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Sat, 10.02.1937

Johnny Cochran Jr., Lawyer born

Johnny Cochran Jr.

Johnnie Cochran was born on this date in 1937. He was a Black attorney and entrepreneur.

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. was born at Charity Hospital in Shreveport, LA, to Johnnie L. Cochran, Sr., the son of Alonzo Cochran and the late Hattie Bass Cochran, who was the daughter of Eugene Bass. He was raised in Los Angeles, attended UCLA, and received his law degree from Loyola Marymount University.

In 1966, he founded Cochran, Atkins, and Evans law firm and earned a reputation as an outstanding trial lawyer.  In 1981, he returned to the private practice of law under the firm "Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Inc."

He is the only attorney ever in Los Angeles to receive the "Criminal Trial Lawyer of the Year" and the "Civil Trial Lawyer of the Year" awards. In 1992, the National Law Journal named him one of the ten most successful litigators in the country. In 1993, he was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, an organization whose membership comprises the top 1% of trial lawyers in the United States.

Although best known to the general public as a criminal defense lawyer, Cochran's practice consisted primarily of representing plaintiffs in tort actions. Cochran was best known for his role in the "dream team" of legal defense for O.J. Simpson during his highly-publicized murder trial. During his closing arguments in the Simpson trial, he uttered the now-famous enthymeme, "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit." Cochran was also an attorney in the defense of Sean P. Diddy Combs.

In 1995, he was named one of the ten most important people on TV by TV Guide magazine. Time magazine designated him "Headliner for 1995." In January 1996, he received the prestigious "Trumpet Award" from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Four months later, he was elected to membership in the exclusive Inner Circle of Advocates, the top 100 Plaintiff's Lawyers in the United States. In October 1996, he published his autobiography, "Journey to Justice," it was a fixture on several Best Seller Lists, including the New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

He also represented former Black Panther Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt, who spent 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. When Cochran helped Pratt win his freedom in 1997, he called the moment "the happiest day of my life practicing law."  In January 1999, he became the Senior Partner in the National Plaintiffs and Personal Injury Law Firm, Cochran, Cherry, Givens, and Smith, which has offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Dothan, Tuskegee, and Montgomery, Mobile, AL, Atlanta, and Chicago.

His practice, The Cochran Firm, was formed through a series of mergers, office expansions, and regional partnerships, which all specialized in personal injury cases. In February 1999, he was honored at a special reception as one of the top 50 trial lawyers of 1999 by the Los Angeles Business Journal.  In 2003 he received the BLACK HISTORY MAKER award from the Associated Black Charities. He lived in Los Angeles and New York City with his wife, Dr. Dale Mason Cochran, and his father, Johnnie L. Cochran, Sr. He had three children: Melodie, Tiffany, and Jonathan.

Johnny Cochran, Jr., died on March 29, 2005, at his home in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles of an inoperable brain tumor, according to his brother-in-law Bill Baker. His wife and his two sisters were with him at the time of his death.

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