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: He was the tenth President of the United States when President William Henry Harrison died in April 1841. He was the first Vice President to succeed in the Presidency after the death of his predecessor. He was a lawyer by trade and became Governor of Tennessee after his election in 1844.
  • James Polk: He was a lawyer, surveyor and railroad worker He was the eleventh President of the United States.
  • Millard Fillmore: He was a lawyer, political leader, minister of finance, diplomat and statesman. He was educated in the state schools, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1813.
  • Franklin Pierce: He was a lawyer, judge, and governor of the American state of New Hampshire. He was the fourteenth President of the United States.
  • James Buchanan: He was a statesman, lawyer, soldier, author, and diplomat who helped found the United States and signed the Declaration of Independence.
  • Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln was the president during the Civil War, and his administration was a time of success and failure. He was a former statesman, lawyer, journalist, soldier and president of the United States.
  • Rutherford B. Hayes: He was a statesman, lawyer, congressman, minister, and the nineteenth President of the United States from 1877-1881.
  • Chester Arthur: He was a statesman, lawyer, and professor, who had also been an admiral of the United States Navy and a delegate to
    the Republican National Convention.
  • Grover Cleveland: He was a statesman, lawyer, and businessman. He became President when William McKinley was assassinated. He studied law in
    St. Louis, Missouri and began his law practice in 1866.
  • Benjamin Harrison: He was a statesman, lawyer, soldier, and U.S. Representative for the state of Indiana. As U.S. President in 1891-93, Harrison achieved the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act and the creation of the National Cordage Company.
  • William McKinley: His important role was to establish relations between the two nations on a more cordial basis. He was a statesman, lawyer, a Union veteran of the Civil War and the twenty-fifth President of the United States.
  • William Taft: He was a lawyer, judge, and statesman, and a member of the commission which framed the constitution of Ohio. He graduated from the Cincinnati Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1839.
  • Woodrow Wilson: He was the twenty-eighth President of the United States. He was a statesman, lawyer, and diplomat, of the preeminent stature of his era. He was the first United States President to hold foreign office as a diplomat.
  • Calvin Coolidge: He was a statesman, lawyer, soldier, college president and the thirtieth President of the United States.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt: Roosevelt was considered “The Golden-Gate President,” having been elected in 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression. He was a statesman, lawyer, a World War I veteran who served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Richard Nixon: He was the thirty-seventh President of the United States, a statesman, lawyer, statesman, and a diplomat.
  • Gerald Ford: He was a statesman, lawyer and Christian man, who dedicated his life to God and our country. He was honored in the presence of our current leaders.
  • Bill Clinton: He was a statesman, lawyer, US Senator, governor, secretary of state, US president, and Rhodes Scholar. He focused his term on expanding education in the United States, with a particular focus on the poor and minorities.
  • Barack Obama: Obama was the 44th president of the United States and the nation’s first black president, was a statesman, a lawyer, a law and order man and a politician.