11 Famous Law School Dropouts

Famous Law School Dropouts 11Everybody knows someone who thought about going to law school but decided to do something else instead. And then there are those lawyers who left practicing to follow a different path. But whatever became of the law school drop out? You know, the guy who just stopped showing up to Criminal Law one day, or the woman who got up to go to the bathroom during Contracts and never came back—where did they go?

While we’re pretty sure most law school dropouts ended up in the gutter, crushed under the weight of a year and a half of loans and their own odium, a handful gained notoriety for something other than being a lawyer (though in the case of at least two members on this list, that isn’t a good thing). Here are our favorite famous law school dropouts. How do you like them now?

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Bitter Staff is a collection of current and former editors, contributors, and various other lawyers who have written for Bitter Lawyer over the years. Posts include interviews, contests, and other general lawyerly and bitter content.


  1. Bill Dugan

    May 20, 2009 at 2:43 am

    12.  Larry Peck—he dropped out of my law school after 1 year, and is now selling life insurance in Pittsburgh, PA, and making a pretty decent living ($100K).  He discovered that pretty women would still date him even if he did not have a JD, because his uncle had a profitable pickle business.

  2. BL1Y

    May 20, 2009 at 5:23 am

    They date him because it’s Pittsburgh.  $100k there makes you top dog.

  3. Anonymous

    May 20, 2009 at 5:39 am

    How is “Larry Peck” (doubt he really exists) famous?
    For a lawyer, you aren’t that great at reading, Dugan.

  4. Alex Hump

    May 20, 2009 at 6:48 am

    I found Peck.  Look him up, Anonymous, on Google.  At the very least, he’s famous to Duggy Dugmeister!  And if $100K gets him verifiably hot babes in Pittsburgh, some men will be on the next bus out there.  Anonymous, you sound like a d-bag.

  5. Anonymous

    May 20, 2009 at 7:26 am

    I am a d-bag. That much is true. But I’m not so naive to think that there are ANY hot chicks in the Pitt. Get real.

  6. Jed

    May 20, 2009 at 7:51 am

    I was fairly close to dropping out, but glad I did stay the course.

  7. Alma Federer

    May 20, 2009 at 8:55 am

    You men are gross.  You always talk about women like they are chattel.  We’re not.  We are human beings deserving of respect.  I don’t know where you were brought up, but the men I associate with are gentlemen, interested in me for more than my body.  When you guys grow up, you will appreciate women like me for what we are, not as a bunch of body parts.

    • Giordi

      June 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm


      Go make me a sandwich.

    • Scott

      June 20, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Keep telling yourself that.
      9 out of 10 of those “gentlemen” would bang you in second should the situation arise.

      Sorry you had to learn the truth on the Internet.

    • mean partner

      June 21, 2011 at 12:16 am

      iron my shirt alma

    • Sweet Lou

      June 21, 2011 at 10:03 am

      Yes Alma, you’re too educated to be thought of as having desirable body parts. Or maybe your particular “body parts” don’t bring out the manliness in men. But some women need to be in the presence of effete men to have any measure of self-esteem.

      • Vinnie

        June 21, 2011 at 11:40 am

        Your chances of getting any from her are nil, fella. You should look for hot pussy elsewhere.

      • cg

        January 2, 2012 at 1:32 am

        Thanks, asshats, for conclusively demonstrating why female law students make every reasonable effort date outside their circles of “intellectual peers.”

  8. Mark P.

    May 20, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for the big chuckle lady.

  9. Adanielch

    May 21, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Hate to burst your bubble, but this should be a ten-person list.  Lombardi was the one who did the year at Fordham.  His son, Vince Jr., graduated from William Mitchell.

  10. Movie Nerd

    May 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Dabney Coleman played Jack Flack in Cloak & Dagger, not Jack Flash.

  11. Quo Warranto

    May 22, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Robby Krieger was the principal author of “Light My Fire.”

  12. Zoul

    May 23, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Harry Truman also went to law school for a few semesters, though he never graduated college.

