Top 25 Richest Lawyers
In The World :
Most Aren't Practicing At All

By Stephen Loke on April 9 2014

richest lawyers in the world

One of the most surprising thing we found is that the richest lawyers in the world gave up on their legal profession and pursued their own business interests

Here is a list of the 25 richest lawyers in the world. As we dig deeper there is something that we realize. The richest lawyers or law graduates are not practicing at all. Sure they had a legal background, but what propelled them to billionaire status was that they inherited it or they choose to enter other fields.

1. S. Robson Walton

If the name sounds familiar, then its because Robson Walton is the heir to the Wal-Mart empire. His father Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart and after his death, the siblings inherited portions of their father's wealth. Robson graduated from Columbia Law school. He later joined Conner & Winters in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a partner. After the death of his father, Robson became the chairman of Wal-Mart. Robson is currently the 12th richest man in the world with a net worth of $35 billion. He is therefore the richest lawyer in the world or to be exact, the richest ex-lawyer in the world.

2. Daniel Gilbert $3.9 Billion

Dan Gilbert is popularly known as the owner of NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. He is aslo known as the founder of Quicken Loans the largest online lender in America. The billionaire invested heavily in Detroit real estate putting in $1.3 Billion snapping up various properties. The man also owns Rock Ventures that in turn own dozens of tech start ups. The billionaire has an LLB from Wayne State University.

3. Randal Kirk $3.4 Billion

Randal Kirk is known as the Chairman and CEO of Intrexon a company that is listed on the NYSE. He is also the founder of General Injectables and Vaccines and New River Pharmaceuticals. The billionaire is regarded as one of the most successful biotech developers in US but did you know before he ventured into biotechnology he practiced law for 11 years in Bland County, Virginia?

The Pritzker Family

Before we continue with the rankings of the richest lawyers, I need to devote a special section to the Pritzker Family. This family is one of the wealthiest family in the United States If you have not heard of this family, you would at least have heard or use the services of the companies they own. This family controls a business empire that include Hyatt Hotels, The Marmon Group and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.  

The current generation of Pritzkers inherited their fortune from their fathers. 11 of them are billionaires and they regularly make the Forbes 400 Richest Americans. 5 of them are law graduates. So if you see a Pritzker name below, you know they are from the same family.

4. Jay Robert Pritzker $3.1 Billion

Known as J.B. Pritzker, Jay is the co-founder and managing partner of Pritzker Group. The group is a private investment firm. Jay graduated from Northwestern University School of Law and he is an attorney of the Illinois State Bar Association and member of the Chicago Bar Association.

5. David Rubenstein $3.1 Bilion

David Rubenstein is the founder of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity investment firm. He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and practiced law in New York with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison from 1973 to 1975. 

6. Thomas Pritzker $3 Billion

Thomas Pritzker is one of the heirs to the Pritzker empire. He is the Executive Chairman of Hyatt Hotels.

7. Penny Pritzker $2.3 Billion

Penny Prizker, another member of the Pritzker family is the 38th United States Secretary of Commerce serving under the Obama administration. She is the founder of Pritzker Realty Group and co founder of Artemis Real Estate Partners. She obtained a J.D. from Stanford University in 1984.

8. Daniel Pritzker $2.1 Billion

Daniel Pritzker is another member of the wealthy Pritzker family. He is the founder of the Chicago band Sonia Dada. This billionaire graduated from Northwestern University Law School in 1986 with a J.D.

9. Michael Jaharis $2 Billion

Michael Jaharis is the founder of Kos Pharmaceuticals and the creator of Niaspan a cholesterol fighting drug. His company sold this drug to Abbott Labs for $4.2 billion in 2006. This billionaire graduated with a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law

10. Donald Sterling $1.9 Billion

Donald Sterling is popularly known as the owner of NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. He is a former attorney. Sterling graduated from Southwestern University School of Law.

Well, as you look at the top 10 richest lawyers we have here, you will realize that none of them are practicing. Surpising isn't it? Instead they use their legal knowledge to help them in other ventures that benefited them financially. So the conclusion is this. Get a J.D. , practice a few years and start a venture. You'll be richer by a hundred times.

As promised, here are the other richest lawyers in the world.

11. Joe Jamail, Jr $1.6 Billion

Joe Jamail who is known as the king of torts is the richest practicing attorney in the world. Famous for winning the case for Pennzoil against Texaco in 1987, the attorney earned $345 million in fees in that case.

12. Nicholas Pritzker II $1.4 Billion

Nicholas Pritzker is another member of the wealthy Pritzker family. 

13. Wichai Thongthan $1.1 Billion

This Thai lawyer excelled in the legal field by representing powerful people like Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

14. William Lerach $900 Million

William Lerach is famous for specializing in class action lawsuits. Among his famous case is the one against Enron.

15. Bill Neukom $850 Million

Bill Neukom has served as the President of American Bar Association and is a partner with Preston Gates & Ellis.

16. Felipe Gozon $200 Million

Felipe Gozon is a Filipino businessman and lawyer. The multi-millionaire is the Chairman and CEO of GMA Network which is a leading media network in his country.

17. Judge Judy $150 Million

Judge Judy served as a family court prosecutor for 17 years. Then she became a judge. After retirement she starred in her show The Judge Judy Show which was nominated 13 times for the Daytime Emmy Award.

18. Willie E. Gary $100 Million

Willie E. Gary is an attorney and motivational speaker who opened the first black law firm in Martin County. He has won more than 150 cases which have multi-million dollars settlements. 

19. Roy Black $65 Million

Roy Black is an attorney that focuses on civil and criminal defense. He is well known for being the defense attorney of William Kennedy Smith. Black is married to Lea Black who is one of the stars of The Real Housewives of Miami.

20. John Branca $50 Million

John Branca is famous for being the lawyers of many famous personalities which include Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Carlos Santana and Alicia Keys.

21. Ivan Wilzig $50 Million

Ivan Wilzig is a singer and songwriter who sang in various music groups. He went to Yeshiva University where he earned a law degree. In 2001 he released a version of John Lennon's "Imagine" and from there on his career as a singer skyrocketed.

22. Robert Shapiro $50 Million

Shapiro is well known for being the legal counsel for many celebrities. He has also appeared in movies and TV.

23. Joel Segal $40 Million

After earning a law degree from Hofstra Law School, Joel Segal worked as a sports agent. He worked his way up and became the President of Worldwide Football Management.

24. Robert Kardashian $30 Million

Does this name ring a bell? Yes Robert is the father of Kim Kardashian and her sisters. This man is the lawyer who assisted O.J. Simpson in his trial.

25. Thomas Mesereau $25 Million

Thomas Mesereau is famous for being the defence lawyer for Michael Jackson's 2005 molestation trial.

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References:

Forbes (The ultimate site for billionaire rankings)

CelebrityNetWorth (The ultimate site for net worth of celebrities)

TheRichest (Great site for things about money and rich people)

Wikipedia (Greatest site on earth for lots of information)