The Life and Career of Robert Shapiro, Considered the Lawyer of the Century

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He's the world's best-known criminal defense lawyer. With a ''who's who'' client list and a career that skyrocketed in the mid-1990s when he got involved in the ''trial of the century,'' Robert Shapiro has become a household name.

Even before the O.J. Simpson trial, Shapiro's seamless poise and accomplished wisdom carried him to new heights in his law career again and again, as he represented high-profile celebrities, musicians, and athletes. In addition to conquering law, Shapiro has given back to society by launching Internet-based legal-document-service company LegalZoom and the Brent Shapiro Foundation for Drug Awareness, in memory of his late son.

Shapiro, who originally planned to delve into the world of finance, took the law community by storm after he graduated from Loyola Law School and dove, almost blindly, into litigation at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office—which became his catapult to success. Excelling in law with little outside guidance aside from his schooling, Shapiro has managed to quickly pick up and master the tricks of the legal trade, resulting in a career that has spanned almost 40 years.

After graduating from the Anderson School of Business at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1965, Shapiro began to consider furthering his education in graduate school, and the draft for the Vietnam War certainly helped him make up his mind, since college students could get deferments from the draft. This was also a particularly exciting prospect for him because he was the first person in his family who went to college.

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