Introduction 

The world knows many intelligent people who helped humanity develop faster, created innovative inventions, and made incredible scientific discoveries. But who has the highest IQ? It turns out that having a high IQ does not guarantee impeccable success in all endeavours. Today we want to talk about people with high intelligence quotient.

Who has the highest IQ of all time?

William Sidis

According to some reports, William Sidis had the highest IQ of all people who lived on our planet – according to some tests, from 200 to 300. He began to show extraordinary abilities in early childhood: he began to speak as early as 4 months, and at 2 spoke and wrote fluently in English and French. At the age of 9, he graduated from high school. He applied for admission to Harvard, but then his application was rejected due to emotional immaturity, but he still became a student at this University at the age of 11. Here, he studied better than his classmates and showed excellent results.

It is believed that his father, a practising psychotherapist, made an outstanding contribution to the upbringing of little Wilm. He developed a program that allowed him to make a child prodigy out of his son.

From an early age, he suffered from excessive public attention, did not like such fame, and was tired of the paparazzi, so after graduating from University, he decided to go into the shadows. He lived all his life under assumed names and worked as an ordinary accountant. As soon as someone saw extraordinary mental abilities in him, he immediately quit and moved to another city. William Sidis died at age 46 from a cerebral hemorrhage alone in a small apartment.

He did not make a great scientific discovery in all his life and died an unhappy man. His life story inspired director Gus Van Sant’s film Good Will Hunting, which is included in the 250 best movies according to IMDB.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Many consider Leonardo da Vinci a genius of his time because his work gave considerable impetus to developing many areas in science and art. Many art historians still cannot unravel the Mono Lisa phenomenon, and designers are studying his drawings of tanks and helicopters. When Leonardo da Vinci lived, there was no IQ test yet, so it was challenging to find the exact indicator. However, scientists have studied his writings and the age at which the most important discoveries were made and believe that his IQ ranged from 180 to 220.

Albert Einstein

Today it is rare to find someone who knows nothing about Albert Einstein. This theoretical physicist created the Theory of Relativity, which turned the attitude toward science in general, and many of his formulas are now taught at school. According to some reports, the IQ of Albert Einstein ranged from 205 to 225.

Albert Einstein did not speak until age 3, so his parents seriously feared the boy’s developmental delay. Still, when he began talking, his vocabulary was like an adult’s. In addition, he did not finish the gymnasium and failed the entrance exams to the University (he entered only the second time). However, this did not prevent him from becoming an outstanding scientist of his time.

Christopher Hirata

Who has the highest IQ? Christopher Hirata has the highest IQ of all scientists alive and working today – 225. At age 13, he became the youngest winner of the 1996 International Physics Olympiad. A year later, he entered the California Institute of Technology without any problems.

At the age of 16, he began an active collaboration with NASA on projects related to the exploration of Mars. At 22, he received his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton and is currently teaching at an institute in Ohio and collaborating with leading scientific companies.

Now that we know there exist individuals with such high IQs, let us have a look at the IQs of some of the well-known lawyers and attorneys across the globe, throughout the history of mankind. 

Lawyers with one of the highest IQs 

Hugo Grotius (1538–1645)

It has been proclaimed that Huig de Groot, best known by the Latinized name Hugo Grotius, was a 17th-century Dutch jurist and scholar. He is known to have an estimated IQ score of 200. Grotius is well-known for his contributions to International Law. He was also titled as the “Father of International Law” by some of the most renowned international theorists. Even today, his contributions on sovereignty, international rights of commerce, and the norms of just war continue to inform theories of the international legal order. 

Moreover,  he was designated as the Attorney General of Holland, Zeeland, and West Friesland in 1607. Additionally, he has been said to be one of the all-time cleverest individuals across the sphere, according to their mind-blowing IQs.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)

John Quincy Adams, a former U.S. President and a Harvard graduate, was said to have an IQ of 175. This score was reportedly the highest of all the U.S. Presidents. John studied all across the globe, became well-acquainted with seven languages throughout his lifetime. He was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth President of the United States (1825-1829).

