If you ask a lawyer about their job, they say they go into the profession out of love. If you ask anyone else, they will say that they are in it for the money. While the truth is probably somewhere in between, there is obviously good money to be made from being a lawyer.
While you’re never going to make huge bucks while working in public service — unless you occupy one of the chief positions, such as a judge in a high court — there is a lot of money to be made in private practice. Some of the highest paying law professions include:
- Trial Lawyers
- Tax Attorneys
- Intellectual Property Attorneys
- Labor Attorneys
- Real Estate Lawyers
If you are looking to become a lawyer, you can look at the different steps required of the job by clicking here. Not all lawyers are created equal, however. Some have risen to the top through famous cases, career-defining litigation, and a great eye for a good deal. Read on below to find out who the five richest lawyers in modern history are.
1. Wichai Thongtang
Net Worth: $1.7 Billion
The only non-American lawyer to be on this list, this Thai lawyer commands seriously big bucks as an attorney. Growing up in a small suburb in Thailand alongside six other children, his time spent as a corporate lawyer saw him fighting the corner for the biggest corporations in the country. He has also represented former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, making him the most influential lawyer in the country.
The largest amount of WichaiThongtang’s wealth doesn’t actually come from being a lawyer, but from his time as an investor. He has a minority stake of about 15% of Dusit Medical. He also owns a TV company named Cable Thai Holdings, which broadcasts British soccer matches in his country. This makes him not only the richest lawyer in the world but the 17th richest Thai businessman.
2. Richard Scruggs
Image Source : gulflive.com
Net Worth: $1.7 Billion
Richard Scruggs was once the most powerful lawyer in modern America, but his fall from grace — being accused of conspiracy after famously bribing a circuit judge — led to him spending over 6 years in federal jail. This is just one part, however, of a varied career that could easily be adapted for the big screen. Starting as a Naval Officer in his early years, he served as an A6 bomber until he joined the University of Mississippi.
When he opened his own legal office in Pascagoula, Mississippi, he served in some of the most iconic cases in American history. They include asbestos litigation at the Pascagoula shipyard where workers became fatally ill; a lawsuit brought against tobacco companies that resulted in a payout of over $248 billion; a class-action lawsuit against drug manufacturer Ritalin; lawsuits again insurance companies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; and a national class action against Lehmann Brothers. These cases made him one of the richest lawyers of all time, and he has been able to retain his wealth, despite his time spent in jail.
3. Joe Jamail
Net Worth: $1.7 Billion
At the time of his death in 2015, Forbes estimated Joe Jamail to be the 373rd richest person in America. He was known to be the “King of Torts” — a type of civil law where a lawyer brings a lawsuit against someone and, in America at least, shares in the winnings upon the resolution of the case. For example, when he represented the oil company Pennzoil in a lawsuit against Texaco, his payout upon successful litigation was a whopping $335 million.
Known for his uncouth tone and often vulgar statements in court, this brash tone led him to success after success, making him the richest lawyer in America upon the time of his death. As a result of his large earnings, Jamail became a philanthropist in his later years, donating $15 million to the University of Texas in 2008 to support the Law School, as well as creating a skatepark in downtown Houston that cost over $2.7 million.
4. William Lerach
Net Worth: $900 Million
“Bill” Lerach’s biggest claim to fame is the insane $7.12 billion he obtained in a securities class action lawsuit against Enron, which still remains the largest amount ever recovered for a case of its type. This was not the only success in his career, however, as his famous litigating skills and courtroom style recovered an incredible $45 billion over the course of his career.
Just like Richard Scruggs, however, William Lerach had a notable falling out of the public eye in the wake of an illegal kickback scheme. He eventually pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and was both sent to jail and disbarred from ever practicing the law again. He managed to keep most of his vast wealth, however, and now spends his days lecturing at law schools in Berkeley and San Diego while recounting his glory days.
5. Bill Neukom
Net Worth: $850 Million
Bill Neukom’s most prominent work as a lawyer began in 1978 when Bill Gates Sr. asked him if he could help with his son’s new start-up. This would prove to be the best career decision he ever made, advising Microsoft from when it had just 12 employees to becoming the huge technology juggernaut that it is today.
He has been involved in defending the intellectual copyright of many of Microsoft’s products. He was involved in the famous Apple v. Microsoft case of 1995 and the United States v. Microsoft case of 2001, dubbed the “Trial of the Century.”
Like WichaiThongtang, Bill Neukom has another venture which accounts for a significant amount of his earnings: his time spent investing in and working as the Managing General Partner for the San Francisco Giants. But he has put his experience and money to philanthropic use also, creating a non-profit named the World Justice Project, which seeks to advance the rule of law across the world.
Article Submitted By Community Writer