Obama, Barack H. (1961)

Law Hall of Fame logoBarack Hussein Obama, born in Hawaii on August 1, 1961, is the first African American president of the United States - as of January 20, 2009.

 

At 27, he entered Harvard Law School in 1988 and graduated in 1991. He joined the Black Law Students Association and in February 1990, he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review. The event, a first black editor at America's most prestigious law school's review - was big news. To Obama, it meant a book deal, eventually resulting in his book Dreams From My Father.

He worked as a law student at the Chicago law firms of Sidley Austin in 1989 and, later, the now dissolved firm of Hopkins & Sutter.

Image of Barack ObamaHe practised law in Chicago from 1993 to 2004 with the Chicago firm of Davis Miner (now Miner Barnhill), mostly employment and electoral law, and with a rate of $165 an hour. Obama was junior counsel for the plaintiff in a 1994 class action suit (Buycks-Roberson v Citibank) filed in Chicago in which it was alleged that Citibank had been racist in its loan approval process. The case was settled in 1998.

The Chicago Sun-Times summary of his brief career as a Chicago lawyer:

"Only once did Obama appear before the prestigious 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, where Judge Richard Posner is legendary for tearing into inexperienced lawyers. But Posner knew Obama as a fellow senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School and kept his grilling polite. Obama never lost his cool, and he won the case."

Then, while serving in the Illinois Senate, he taught at the University of Chicago Law School from1992 to 2004, teaching courses on Constitutional Law III: Equal Protection and Voting Rights and the Democratic Process.

Barack Obama was elected to the Senate of the United States, representing Illinois, in 2005.

His wife Michelle Obama is also an attorney and graduate from Harvard Law School (1988). The couple met when they both worked at the Chicago office of Sidley Austin, where Michelle Obama dealt with intellectual property issues.

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Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Last updated: Wednesday, February 04, 2009
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