OJ's Dream Team: Ten Years Later

OJ's Dream Team: Ten Years Later

by Corie Lynn Rosen, December 2009

Finding someone unfamiliar with the OJ Simpson trial, also called "the trial of the century," is almost impossible. Though the trial happened ten years ago, the goings on of the case have become so enmeshed in public consciousness that references to the OJ proceedings still appear in popular culture today, keeping the former NFL star at the forefront of public thought long after his story has faded from the front pages.

Of course, OJ is not the only star of the famed trial saga. His lawyers, or the "dream team" of attorneys, were featured as much as the celebrity himself. F. Lee Bailey, Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro are among the biggest names in law, often referred to as "celebrity attorneys," even though they have been out of the spotlight for some time.

So what happened to these so-called celebrity attorneys after the OJ bonanza?

F. Lee Bailey

A few years ago CNN interviewed Bailey, who said he was unsure that he would chose a career in criminal defense if he had to make the decision over again. It is not unusual for a person to look back on his choices and judge them with a wiser eye. But for Bailey, whose career included the representation of Samuel Sheppard and Ernest Medina, looking back may inspire genuine remorse.

After co-mingling the stock of a client with his own funds, Bailey was disbarred in Florida in 2001. Bailey had been subject to other disciplinary actions and the court recognized the case of co-mingling as one of the "most serious and basic trust account violations." Despite the premature end of his career, Bailey will be remembered more as a prominent criminal attorney than as a disbarred and dishonest lawyer, since it is Bailey's work on the OJ Dream Team that most Americans remember.

Johnnie Cochran

He immortalized himself in the memory of America with his "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit" command in the OJ trial's closing arguments. After the OJ trial, Cochran, who held an undergraduate degree from UCLA and a J.D. from Loyola Marymount, published an autobiography in which he discussed his role as a public figure and the numerous parodies of his persona in media and popular culture.

Additionally, Cochran took pride in his role as a leading African-American spokesman and in his personal history. After the OJ trial concluded, Cochran continued to work with high profile clients like Sean "P Diddy" Combs and Cynthia Wiggins. Cochran, who was the only attorney ever to win both the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award from both the Criminal Courts Bar and the LA Trial Lawyers Association, was a true American success story and one of the most influential lawyers of his day. Cochran died on March 29th of this year. His death was attributed to an inoperable brain tumor. He died at his home in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles.

Robert Shapiro

The only member of the dream team still practicing, Robert Shapiro is a partner at the Los Angeles law firm Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil and Shapiro, LLP. The firm has a broad practice, from litigation to corporate transactions. Shapiro, with a breadth of experience, participates in litigation and negotiation with equal ability. His most recent ventures include LegalZoom.com, a full service legal basics website, and a book, Misconception. Like Cochran, Shapiro is a graduate of both UCLA's undergraduate program and Loyola Marymount's School of Law.

In a magazine interview, Shapiro said that he did not feel that his work on the OJ case altered the course of his career in any substantial way. He did acknowledge that the case gave him far more exposure and made him a recognizable figure in the public eye, which is true of all of the dream team members.

Bailey, Cochran, and Shapiro went into the Ito courtroom as lawyers and came out of that courtroom as celebrity attorneys - OJ will have to share the spotlight with his Dream Team as long as the public remembers the famous trial. With no sign of a fading public memory, it seems that the Dream Team will remain a part of popular consciousness indefinitely.

Ready to Begin?