Remembering Johnnie Cochran,Johnnie-Cochran-small

Founding Partner of the Cochran Firm

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.
October 2, 1937 - March 29, 2005

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. has been recognized as an outstanding trial lawyer, civil libertarian and philanthropist throughout the world. As a seasoned litigator, Johnnie was considered to be one of the leading authorities on the criminal and civil justice system, as well as an international leader in the legal profession.

The Early Years

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Johnnie Cochran moved with his family to California in 1949. In 1959 he received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of California Los Angeles. Johnnie later attended Loyola Law School in Los Angeles where he received his Juris Doctor. Johnnie’s early legal career began in the City Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles in 1963 where he was assigned to the criminal division. After several years, Johnnie entered private practice and founded a Los Angeles-based law firm where he developed a practice handling a substantial volume of both civil and criminal cases.

Making a Name in Los Angeles

In 1978, Johnnie 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 was responsible for over 600 lawyers. But by 1981, Johnnie was eager to return back to his private practice. Over the next decade he settled and tried to verdict numerous landmark, high-profile cases. His reputation as a brilliant litigator lead to his involvement in the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, which in turn lead to the entire world discovering his brilliance.

The Cochran Nation

Although widely known as an outstanding trial lawyer, it was ironically Johnnie’s role as lead counsel for the O.J. Simpson criminal case that brought him international recognition. After the O.J. trial Johnnie was in high demand, and he sought the best avenue to bring his message of justice and fairness to the nation. At CourtTV, Johnnie provided advice to Americans seeking legal help though the shows “Cochran and Grace” and “Johnnie Cochran Tonight”. But Johnnie realized that his true passion was to represent clients in the courtroom. In 1999 Johnnie re-dedicated himself to his private practice, with a goal of becoming a true nationwide firm that could represent clients coast to coast. The Cochran Firm has grown tremendously over years and now consists of over 120 attorneys.

Johnnie’s Accomplishments

Johnnie Cochran surrounded by media

Johnnie is the only attorney in Los Angeles to ever 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 Time magazine. In 1999, he was named one of the “Top 50 Trial Attorneys of 1999” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

In 1996, Johnnie 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 America. He was also a member of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers, which is comprised of leading trial attorneys from throughout the world.

Giving Back to the Community

In addition to his professional career, Johnnie published two autobiographies, established learning centers, and endowed scholarship funds. In 1996, Journey to Justice became a best seller, followed by A Lawyer’ Life in 2002. Johnnie always maintained an interest in communities and outreach programs. He helped establish the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Academy of Legal Studies and Community Service in East Orange, New Jersey. He also assisted in the development of the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Center for Early Learning at Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Johnnie established 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, Louisiana.

The Legacy

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. It was Johnnie’s dream to bring justice to all Americans who suffer because of the wrongdoings of individuals, corporations, or governmental entities. This dream was realized when Johnnie became founding partner of the national law firm of Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith, P.C. The Cochran Firm, as it is known today, has become one of the largest 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.


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