Whatever Happened To Robert Shapiro From The OJ Simpson Case?

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Robert Shapiro's name will likely not be forgotten by anyone who was paying attention to the news during the mid-1990s. The LA-based attorney was part of the "Dream Team" of criminal defenders that accused murderer O.J. Simpson put together. Under the leadership of the late Johnnie Cochran, the all-star attorneys included Shapiro, Robert Kardashian, Alan Dershowitz, Barry Sheck, F. Lee Bailey, and six others, whose collective efforts garnered an acquittal for Simpson in what has been widely regarded as "the trial of the century" (per CBS News).

Shapiro has been portrayed on television multiple times, including by actor Bruce Weitz in the 1995 Fox TV movie "The O.J. Simpson Story," and by Ron Silver in the 2000 CBS miniseries "American Tragedy." Most recently, the role of Shapiro was a force in the FX Network's miniseries "The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story," where the dynamic attorney was played by John Travolta. For his efforts, Travolta was nominated for a Prime-Time Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actor (via IMDb).

Shapiro appeared on television daily before and during Simpson's eight-month trial. The not-guilty verdict would have served as a capstone in an already successful career in the law, but Shapiro has maintained a healthy practice since that rendering in 1995. Authoring multiple books on the law, forays into the world of defending suspects of white-collar crimes, and becoming an online entrepreneur are only part of what has encompassed the Dream Team attorney's post-Simpson trial life. 

He made a name for himself defending high profile clients for drug offenses

Long before Robert Shapiro became a household name amid the O.J. Simpson trial, the skilled defense attorney had already developed a name for himself among high-profile individuals accused of crimes. From the mid-1970s forward, Shapiro took on cases defending actors, musicians, sports stars, and family members of celebrities. These clients mostly faced illicit drug charges, and Shapiro was the master at this sort of defense. 

His first notable client was Linda Lovelace, most known for her lead role in the 1972 adult film "Deep Throat." In 1974, Shapiro represented Lovelace in court on charges of drug possession. Lovelace had been arrested and charged with holding cocaine and amphetamines while in Las Vegas (per Biography). Other famous clients Shapiro added to his growing resume were Johnny Carson and Christian Brando (son of actor Marlon Brando). The Los Angeles Times reports that Shapiro also defended fellow attorney F. Lee Bailey, sports stars Vince Coleman and Darryl Strawberry, and musician Rod Stewart. 

The Simpson trial wasn't the first time Shapiro had a notorious case, either. He had the infamous Erik Menendez as a client for a time in 1990, even arranging for the accused murderer to turn himself in to authorities (per Tulsa World). Representing Menendez during his arraignment, he was soon replaced by Leslie Abramson (via the Associated Press). 

After the O.J. Simpson trial, Shapiro wrote a book

What's the point of defending celebrity clients if you can't write a book about your experiences? In 2016, Shapiro published "The Search for Justice: A Defense Attorney's Brief on the O.J. Simpson Case." The book chronicles the famous trial — from the murders to the aftermath of the verdict, going into detail about various behind-the-scenes events that helped mold the legal dream team that was eventually able to secure an acquittal for Simpson in 1995. Shapiro talks of the ethical issues in taking on this type of case, as well as his hope that reasonable doubt would cause the jury to find his client not guilty. The book was a bestseller.

Shapiro's pen not only led to the publication of a book about his most infamous client but also went to work creating a best-selling piece of fiction. In 2001, Shapiro put his vast knowledge of the law into the novel "Misconception," following the case of a U.S. Surgeon General nominee who is accused of slipping his pregnant mistress RU-486 abortion pills, making her miscarry against her will (via Publisher's Weekly). It was co-written with author Walt W. Becker.

From Phil Spector to Rob Kardashian, he continues to represent celebrity clients

O.J. Simpson wasn't the last person to use the famed legal skills of Robert Shapiro in the courtroom. However, following the not-guilty verdict of the disgraced NFL star, Shapiro did pivot away from criminal defense. The attorney — who is a partner at the legal firm of Glaser, Weil, Fink, Howard, Avchen & Shapiro LLP — made a lateral career move and began a second career in the world of corporate law. Shapiro has represented well-known companies like Rockstar Energy and Diamond Resorts International, per his website. Still, this didn't keep Shapiro from continuing to represent celebrities in need of his talents. In 2010, Shapiro represented troubled actress Lindsey Lohan for a time (per CBS News). Actress Eva Longoria also used Shapiro to help with various legal issues stemming from employee harassment claims and financial woes rooted in her Las Vegas restaurant, Beso's (per the Las Vegas Sun).

Shapiro was also hired to defend famed music producer Phil Spector amid the murder charges Spector faced after the death of actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 (per NBC Los Angeles). Clarkson was shot in the mouth with a pistol, with Spector maintaining that her death was the result of suicide (via CNN). Spector paid a $1 million retainer to Shapiro to defend him on the murder charge but later fired him in early 2004. Spector claimed that Shapiro wasn't attentive enough to his case and sought to have the retainer returned to him. In a lawsuit Spector filed against Shapiro, Shapiro countered, stating that he had given up higher-profile celebrity cases just so he could adequately defend Spector. The suit was ultimately settled out of court (via CBS News). 

Shapiro has several business ventures, including LegalZoom

Aside from successful legal practice, Robert Shapiro has become quite the entrepreneur. In 2001, Shapiro was introduced to several investors who wished to give the public an easy means of creating and accessing legal documents (per Celebrity Net Worth). The online company they founded, LegalZoom, gives a layperson the tools to create wills, trusts, divorce filings, copyright registrations, and a litany of other legal documentation needs at their literal fingertips. 

In 2009, Shapiro teamed up with reality star Kim Kardashian to found ShoeDazzle (via Forbes). The company regularly features a rotating collection of shoes, boots, purses, and other accessories available for online purchase. It uses an online quiz to help determine what style you enjoy or would like to pursue, then uses the results to help present you with options that they feel best suit your taste. By 2012, the company boasted over 13 million users, each of whom had a subscription to the ShoeDazzle service that would ship them items each month as part of their service agreement. Regarded as "the Netflix of shoes" by writer Rachelle Bergstein, the company was reported to have grown into a $100 million company in 2017.

ShoeDazzle experienced rapid growth in the first three years of operation, increasing its revenue stream by more than three times. In 2013, the company was purchased by another online fashion company, JustFab

The creation of Somo the Sober Monkey

Robert Shapiro and his wife faced the ultimate tragedy with the death of their son Brent in 2005. Brent had struggled with drugs and alcohol since his early teens and had been in rehabilitation on several occasions. The 24-year-old lost his life after overdosing on October 8, 2005 (via LA Weekly). But the Shapiros did not let grief keep them from taking a heartbreaking event and turning it into one that has helped countless teens. Together, they founded the Brent Shapiro Foundation, giving financial incentives to teens who graduate high school without drug or alcohol use. The foundation uses a unique combination of education and communication taught to parents and children alike to prevent drug and alcohol use before it occurs.

In addition, Shapiro wrote a children's book to help educate and warn young students about drugs and alcohol. "Somo Says No" was written as a guide to discuss the dangers of drug and alcohol use with school-aged children. The book follows the adventures of Somo the Monkey, who gives young readers reasons to say no and how to do it. Dedicated to their son, Brent, the Shapiros make the availability of the book and its tools free of charge to anyone who requests it.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).