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Disbarred Lawyer Named the Richest Attorney in the World
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Richard-Scruggs

Richard Scruggs. Photo courtesy of Money Inc.

Summary: Money Inc. released a list of the 20 wealthiest lawyers in the world. 

Money Inc. recently announced the world’s richest lawyer, and he’s disbarred. Richard “Dickie” Scruggs of Mississippi has an estimated $1.7 billion of wealth, and the publication stated that when he was a practicing attorney, the University of Mississippi Law School alum had accumulated almost a $1 billion suing various companies.

  
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According to Money Inc., Scruggs was best known for his fights against the tobacco and asbestos industries, but he also won major judgements in a 2000 Ritalin case and a 2003 Lehman Brothers lawsuit. In regards to the Lehman Brothers’ case, Scruggs won $51 million.

However, Scruggs’ winning streak stopped after pleading guilty for judicial corruption in 2007. He was convicted in 2008 and sentenced to federal prison for six years. Now at 70, he is a free man who was allowed to keep his wealth, and he went on the record stating that he blamed himself for his downfall. Scruggs had been convicted of bribing Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter with the promise of getting him a federal judgeship. DeLaughter had been presiding over one of Scruggs’s cases. The wealthy attorney was also convicted of bribing another judge with $40,000.

Money Inc.’s writer Nat Berman stated that he used property public records, website research, and salary information to come up with his wealth ranking of the world’s richest people in the legal profession; and his list included current and former attorneys, judges, and others in the legal field. ABA Journal reported that while some lawyers may have a higher net worth than the 20 who made the list, they did not use their law degrees and were thus ineligible.

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Berman wrote, “On average, a lawyer earns an average salary of $133, 470, which is definitely more than many people, but in the grand scheme of things, is not all that impressive.” He stated that his list of the top 20 richest lawyers focused on the super elite, not those destined to list an “upper middle class existence.”

While Scruggs reserved the number one spot, deceased attorney Joe Jamali was closely behind with $1.7 billion. Jamali was known as the “King of Torts,” and Berman included him on the list because he was the wealthiest practicing attorney until his death last December.



Thai corporate lawyer Wichai Thongtang took the third spot with $1.1 billion in wealth, and American corporate lawyer William Lerach was ranked fourth with $900 million. In 2009, Lerach was also disbarred. According to Money Inc., he lost his license because of his involvement with a kickback scheme, but while he was practicing he was known as the “King of Pain” for his massive wins. He holds the record for the largest sum ever won, a $7.12 billion judgment from Enron.

Other legal professionals on the list include Judge Judith Shiedlin, aka Judge Judy; Alan Dershowitz, Robert Shapiro, and Casey Anthony’s attorney Jose Baez.

What do you think about the lawyers on this list? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Money Inc. and ABA Journal



 

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