Earlier this week, Time magazine released its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, the Time 100. For lawyers, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
The good news: lawyers represent over 10 percent of the Time 100. The bad news: many of the law-degree-holding honorees were not recognized for their work as lawyers.
So which legal eagles soared into the Time 100 this year?
We took a quick skim of the Time 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 Time 100 write-up. If we happened to miss anyone, please email us or let us know in the comments, and we will update.
Bensouda, 51, is the incoming chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). She is a Gambian lawyer who studied law at the University of IFE, the Nigerian Law School, and the International Maritime Law Institute in Malta.
The 43-year-old Bharara is, as ATL readers know, the U.S. Attorney for the super-powerful Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.). We’ve discussed in these pages his impressive record at fighting white-collar crime. One of the fun touches of the Time 100 is that the blurbs are often written by people who are celebrities themselves. 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. They were classmates at Harvard College (before Bharara went off to Columbia Law School).
The 64-year-old Clinton, warmly praised in Time’s pages by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, currently serves as our nation’s 67th Secretary of State. I would love to see her run for president again someday (despite her claims that she’s ready to return to private life). She’s a graduate of the Yale Law School and a former partner at Arkansas’s Rose Law Firm — which bizarrely doesn’t mention her in its firm history, even though 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.
Let’s take a brief pause here. The next name on the list is perhaps the most powerful one of them all….