Historical Hero or Criminal Lawyer? Four People You Didn’t Know Were Attorneys

While we remember a few famous historical and political figures for the powerful effects they have had on the world, it’s easy to forget that many of these influential figures started small. Following their passions may have been more important than their careers as criminal lawyers or immigration attorneys, but the lives of these four figures took root in the field of law.


That’s right: the force for change who peacefully led India to independence started out as a lawyer. Having studied law and jurisprudence in London, he attempted to establish his own practice in Bombay. However, he found himself unable to speak at the loud volumes needed in court and felt that cross-examining witnesses was too difficult for him. Instead, he went on to fight deep-rooted injustices in his nation – though he might have benefited from a criminal lawyer himself during his scrapes with the country’s legal system.

Fidel Castro

Cuban politician and revolutionary Fidel Castro first began studying law at the University of Havana in 1945. During this time, he found himself becoming increasingly involved in the nation’s politics, later campaigning in favor of drastic government reform. Though he initially fought against Batista’s 1952 seizure of power by legal means, the inefficacy of this strategy eventually led him to using more dangerous methods, and he organized his fellow rebels to mount an assault against the government.

Francis Scott Key

Best known for writing the lyrics to the American national anthem, Francis Scott Key was born into a family of prominent attorneys and followed their choice of occupation. During the War of 1812, Key was present during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814, having come to use his legal skills to help negotiate the release of several prisoners. At dawn following the battle, Key witnessed, and later described in his poem, the American flag waving despite the military assault. The rest, of course, is history.

Nelson Mandela

Prominent anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela got his start in law at the University of Fort Hare. He later secured a place as the only native African student attending the University of Witwatersrand, despite the racism he experienced within its walls. During this time in his career, he had the opportunity to meet and befriend liberal thinkers from a mixture of races and nationalities. The period he spent studying and practicing law cemented his views that Africans were meant to help put an end to racial segregation.

These are just a few of the prominent historical figures who once passed the bar exam. If you aim to make a change in the world, it might be a good idea to get your start as a criminal lawyer or a civil attorney. Who knows where your path may lead?

When it comes to finding a criminal lawyer, Salem, MA residents can learn more by visiting http://www.maclachlanallen.com/criminal-law.

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