French Enlightenment political philosopher, historian, judge, and man of letters Montesquieu remains the main source of the separation of powers system that is followed in many constitutions across the globe. His treatise The Spirit of the Laws on political theory greatly influenced work of many others, including drafting of the U.S. Constitution by the founding fathers of the United States.
Former prime minister of France and Republican party member François Fillon had also held many important portfolios, such as the ministries of education and ecology. An Anglophile, he is married to a Welsh-born wife. He was later found involved in a fake jobs scandal and was convicted of fund embezzlement.
Christine Lagarde is a French politician, businessperson, and lawyer. She is the current president of the European Central Bank (ECB), a position she has been holding since 1 November 2019. Prior to this, she was the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the first woman to head both the ECB and the IMF.
Pierre Laval was a French politician who served as prime minister of France for two non-consecutive terms. A lawyer by qualification, he defended trade unions and leftists against government prosecution. As a politician, he held many governmental positions. After the liberation of France in 1944, he was arrested by the new French government and executed following a flawed trial.
Jean-Marie Le Pen is a French politician who focuses on issues pertaining to the European Union, immigration to France, France's unemployment, and law and order. From 1972 to 2011, he worked as President of the National Front. From 2011 to 2015, Le Pen served as the National Front's Honorary President.
A Holocaust survivor, Simone Veil had lost her father, mother, and brother to Nazi concentration camps. She grew up to be a magistrate and became the first woman president of the European Parliament. She had also been an able health minister and rallied for abortion rights of French women.
Though he initially studied law, Carlo Buonaparte quit without a degree to take charge of his inheritance after his father’s death. He later served Pasquale Paoli. However, following the French conquest of Corsica, he completed his legal education. He is best remembered as the father of Napoleon Bonaparte.
A qualified lawyer, Joseph de Maistre was also a skilled diplomat, moralist, and author. Part of the Savoy Senate, he was exiled in Switzerland after Napoleon’s invasion and later also served in Russia and an envoy of the Sardinian king. A staunch Roman Catholic, he was against liberal and scientific beliefs.
10 Paul Reynaud
11 Louis Aliot
Lucien Bouchard is a French Canadian diplomat, lawyer, and retired politician. He is known for his role in the 1995 Quebec referendum, during which he became the leading figure for the Yes side. From 1996 to 2001, he served as the premier of Quebec. Over the years, Bouchard has been honored with many awards including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Adolphe Thiers was a French historian and statesman who served as the French Third Republic's first President. He also served as the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of France in 1840. Apart from playing a major role in the French Revolution of 1830, which ended the Bourbon monarchy, Thiers also played a key role in the French Revolution of 1848.
Jacques Vergès was a French lawyer, political activist, and writer. He is best remembered for defending the FLN militants during the Algerian War. Nicknamed the Devil's Advocate, Vergès achieved notoriety and attracted widespread public attention for advocating political activism. In the 2010 French-German biographical film Carlos, Jacques Vergès was played by Nicolas Briançon.
The grandnephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Joseph Bonaparte was a French-American lawyer and political activist, born and raised in Baltimore. Founder of Baltimore Reform League, his works attracted Theodore Roosevelt’s admiration and serving as U.S. Secretary of the Navy and Attorney General during the latter’s tenure as President, he established Bureau of Investigation, later Day FBI, prosecuting many antitrust suits.
20 Jules Ferry
Once the prime minister of France, Jules Ferry was a Moderate Republican leader, who is remembered for his efforts in the French colonial expansion. He followed in his father’s footsteps to become a lawyer but gained fame as a political critic. He later became increasingly unpopular due to expenditures incurred in wars.
21 René Coty
A qualified lawyer, René Coty had been the last president of the Fourth French Republic. His presidency was plagued by issues such as the Algerian question, and his threat to resign during the May 1958 crisis accelerated the election of Charles de Gaulle as the prime minister of France.
22 Paul Doumer
Paul Doumer initially worked as a math professor and an editor. He had a successful stint as the governor general of French Indochina and later became the president of France. He was assassinated by a French anarchist, who shot him at a book fair event in Paris.
26 René Cassin
René Cassin was a French jurist best known for co-authoring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. For this contribution, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968. The same year, he also received one of the UN General Assembly's Human Rights Prizes. The René Cassin Award is named in his honor.
Born to a magistrate, Charles Alexandre de Calonne initially followed in his father’s footsteps to become a lawyer and gradually rose to be the controller-general of finance when the French government was sinking in debt. His suggestion of taxing the rich was rejected, paving the path for the French Revolution.
A qualified lawyer, Alexandre Millerand had served as both the president and the prime minister of France. He had also held important portfolios, such as the ministries of war and commerce. He once attempted to increase presidential powers by revising the constitution. His published works include Le Socialisme réformiste.
Frédéric Ozanam was a French lawyer, literary scholar, equal rights advocate, and journalist. He is credited with co-founding the Conference of Charity, which came to be known as the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. in 1997, Frédéric Ozanam was beatified at Notre Dame de Paris by Pope John Paul II and his feast day is observed on 9 September.
Jurist and political scientist Maurice Duverger is best remembered for proposing the Duverger's law, related to the formation of a two-party system. He taught at the Sorbonne and had also been an MP, representing the Italian Communist Party first and then the Democratic Party of the Left.
40 Eva Joly
Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin was a French politician best remembered as the leader of the working-class men. He was one of the most important politicians whose deeds and speeches led to the French Revolution of 1848, which is considered one of the most prominent events in the history of France. A Paris Metro station and an avenue are named after him.