. Board of Education, which put a stop to racial segregation in public schools, were successfully fought by Marshall before he was appointed to the Supreme Court. He served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1967 until 1991. Recommended Reading: Wikipedia on Thurgood Marshall

Many Other Most Famous Lawyers

Even though these five lawyers have become well-known throughout the world and have had a lasting impression on history, there are many other well-known and influential lawyers who have significantly advanced the legal profession throughout many eras and locales.

Such as…

Marcus Tullius Cicero – One of the greatest legal minds in history – Also known as Cicero, was a Roman lawyer, philosopher, and statesman who lived during the time of the Roman Republic. One of the greatest legal minds in history, he is highly recognised. Cicero had a profound influence on the fields of law and legal philosophy through his mastery of eloquence, intellectual contributions to legal theory, and support for the rule of law.

More to follow within the below – and if you think there’s a fantastic lawyer we haven’t included please do let us know!

Most Famous Lawyers by Jurisdiction

In that respect, see also our lists of some of the most famous lawyer by jurisdiction around the world as follows:-

The world’s five most famous lawyers of all time?

So there you have it – Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Thurgood Marshall, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Nelson Mandela – some of the world’s five most famous lawyers of all time – who have made indelible marks on the legal profession and society. Generations of lawyers and activists have been inspired by their unyielding devotion to justice, advocacy for equality, and brave pursuit of change. As we reflect on their great accomplishments, let us continue to be inspired by their legacies and fight towards a more just and equal society. And again if you think we should include any other fantastic lawyers please do let us know and see each of the guides above for fantastic famous lawyers by jurisdiction too.

Comments on this entry are closed.