Ambassador to the Czech Republic: Who Is Andrew Schapiro?
On March 6, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated attorney Andrew H. Schapiro as ambassador to the Czech Republic. Like many of Obama’s nominees, Schapiro was a “bundler,” or someone who helped raise money for the president’s campaigns. Schapiro was very successful in this regard, with some estimates of his fund-raising reaching $1.26 million.
Schapiro is from Chicago, graduating from Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the suburb of Flossmoor in 1981. His mother was a Czech survivor of the Holocaust who became a psychiatrist; his father, Joseph, was a pediatrician. Schapiro’s mother, Raya Czerner Schapiro, co-compiled a book, Letters From Prague: 1939-1941, dealing with the experience of her grandmother and uncle during the Nazi occupation of Prague.
After high school, Schapiro went to Yale, where he graduated with a B.A. in 1985. He was then named a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University, earning his M.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1987. Schapiro returned to the United States to enter Harvard Law School, where he was a year ahead of the future president, serving on the Law Review with Obama. Schapiro received his law degree in 1990.
Schapiro then clerked for Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit in Chicago from 1991 to 1992. He then went to Washington to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun from 1992 to 1993. While there, Schapiro was credited toward moving Blackmun to an “abolitionist position” on the death penalty.
Beginning in 1993, Schapiro worked in the Federal Defenders Office for the Southern District of New York. In 1998, he joined the private sector, signing on with the law firm Mayer Brown, and becoming a partner in 2001.
In 2011, Schapiro was lured to the firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, specializing in appellate work. Among those he represented during his years at the two firms were You Tube/Google, successfully defending them in a $1 billion copyright infringement suit brought by Viacom; Philip Morris, successfully defending the tobacco in an action relating to punitive damages; Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO Sheldon Adelson in a billion-dollar dispute over ownership of the Venetian Macao hotel and casino; and ex-New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik in his unsuccessful appeal of his sentence for tax fraud and lying to White House officials. Schapiro’s pro bono clients have included the Sierra Club, the Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Innocence Project.
Schapiro is married to Tamar Newberger, who works in the technology industry in marketing. They have a daughter, Galia, and a son, Alexander.
To Learn More:
Lawyer Selected For Czech Ambassadorship Also Major Obama Fundraiser (by Michael Beckel, Center for Public Integrity)
Another Obama Bundler From Chicago Gets a Plum Diplomatic Post (by Carol Felsenthal, Chicago Magazine)
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