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How do you define success? Is it making a ton of money, win or lose? How about fame, without an astronomical fortune? Or do we look to the greater purpose of one's career, such as decades of public service or becoming the champion of hopeless causes?
For young lawyers especially, we'll all face that choice at some point: are we chasing bigger figures, or do we want to make a difference? Twenty years after the "Trial of the Century," the famed lawyers and judge of the O.J. Simpson criminal trial have taken widely divergent paths.
Which do you think is the biggest success?
Over 500 trials later, he's still on the Los Angeles Superior Court's bench, though budget cuts forced the closure of his own courtroom in 2012. His term ends this year, but he has declined to seek reelection. Instead, he plans on learning how to play the guitar. One also wonders if his past reservations regarding speaking and writing about the O.J. trial might subside, since he'll no longer be on the bench. After all, who wouldn't want to read the judicial perspective of presiding over such an infamous circus of a trial.
Clark took leave from the D.A.'s office after the Simpson trial and never returned. Instead, she signed a $4.2 million deal for her memoirs of the trial, made a few television appearances, and in the last few years, has turned to writing murder mystery novels.
Darden also left the D.A.'s office after the Simpson acquittal and after a few years as an undergraduate and law professor, started his own criminal defense and civil litigation firm. He's had a much more prolific television and writing career than Clark, appearing on "every major television news or talk show," according to Wikipedia. He also co-authored a New York Times bestseller and hosted a syndicated legal show, Power of Attorney.
If fame and fortune are the measure, the late Johnnie Cochran might be your man. He not only handled famous police brutality cases, and celebrity criminal defense, but he built a nationwide chain of law firms before his death, was a multi-millionaire, and to this day, is a household name.
Scheck and Neufeld were both on the Simpson defense team, with Scheck handling the DNA and forensics in the televised O.J. trial. Since then, the pair have stuck to DNA, exonerating hundreds of wrongly convicted prisoners through the Innocence Project, which they co-founded in 1992. The pair also teamed up with Cochran to found Cochran Neufeld & Scheck, LLP in 1998, now known as Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, LLP, a civil rights firm in New York, NY.
Shapiro switched to civil litigation shortly after the O.J. Simpson trial and has continued to represent celebrities, including Eva Longoria and Ol' Dirty Bastard. Since then, he has also entered the start-up world as a co-founder of LegalZoom.com and Shoedazzle.com.
Where's the late Robert Kardashian on the list? Or F. Lee Bailey? Or Alan Dershowitz? We didn't include them for a variety of reasons.
Kardashian, for better or worse, is now known as the father of the Kardashians, you know, Kim, Khloe, Kortney, Rob, and the lot of 'em. F. Lee Bailey, who absolutely nailed Mark Fuhrman during cross-examination, was later disbarred and is still, to this day, fighting to get his license back. Dershowitz is the legendary Harvard professor who served as an appellant consultant to the O.J. team, but is most famous for being the Harvard legal legend.
Out of those who we did include, who is the biggest success, by your measure? Vote now:
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