Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. (1937?2005) was a famed defense attorney best known for his role in the legal defense for O.J. Simpson during his highly publicized murder trial. Cochran also represented Sean “Diddy” Combs, Michael Jackson, actor Todd Bridges, football player Jim Brown and rappers Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg as well as Reginald Oliver Denny, the white trucker beaten by a mob during the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the verdict of not guilty in the trial of police officers charged with assaulting Rodney King. Cochran was known for his skill in the courtroom and his prominence as an early advocate for police abuse victims.
Cochran joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office in 1978 as the first African-American Assistant District Attorney of Los Angeles County. Though he took a pay cut in doing so, joining the government was his way of becoming “one of the good guys, one of the very top rung”, and he began to strengthen his ties with the political community, alter his image and work from within to change the system. Five years later, Cochran returned to private practice, reinventing himself as “the best in the West” by opening the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. law firm. He founded The Cochran Firm, a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases and has grown through mergers and partnerships to have offices in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C.