"He combines sheer brilliance with humility and an unfailing ability to realize what the justices are interested in."
- Chambers USA 2007
Stephen Shapiro is the founder and senior member of the Supreme Court & Appellate practice at Mayer Brown. Under his leadership the group has grown to become the largest Supreme Court & Appellate practice in the country. It is ranked in the first tier nationally by both Chambers USA and The Legal 500. Chambers 2008 said that the group “stands head and shoulders above its competitors.” Lawyers in the group have argued 235 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and a large number of appeals in federal and state courts across the country. In December 2014, Reuters released a special report focused on the business of the Supreme Court. In that report, Mayer Brown was named among the small, highly influential group of lawyers and law firms that have the greatest influence on the decisions made by the US Supreme Court. Nearly one in eight of the “small cluster of specialists” named in the report is from the firm’s Supreme Court & Appellate practice, including Steve Shapiro. No other firm had more petitions for certiorari granted during the period covered in the report. Steve personally has been responsible for briefing more than 200 cases and for arguing 30 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Clients that Steve has represented in private practice include many members of the Fortune 500 in virtually all industries and areas of business, as well as national and state governments, other governmental entities, leading trade and professional associations, and high-profile not-for-profit organizations. The precedent-setting cases that he has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court have led to far-reaching decisions reshaping the law of antitrust, securities regulation, taxation, patent law, banking, administrative law, employment, and federal-state relations.
During 2007 Steve successfully represented the 15 leading underwriters and mutual funds in the nation before the Supreme Court (Credit Suisse v. Billing), in the largest private antitrust case in history. In October of 2007, he successfully argued before the Supreme Court what The Wall Street Journal has called “the biggest securities-litigation court clash in a generation.” The case (Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta and Motorola, Inc.) held that product vendors, lenders, accountants and other secondary participants may not be sued for “scheme liability” under the federal securities laws. In 2011 Steve successfully argued Mayo Clinic v. Prometheus Laboratories, leading the Supreme Court to reject the views of the Patent Office and Solicitor General and impose new limits on patent monopolies in the field of scientific research. The U.S. Patent Office has referred to this ruling as a "paradigm shift" in federal patent law.
ABA Litigation magazine (Spring, 2006) described Steve as “perhaps the preeminent appellate advocate practicing today.” Such an evaluation is borne out by the 2007 edition of Chambers USA, which stated that, “He combines sheer brilliance with humility and an unfailing ability to realize what the justices are interested in.” In 2006 Chambers USA called Steve “a key factor in the firm’s dominance in appellate litigation.” Steve’s clients have in previous years praised him in Chambers for “eloquent advocacy,” and used phrases such as “the smartest lawyer in the world” and “at the top of my list for referrals” to characterize his practice. In 2008 Legal 500 commended Steve for his “supreme intellect, oral argument skills and coolness under fire.” In 2009 and 2010 Chambers USA and Legal 500 quoted clients who stated that “he is incredibly hardworking and at the top of his field”; “he knows the court inside-out and always comes up with a winning argument,” and is “a master in the courtroom.” In 2016 and 2017, Chambers said: "Stephen Shapiro is a highly respected litigator with a wealth of experience that he deploys in his representation of clients in appellate courts nationwide. He undertakes matters concerning securities regulation, patent law and antitrust." "He is a phenomenal litigator” who is “the founder of the firm's appellate group, and draws upon broad experience dealing with a range of appellate issues in order to offer strategic litigation advice to his clients." Jan Crawford Greenberg of ABC News described Steve’s 2009 argument in Philip Morris v. Williams as “a Herculean job”; “Shapiro was so impressive in keeping his composure and his focus” during argument, which was “coupled with obvious preparation.” In 2017, Best Lawyers identified Steve as “the one attorney in a particular practice area who received the highest votes from his peers” for Appellate Practice in Chicago.
Before joining Mayer Brown, Steve served as Deputy Solicitor General of the United States (1981-1983), and as Assistant to the Solicitor General (1978-1980). As Deputy Solicitor General in the Reagan administration, his responsibilities included briefing and arguing cases for the federal government in the Supreme Court and supervising appellate litigation in the courts of appeals. He supervised most of the government’s business cases in the Supreme Court, including antitrust, banking, FTC, SEC, CFTC, FCC, FMC, CPSC, CAB, ICC, and other cases arising from federal administrative agencies. Steve received the Department of Justice Distinguished Service Award.
