“I’ve got to take the medicine and make it so simple that a fourth grader understands it when I present it to a jury, and for whatever reason I’m very comfortable at that, but it takes a really deep understanding,” he says.
Now a partner at Ogborn Mihm LLP, Shapiro estimates 90 percent of his practice involves brain injuries. He has represented several athletes in return-to-play concussions, including an arena football league player and a soccer player. He has been involved with the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado for the past 30 years and has served as a board member for the Invisible Disability Association.
Increasingly, Shapiro has been taking on the role of mentor, providing advice and guidance to younger attorneys at the firm. He encourages them to think less like a lawyer in front of a jury and to just be human – vulnerable and humble, even. He takes an individual approach to mentoring.
“I’ve got to understand who they are and how they can take it,” he explains. “Once I understand who they are and how they can take it, then I have a different approach with each one. But the ones I really love helping are the ones who have the desire and willingness to be great.”
Shapiro admits that being an exceptional trial lawyer requires sacrifice, and the time commitment can be tremendous – on the order of 24-7, 365 days a year.
“There’s no easy way to do this,” he says. “I love the challenge of it.”
He says he wouldn’t have been able to do what he loves without his wife, Mona. The couple met when Shapiro was studying for the bar and have now been married 40 years. They have two children. Their daughter, Lauren, is a health care attorney, and their son, Preston, is in the hospitality business.
“My wife has been my rock,” says Shapiro. “She took care of everything to let me be what I wanted to be, which was as great a lawyer as I could be. Without her, no way in hell I could have done what I’ve done.”
He can’t even really contemplate retirement, he says.
“I’m very lucky,” he says. “I’ve gotten to do what I love my entire career. And I still love it. I’m fortunate that way.”
November 14 - Member Feature - Steve Shapiro