Lawyer lands punches in, out of court

  Sandra Sanchez


  USA Today


  Page 04A

  (Copyright 1994)


  Three mornings a week, defense lawyer Robert Shapiro lands punches before he

  enters court - on a set of punching bags, or with sparring partners, in the garage

  of his Beverly Hills, Calif., home, under the watchful eye of a trainer. "I've

  always admired boxers because they're so agile," Shapiro, 51, told People

  magazine. "That's the way I want to be." Another favorite sport is bungee

  jumping, which he's photographed doing at Lake Tahoe in the July 11 issue. The

  New Jersey-born celebrity lawyer who favors $2,000 Giorgio Armani suits,

  enjoys carrot-beet juice, and is sensitive about a balding spot, describes himself

  as meticulous and disciplined, especially when working on a celebrity case. "The

  public perception is that a celebrity can get off easier. . . . It's absolutely not

  true," he said. "Two cases being equal, one involving a celebrity and the other

  not, the ordinary citizen has a much better chance of getting a better result."

  Although he spends long hours preparing for cases, "he'll drop anything for the

  kids," says wife Linell, 46. Example: the first week of the O.J. Simpson case, he

  took sons, Brent, 13, and Grant, 10, to the USA vs. Colombia World Cup match.


  NIGHT READING: Simpson's management agency has asked Random House to

  send Simpson the books, All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing by Cormac

  McCarthy, Newsweek reports. Prison rules require books to be sent from

  publishers. And if prison officials don't consider the material appropriate, the

  agency has asked Random House for "any variety of books you might be able to

  send." Horses, is the first in a planned trilogy, and won the 1992 National Book

  Critics Circle Award for fiction. It centers on two teens who run away on

  horseback from their Texas homes and end up working on a Mexican ranch. One

  boy falls in love with the daughter of the ranch owner. The boys then are arrested

  on murder and horse thievery charges. The Crossing also is about two youths

  who leave their New Mexican homes.


  DEFENSE BREAK: Simpson's defense team appeared to be in a celebratory

  mood Saturday. Shapiro, leading a group of about 20 that included F. Lee Bailey

  and Alan Dershowitz, showed up at Nicky Blair's restaurant on Sunset Boulevard

  and traded embraces with a procession of visitors. Shapiro described the past two

  weeks as grueling and said the outing was a way to unwind. The party broke up

  around 11 p.m., and the crowd left for dessert at Shapiro's home. Simpson's

  friend, Robert Kardashian, said he's "just trying to hold things together."


  RE-ELECTED: A week before Simpson was charged with killing Nicole Brown

  Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, he was re-elected to the board of The Forschner

  Group, a Connecticut-based Swiss Army knives distributor, The Detroit News

  reports. To oust him, shareholders would have to hold a special meeting or wait

  until his term expires. He gets a $10,000 stipend and $1,000 a meeting.


  TRADING CARDS: Collectors at a sports memorabilia show in Anaheim, Calif.,

  this weekend bought thousands of cards of Simpson, Nicole Simpson and

  Goldman. Going price: $8 to $10 each. Featured in the 10-pack from Interlink

  News Services: Simpson's police mug shot, court photos, a white Ford Bronco

  with Simpson inside being chased by police, Nicole Simpson's driver's license

  photo, and modeling photos of Goldman.


  Contributing: Jonathan T. Lovitt and Noreen Seebacher

  PHOTO,b/w,Douglas C. Pizac,Agence France-Presse