Presidents Who Were Lawyers

Today is Presidents’ Day in the United States. If you didn’t know, President Nixon started Presidents’ Day to honor all past presidents of the U.S.

While we are celebrating all of our past Presidents, we’d like to take a look specifically at the Presidents who were lawyers. Below we have created a list of presidents who worked as lawyers before they took the highest office.

  • John Adams: Adams was the second president of the United States. A farmer, lawyer, writer and political philosopher; he played a major role in American history.
  • Thomas Jefferson: He was a lawyer, statesman, professor, writer, and the third president of the United States, during which time he wrote the Declaration of Independence with John Adams. He also played an important role in establishing the structure of the Library of Congress.
  • James Madison: He was one of the Founding Fathers and fourth president of the United States. A student of law and classical political theory, Madison was the leading author of the Bill of Rights.
  • James Monroe: He was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and Founding Father and fifth president of the United States during the time of the War of 1812.
  • John Q. Adams: He was an American statesman, journalist, diplomat, lawyer, and sixth president of the United States.
  • Martin Van Buren: He was the eighth President of the United States and became the youngest person ever to become President at that time. He studied law in New York, and was admitted to the New York bar in 1802.
  • John Tyler
  • James Polk
  • Millard Fillmore
  • Franklin Pierce
  • James Buchanan
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Rutherford B. Hayes
  • Chester Arthur
  • Grover Cleveland
  • Benjamin Harrison
  • William McKinley
  • William Taft
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Calvin Coolidge
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Richard Nixon
  • Gerald Ford
  • Bill Clinton
  • Barack Obama