This week, we profile Neil Shapiro:
CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?
Neil: I stumbled into First Amendment law when I was asked in my first year of practice to assist on a big libel case. I loved the subject matter and volunteered to do as much as was around. That led to representing publishers, which in turn led to copyright and trademark issues and litigation. At the core, though, I am a business litigator who is comfortable in the referenced specialty areas.
CEB: What CEB book or program have you found most helpful in your practice and why?
Neil: Civil Appellate Practice. Doing things right is always important, and is harder in the areas in which one only practices some of the time.
CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law?
Neil: I like solving problems. Whether as a litigator or as a mediator, my goal is to resolve the dispute before me as quickly and as efficiently as I can. That, in turn, requires the ability to step away from the fray periodically, look at the bigger picture, and consider alternative paths that might achieve the necessary end result more quickly than just slogging through litigation.
CEB: What is the best legal tip you ever received?
Neil: Be prepared, know the rules, know the protocols, and know your case. I was fortunate to be a member of the generation that grew up with the Hon. Ira Brown in the Law and Motion Department of S.F. Superior Court, and he instilled those practices in so many of us by making us sorry if we ever violated them. Smart, sometimes sarcastic, and occasionally harsh, but a great teacher in his own way.
CEB: How do you think the practice of law will change in the next 15 years?
Neil: I expect it will become less collegial and more competitive in big firm, big city practice. That was the trend I saw before I moved to my present small-town practice in Monterey. It’s harder here to behave badly and not pay a price for doing so. It really is a small town and everyone knows everything. Practice here today is similar to practice in San Francisco decades ago.
CEB: What are the most interesting books you have read recently?
Neil: Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan, and The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis.
CEB: What is your contact information?
CEB: Thank you, Neil!
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