Robert Shapiro (lawyer)

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Robert Shapiro
Born Robert Leslie Shapiro
(1942-09-02) September 2, 1942 (age 74)
Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles (B.S.)
Loyola Law School (J.D.)
Occupation Attorney, entrepreneur
Spouse(s) Linell Thomas
Children Grant and Brent

Robert Leslie Shapiro (born September 2, 1942) is an American civil litigator, co-founder of,[1] and senior partner in the Los Angeles-based law firm Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro, LLP. He is most recognized for being part of the "dream team" legal team that successfully defended O. J. Simpson in 1995, from the charges that he murdered his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, in 1994. Shortly after the O. J. Simpson murder case, he steered his practice away from criminal defense toward civil litigation. He also cofounded LegalZoom and appears in their television commercials.

Early life and education[edit]

Shapiro was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, to a Jewish family. He graduated from Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, in 1961 and then UCLA in 1965, with a B.S. in Finance. He obtained his Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School in 1968.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Shapiro married Linell Thomas on March 8, 1970. They had two sons, Grant and Brent.

Brent was found dead from an MDMA and methamphetamine overdose on October 11, 2005. His death sparked the founding of The Brent Shapiro Foundation, a non-profit organization with an aim to raise drug awareness, for which Shapiro serves as chairman of the board, as well as Pickford Lofts, a rehabilitation facility.[3]


Legal practice and books about the law[edit]

Shapiro was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1969.[4] He has represented famous athletes, most notably O. J. Simpson, Darryl Strawberry, José Canseco, and Vince Coleman. He has represented other celebrities, as well, such as Johnny Carson, Christian Brando, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Linda Lovelace, the Kardashians, and F. Lee Bailey.[5] In 1998, he sued Strawberry over unpaid legal fees; the case was eventually settled out of court.[6]

Shapiro played an important role in the O. J. Simpson murder case. Already associated with Simpson, on June 17, 1994, Shapiro was present at Robert Kardashian's press conference pleading for Simpson to turn himself in to the police. According to Shapiro, Simpson's psychiatrists agreed that his letter to "friends", which Kardashian read over the air, was a suicide note. Over the television, Shapiro appealed to Simpson to surrender.[7] Later that day, after the famous low-speed "Bronco chase", Simpson surrendered to the police, with Shapiro's assistance.

When the actual trial began, Shapiro led defense team (dubbed the "Dream Team") but later ceded lead chair to Johnnie Cochran.[8][9][10] Despite their team's success in freeing Simpson after the verdict, Shapiro criticized his fellow Dream Team attorneys F. Lee Bailey (calling him a "loose cannon") and Cochran, for bringing race into the trial.[11] In his book, The Search for Justice, A Defense Attorney’s Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case (1998),[12] Shapiro states that he does not believe Simpson was framed by the LAPD for racial reasons but does believe the verdict was correct due to reasonable doubt.[13] Shortly after the Simpson trial, Shapiro steered his practice away from criminal defense toward civil litigation.

Shapiro was sued unsuccessfully by record producer Phil Spector, for refusing to return a US$1 million retainer for legal services. Spector ultimately decided to drop all claims against Shapiro.[14]

On April 30, 2007, Shapiro was the subject of an unpublished appellate opinion involving allegations that he forwarded a request from his client to the client's CEO to remove $6 million in cash from the client's apartment, prior to a judge's order freezing the client's assets. In an April 30, 2007 unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal held that Shapiro's law firm, Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, LLP, could be held liable for his alleged misconduct, even though Shapiro holds no equity interest in the firm and is not a true partner.[15] Ultimately, Shapiro was exonerated from any wrongdoing.[16]

In civil matters, Shapiro represents Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts, actress Eva Longoria, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, RockStar, and Diamond Resorts International. Shapiro represented the colorful Malibu psychiatrist and stem cell marketeer William C. Rader before the Medical Board of California, in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent permanent revocation of Rader's medical license.[17][18]