Interesting fact: John Quincy Adams became a lawyer without even completing his law school. He joins the pantheon of historical figures who were lawyers, including Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln, both of whom also never attended law school.

Teddy Roosevelt/Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (1858-1919)

Theodore Roosevelt Jr., often referred to as Teddy Roosevelt, who was given the title of “one of the most dynamic Presidents in White House history” by the Constitution Center, was estimated to have an IQ of 153, thus, being one of the smartest Presidents in U.S. history. 

He came from a wealthy New York family and attended Harvard and Columbia Law School, but did not finish his graduation from the latter. Although Roosevelt was an able law student, he often found the law to be irrational. He went to law school but did not complete his graduation as after winning an election he decided to drop out, thus giving the statement- “I intended to be one of the governing class.

Chester Alan Arthur (1829-1886)

Chester Alan Arthur, with an estimated IQ of 152.3, was born in Fairfield, Vermont, to an Irish father and an American mother. He attended Union College in upstate New York, which is where he grew up, too. He then became a lawyer in New York City, where he worked on several high-profile civil rights cases before becoming entangled in politics and taking over the office of President in 1881.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1182-1945)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, also known as FDR, was a U.S. President who stayed on as President for 12 years of his tenure and is said to have had an estimated IQ of 150.5. He was born into the eminent Roosevelt family of Hyde Park, New York. He graduated from both Groton School and Harvard College and later on took off to attend Columbia Law School, which he left after passing the bar exam to practice law in New York City. 

Later, he was assigned as an assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy. He directed the country through the Great Depression and World War II. He became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century.

Abraham Lincoln 

Abraham Lincoln, an American lawyer and the 16th President of the United States, is believed to have an estimated IQ of anywhere between 125-140. He received very little formal schooling and mostly taught himself everything. In other words, most of his education was self-taught. But irrespective of that, he became a lawyer and then President of the U.S. 

Furthermore, he also led the Union in the Civil War and enacted the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery.

IQ ranges and scores 

Below is a list of IQ ranges and scores along with a brief description of typical functioning and other features. The I.Q.’s are demonstrated on a scale with a general population mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15. They refer to scores on adult tests only, by adult norms. The exact cut-offs for the ranges are arbitrary, and it is mandatory to realise that an individual’s functioning may depend on more than I.Q. alone. Further, it is unknown whether an IQ beyond about 140 has any extra weightage.

A point must be taken into consideration that such scores are not very easy to measure. For instance, oftentimes, a low IQ score is hard to calculate using a regular intelligence test; similarly, very high IQ scores are also hard to determine accurately, as several reference measurements are needed to ascertain a score that can be reliable.  Further, it must be noted that usually professional tests, like the Culture Fair Intelligence Test or the Classical Intelligence Test, not only provide a typical IQ score but also have a remark on the IQ range. The table below discerns distinct categories based on the height of your IQ score, meaning one can gain some wisdom from the same.

Tabular representation of IQ ranges and scores 

Retarded 

IQ Scale Remarks Category of population/Name of the individual / Name of the individual   Modal IQ
<20Profound retardationNot available 
20-34Severe retardationNot available 
35-49Moderately retarded Australopithecus — when evolving into humans45
50-69Mildly retarded Homo habilis — the first tool-makersEarly Homo erectus — the first real humans, using spoken wordsLater Homo erectus — after having mastered the fireArchaic Homo sapiens” — including Pre-Neanderthals50
55


60

65

Below average 

IQ Scale Remarks Category of population/Name of the individual  Modal IQ
70-79Borderline retardedEarly Homo sapiens— non-Cro-Magnon70
80-89Borderline averageCurrent world population85

Average

IQ Scale Remarks Category of population/Name of the individual  Modal IQ
90-99AveragePopulations of industrial, technological societies90 and higher 
100-109AverageMost intelligent current populations105

