31 Aug 2014
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The Most Influential Lawyers in the World: Attorneys
By DAVID LAT
For lawyers, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
The good news: lawyers represent over 10 percent of the list. The bad news: many of the law-degree-holding honorees were not recognized for their work as lawyers.
So which legal eagles soared in this year? We took a quick skim of the 100 and identified eleven individuals who are lawyers. We took a broad definition of the term “lawyer,” which Black’s Law Dictionary defines as “a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law.” We picked out any person who holds a law degree, without regard to current or past bar admissions or whether they actually practice law (or ever did practice).
Here are the eleven lawyers we noticed, in alphabetical order, with a brief blurb about each one. Each honoree’s name is linked to their 100 write-up.
1. Fatou Bensouda
To begin with, Bensouda, 51, is the incoming chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In addition, she is a Gambian lawyer. In fact, she studied law at the University of IFE, the Nigerian Law School, and the International Maritime Law Institute in Malta.
2. Preet Bharara
Above all, 43-year-old Bharara is the U.S. Attorney for the super-powerful Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.). As a matter of fact, he holds an impressive record at fighting white-collar crime. Additionally, Bharara’s write-up is by Viet Dinh, the prominent conservative lawyer and law professor — and a longtime friend of Bharara, as Dinh notes near the end of the piece. Moreover, they were classmates at Harvard College. Even before Bharara went off to Columbia Law School.
3. Iftikhar Chaudhry
On the other hand, Chaudhry, 63, is the 18th and current chief justice of Pakistan. In fact, he is trying to hold Pakistani politicians accountable for abuses of power. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Sindh Muslim Law College.
4. Hillary Clinton
Similarly, 64-year-old Hillary Clinton was warmly praised by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Moreover, she currently serves as our nation’s 67th Secretary of State. In fact, she’s a graduate of the Yale Law School and a former partner at Arkansas’s Rose Law Firm. However, they do not mention her in its firm history. Nevertheless, she’s easily its most famous former member.
5. Andrew Cuomo
Like Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, 54, is one to watch for 2016. Even though he’s now a political figure, as the 56th and current Governor of New York, he has his lawyerly chops: immediately before assuming the governorship, he served as New York’s attorney general. He earned his J.D. from Albany Law School.
6. Anthony Kennedy
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 75, is possibly “the most influential person in American life today,”. Olson, who’s counting on AMK to strike down Proposition 8 should Perry v. Brown reach the Supreme Court, skillfully butters up the HLS-educated justice in his blurb: “In the nearly 25 years since his appointment, over the course of five presidencies, Justice Kennedy’s convictions and unique sense of liberty, equality and justice have placed an indelible and enduring stamp on American life and institutions.” (Hint hint: please use your “unique sense of liberty, equality, and justice” to vindicate the rights of gay Americans.)
7. Christine Lagarde
The fabulously stylish Lagarde, 56, is the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Before that, she served as France’s Finance Minister. But she’s not just an economics whiz: she received a law degree from the Paris West University Nanterre La Défense and served as chairman of Baker & McKenzie (where she made partner after just six years).
8. Alexei Navalny
The youthful Navalny, who’s only 35, is a prominent member of the Russian opposition movement, an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. He completed his legal studies at the wonderfully named Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia.
9. Barack Obama
Obama, 50, is the 44th and current President of the United States. That might sound impressive but remember: he’s also a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. Do you know how freaking hard it is to graduate Magna from HLS? It makes running the free world look like a piece of cake.
10. Mitt Romney
A former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney — who’s 65- is running to replace President Obama in the White House. He also got his law degree from Harvard, cum laude, along with an MBA. He was admitted to the Michigan bar but never practiced law.
11. Marco Rubio
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
A rising star of the Republican Party, at the tender age of 40, Senator Rubio is lauded by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as “an eloquent voice for limited government, entrepreneurial capitalism, and robust foreign policy.” He graduated cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1996.
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