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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What if they'd stayed in law school?

Michael Madison (guesting at Faculty Lounge) started a discussion about famous people who have started, but not completed, law school before going on to fame and fortune. He and his commenters have identified Gene Kelly, Paul Simon, and Cole Porter (who, while giving up the law, famously set the old standard for summary judgment in a case still included in many case books, even if students no longer know who Porter was).

Can you think of others? Leave comments here or at The Lounge (or both).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 23, 2012 at 06:18 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink


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According to Business Insider, there are six presidents who dropped out of law school: Woodrow Wilson, William McKinley, LBJ, FDR, Theodore Roosevelt, and Truman. Also, Al Gore dropped out of Vanderbilt Law School.


Posted by: Jason Marisam | Oct 23, 2012 7:19:00 PM

On par with Teddy Roosevelt: Demetri Martin, famous for his "trendspotting" segment on the Daily Show, briefly attended NYU Law. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-february-28-2008/trendspotting---youthquake

Posted by: Adam Zimmerman | Oct 23, 2012 7:51:07 PM

There are many, including Goethe,Heine and Kafka. For a list, see http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_von_Dichterjuristen.

Posted by: James Maxeiner | Oct 23, 2012 9:41:25 PM

Billionaire Les Wexner, founder of the Limited, dropped out of Ohio State's law school during his first year. Wexner told a reporter in 2003 that he "hated" law school "because it wasn't creative enough." http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fsb/fsb_archive/2003/09/01/350795/index.htm

Posted by: Deborah J Merritt | Oct 23, 2012 9:48:16 PM

Henry James, a famous HLS drop out....

Posted by: I. Glenn Cohen | Oct 23, 2012 10:02:50 PM

Paul Cezanne may fit in this category. He acceded to his father's insistence that he go to law school despite his crazy ambition to become a painter. I bet a large subset of law school dropouts are those who gave into to parental pressure to study law.

Posted by: Darryl Brown | Oct 24, 2012 2:19:23 AM

Perception of the rest of the world: anyone who's anyone in America went to law school, even if only for a semester. Except actors.

Posted by: Thomas NZ | Oct 24, 2012 4:13:44 AM

Justice Jackson dropped out of Albany Law School after one year.

Posted by: JMD | Oct 25, 2012 12:48:23 PM

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