Above average 

IQ Scale Remarks Category of population/Name of the individual  Modal IQ
110-119Above average Homo pacificus — the future new species, wherein violent crime is virtually absent115
120-129Above averageBruno Mars123
130-139Gifted Arnold Schwarzenegger135

Intelligent 

IQ Scale Remarks Category of population/Name of the individual  Modal IQ
140-149IntelligentWarren Buffet140
150-159Highly intelligent Will Smith157
160-169Very highly intelligent Albert Einstein 160
170-179Pervasively intelligentImmanuel Kant175
180…Exceptionally intelligent Nikolas Tesla189

Description of the IQ ranges and scores 

Retarded 

Individuals whose IQ falls between less than 20 and up to 69 come into this category. Profound and severe retardation are the causes of brain damage caused either during pregnancy, during birth, or in the budding years, and these deformities are not genetic or inheritable. The bifurcation for the same is as under:

Profound retardation (lower than 20)

Usually, individuals who have an IQ below 20 are multi-handicapped have evident physical deformities, and have short life expectancies. Such individuals are very much dependent on others. 

Severely retarded (20-34)

For individuals whose IQ scale ranges anywhere from 20 to 34 (termed as severely retarded), primary intellectual tasks, including language, are tough to comprehend. 

Moderately retarded (35-49)

Individuals with an IQ ranging from 35-49 (termed as moderately retarded), may learn easy life skills and also be employed, provided certain education is provided to them. 

Interesting fact: The most intelligent non-human animals, like crows, chimpanzees, parrots, dolphins, etc., fall under this IQ range. 

Mildly retarded (50-69)

Individuals who fall under the IQ range of 50-69 (termed as mildly retarded), can usually figure out how to take care of themselves, be employed in normal jobs, provided supervision is provided. This retardation can largely be genetic and inherited. 

Below average 

Borderline retarded (70-79)

Individuals who fall under the IQ range of 70-79 (termed as borderline retarded), have limited trainability. They may face issues with daily tasks; the instances, inter alia, may comprise:

  1. Using a phone book,
  2. Reading schedules related to buses or trains,
  3. Banking and performing tasks related to banking,
  4. Filling forms,
  5. Using electronic appliances like a video recorder, oven, computer, etc.

Thus, they may require aid in managing their day-to-day affairs and may be employed for simple tasks but need supervision. 

Below average (80-89)

Individuals who fall under the IQ range of 70-79 come under the category of below average, and such persons are above the threshold of usual independent functioning. 

Interesting fact: This IQ range has the most involvement in violence, i.e., most of the violent crimes are perpetrated by males who fall in this range. However, this does not explicitly imply that all males in this range are violent, or that all violent males fall in this range. 

Average 

Average (90-99)

Individuals who have an IQ of 90-99 have the ability to learn to trade in a hands-on manner and carry out chores that involve decision-making The instances of such individuals can be as under:

  1. Craftsman,
  2. A salesperson
  3. A clerk.

A point should be taken into consideration that theoretical knowledge can be acquired from this range upward. 

Average (100-109)

Individuals who have an IQ of 100-109 have the ability to learn written materials. Further, they can also be employed in senior positions. 

Above average 

Above average (110-119)

Individuals who have an IQ of 110-119 have the ability to learn in the ‘college’ format; for instance, such individuals may have a bachelor’s degree and could be one of the below, amongst others:

  1. Manager,
  2. Teacher,
  3. Accountant.

Interesting fact: Such individuals possess the capability of taking high-range IQ tests.

Above average (120-129)

Individuals who have an IQ of 120-129 have the proficiency to compile and deduce information by themselves. The instances of such individuals include:

  1. Attorney,
  2. Chemist,
  3. Executives of companies. 

Intelligent

Gifted (130-139)

Individuals who have an IQ of 130-139 possess the capacity to write a legible piece of text like an article or a modest novel. 

Intelligent (140-149)

Individuals who have an IQ of 140-149 have the capability to have analytical conversations and do scientific work.

Above this range, very few individuals achieve such high scores. The range for such high scores is as below: 

Highly intelligent (150-159)

Only one in four individuals can score an IQ of 150 or higher. 

