In 1963, he began his legal career in Los Angeles, California as a Deputy City Attorney for the city's criminal division. He remained in that position for three years before co-founding Cochran, Atkins and Evans. The firm practiced civil and criminal cases.
In 1977, after several victories in the court room, he was honored by the L.A. Criminal Courts Bar Association as the "Criminal Trial Lawyer of the Year". Mr. Cochran is the only attorney ever to receive the Trail Lawyer of the Year award from both the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association and the Criminal Courts Bar Association. He returned to public service in 1978, when he became the first African-American Assistant District Attorney of Los Angelas County. He was the first African American to hold the position. In 1981, Cochran formed the law practice of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. The firm specialized in entertainment law, criminal defense, public financing and personal injury litigation. In 1982, he settled a case with the state of California for a record amount.
In 1990, Cochran expanded his reach to Washington, DC under the name of Cochran, Mitchell & Lotkin. In 1993, he was inducted into The American College of Trial Lawyers, the preeminent organization for the top 1% of trial lawyers. He is a member of the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers. Mr. Cochran was also inducted into the Inner Circle of Advocates which is composed of the country's top 100 plaintiff lawyers. His autobiography, Journey to Justice, is a national best-seller. In September 1994, Cochran was selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America. He and his wife received the Golden Bell Award.
Johnnie L. Cochran has represented several high...