Check out the Net Worth of Top 20 Lawyers in the World!

No member of the legal profession appears on Forbes’ yearly ranking of the world’s wealthiest individuals. Indeed, being a lawyer is one of the highest-paying jobs out there, but how much money a lawyer makes is dependent on many things. 

In most cases, a lawyer’s net worth is directly correlated to their level of education, the firm they work for, the country in which they are licensed to practice law, and their level of experience.

According to Legal Desire, The most well-known and wealthy individuals in the world, including politicians, artists, and businesspeople, often retain the services of the most highly compensated lawyers in the world.

Net Worth of Lawyers in the World

1. Richard Scruggs: $1.7 billion

Prominent trial lawyer Richard Scruggs, who earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1976, is famous for having won over a billion dollars in judgments against different corporations, mostly related to asbestos and tobacco.

Also, he won a $51 million decision against Lehman Brothers in 2003 and was heavily involved in the Ritalin class action litigation that happened in 2000.

But in 2007, he faced charges of bribery in the court system. He entered a guilty plea in 2008 and spent the next six years behind bars. He has finished his term and kept his enormous wealth today, at the age of 70.

Richard Scruggs

2. Joe Jamail: $1.7 billion

Joe Jamail was the wealthiest practicing lawyer in the US until he died in December 2015 at the age of 90, thus he still makes the list. A prominent figure in tort law, he defended Pennzoil in a 1985 case against Texaco, a competitor. Following the favorable court ruling for Pennzoil, his contingency fee amounted to $335.

The 1953 UT Law School alumnus had a very bad reputation as a combative, impolite, and filthy judge due to his background as a former soldier. But his altruism was what brought him fame away from the courtroom.


3. Wichai Thongtang: $1.1 billion

The influential Thai lawyer Wichai Thongtang is widely regarded as “one of the top names in the profession from around the globe” by his peers. He began his career in corporate law after graduating from Thammasat University in 1970. While representing several prominent Thai CEOs and corporations, he had the chance to learn about investment and the stock market.

Thongtang is involved in multiple industries; he is a lawyer, chairman of Cable Thai Holding PLC, and a 15% owner of Dusit Medical, a healthcare corporation in Bangkok.

Wichai Thongtang

4. William Lerach: $900 million

William Lerach gained his substantial fortune over his 30+ year career as a corporate lawyer specializing in private securities class action cases; nonetheless, he was disbarred in 2009 for his role in a kickback scheme.

Lerach, a graduate of the University of Pittsburg School of Law, was known as the “King of Pain” and was widely considered the most feared lawyer in America during his peak. 

The $7.12 billion judgment he received against Enron is the record for the highest amount ever recovered in a series of securities class action lawsuits.

William Lerach

5. Bill Neukom: $850 million 

Neukom is a famously generous corporate attorney who is also the current chief executive officer and creator of the World Justice Project, an organization whose mission is to increase global respect for the rule of law.

He worked at a tiny business after graduating from Stanford Law School in 1967 until Microsoft, then in its early st

ages, requested him to perform some work. Over 25 years, he worked his way up to the position of legal counsel for Microsoft. He had prior experience as a San Francisco Giants investor.

Bill Neukom.

6. Judy Sheindlin: between $150 million and $250 million

Judge Judy gets $47 million a year for being a famously no-nonsense TV judge. Judge Sheindlin, a 1965 alumna of New York Law School, began her career as a corporate attorney before deciding to pursue a career in family court prosecution after rapidly growing disillusioned with the field.

She presided over over twenty thousand cases after being nominated to the bench in 1982 and became known as a “tough” judge in the criminal court. 

This, together with her other publicationsattracted the attention of television producers, who subsequently greenlit her television series. She has also been a legal analyst on several television shows and has written seven books.

Judy Sheindlin

7. Willie E. Gary: $100 million

The likes of Anheuser-Busch and Disney are among the major companies that Willie Gary, dubbed “The Giant Killer,” has challenged. Among his many notable victories are settlements and jury awards totaling over $30 billion, garnered in various instances around the United States.

He has worked as a motivational speaker, served as a legal commentator on “The Early Show,” and is currently the managing partner at Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watson, and Gary, P.L.L.C. He is a Shaw University graduate.

Willie E. Garys

8. Roy Black: $100 million

Roy Black, a senior partner of Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf, is another attorney who specializes in civil and criminal defense. He graduated from the University of Miami.

He has been an attorney for almost 40 years, and his notable clients include Helio Castroneves, Albertson’s, Inc., William Kennedy Smith (who was acquitted of rape allegations), and others.

In addition to teaching advanced criminal evidence at the University of Miami and being a legal expert on “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America,” he is universally recognized as having “the best national reputation in Florida” among the industry’s elite.

Roy Black

9. Jane Wanjiru Michuki: $60 million

Jane Wanjiru Michuki, a managing partner at the Nairobi, Kenya-based corporate law firm Kimani & Michuki Advocate, has degrees from both Warwick University and the Kenya School of Law. The business’s clientele includes Equity Group Holdings Limited and other major Kenyan corporations.

Her wealth   is derived in part from her legal career and in part from her position as the largest female stockholder on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

Jane Wanjiru Michuki

10. John Branca: $50 million

Throughout his extensive career as an entertainment and business lawyer, John Branca—a graduate of UCLA’s School of Law—has concentrated on representing independent investors and rock and roll bands.

He is considered by many to be the best entertainment lawyer in the world, and he has represented over 30 Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. Just so you know, he’s also Michael Jackson’s co-executor.

John Branca

11. Robert Shapiro: $50 million

Robert Shapiro began his career as a criminal attorney after graduating from Loyola Law School in 1968. He is currently a senior partner with Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard, Avchen, and Shapiro, LLP.  