Very highly intelligent (160-169)

Only one in ten individuals can score an IQ of 160 or higher. 

Pervasively intelligent (170-179)

Only one in hundred individuals can score an IQ of 170 or higher. 

Exceptionally intelligent (180-185)

There are very few intelligent individuals living who score in this range. About one in every thousand high-range individuals scores an IQ of 180 or higher. 

Now that we have studied the scores and ranges of IQs along with obtaining information on some of the top lawyers with the top range of IQs, a few questions may arise as to, “What is the most current average IQ of a lawyer?” and “What is the minimum IQ to become a lawyer?” 

So, let’s have a look at what the role of IQ is in the day-to-day life of individuals who are lawyers now.

Lawyers and their relationship to IQ

What is the current average IQ of a lawyer? 

As per an article, a lawyer’s IQ ranges somewhere between 114 (50th percentile), others may have a score of 109 (25th percentile) and some others 124 (75th percentile). However, the IQs are just one marker to determine the success rate and their capabilities in their work.. 

Further, one must understand that individuals who have an IQ of over 100 can just do anything they wish to. Additionally, in the case of attorneys, lawyers, and legal professionals, there are a fair number of individuals with an IQ score of less than 100. 

Do you need a high IQ if you want to be a lawyer?

In today’s world, there are some careers that demand that the professionals not only have to complete the day-to-day tasks, but also be able to analyse distinct cases and think outside the box and come up with result-oriented techniques that aid in the growth of the company. This is exactly where Intelligence Quotient or IQ comes into play.

It is not a fact unknown that lawyers’ average IQ is relatively higher in comparison to other professionals. This statement is true as lawyers, we have to study and remember a large bulk of information, utilise analytical skills as well as develop an abstract thinking to present a specific case, which increases the chances of having a higher Intelligence Quotient than that of most professionals. 

To become a successful lawyer/attorney, it is pertinent to note that this job will require utmost commitment, dedication, and even hard work to ace in such a challenging field. 

There will be several options to choose from in and after law school, namely:

  1.  tax lawyer, 
  2. corporate lawyer, 
  3. family lawyer,
  4. criminal lawyer, etc.

and one needs to have an above-average IQ level to be a successful attorney/lawyer in the field of interest. However, on the other hand, with no accurate estimation about what kind of intellect is most beneficial for attorneys/lawyers, it is difficult to deduce which ones are cut out for this legal profession.

Does an IQ of 100 suffice to become a lawyer? 

It is important to consider the fact that intelligence and memory are two distinct concepts and have nothing to do with each other. They are oftentimes conflated, but the reality is that they are entirely dissimilar. 

Academic achievements need sharp memory skills and not an average or above average IQ quotient. In other words, an individual with an IQ of 100 or less may or may not excel, thus,  solely depending on the efforts and amount of dedication he/she puts into attaining it. 

What is the average IQ to become a successful attorney/lawyer?

As stated above, success not only depends on the IQ range one has scored but also on the amount of hard work and dedication one puts into attaining that goal. 

However, it is believed that, typically, a good lawyer will be from the best law school, score well in the LSAT or CLAT (or whichever entrance exam one chooses to take), and also graduate at the top of the class. It is also said that getting into a top law school places an individual in the top 5% of their IQ range, meaning the IQ range is between 130-140. 

But to sum it all up, a good lawyer must have proper argumentative skills, be outgoing, have a hawk-eyed vision, and be smart enough to tackle every case thrown in his way. 

Do you have to be really smart to be a lawyer?

The answer may vary from person to person, however, to become a lawyer, an intensive as well as an extensive education and learning is mandated. Even though there are several self-taught attorneys and lawyers who have passed the bar (check the aforementioned paragraphs, for reference- John Quincy Adams), the majority of them did it in the traditional manner by going and finishing off their education in law schools. 

So the answer to this question, in my opinion, is, yes, lawyers need to be smart and intelligent enough to become successful, but it also depends on the amount of dedication one puts into it. In short, simply being intelligent and not utilising your wit will not aid in achieving success as a lawyer. 

