Lawyer presidents

by Walter Olson on November 5, 2008

25 of the 44 presidents have been lawyers; the WSJ law blog has a list. Only one other besides Barack Obama has been a graduate of Harvard Law. It would take a trivia expert (or perhaps a Harvard grad) to identify that one: Rutherford B. Hayes.

P.S. See also, in comments, John Peralta’s list indicating that lawyer-nominees have lately been more common on the Democratic side than the Republican.

{ 3 comments }

1 John Peralta 11.06.08 at 11:09 am

Eugene Volokh blogged on my related observation of how Dems tend to choose attorneys to run for President. From that 9/18/08 Volokh Conspiracy post:

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The Party of the Lawyer Candidates vs. The Party of the Non-Lawyer Candidates:

John Peralta counts Democratic and Republican Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates since 1980, and sees how many lawyers there were:

[Democratic] Attorneys (10 out of 12 total – 83%)
Obama
Biden
Kerry
Edwards
Lieberman
Clinton
Dukakis
Bentsen
Mondale
Ferarro
[Possibly Gore, who never graduated — if he's included, the percentage is 92%]
Carter was the only non-lawyer, non-law school attendee.

[Republican] Attorneys (2 out of 9 total – 22%)
Dole
Quayle

Non-lawyers – McCain, Palin, Bush 43, Cheney, Kemp, Bush 41 and Reagan

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2 tom 11.06.08 at 4:13 pm

apparently the white house web site identifies John Adams as a Harvard educated lawyer. for what that is worth.

3 James 11.06.08 at 4:46 pm

John Adams went to Harvard College, but not Harvard Law School (which was founded long after he became a lawyer).

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