He decided to transition into civil litigation after working as an attorney for O.J. Simpson and other celebrities. He co-founded LegalZoom and and has a children’s book under his belt.    

Robert Shapiro

For those interested in obtaining more updates and insights about celebrities and entertainment, take a look at our earlier posts where we’ve extensively covered all the details.

12. Judge Joe Brown: $30 million 

After earning his law degree from UCLA, Judge Joe Brown became famous for his fifteen-year daily court show.

Before becoming a judge in Shelby County, Tennessee’s criminal court, he established his practice after being the first African-American prosecutor in Memphis, Tennessee.

Producers from the television industry took notice of him when he presided over James Earl Ray’s call for the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. He became wealthy mostly as a result of the show. He was unsuccessful in his 2014 bid for Shelby County district attorney general.

Judge Joe Brown_

13. Thomas Mesereau: $25 million 

National Trial Lawyers awarded Thomas Mesereau “Trial Lawyer of the Year for 2015” after he graduated from Harvard University and the University of California Hastings College of Law.

 He is also a criminal defense attorney (are you sensing a pattern here?). (His list of accomplishments includes “Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year” among many others.)

Thomas Mesereau

He has a reputation for taking on high-stakes situations with seemingly insurmountable odds and achieving remarkable outcomes.

Michael Jackson was represented by him when he was cleared of fourteen counts of child molestation, and he has now won three consecutive federal criminal jury trials, which is an extraordinary feat.

 In addition to his pro bono work with the Mesereau Free Legal Clinic, his extremely high hourly pay is kept secret.

14. Mark Geragos: $25 million 

Geragos is an accomplished criminal defense attorney and a 1992 Loyola Law School alumnus who has been a part of several historic class action lawsuits involving civil litigation.

Scott Peterson and Susan McDougal are among the many celebrities he has represented, along with Winona Ryder, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, and Michael.   

In addition to being named “One of the 100 Most Influential Attorneys in California,” his 2008 case against a pharmaceutical corporation yielded a verdict awarded more than $38 and ranks among the top 10 verdicts in California history. His present position at Geragos and Geragos is that of managing partner.

Mark Geragoss

15. Alan Dershowitz: $25 million

Alan Dershowitz wasted no time getting to work after finishing law school in 1962 at Harvard. He joined the faculty of Harvard Law School in 1964 and was promoted to full professor in 1967. (He turned 65 in 2013.)

He was simultaneously establishing himself as a prominent figure in the field of criminal law while giving classes.

Numerous famous people have hired him because of his status as the “top lawyer of last resort,” and that list includes Jim Baker, Mike Tyson, Leona Helmsley, O.J. Simpson, and Jeffrey Epstein.

On top of that, he has authored over twelve books. It was everything put together that allowed him to accumulate his riches.

Alan Dershowitz

16. David Boies: $20 million

David Boies is currently the chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner and was chief counsel for the United States Senate before that. Upon graduating from Yale University in 1966, he became famous almost immediately.

He got rich representing IBM, Napster, George Steinbrenner (NY Yankees owner), CBS, and the NBAPA during the 2011 NBA lockout, among other major firms. Fortune declares him “corporate America’s number 1 hired gun.”

David Boies

17. Lynn Toler: $15 million

Over eight years, Lynn Toler presided over Cleveland Heights, Ohio’s municipal court before becoming famous as the judge on TV’s Divorce Court since 2007. She was a civil law specialist until she was appointed a judge in municipal court in 1984, after graduating from Penn Law School.

In this capacity, she was notorious for imposing unconventional sentence structures, like essay writing, on her students. Lynn is not just a three-time author but also a divorce court presider.

Lynn Toler

18. Vernon E. Jordan Jr.: $12 million,

Vernon E. Jordan Jr. who was born in 1935 and graduated from Howard University, has had a successful legal career. (More than 70 honorary degrees from different colleges and universities are also in his possession.) 

He presently serves as a senior counsel at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, and Feld LLPwhere he primarily focuses on general council, commercial, and international law. His early work was largely concerned with civil rights issues, and he went on to advise President Clinton.

He amassed most of his wealth while working as a Wall Street banker and represented large firms like Xerox and American Express.

Vernon E. Jordan Jr.

19. Jose Baez: $8 million

Jose Baez, a 47-year-old American hero, is unquestionably famous for his 2011 defense of Casey Anthony. He enrolled in the Navy  after failing to complete high school, obtained a General Equivalency Diploma.(GED), and then earned a Juris Doctor degree from St. Thomas University School of Law.

A number of his high-profile cases have resulted in acquittals; one of these being the murder trial of Nilton Diaz, which has been called “the biggest legal upset since O.J.,” among other things.

He presently defends Aaron Hernandez, a former NFL star, and is widely believed to be the most in-demand criminal defense attorney in the United States. The best-selling book Presumed Guilty: Casey Anthony: The Inside Story was written by him as well.

Jose Baez

20. Harish Salve: $6 million

Harish Salve, a 59-year- old specialist in commercial, constitutional, and tax law, has worked tirelessly to become known as one of the best (and most costly) lawyers in India. Salve, who was the Solicitor General of India before starting his legal career, now costs clients around $45,000 per day. 

His criminal case clients have included Bollywood stars as well as several government agencies, major corporations, and entrepreneur Mukesh Ambani.

Indeed, he has kept renowned actor Salman Khan out of jail on a hit-and-run accusation, earning him the nickname “guardian angel” from fans. (The inhumane conditions in Indian prisons are well-known.)

Harish Salvel

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