Recent reports on the average IQ and a gradual shift towards average intelligence among lawyers: an overview

A recent analysis states that some lawyers have an IQ of approximately 114 (in the 50th percentile), some 109 (in the 25th percentile), and some 124 (in the 75th percentile). Interestingly, there are also a reasonable number of lawyers who have IQs below 100. This really indicates that IQ is just one marker to determine someone’s capabilities in their work.

Yet, as per research, lawyers’ IQs are oftentimes classified above most occupations – with an average of 130 – similar to doctors, surgeons, and engineers. Even though the accuracy of these findings remains in dispute (considering the different methodologies applied), this shows that being a lawyer is a career that demands a high level of academic intelligence. 

Words of motivation 

Aim to be the best, not just the smartest!

When it is becoming common for lawyers to have varying IQ scores, ranging from the average 108 to a high 130 score, it should be considered that an individual does not necessarily ‘attain’ a certain range of IQ score to become a lawyer, let alone a successful one! Being the brainiest in your class or having the highest IQ might easily make you a genius, but, if you do not possess the necessary communication, research, teamwork, and people skills to succeed within the legal profession, you will still be far from being the ‘best lawyer’ in town.

However, do not get disheartened with the aforementioned words, it is never too late to choose a career path and to take the necessary actions to build up skills that will help accelerate your career path. This route may not be as facile as ABC, but so is the case with other fields. It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it. All the best! 

Conclusion

As you can see, each person with a high IQ manages their life differently. Someone devotes all his energy to the development of science, while others are trying to bury the talent. The problem is that this is an innate talent, that is extremely difficult to develop artificially, but if you succeed, then it is not a fact that your child will be happy.

From the aforementioned passages, it can be deduced that it is not important to have the highest range of IQ to become successful, neither in life, nor in the field of law. While IQ may play a role in success to a certain extent, it is the dedication, hard work, and brushing up of requisite skills required to attain success in the field of law an individual chooses to set their career path in! 

Interesting Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can IQ be increased with age?

Usually, IQ tests are adjusted as per the age of the test-taker and the IQ tests give out the same answer to a very substantial extent, even after a period of a year. The older you are, the more stable your test score will be. The most volatility in IQ scores is in childhood, mostly in adolescence. So, yes, IQ can change over time, as stated by Richard Nisbett, Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. 

Do lawyers’ high IQs (intelligence quotients) compensate for a low EQ (emotional quotient) or EI (emotional intelligence)? 

It is not necessary. However, studies have shown that while attorneys do score high in intelligence, they generally score below average in emotional intelligence. 

What type of individual can become a lawyer? 

An individual who has the following skills, inter alia, can become a good lawyer:

  1. Trustworthiness,
  2. Listening skills, 
  3. Emotional awareness, 
  4. Diplomacy, 
  5. Excellent judgement, 
  6. Managerial skills, and 
  7. Other human relations capabilities 

Does your LSAT (Law School Admission Test) score correlate with IQ?

The LSAT is not a test for determining your IQ range. As opposed to popular belief, the LSAT score does not measure your intelligence quotient. Thus, the LSAT does not render those with higher scores smarter than those with lower scores.

What are Elon Musk’s and Stephen Hawking’s IQ levels?

Professor Stephen Hawking is said to have the same IQ score of 160 as Albert Einstein. Whereas, for Elon Musk, there are no official records on the same, his IQ is estimated to be 155. The same has been inferred by the experts on his ability to grasp and apply complex technical data, his early aptitude tests, and how he utilises his skills and expertise to drive innovation in complex industries. 

How could I increase my IQ?

There are several experts who claim that IQ may or may not be increased, however, below are some methods an individual can try to boost their intelligence: 

  1. Have regular workouts,
  2. Get proper sleep,
  3. Practice meditation,
  4. Have some caffeine or green tea,
  5. Consume foodstuffs that are rich in nutrients,
  6. Play an instrument,
  7. Read books.  

References 


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