Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Biography

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Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.

October 2, 1937 – March 29, 2005

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. has been recognized as an outstanding trial lawyer, civil libertarian and philanthropist throughout the world. As a seasoned litigator, Johnnie was considered to be one of the leading authorities on the criminal and civil justice system, as well as an international leader in the legal profession.

Born in Shreveport, LA, Johnnie Cochran moved with his family to California. With an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles, Johnnie attended Loyola Law School in Los Angeles where he received his Juris Doctor. Johnnie’s early legal career began in the City Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles in 1963 where he was assigned to the criminal division. After several years, he entered private practice and founded a Los Angeles-based law firm where he developed a practice handling a substantial volume of both civil and criminal cases.

In 1978, he was invited to serve as the Assistant District Attorney of Los Angeles County. As the third ranking lawyer in the nation’s largest law office, he had general administrative responsibility for six hundred lawyers.

In 1981, he was eager to return to private practice where he soon began obtaining record verdicts for victims of negligence. As his remarkable achievements continued, Johnnie settled or tried to verdict numerous landmark, high-profile cases.

Although widely known as an outstanding trial lawyer, it was Johnnie’s role as lead counsel for the O.J. Simpson case that brought him international recognition. He was the only attorney in Los Angeles ever to receive both the “Civil Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award and the “Criminal Trial Lawyer of the Year” Award. In 1995, he was named “America’s Trial Lawyer of the Year” by The National Law Journal, as well as being named one of the “Headliners of the Year” by Time magazine.In 1999, he was named one of the “Top 50 Trial Attorneys of 1999” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

In 1996, Johnnie was elected for membership into the Inner Circle of Advocates, an exclusive organization composed of the top 100 personal injury lawyers in America. He further held the distinction of being inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, an organization whose membership consists of the top one percent of trial lawyers in the United States. He was also inducted into the prestigious International Academy of Trial lawyers, which is comprised of leading trial attorneys from throughout the world.

In addition to his professional career, Johnnie published two autobiographies.

In 1996, Journey To Justice became a best seller, followed by A Lawyer’s Life in 2002. Johnnie always maintained an interest in communities and their outreach programs. He helped establish the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Academy of Legal Studies and Community Service in East Orange, New Jersey, the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Center for Early Learning At Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles, and scholarship funds for the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of New Mexico School of Law, and the Southern University School of Law in Baton Rouge, LA .

It was Johnnie’s dream to bring justice to all Americans who suffer because of the wrongdoing of individuals, corporations or governmental entities. This dream was realized when Johnnie became founding partner of the national law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens and Smith, P.C. The Cochran Firm, as it is known today, has become one of the largest law firms serving injured people and their families. Located in major cities throughout the United States, The Cochran Firm offers extensive national resources, legal talent and leadership to its clients.

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. may have become well known for his representation of celebrities in high-profile and groundbreaking cases, but his true measure of success came from his lifelong dedication in the fight for the injured and the disenfranchised throughout America.

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