Shapiro frequently writes about the law and has published multiple books on the subject. In 2013, the National Law Journal named him to the list of The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.[19]

Children's book[edit]

Shapiro has created SOMO the Sober Monkey, a character in the children's book Somo Says NO, that has an anti-drug theme.[20] It is made available to schools free of charge.[21]

Business ventures[edit]


Shapiro is one of the co-founders of LegalZoom.[22][edit]

Shapiro is one of the co-founders of[23]


Shapiro is also one of the co-founders of RightCounsel.[24]

Portrayals in films and television[edit]

Shapiro is known as a "celebrity" lawyer and as such is a celebrity himself. He has appeared as himself (or as a lawyer resembling his real-life self) in a number of films and television series, including the film Havoc (2005).

Bruce Weitz portrayed Shapiro in the Fox TV movie The O.J. Simpson Story (1995).[25]

Ron Silver portrayed Shapiro in the CBS TV mini-series American Tragedy (2000).[26]

John Travolta portrayed Shapiro in the FX cable TV mini-series American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (2016).

Patton Oswalt voiced Robert Shapiro's fictional son Alan Shapiro in the seventh season of FX's Archer (2016).


  1. ^ "Why Us". RightCounsel. 
  2. ^ Green, Michelle (July 11, 1994). "Master of Disaster". People. Retrieved January 13, 2013.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ Pelisek, Christine (October 13, 2005). "Brent Shapiro, 1980–2005". LA Weekly. Retrieved July 8, 2006. 
  4. ^ "Robert L. Shapiro, Attorney". Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Bailey Trial for Drunken Driving Filling Courtroom". New York Times. New York. April 18, 1982. Retrieved August 17, 2016. 
  6. ^ ""Strawberry Sued Over Legal Fees"". AP News Archive. The Associated Press. Retrieved April 18, 2015. 
  7. ^ Brett Morgen, Director (June 16, 2010). 30 for 30: June 17, 1994 (television). ESPN. 
  8. ^ Mydans, Seth (June 16, 1994). "Lawyer for O. J. Simpson Quits Case". The New York Times. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  9. ^ Newton, Jim (September 9, 1994). "Power Struggle in the Simpson Camp, Sources Say – Shapiro, Cochran Increasingly Compete For Limelight In Case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Simpson Expected To Shuffle Legal Team, Demote Lead Attorney". Daily News. New York. January 2, 1995. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  11. ^ Shapiro & Warren 1996.
  12. ^ Shapiro, Robert (1998). The Search for Justice, A Defense Attorney’s Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case. Warner Books. 
  13. ^ "Some who helped shape the O.J. Simpson case". USA Today. January 28, 1997. Retrieved December 5, 2008. 
  14. ^ Keller, Julie. "Spector Drops Lawyer Suit." "E" Online 19 DEC 2005 12 OCT 2006
  15. ^ "PCO Inc. v. Christensen Miller Fink Jacobs Glaser Weil Shapiro LLP". Findlaw. Retrieved April 18, 2015. 
  16. ^ - Christensen Glaser May Face Trial Over Bags of Cash
  17. ^ In the Matter of the Accusation Against: WILLIAM C. RADER, M.D., Physician's and Surgeon's Certificate No. A22848, Medical Board of California Department of Consumer Affairs, Case 20-2010-205857, ordered October 6, 2014; revocation effective November 5, 2014; access date February 15, 2015.
  18. ^ Zarembo, Alan (May 16, 2015). "Doctor with revoked license continues to sell unproven stem cell treatments". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "For Parents". The Brent Shapiro Foundation For Alcohol and Drug Awareness. Retrieved April 18, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Childrens Books". The Brent Shapiro Foundation. Retrieved April 18, 2015. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Kim Kardashian’s ShoeDazzle gets $40 million financing," Los Angeles Business Journal, May 18, 2011.
  24. ^
  25. ^ The O.J. Simpson Story. 20th Century Fox TV. 1995. 
  26. ^

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