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Lawyers Turned Artists, Musicians, and Playwrights

August 7, 2015 Hastings and Hastings

Something about studying the law hones legal students’ understanding of the human condition. Naturally, many of these students who are already intellectually gifted gravitate towards the arts. Indeed, the promise of making more money for less work pulls some great lawyers away from law and into the arts. Below are a few examples.


Most people don’t think of music men when they think of lawyers, nevertheless, there is a significant number of lawyers who have turned musicians, many of whom have contributed some great musical numbers to the expansive canon of musical pieces over the past 500 years. The Star-Spangled Banner was composed by Francis Scott Key, an attorney by trade; Clive Davis, a renowned producer at Columbia Records, received a law degree from Harvard and served as general counsel to the record label before taking over the production reins. Lastly, Paul Simon (of Simon and Garfunkel) studied law before abandoning it for music. 

Notable Artists

The list of lawyers turned artists is vast and extensive. First off, the best playwright of the eighteenth century, Pierre Marivaux was an accomplished lawyer. The writer of the television shows, Ally McBeal, Picket Fences, and The Practice had his own practice in Boston before turning to the small screen. The writer of the New York Times crossword puzzle, a one Will Shorts, is a lawyer who claims to be an “enigmatologist.” Lead writer of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Melinda Snodgrass is a lawyer turned science fiction author. Elizabeth Holloway of BU Law created Wonder Woman. Leonard Horn studied law at UVA and he also is the CEO overseeing the annual Miss America Pageant. Lawyers are everywhere.