The World's 10 Richest Law School Grads

Roman AbramovichRoman Abramovich has a law degree.

Photo: Getty Images

Forbes has released its 2013 list of the world’s richest people, and not surprisingly, some of them have law degrees. The weird mix of people includes a German beer magnate, a Russian business tycoon, a former prime minister of Italy, and others who earned law degrees before they made their billions. 

10. Media giant Sumner Redstone is worth $4.7 billion.

Long before he seized control of Viacom in 1987, Redstone worked for the Department of Justice Tax Division and then briefly in private practice.

He earned his bachelor's degree and his J.D. from Harvard, and unlike most billionaires on this list, remained involved in the legal world for several years. After law school, he clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco and taught law at the University of San Francisco and later at Boston University.

He then became a special assistant to the U.S. attorney general, helping litigate more than 50 cases, according to the New York Times. Last September, he donated $18 million to BU Law, helping fund the construction of a new building on their campus.

The executive chairman of CBS and Viacom also served in World War II, cracking coded messages sent by the Japanese high command. When he joined the Army, he was still an undergraduate at Harvard, where he finished his bachelor's in three years.

He lands at number 267 on Forbes' list of billionaires.

9. Hotel owner Robert Rowling has a net worth of $4.9 billion.

Rowling is the CEO of TRT Holdings, which owns the Gold's Gym and Omni hotel chains.

He made most of his fortune from selling his father's company, Tana Oil and Gas, to Texaco for $476.5 million in 1989, according to the centre for Public Integrity. He has a bachelor's from the University of Texas at Austin and a law degree from Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law.

Last year, he made headlines for donating $4 million to Karl Rove's super PAC, American Crossroads, and $100,000 to Mitt Romney's 'Restore Our Future' super PAC. Gold's Gym franchise owners in the San Francisco area were incensed when they heard about Rowling's donation to the group, which supported anti-gay candidates, and decided to cut their ties with the Gold's Gym chain, CBS reported at the time.

Forbes put him at 258th place on their list of the world's billionaires.

8. Real estate mogul Richard LeFrak is worth $5.4 billion

The LeFrak family has been buying up real estate in the New York area for over a century.

Their company owns LeFrak City, a 5,000-apartment complex in Forest Hills, Queens, and more than 14 million square feet of real estate in Newport, N.J.

LeFrak, who has been CEO of his family's company since 2003, got his bachelor's from Amherst and his J.D. from Columbia University's law school.

He's ranked 225th on Forbes' list of the richest people in the world.

7. Argentine businessman Carlos Bulgheroni and his brother are valued at $5.5 billion.

Carlos Bulgheroni, along with his brother Alejandro, own a controlling stake in Argentina's second largest energy company, Pan American Energy.

Their wealth comes from Bridas Corporation, an oil and gas company started by their family that merged with Amoco and British Petroleum in 1998. Carlos and Alejandro are CEO and Vice President of Bridas, respectively.

Carlos earned his law degree from the University of Buenos Aires in 1970.

Forbes ranks the Bulgheroni brothers 219th on its list.

6. Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is worth $6.2 billion.

Yes, Italy's famous billionaire philanderer and politician has a law degree.

Long before he made a pile of cash buying up Italian TV stations, he studied law at the Universita Statale in Milan. During his university and law school years, he played the upright bass in a band and moonlighted as a cruise ship singer, according to ABC News.

He founded his first media holding company, Fininvest, in 1978, which has financial stakes in Italy's largest publishing house as well as popular soccer team A.C. Milan. Berlusconi served as Italy's prime minister three times before he resigned in November 2011, when he faced plummeting approval ratings and a sex scandal. (He still has pending charges against him for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute.)

Berlusconi tried to run for prime minister again in Italy's most recent election, but lost by a slim margin to populist candidate Bepe Grillo.

He's ranked 194th on Forbes' list of billionaires.

5. German brake manufacturer Heinz Hermann Thiele has a net worth of $6.4 billion.

Thiele started his career in the patent and legal department at German brakemaker Knorr-Bremse in 1969 and acquired the company in the late '80s, according to his company profile.

He made his fortune by building the company into the world's leading manufacturer of brakes for rail lines and commercial vehicles.

Although he withdrew from the business in 2011, he is still the chairman of the company's supervisory board.

He has a master of laws (also known as an LL.M.) from the University of Munich.

He is 189th on Forbes' billionaire list.

4. Oil baron Richard Kinder is valued at $9.8 billion.

Kinder was president and COO of Enron for six years before he quit and founded his energy company, Kinder Morgan, in 1997.

Kinder Morgan owns 75,000 miles of pipeline and 180 oil storage terminals, according to the company's website.

He earned his bachelor's and law degrees from University of Missouri and served in Vietnam as a captain in the U.S. Army, according to his company profile.

Forbes ranks him the 112th richest person in the world.

3. Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich is valued at $10.2 billion.

Russian business tycoon and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich is famous for his wild and crazy lifestyle.

The fifth-richest person in Russia owns the world's largest yacht, a Boeing 767, and homes in Los Angeles, London, St. Barts, France, and Colorado.

Although his past is a little murky, the BBC reports that Abramovich lost both his parents when he was 4 and left school when he was 16. He attended a local college but was called up to serve in the Soviet Army before finishing his degree, according to the Telegraph.

He made his fortune in a 'series of controversial oil export deals in the early 1990s,' according to Forbes.

During court proceedings for a lawsuit brought by his former partner Boris Berezovsky, he said he earned his law degree through a one-year correspondence course at Moscow State Law Academy in 2000, after earning his billions, the Telegraph reported.

He lands at 107th place on Forbes' list of the world's richest people.

2. Beer heiress Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken is worth $11 billion.

Carvalho-Heineken, the 13th richest woman in the world, became the heiress to the Heineken beer fortune when her father Freddy Heineken died in 2002.

The mother of five owns a 25 per cent controlling interest in the Dutch brewery, which is the third largest in the world.

She studied law at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and sits on Heineken's supervisory board with her husband, financier Michel de Carvalho.

Forbes ranks her the 94th richest person in the world.

1. Walmart heir Samuel Robson Walton is worth $26.1 billion.

S. Robson Walton is the eldest son of legendary Walmart founder Sam Walton and has been the chairman of his family's retail empire since 1992.

He earned his J.D. from Columbia University's prestigious law school and practiced at law firm Conner & Winters in Tulsa, Okla., before joining Walmart as a senior VP.

He's ranked 17th on Forbes' list of billionaires, along with his siblings Alice (16th) and Jim Walton (14th).

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