Cochran legacy

Johnnie Cochran Jr.

Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.

October 2, 1937 – March 29, 2005

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. has been recognized as an outstanding trial lawyer, civil libertarian and philanthropist throughout the world. As a seasoned litigator, Johnnie was considered to be one of the leading authorities on the criminal and civil justice system, as well as an international leader in the legal profession.

Mr. Cochran’s story is one of great trials and great success; his grace as a man only equaled by the fierceness with which he defended his clients. Follow along as we tell the great litigator’s rise from Shreveport, Louisiana to being known as one of the most influential and important attorneys of all time.
This is the Cochran story.



The name Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. is known all over the world.  When asked most people will people will talk about his famous cases and clients, his unique fashion sense and colorful ties, or even his numerous references in popular culture and music.  This year we want to celebrate the life and legacy of our founding partner by telling Mr. Cochran’s story and focus on the parts of his life that truly represent who he was as a man and as an attorney.  From the work ethic and values that were […]


Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. was born on October 2, 1937 in Shreveport, Louisiana.   His great-grandparents were slaves and his grandfather was a sharecropper.  His father, Johnnie Cochran, Sr., and mother, Hattie B. Cochran,  raised Johnnie with a work ethic that would take him from the Jim Crow Era South to the upper echelon of the American legal system.  Known around the world for high-profile celebrity cases, it was Mr. Cochran’s early life and career that would mold him into the civil rights attorney and philanthropist he was to […]

Did You Know?

Johnnie Cochran began reading at the age of 3 and one of his favorite boyhood books was The Encyclopedia Britannica. Seeing the photos and maps of all the different nations influenced his desire to see as much of the […]

Sundays & the move to California

Throughout his childhood church was a constant presence in Johnnie’s life.  Sunday’s started early in the Cochran household.  By the time the family was ready Johnnie’s mother had breakfast on the table and would already be working on the greens and other slow-cooked dishes for Sunday dinner.  After breakfast they would walk to Little Union Baptist Church as a family in time to arrive early before the service started at 11:00 A.M.  Johnnie’s fraternal grandmother, Hannah Cochran (or “Big Auntie” as they called her), sang in the choir and his father was a {…}

Horizons – Elementary through High School

The family’s move to California offered Johnnie experiences and opportunities that would have been unimaginable in Louisiana.  The schools that he attended in both Almeda and Los Angeles were not only integrated, but some of the best schools in the country at the time.  From elementary school to law school Johnnie was always guided by his father’s words, “Progress demands continuous study and growth.”  By the time they moved from the bay area to Los Angeles Johnnie was already showing an exceptional aptitude in {…}

Did You Know?

Mt. Vernon Middle School in Los Angeles, where Johnnie attended as a child, was renamed as Johnnie L. Cochran Middle School in 2006. The road to the school was {…}

Separate But Equal

As the time approached for Johnnie to transition to high school, his father once again made moves to improve his son’s chances for success.  While Johnnie was originally intended to go to Dorsey High, due to the strict geographic restrictions of the L.A. public school system, his father had secured for him a spot at Los Angeles High School.  “L.A. High has the reputation as the best public school in Los Angeles,” his father told him.  “That’s where your mother and I want you to go.”   This opportunity would prove {…}


During his time in high school Johnnie was quarterback for his JV and varsity teams.  The pressure of the position taught him that how we perform during times of stress reveals a lot about a person’s character.  In addition to sports and the numerous academic clubs he participated in Johnnie also always held a job.  As a paperboy collecting subscription money he learned how to discern between good hearted people who were simply down on their luck and those who were simply trying to get one over on him.  As a catering server for {…}

Geronimo Pratt Memorial Speech

On this day 15 years ago Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. left to his partners and protégés the legacy of his law practice to continue on in his name.  On April 6, 2005 his friend and client Geronimo Pratt spoke at his Homegoing Service in Los Angeles.  Winning Geronimo’s freedom after 27 years of being falsely imprisoned was Mr. Cochran’s proudest moment as an attorney.  Mr. Pratt’s words speak not only to who Mr. Cochran was as a person, but also {…}

Did You Know?

Johnnie Cochran graduated top of his {…}


Johnnie Cochran attended the University of California in Los Angeles for his undergraduate degree.  The competition at Los Angeles Highschool was nothing when compared to the atmosphere at U.C.L.A.  While Johnnie worked through the summer to pay his tuition, he learned that members of his study group spent their summer reading through their textbooks.  Once, when a professor announced that the class was responsible for reviewing an article placed on reserve in the library, Johnnie found {…}

Did You Know?

Johnnie L. Cochran learned he passed the California Bar on {…}

Law School

Johnnie L. Cochran graduated from U.C.L.A. in 1959 and made the decision to attend Loyola Law School.  On top of the grueling regimen at Loyola, Johnnie worked, was married in his first year, and had his first child during his third year.  He had also found a job in his chosen profession and became the first African American law clerk in the office of the Los Angeles city attorney.  The city attorney and his deputies represent the city government and its agencies in all legal matters.  When his superiors noticed {…}

Did You Know?

Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. was hired as the first African-American law clerk in the office of {…}

National Organization