Former O.J. Simpson attorney Robert Shapiro is one of the most famous criminal defense attorneys in the country, but these days he’s angling to be known for working civil cases. A name partner at Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP for the past 15 years, Shapiro says he spends most of his time on business litigation, though in the past he’s represented everyone from Johnny Carson to Phil Spector in criminal matters. He’s also a businessman with interests in online companies LegalZoom, which provides legal documents over the Internet, and ShoeDazzle, a seller of footwear, handbags and jewelry. The shoe retailer was co-founded by Kim Kardashian, daughter of his O.J. Simpson co-counsel Robert Kardashian. At 68, Shapiro is fit and trim, keeping in shape by boxing three times a week. Even though he dislikes giving interviews, he was gregarious and accommodating, offering his remarks while sitting at the desk of his Century City office. He spoke candidly about the death of his son, the best advice Jack Nicholson – or anyone else – ever gave him and why he doesn’t want to talk about Simpson (although he did anyway).
Question: When was your last sit-down interview?
Answer: I would say at least five years ago. Here’s what we would like, and I know I can’t direct an interview, but basically what I am trying to accomplish is to let people know I’m taking and have taken a change in my career more towards civil. I’m still doing criminal, but on a real selective basis.
Why don’t you like to talk?
People ask, but I never want to talk about the things they want to talk about. They always want to talk about Simpson. I have no interest in talking about Simpson. Simpson was 15 years ago. I’m beyond Simpson. I gave two interviews after the case, I wrote a book, and after that my answer is “No-J.”
Is it because you think the Simpson case had a negative impact on your career?
It’s who you talk to. Anything with controversy is going to have positive and negatives. The media’s a strange thing. Charlie Sheen said it best the other day: “I’m the lead story on every news channel today, and yet the Middle East is in the biggest revolution the world has ever seen.” Everybody likes gossip, plain and simple. Nothing more, nothing less. No one wants to hear about civil cases, that’s for sure.
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