11 Famous Law School Dropouts

Bitter Staff Editor's Choice, law school, Lawyer 34 Comments

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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  • Bill Dugan

    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.

  • BL1Y

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

  • Anonymous

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

  • Alex Hump

    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.

  • Anonymous

    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.

  • Jed

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

  • Alma Federer

    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


      Go make me a sandwich.

    • Scott

      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

      iron my shirt alma

    • Sweet Lou

      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

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

      • cg

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

  • Mark P.

    Thanks for the big chuckle lady.

  • Adanielch

    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.

  • Movie Nerd

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

  • Quo Warranto

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

  • Zoul

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

  • 1st Republic 14th Star

    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.

  • HI

    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.

  • Unhappy L1

    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.

  • chis

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

  • Shawna

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

  • An_American_Thinker

    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.

  • KP

    “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.

  • Shaun Jamison

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

    • MLKMAN

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

  • Drummonds law

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

  • southern bitter

    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.

  • Ezra

    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.

  • DRH

    Don’t forget Dan Rather.

  • Ben

    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.

  • dh

    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.

  • Rochelle

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