Johnnie Cochran: Famous Lawyer Who Defended OJ Simpson

Johnnie Cochran lawyer in court

Written by Aaron R. Winston
Last Updated: May 22, 2024 10:51am CDT

Description: Discover the remarkable life and career of Johnnie Cochran, the legendary lawyer who rose to prominence defending high-profile clients like O.J. Simpson.

This video titled, Johnnie Cochran: The Lawyer Who Made “If It Doesn’t Fit, You Must Acquit” Famous delves into Johnnie Cochran’s journey from humble beginnings to legal superstardom, highlighting his unwavering commitment to civil rights and justice for all.

Video Transcript:

Hey everyone. Thank you for clicking play. You are now watching a video about the legendary criminal defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran.

Before we get started, I want to welcome you to the Express Legal Funding Channel. I’m Rhonda, a top-rated voice talent and a favorite among our loyal fanbase. In the next five minutes, we’ll tell you all about the life story from birth to death of high-profile lawyer Johnnie Cochran.

Johnnie Cochran Jr. was born on October 2, 1937, in Shreveport, Louisiana. His father, Johnnie Cochran Sr., worked as an insurance salesman, and his mother, Hattie Bass Cochran, sold Avon products.

Cochran and his family moved to Los Angeles in 1949 during the second wave of what is known as the Great Migration.

Inspired by Thurgood Marshall’s winning case Brown v. Board of Education, establishing racial segregation in American schools as unconstitutional, Johnnie Cochran felt called to focus his career on challenging injustices through the legal system. He was an early and outspoken advocate for civil rights and police brutality victims.

Excelling in academics, the young Johnnie Cochran graduated first in his class from Los Angeles High School before attending UCLA, where he earned a BA in business economics in 1959. Three years later, in 1962, he received his Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School.

After passing the California Bar exam in 1963, his early legal career included a stint as a deputy city attorney in Los Angeles.

In 1964, he prosecuted a criminal case against Lenny Bruce, a boundary-breaking comedian, who had been arrested on obscenity charges.

Johnnie Cochran’s first notable private practice lawsuit was a wrongful death case brought by Leonard Deadwyler’s widow against the city of Los Angeles because a police officer shot and killed her husband after he was pulled over for allegedly speeding while driving her when she was pregnant to the hospital. Despite being a court loss, it was a turning point in his career as the case gained significant attention.

In the years to follow, Cochran built a significant reputation in the Black community by litigating police brutality cases.

Returning to the LA County DA’s office in 1978 as First Assistant District Attorney, Cochran sought to build political connections by taking the government position, describing the move as wanting to become one of the good guys, one of the very top rung.

In the early 1980s, Cochran switched back to private practice, establishing the Johnnie L Cochran Jr. law firm and branding himself as “the best in the West.” Cochran made a big splash when he secured a settlement worth $760,000 for the family of Ron Settles, a Black college football player whose family alleged he was killed by the police after being arrested.

Cochran’s legal defense strategies often involved highlighting racial tensions and police misconduct, which garnered both praise and criticism. Adversaries accused him of playing the “race card,” but Cochran maintained that he focused on the issue of race to establish reasonable doubt.

Cochran’s successful criminal defense representation of O.J. Simpson in 1995, who stood accused of two counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances for the stabbing deaths of O.J.’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, skyrocketed the already successful Cochran to be a household name at an international level.

Cochran was the lead defense attorney and prominent voice among the lawyers in O.J.’s “Dream Team.” During the trial, he told the jury the now famous line about the black leather glove worn by the killer during the murders, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” to suggest Simpson’s innocence.

In addition to O.J. Simpson, the list of Cochran’s celebrity criminal defense clients who were successfully acquitted included rapper and music producer Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, who was facing bribery and stolen weapons indictments, his last case before retiring in 2002.

Diagnosed with a brain tumor in late 2003, Cochran died on March 29, 2005, after undergoing surgery the prior year. His death was widely mourned, and a memorial service was held at the West Angeles Cathedral with many former clients attending, including pop singer Michael Jackson.

Cochran’s legacy includes the official renaming of his childhood middle school in his honor and there being a brain tumor research center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles named for him. His impact on civil rights and the practice of law endure long past his death.

Oh, wait! That’s not all. I have a special message for you. If you are watching this directly on YouTube and it did not make you cry, that’s a good thing, so please hit like and subscribe. Your like makes a big difference for our video creation team at Express Legal Funding. Stay safe out there, my friend. And see you next time!

About the Author

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Strategy Director at Express Legal Funding | Author Website

Aaron Winston is the Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding. As "The Legal Funding Expert," Aaron has more than ten years of experience in the consumer finance industry. Most of which was as a consultant to a top financial advisory firm, managing 400+ million USD in client wealth. He is recognized as an expert author and researcher across multiple SEO industries.
Aaron Winston earned his title "The Legal Funding Expert" through authoritative articles and blog posts about legal funding. He specializes in expert content writing for pre-settlement funding and law firm blogs.
Each month, tens of thousands of web visitors read his articles and posts. Aaron's thoroughly researched guides are among the most-read lawsuit funding articles over the past year.
As Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding, Aaron has devoted thousands of hours to advocating for the consumer. His "it factor" is that he is a tireless and inventive thought leader who has made great strides by conveying his legal knowledge and diverse expertise to the public. More clients and lawyers understand the facts about pre-settlement funding because of Aaron's legal and financial service SEO mastery.
Aaron Winston is the author of A Word For The Wise. A Warning For The Stupid. Canons of Conduct, which is a book in poetry format. It consists of 35 unique canons. The book was published in 2023.
He keeps an academic approach to business that improves the consumer's well-being. In early 2022, Aaron gained the Search Engine Optimization and the Google Ads LinkedIn skills assessment badges. He placed in the top 5% of those who took the SEO skills test assessment.
Aaron's company slogans and lawsuit funding company name are registered trademarks of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He has gained positive notoriety via interviews and case studies, which are a byproduct of his successes. Aaron R. Winston was featured in a smith.ai interview (2021) and a company growth case study (2022).
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Aaron was born in Lubbock, TX, where he spent the first eight years of his life. Aaron attended Akiba Academy of Dallas, TX.

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