Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.
October 2, 1937 – March 29, 2005
Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. has been recognized as a civil rights libertarian, philanthropist and one of the most outstanding trial lawyers. As a seasoned litigator, Mr. Cochran was considered to be one of the leading authorities on the criminal, as well as the civil, justice system. He is known as an international leader in the legal profession.
Johnnie Cochran was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and later moved with his family to California. He obtained an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles, before attending Loyola Law School in Los Angeles where he received his Juris Doctor. Mr. Cochran’s early legal career began in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office 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 that handled a substantial volume of both civil and criminal cases.
In 1978, Mr. Cochran 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 over six hundred lawyers.
Three years later, he was eager to return to private practice where he soon began obtaining record verdicts for victims of negligence. As his remarkable achievements continued, Mr. Cochran settled or tried to verdict numerous landmark, high-profile cases.
Although widely known as an outstanding trial lawyer, it was Mr. Cochran’s role as lead counsel for the O.J. Simpson murder 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, Mr. Cochran 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 Cochran published two autobiographies. In 1996, Journey To Justice became a best seller, followed by A Lawyer’s Life in 2002.
Mr. Cochran always maintained a firm 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.
It was Mr. Cochran’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 he 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.