Robert L. Shapiro


  • Robert L. Shapiro
  • Phone: +1 202 776 7867

    Import to Address Book

  • Duane Morris LLP
    901 New York Avenue N.W., Suite 700 East
    Washington, DC 20001-4795

Robert L. Shapiro practices in the area of trial litigation. He has extensive experience in litigation involving the federal government in which he has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients. His experience includes Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") challenges to agency action or inaction as well as contract-based and Fifth Amendment takings claims, False Claims Act and qui tam cases. He also has substantial experience in employment-related litigation, including class actions, and product liability defense litigation. Mr. Shapiro has first chaired dozens of trials and orally argued 15 cases before the U.S. Courts of Appeal. 

Mr. Shapiro previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Civil Division, of the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office and as law clerk to the Hon. Edith H. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Mr. Shapiro is a 1987 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and holds degrees from the Wharton School (B.S., cum laude) and College (B.A., cum laude, with distinction) of the University of Pennsylvania.

Areas of Practice

  • Regulatory and Commercial Litigation
  • Appellate

Representative Matters

  • Obtained a ruling from the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia in favor of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools, a trade association of proprietary colleges in the cosmetology field, finding the U.S. Department of Education’s Gainful Employment Rule arbitrary and capricious with respect to application to association schools. 258 F. Supp. 3d 50 (D.D.C. 2017).
  • Representing California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools in APA challenges to U.S. Department of Education Borrower Defense Regulations.
  • Representing nuclear utility companies in breach of contract actions for government's failure to remove spent nuclear fuel, setting import favorable precedents: Kansas Gas & Elec. Co. v. United States, 95 Fed. Cl. 257 (2010), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 685 F.3d 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (first-chaired trial and orally argued appeal); Dairyland Power Cooperative v. United States, 90 Fed. Cl. 615 (2009), aff'd in part and remanded in part, 645 F.3d 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2011), on remand 103 Fed. Cl. 640 (2012), 104 Fed. Cl. 400 (2012), 106 Fed. Cl. 102 (2012) (first-chaired trial and orally argued appeal); 123 Fed. Cl. 220 (2015) and 128 Fed. Cl. 499 (2016) (Dairyland’s second successful claim for damages); Pacific Gas and Elec. Co. v. United States, 73 Fed. Cl. 333 (2006), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 536 F.3d 1282 (Fed. Cir. 2008), on remand 92 Fed. Cl. 175 (2010) (co-tried initial trial and remand trial); Yankee Atomic Elec. Co. v. United States, 73 Fed. Cl. 249 (2006), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, 536 F.3d 1268 (Fed. Cir. 2008), on remand 94 Fed. Cl. 678 (2010); Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co. v. United States, 225 F.3d 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (co-tried initial trial and first-chaired remand trial).
  • Represented HUD landlord in successful breach of contract litigation against HUD.
  • Representing electric utility in internal investigation.
  • Represented employees of government contractor regarding government qui tam investigation of contractor.
  • Represented government contractor in reverse-FOIA case.
  • Represented Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in action brought by investors in mortgage-backed securitizations originated by Washington Mutual Bank.
  • Represented government contractor in bid-protest of federal government contract.
  • Represented Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in action for compensatory damages in the Washington Mutual Bank receivership.
  • Counseled software company on government contracts issues.
  • Represented successor to uranium mill operator in APA and RCRA action to force federal government to remediate former uranium mill site. El Paso Natural Gas Co. v. United States, 605 F. Supp. 2d 224 (D.D.C. 2009).
  • Represented savings and loans in breach of contract damages against the federal government in Winstar-related litigation.
  • Represented supplier to U.S. Department of Defense in qui tam action.
  • Obtained a mandamus order in APA action restricting government efforts to avoid obligation to remove utilities' spent nuclear fuel. Northern States Power Co. v. United States Department of Energy, 128 F.3d 754 (D.C. Cir. 1997), on rehearing petition, 1998 WL 276581.
  • Represented United States in False Claims Act matters, including qui tam actions.
  • Defended large employment discrimination class action. Hartman v. Duffey, 88 F.3d 1232 (D.C. Circ. 1996).
  • Litigated challenges to Office of Foreign Assets Control refusal to release funds. Bergerco Canada v. Iraqi State Co. for Food Stuff Trading, 924 F. Supp. 252 (D.D.C. 1996); Consarc Corp. v. United States Treasury Dept. Office of Foreign Assets Control, 871 F. Supp. 1463 (D.D.C. 1994).
  • Litigated challenge to United States participation in United Nations peacekeeping mission. United States ex rel. New v. Perry, 919 F. Supp. 491 (D.D.C. 1996).
  • Litigated whether Smithsonian Institution is a federal agency. Cotton v. Heyman, 63 F.3d 1115 (D.C. Cir. 1995); Dong v. Smithsonian Institution, 878 F. Supp. 244 (D.D.C. 1995).
  • Litigated APA challenge to reduction in federal block grant to municipality. City of Houston, Texas v. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 24 F.3d 1421 (D.C. Cir. 1994).
  • Litigated APA challenge of Department of Education decision regarding eligibility of school to participate in student loan programs. Atlanta College of Medical and Dental Careers, Inc. v. Riley, 987 F.2d 821 (D.C. Cir. 1993).


  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States


  • University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1987
  • The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, B.S., cum laude, 1984
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., cum laude, with distinction, 1984


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2015-present
  • Hughes Hubbard & Reed
    - Partner, 2010-2014
  • Greenberg Traurig
    - Shareholder, 2005-2010
  • Spriggs & Hollingsworth
    - Partner, 1999-2005
    - Associate, 1996-1998
  • United States Attorney, Washington, DC
    - Assistant in Civil Division, 1991-1996

  • Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal
    - Associate, 1990-1991
  • Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld
    - Associate, 1988-1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    - Law Clerk to the Hon. Edith H. Jones, 1987-1988

Honors and Awards

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • Congregation Har Shalom
    -Board Member

  • Mazza Woods Citizens Association
    - Co-President
  • University of Pennsylvania Alumni Club of Washington, D.C.
    - Past President