Johnnie Cochran

Johnnie Cochran represented well-known clients including Michael Jackson and O. J. Simpson in cases involving police misconduct.

Who Was Johnnie Cochran?

Johnnie Cochran was a prominent American lawyer known for his role as the defense attorney in the high-profile O.J. Simpson murder trial in the 1990s. He was a skilled and charismatic attorney who became famous for his catchphrase, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” which became synonymous with the Simpson trial.

Johnnie Cochran
Photo: American Archive/Celeblifegrphy

Cochran was a civil rights advocate and a successful criminal defense lawyer, representing numerous high-profile clients during his career. He passed away on March 29, 2005, in Los Angeles, California but left a lasting impact on the legal profession and public consciousness.

Early Life

Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., born on October 2, 1937, in Shreveport, Louisiana, was an American trial lawyer who became a prominent figure in the legal field. He was raised in a middle-class family His father, Johnnie Cochran Sr., worked as an insurance salesman, and his mother sold Avon products. In 1949, the family moved to Los Angeles as part of the second wave of the Great Migration.


He attended Los Angeles High School, where he excelled academically and in extracurricular activities. Johnnie Cochran went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in business economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He then attended Loyola Law School, where he graduated in 1962 and was admitted to the State Bar of California.


In the early stages of his career, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. worked for the city of Los Angeles as a deputy city attorney. He gained valuable courtroom experience and developed his skills in criminal prosecution. However, he soon shifted his focus to criminal defense work.

Law Firm

Johnnie Cochran founded his own law firm in 1965, known as Cochran, Atkins & Evans. He became known for his dedication to fighting for justice and representing clients who had been victims of police brutality and racial injustice. He successfully handled numerous high-profile cases involving civil rights violations and wrongful death lawsuits.

Cases Involving Police

The pivotal moment in Cochran’s career came in 1994 when he joined the defense team for O.J. Simpson in the highly publicized trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson & Ronald Goldman. Cochran’s charismatic style, powerful courtroom presence, and his famous phrase “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” made a lasting impression on the public and helped secure Simpson’s acquittal.

Jonnie Cochran O.J. Simpson Trial And Clients

Following the Simpson trial, Johnnie Cochran continued to represent high-profile clients, including celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Abner Louimaand, Sean Combs. He was also involved in advocating for causes related to civil rights and racial equality. Cochran’s legacy in the legal field is marked by his relentless pursuit of justice, his commitment to defending the rights of the marginalized, and his impact on the practice of law.

Famous Cases

In 2001, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs was indicted on bribery and stolen weapons charges. He hired Johnnie Cochran for his defense. He effectively fought for Combs’ freedom, and Combs was ultimately acquitted. In 2002, Cochran informed Combs that this would be his last criminal case.

Johnnie Cochran also represented Michael Jackson when he faced accusations of child molestation in 1993. However, the case was ultimately settled out of court by Jackson and his accuser. When Jackson faced further criminal charges for molestation allegations in 2004, his family sought advice from Cochran, who recommended defense attorney Thomas Mesereau.

Depictions in Media (Comedian)

After the Simpson trial, Cochran was a frequent commentator in law-related television shows Inside America’s Courts and was also featured on a number of TV programs, including Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Chris Rock Show, and The Roseanne Show as well as the Spike Lee film Bamboozled (2000). Additionally, he hosted his own show, Johnnie Cochran Tonight, on CourtTV. With the Simpson fame also came movie deals.

Johnnie L Cochran Jr. was an actor who had a successful Hollywood career. He began his acting career with roles in the series “Martin” (Fox, 1991-97) and “Arli$” (HBO, 1996-2003). He had an early role on the television special “Bob Jones: Godfather of Black Hollywood ” (BET, 1994-95). He also appeared in the TV special “The 1998 Soul Train Christmas Starfest” (1998-99). He was married to Sylvia Dale Mason and Barbara Jean Berry.

Later Work And Cause Of Death

In December 2003, Johnnie Cochran was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In April 2004, he underwent surgery and subsequently limited his media appearances. However, he did inform the New York Post that he was feeling well and in good health. Sadly, Cochran passed away on March 29, 2005, at his Los Angeles home due to complications from the brain tumor. His impact on the field of law, as well as popular culture, continues to be felt today.

Interesting Facts

  • Article Title: Johnnie Cochran Biography
  • Full Name: Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.
  • Birth Year: 1937
  • Birth Date: October 2, 1937
  • Birth City: Shreveport
  • Birth State: Louisiana
  • Birth Country: United States
  • Gender: Male
  • Well Known For: Attorney Johnnie Cochran represented well-known clients including Michael Jackson and O. J. Simpson in cases involving police misconduct.
  • Industries: Law
  • Net Worth: $8 Million
  • Spouse: Sylvia Dale (m. 1985–2005), Barbara Berry Cochran (m. 1960–1977).
  • Education: Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
  • Children: Tiffany Cochran, Jonathan Cochran, Melodie Cochran
  • Parents: Johnnie L. Cochran, Sr., Hattie Bass Cochran
  • Death Year: 2005
  • Death date: March 29, 2005
  • Death State: California
  • Death City: Los Angeles
  • Author: Editors

Famous Quotes

  • Money will determine whether the accused goes to prison or walks out of the courtroom a free man.
  • I’m a big believer in the fact that life is about preparation, preparation, preparation.
  • I decided I wanted to be a lawyer when I was 11 years of age.
  • We’ve got to be judged by how we do in times of crisis.