Top 10 Celebrities and World Leaders with an LL.M. Degree

Top 10 celebrities

The legal profession is one of the most coveted vocations today. As the demand for lawyers increases, there has been a substantial rise in the number of candidates applying to LL.M. programs in the U.S.andthe in U.K. Whether it is a full-fledged practising lawyer or a high-ranking CEO, individuals today want to get more than acquainted with the legal aspects of their businesses.

Undoubtedly, a certain level of prestige is associated with lawyers which makes the vocation highly desirable. This is perhaps the reason why numerous renowned leaders and celebrities decided to pursue an LL.M. degree before entering the public domain. From George Clooney’s spouse Amal Clooney, to former premier of China, H. H. Kung;the LL.M. degree has shaped the professional lives of these larger than life personas and helped them fight for justice in the society.

Below is a list of the top 10 leaders and celebrities with an LL.M. degree:

Mikheil Saakashvili

Former President of Georgia for two consecutive terms from Jan 25, 2004 to Nov 17, 2013, Saakashvili is currently serving as Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa Oblast region. He has been an active part of Georgian politics since 1995.

His legal education in the West helped launch his political career. After receiving his law degree, Saakashvili worked as an Associate at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, prior to returning to Georgia. Widely regarded as a pro-NATO and pro-West leader, Saakashvili’s legal studies centred on international law that helped him undertake a series of reforms during his tenure.

Annette Lu

Born in 1944, Annette Lu served as the Vice President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 2000 to 2008. Nicknamed “a small chilli pepper”, Lu is a prominent feminist, novelist and a lawyer. A firm believer in democratic law, she called for abolishing authoritarian rule in the 70s.

After delivering a 20-minute speech criticizing the government at an International Human Rights Day rally in 1979, she, along with the entire leadership of Taiwan’s democratic movement, were imprisoned. Thereafter, Lu was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Her stay in prison; however, was short lived as she was released in 1985 partly due to international pressure.



Giuliano Amato

Having twice served as the Prime Minister of Italy, Amato launched his political career in 1958 when he joined the Italian Socialist Party. During his stint as thePrime Minister, he battled with the lira’s devaluation and took the first steps towards adopting Euro. With an LL.M. degree in comparative law, his areas of research interest included comparative law, antitrust and European policies and institutions.

Amal Clooney

Lebanese-British lawyer, Amal Clooney is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers. A renowned human rights activist, Clooney also specializes in international law, criminal law, and extradition. In fact, she represented Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, in one of the most high-profile cases of extradition.

Recently, she would be part of the legal team defending former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, in his arbitrary detection. In addition, she will begin working on the case brought by the Irish Government against the British Government regarding policies used by UK’s Prime Minister Edward Heath in Operation Demetrius, which included illegal interrogation methods.

Barry Salzberg

Former CEO of Deloitte, Salzberg has an inspiring rags to riches story. Having grown up in Brooklyn, Salzberg is the youngest of five siblings. After the death of his father, he worked to help his family financially. After earning an LL.M. degree, he went on to work in Manhattan for Haskins & Sells. Specializing in tax, he then worked at Deloitte from June 2011 to May 2015.

H. H. Kung

Born into an affluent trading family, Dr. H. H. Kung, was a wealthy Chinese banker and a politician in the beginning of the 20th century. He served as the premier of the Republic of China from Jan 1, 1938 to Dec 11, 1939. Together with T. V. Soong, his brother-in-law, Kung was successful in determining the economic policies of the nationalist government in the 1930s and 1940s.

Mario Ančić

Former world number 7, Ančić is a retired professional tennis player from Croatia. He won three singles titles and five doubles titles. His career-high singles ranking (number 7) came during the 2006 ATP Tour. It was during his Grand Slam tournament in 2002, when he created history by defeating seventh seed Roger Federer in the first round of Wimbledon.

After battling years of injury, he retired at the age of 26 to become a lawyer. Having interest in tennis and law, his research work focused on the legal aspects of the sport, including doping in tennis. In 2012, he commenced with an LL.M. program.


Wafah Dufour

Daughter of Osama bin Ladin’s half-brother, Yeslam bin Ladin, Dufour is an American singer-songwriter, model and socialite. Fluent in French, English, and Persian, Dufour has successfully completed her LL.M. program.  She was forced to adopt her mother’s maiden name after the September 11 attacks.

Karl Carstens

Former President of Germany (1979 to 1984), Carsten was born in Bremen on Dec 14, 1914. He studied law and political science from 1933 to 1936and then received an LL.M. degree in 1949.

In 1937, Carsten joined the Nazi Party to obtain a scholarship for his legal studies. However, he was never an active member of the party.

 Ma Ying-jeou

Incumbent President of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou completed his LL.M. degree in the United States. After finishing his master’s, he worked as an Associate at a law firm at Wall Street and as a legal consultant for a major bank in Massachusetts. In 1981, he returned to Taiwan and started working as Deputy Director of the First Bureau of the Presidential Office and the President’s English interpreterfor the then president Chiang Ching-kuo. In an interview he stated that legal studies taught him about the ideas of constitutional democracy—freedom, human rights, and rule of law.