Fabulosity, Money, Rankings

The Richest Lawyers (or Law School Graduates) in America: Lawyers on the Forbes 400

If you were a billionaire, you could sleep on a pile of these.

For whatever reason, this week has been heavy on stories about money. We’ve written about starting salaries for law firm associates, average pay packages for partners, and which countries have the highest paid lawyers.

So let’s stick with the theme. Today let’s take a look at the richest lawyers — or, to be more precise, the richest law school graduates — in America. (As we noted last year, many of these moguls never practiced law, or practiced only briefly, before making their fortunes in business.)

Our friends over at Forbes just released the Forbes 400, their annual ranking of the 400 wealthiest Americans. As in years past, the list contains a number of lawyers and law-degree holders. How many?

Last year, we counted up 39 lawyers or law school graduates on the Forbes 400 for 2011. To update the research for this year, we looked out for lawyers and law degree holders in two groups on the Forbes 400 for 2012: the newcomers, and the dropouts.

We located one newcomer: hedge fund magnate Paul Singer, who comes in at #392, with a net worth of $1.1 billion. Singer is an interesting fellow — a prominent Republican, a personal friend of Justice Alito, and a vocal supporter of gay marriage. Singer is a Harvard Law School graduate who practiced corporate law in New York before entering finance.

Here are the two dropouts:

  • Eric Lefkofksy: A newcomer on last year’s list, the University of Michigan Law School grad fell off the list this year, thanks to the falling share price of Groupon, the company he chairs. He’s now worth a paltry $1.03 billion.
  • Joseph Craft: As we noted yesterday, divorce can be expensive. In this case, splitting from his wife cost Craft, a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, his spot on the Forbes 400. Craft is now slumming it with a net worth of $625 million.

UPDATE (9/28/2012): Actually, it looks like we missed a few dropouts (because they were not included in the Forbes slideshow of dropouts, which was not a complete list of the dropouts):

  • Nicholas Pritzker: University of Chicago law grad. Formerly #359, now off the list (with a net worth of $1.07 billion).
  • William Connor II: University of Santa Clara law grad. Also formerly #359, now off the list (also with a net worth of $1.07 billion).
  • Thomas Barrack: University of Southern California law grad. Formerly #375, now off the list (with a net worth of $1.03 billion).

So, if our calculations are correct, the 2012 Forbes 400 list has 39 35 lawyers on it — the 2011 total of 39, plus one, minus two five. To get a better sense of who they are, check out this Am Law Daily story from 2010. If you read that story together with our 2011 post on the Forbes 400 and the updates in this post, you should have a complete list of the lawyers and law grads on the Forbes 400.

Of course, their fortunes have risen and fallen over the past two years. For the most up-to-date information on these law school success stories and how much they are worth today, look them up on the full Forbes 400.

UPDATE (9/28/2012): Actually, check out this new story, which contains a spreadsheet listing all 35 of the lawyers and law grads on the Forbes 400.

P.S. If we’ve missed anyone, please let us know in the comments or by email. Thanks.

The Forbes 400 [Forbes]
The Lawyers of the Forbes 400 [Am Law Daily]
Joe Jamail Is Richest Practicing Lawyer, But Not the Richest Law Grad [ABA Journal]

Earlier: Super-Rich Law School Graduates: Lawyers on the Forbes 400

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