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Famous People with Law Degrees

Lawyers often question their career choices, or want to fulfill their interests and passions in a different fields. Not surprisingly, people who have become famous have similar interests as well. There are some well-known people who decided to pursue more with their careers, or went to law school before becoming famous. Here are a few infamous individuals who received their J.D.:

Gerard Butler attended Glasgow University, where he graduated with his legal degree. He also sang in a rock band while in law school. Working as a trainee lawyer at Edinburgh law,  Butler was a week away from being qualified, but got fired due to his lack of work ethic and missing many days. Although he didn’t get to use the full extent of his degree, he says it comes in handy when he has brushes with the law.

 Surprisingly, Jerry Springer earned his law degree from Northwestern University in 1968. He then became a campaign aide for Robert Kennedy. After the assassination of the Senator, Springer returned to law, working for Frost & Jacobs in Cincinnati (now Frost Brown Todd). In 1977, he was chosen to serve 1 year as mayor by the City Council.

A graduate of the University of Witwatersrand, Nelson Mandela studied law on and off for about 50 years starting in 1939, and failed a number of courses he took. A 2 year diploma in law and university degree allowed him to practice law. In August 1952, Mandela and his partner, Oliver Tambo, created the first black law firm in Johannesburg. The office is now being made into a museum.

Victoria Zdrok is well known for being a Playboy bunny, but did you know she is also a doctor? This intelligent woman speaks 5 languages, and graduated college when she was 18 years old. A year later, Victoria attended Villanova Law School where she received a J.D. in 1997. In 2003, she graduated from Drexel University with her Ph.D in clinical psychology. She’s a member to both the New York and New Jersey bar.

Comedian Rebel Wilson juggled being an actress while attending law school. Even though she has gone on into being a successful actress, she says her law degree has come in handy. Rebel stated, “When I first started, I did negotiate a lot of my own contracts. People look at me and they see my funny, stupid characters and they have no idea. Sometimes when I say, ‘Yeah, I could practice as a lawyer if I wanted to,’ people are like, ‘What? Who’d want you as a lawyer?’

Fidel Castro attended the University of Havana in 1945 where he avidly became involved in politics. Upon graduation, he was admitted to the bar in 1950. He eventually owned his own law firm called Azpiazo Castro & Resende that served primarily poor Cubans.

These individuals have shown us that there are many other career options for people with a juris doctor. Some career alternatives other J.D. recipients pursue are non-profits, recruiting, and becoming professors. Do you know any well-known people with JDs or any other advanced degrees?

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