America’s Lawyer-Presidents

Trade Paper – $29.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2618-3
Publication Date
August 2009
Page Count
392 pages
Trim Size
7 x 10

America’s Lawyer-Presidents

From Law Office to Oval Office
Norman Gross

The historic election of Barack Obama was rife with references to Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the greatest lawyer-president, whose legal career spanned 25 years and 5,100 cases. President Obama’s ties to Lincoln are part of a great tradition begun by John Adams, the first lawyer-president, who combined a twenty-year law practice with major contributions to our nation’s founding charters. His son, John Quincy Adams, argued landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases both before and after his presidency, one of eight lawyer-presidents to appear as counsel before the highest court in the land. And Rutherford B. Hayes and Benjamin Harrison were among those lawyer-presidents who handled notable high-profile cases, including sensational murder trials.

These are but a few of the fascinating—yet still largely unknown—stories about America’s lawyer-presidents. Now available in an updated, expanded paperback edition, America’s Lawyer-Presidents sheds light on the legal backgrounds of each of these chief executives and how their experiences as lawyers impacted and shaped their presidencies. Written by historians and presidential scholars and featuring an engaging and image-rich presentation, America’s Lawyer-Presidents provides unique insights into our national leaders and their lives and times, from colonial days to the present.

About the Author
A lawyer and educator, Norman Gross is currently director of the ABA Museum of Law in Chicago. He formerly served as director of Entrepreneurial Projects for the ABA and headed its Division for Public Education. America's Lawyer Presidents is a co-publication with the American Bar Association Museum of Law.

Individual chapters on the "lawyer-Presidents" have been written by professors, lawyers, and historians of the Presidency.

"Twenty-five of the United States' forty-three Presidents have been lawyers, and yet their careers as attorneys have tended to receive scant attention when compared to their political lives, even though the training and activity of these men as lawyers often contributed deeply to their views on American institutions. America's Lawyer-Presidents, which is the work of an impressive assembly of respected scholars, is lucid, informative, and highly engaging. The book provides intriguing biographical perspectives on the professional lives of a number of our most influential citizens, and also demonstrates yet again the profound relationship between the development of American law and our democracy." -Scott Turow, commenting on the first edition