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Castro, Gandhi, Geraldo… Ten Famous People with Law Degrees

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Castro, Gandhi, Geraldo… Ten Famous People with Law Degrees

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Become a lawyer. You might just lead a nation, sign a TV deal or paint a masterpiece! Here are brief bios of ten famous people with law degrees.

fidel castroFidel Castro. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz studied law at the University of Havana, where he also became involved in far-left politics. He was admitted to the bar in 1950 and briefly operated the firm Azpiazo, Castro & Resende. Castro then helped plan a number of government overthrows. He was Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959-1976 and President from 1976-2008.


gandhi Gandhi. Well… This cancels some lawyer jokes. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi studied law at University College London and passed the bar in 1891. He practiced in Bombay but felt very shy in court. Using non-violent civil disobedience, he led India to independence from British rule and has inspired countless movements for civil rights worldwide.


GeraldoGeraldo Rivera. “Gerald Riviera” graduated near the top of his class at Brooklyn Law School in 1969. He became the lawyer for the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, and thereby caught the eye of an Eyewitness News executive. From there he gained attention on 20/20, Good Morning America and other major shows. Geraldo hosted the talk show Geraldo from 1987-1998.


howard cosellHoward Cosell. Howard Cosell enrolled in the NYU School of Law to make his parents proud. He began practicing in Manhattan after WWII and served a few sports clients such as Willie Mays and the New York Little League. In fact, Cosell set up a radio show just to promote the Little League — and in doing so he found his calling as an interviewer. Cosell gave up his law practice in 1956 and became a legendary sports reporter for ABC.


jerry springer Jerry Springer. Jerry Springer earned a law degree from Northwestern in 1968 and became a campaign aide for Robert Kennedy. He returned to law after the Senator was assassinated, signing with a firm in Cincinnati. After becoming mayor of the city, he parlayed his local fame into a broadcasting career.


john cleese John Cleese. John Cleese earned a law degree from Cambridge. Unfortunately for juries, he never actually practiced law. He co- founded the Monty Python comedy troupe while still in school. He eventually wrote, among other scripts Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Meaning of Life. Cleese and his first wife Connie Booth co-wrote and starred in the sitcom Fawlty Towers.



john grishamJohn Grisham. John Grisham resisted a formal education for some time. After enduring a series of unsatisfying jobs ranging from plumber’s assistant to underwear vendor, he attended the University of Mississippi School of Law to secure a “real” career. He became a trial lawyer. An actual case inspired his first crime novel, A Time to Kill.



Julio Iglesias. In 1963 Julio Iglesias was attending law school at Madrid’s Colegio Mayor Universitario San Pablo when a car accident left him paralyzed. No longer in school, he focused on recovery and taught himself to play guitar during the three-year healing process. In this way he discovered his musical talent. After selling hundreds of millions of records worldwide, Iglesias earned his law degree in 2001.



nelson mandelaNelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela earned his law degree at University of Witwatersrand. He then opened the first black law partnership in South Africa along with Oliver Tambo. Mandela became an anti-apartheid revolutionary and a politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. His law office is now being converted to a museum.

Wassily Kandinsky. Kandinsky studied and taught law and economics at Moscow State University. Prior to the reign of the Nazis, he taught Bauhaus art and architecture in Germany. He went on to become one of the most influential abstract artists in his new homeland of France.


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