Steve is co-author of the standard treatise on litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Practice, Tenth Edition (2013). Justice Samuel Alito has referred to this book as “the Bible of Supreme Court practice.” Former Solicitor General Theodore Olson has said: “I don’t see how anyone could practice before the Supreme Court without having this valuable resource readily available.” Former Solicitor General Seth Waxman has called it “the indispensable reference.” Previous editions have been lauded in the ABA’s 2011 Appellate Practice Journal as “a great book, a monument of legal publishing that sets the standard for all appellate practice books,” and “the best appellate practice book ever written.” This book was described in H. W. Perry, Deciding to Decide (Harvard 1991), as “the basic reference on practice in the Supreme Court”; “the Justices referred to it frequently and in a way that almost seemed as if it were an official publication of the Court.”
Steve has also written numerous articles on appellate practice, and has lectured on these issues before law schools and professional organizations nationwide. He is a Life Member of the American Law Institute. In addition to heading Mayer Brown’s Supreme Court & Appellate group, Steve has played an active role in firm governance as former head of the Telecommunications Practice Group and as a member of the Management Committee. In 2009 Steve was elected to the "Client Service All-Star Team" based on client recommendations from Fortune 1000 companies. He is listed among The Best Lawyers In America (2014), in the fields of Appellate Law, Bet-The-Company Litigation, and Commercial Litigation. U.S. Benchmark Litigation (2012) lists Steve as a "tier 1 star" for appellate litigation ("one of the country’s top appellate lawyers").
Clients that Steve has represented in private practice include: the Government of Japan, the State of Illinois, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Securities Industry Association, the Product Liability Advisory Council, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Bankers Association, the American Trucking Associations, the American Corporate Counsel Association, the Automobile Importers of America, the New York Clearing Association, the National Guard Association of the United States, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, AT&T, Ameritech, BellSouth Corporation, Pacific Telesis Group, Bell Atlantic Corporation, U S West, Inc., NYNEX Corporation, SBC Communications, Inc., eBay, Inc., Google, Inc., Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc., Oracle Corporation, International Paper Company, Brunswick Corp., Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Chrysler Corporation, Volkswagen of America, Hyundai Motor Company, Mercedes-Benz, Saturn Corporation, Caterpillar, Inc., Volvo GM Heavy Truck Corporation, Subaru of America, Philip Morris USA, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Merrill Lynch & Co., UBS/PaineWebber, Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., Bank of America, Citicorp, Continental Bank, the Northern Trust Company, Wells Fargo & Company, First American Bankshares, Inc., Northeast Bancorp, Arab Bank PLC, Advance Ross Corporation, FMC Corporation, BASF Corporation, The Mosaic Company, ChevronTexaco Corporation, Inland Steel Industries, General Electric Company, Motorola, Inc., Scientific-Atlanta, Inc., United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Trans World Airlines, US Airways, Air Canada, Lufthansa German Airlines, Encyclopaedia Britannica, GATX Corporation, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., Knight-Ridder, Inc., Tribune Co., Northern Illinois Gas Co., Hughes Aircraft Company, Lexecon, Inc., Consolidated Edison of New York, WSNS-TV Channel 44, General Reinsurance Corp., CIGNA Corporation, Aetna Life & Surety Co., Insurance Services Office, ITT Corporation, ITT Hartford, Reinsurance Association of America, American Insurance Association, American Re-Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Safeco Insurance Company, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, The Dow Chemical Company, The Upjohn Company, Cargill, Inc., Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Whirlpool Corporation, Sears, Roebuck and Co., JMB Realty Corporation, Angus Chemical Company, Americas Mining Corporation, Porcelanite S.A. de C.V., Deloitte & Touche LLP, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Massachusetts School of Law, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Mayo Clinic, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Corporation, Dinsmore & Shohl, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
In the pages following, Steve summarizes the major cases he has handled in the Supreme Court and on appeal, followed by a description of his advocacy before Congress and federal administrative agencies.