  13. 1st Republic 14th Star

    May 23, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Harry Truman completed two years of the four year night program at the Kansas City Law School and did not receive a degree.  He attended law school because he thought it would enable him to perform more effectively as Jackson County Judge, the administrative and executive position he held before winning election to the US Senate.  His daughter wrote that Truman could have received his law license as a professional courtesy when he was between terms as county judge, but opted not to.
    Franklin Roosevelt attended Columbia Law School from 1905 to 1907.  He passed the bar before graduating and left before receiving a degree.  Even though he passed the bar, Roosevelt’s professional career was mostly in insurance and other business ventures, not practicing law.

  14. HI

    May 30, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    I think Ted Bundy is more famous for the time that he spent at the University of Utah School of Law… A little recognition please.  Thank you.

  15. Unhappy L1

    September 10, 2009 at 8:50 am

    You forgot my favorite:  BILLY WILDER
    filmmaker, screenwriter and producer, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films
    You may know his best work: Some Like It HOT!
    .He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood’s golden age, and my personal hero. I plan on dropping out to follow in his mighty footsteps soon as I can summon the nerve.

  16. chis

    June 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    This just in: studying for the law degree is dull….

  17. Shawna

    June 20, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Ted Bundy didn’t drop out. He was precluded from continuing because of a silly little conviction for aggravated kidnapping.

  18. An_American_Thinker

    June 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    13. Bob Newhart. who dropped out of Loyola University of Chicago Lawschool. This is a fact that they (Loyola) proudly tell all incoming class members, which caused me to work on my comedic routine the better part of the three years I was there.

  19. KP

    June 20, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    “9. Vince Lombardi
    What is it with football coaches and the law?”

    Uh, duh. Same thing with football coaches and football. We have an aggressively adversarial legal system, perfect for someone so competitive. If they could just skip the learning of all the precedents and cases and laws and statutes and just get to the arguing they never would have dropped out.

  20. Shaun Jamison

    June 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Martin Luther dropped out of law school for the church when his life was spared in the thunderstorm.

    • MLKMAN

      June 1, 2013 at 1:05 am

      Dr. Luther was shot by James Earl Ray. It wasn’t storming that day either.

  21. Drummonds law

    January 27, 2012 at 7:24 am

    That is amazing that these people have gone on to be such great successes

  22. southern bitter

    March 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    there was a guy in my 1L class who dropped out. he was clearly addicted to meth and never bought his contracts book. perhaps he will serve as the inspiration for future securities legislation, or possibly become the new coach of a mediocre NFL team.

  23. Ezra

    January 17, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Well, when it comes to forsaking law school to dive into violent sports, I can’t forget to mention, as a fellow brazilian, about Rogério Minotouro (Rodrigo Minotauro’s brother – former UFC heavyweight champion). He is a son of a tax attorney who was following his father footsteps, until he realized that his brother, Minotauro, was doing well by punching people’s faces in the US. He simply dropped out of law school and got a contract with the UFC.

  24. DRH

    June 3, 2013 at 6:58 am

    Don’t forget Dan Rather.

  25. Ben

    June 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Harper Lee should also be on this list. Inspired too many damn lawyers with Mockingbird, dropped out of The University of Alabama School of Law.

  26. dh

    June 10, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Ted Bundy represented himself in his murder trial, which ultimately lead to his life conviction. As you recall, the case highlights a witness-attorney marriage: his girlfriend took the stand and gave him an alibi for the night in question. He asked her “will you marry me?” She said “Yes”. Since she was under oath, and the question conformed to the rule of evidence, while in the presence of a judge, in front of 2 witnesses without objection, the parties entered into a valid marriage! The girlfriend applied to city hall for a copy of the license and was allowed conjugal visits with Ted after incarceration because of her marital status. Her name was Carol Anne Boone. In the early 80’s (I Think) she gave birth to a child and listed Ted’s name on the birth certificate. No evidence of his paternity has been scientifically confirmed. But the marital rule still applied.

    At sentencing the judge in the case remarked that Ted was well spoken and was able to articulate the finer points of the law better than most experienced attorneys. The judge believed had Ted been able to better explain the bite marks on the final victim were not his own teeth marks (bite marks) the jury would have found in favor of the Defense. The judge noted Ted’s irrational outburst at the admission of the forensic teeth evidence did portrayed him in a very bad light.

    He was executed in Florida by the electric chair.

  27. Rochelle

    June 30, 2013 at 9:53 am

    You forget Marcel Proust, who said “In my most desperate moments, I have never conceived of anything more horrible than a law office.”

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