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Richard N Shapiro

About me

First: the formal part, followed by why I am proud of what I do for my clients:  

Richard N. Shapiro, designated as a "Super Lawyer" in Virginia,  practices injury law.  Rick served as staff assistant to U.S. Congressman Whitehurst (1979-1981) and graduated from George Mason Law School With Distinction in 1984. He served as a law clerk to Federal District Court Judge Robert C. Doumar in Norfolk. He co-authored "Railroad Health & Safety; a Litigator's Guide" which appears in a leading law encyclopedia, "American Jurisprudence Trials" and is Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the NBTA. Rick was elected chair of the Railroad Law section of the American Association for Justice (AAJ, 2005-2006).  Licensed:  VA, NC, WV, DC.  Admitted:  U.S. Supreme Court.  Prior Injury Litigation:  throughout eastern U.S.

Named a Super Lawyer, in Virginia (By Law & Politics) (less than 5% of lawyers selected); Selected in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in VA (By ATLA);

About my journey to where I am now:


I think any person looking for a personal injury lawyer has an amazing number of choices, so I will basically tell the story of how I became a trial attorney for injured people.

While attending the University of Maryland at College Park, where I obtained a government and politics degree, I was lucky to get a job on Capitol Hill as an intern, and then was offered a full time job as a staff assistant for a Congressman. Learning how legislation really gets rolling, and also dealing with constituent interaction was great training for later becoming a lawyer. While I was working on Capitol Hill I decided to apply to law school and try to become a lawyer.  I was to accepted George Mason Law School located in Northern Virginia. and graduated in the top 5% of my class, and also wrote a law review article which was published in the George Mason Law Review.  And, I worked part time and piled up student loans, which took forever to repay!

I also heard about how it was great experience to obtain a clerkship for a federal judge so I put out a bunch of applications and ended up becoming a law clerk to a federal judge in Norfolk Virginia, my hometown. I spent a year, with pay, as one of the Federal Judge Robert Doumar’s law clerks and saw great (and some bad) trial lawyers in court in both civil and criminal cases every week. This was great training.

By 1993, I was exclusively doing personal injury law. I am now licensed to practice in North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, and Washington, DC, but actually handle personal injury litigation in nearly every state across the eastern United States by associating with other attorneys licensed in those states. I also applied for and now  honored to be admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court.

I've been involved in all kinds of personal injury and wrongful death trials, including car wreck cases, trucking cases, railroad injury and derailment, chemical and toxic spill cases, etc. In many instances, my seriously injured client’s case settles at or just before a jury trial, because if I do a good job for my client, the defendant pushes hard to settle their case rather than face a jury.

I have also been an officer of the Railroad Section of the American Association of Justice, the largest nationwide civil trial injury lawyer network, and remain involved in the motor vehicle, trucking and railroad sections. Since 2006, I have been writing and editing personal injury law blog articles on Injuryboard, which is the largest injury law blog in the U.S.  I write for Virginia Beach, Norfolk and NE NC Injuryboards.  Over the years I have lectured to other personal injury lawyers on a national basis, in Virginia, and in the state of Georgia. I have been asked by organizations to speak on topics of injury law as well as evidence law. 

One of the things that really motivates me as an injury lawyer is helping people that are clearly being taken advantage of by a corporation or by a claims adjuster. Believe me, I have lots of examples. I have had cases where a claims adjuster strings along an injured person, and then springs the statute of limitations defense on them after it is too late. On several occasions I was able to figure out how to file the suit in a different state (with a longer statute) and “revive” my clients claim. On other occasions I have had potential clients call me and tell me that another lawyer turned their case down. I’ve taken many cases that other lawyers have refused, and later settled the cases for substantial sums of money for (grateful) clients. Doing a good job means thinking about your client's case not only when you're in the office, but when you're home on the weekend, surfing the Internet on some other topic, or even when taking a shower.  My job does not have any defined hours.

Also, I am a prolific inventor and I hold 14 United States patents (the patents cover “fold flat” wagons, carts, jogging strollers, etc. ) and I hold patents in South Africa, Australia, and several pending in China. I signed license agreements with several companies.  I believe I am one of the only injury lawyers in the US that invent/design products, and actively practice injury law.  It provides a unique perspective.

I am proud of being a lawyer, and especially proud of being a trial attorney. We have a framed poster in our law office reception area with the title: Where Would We Be Without Lawyers?” and it shows the nation’s “founding fathers” in an artist’s rendering with an empty silhouette for 35 of the famous faces--yes, 35 of the 55 framer’s of the Constitution were lawyers, and 25 of our nation’s presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, were lawyers. Part of my duty as an attorney is to stand between corporations, insurance companies and government attempts to limit or wipe out the ultimate check and balance: the courthouse and our jury system.  I am a strong believer in the US jury system as our system allows juries to decide important civil justice issues.  The US jury system is vastly more important to our government system than most people realize and one of my roles is to see that the jury system is not eroded and that judges always recognize that most civil disputes should be resolved by juries, if they can not be settled before trial.


Based in Virginia Beach, I am ready to serve clients throughout Hampton Roads -- Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Suffolk -- as well as the communities of Virginia's Eastern Shore and northeastern North Carolina.


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Personal Injury: 30%
    27 years, 300 cases
  2. Trucking Accident: 30%
    27 years
  3. Medical Malpractice: 20%
    27 years
  4. Brain Injury: 10%
    27 years
  5. Defective Products: 10%
    27 years



Contingent (33-45%), Free consultation (60 minutes)

Attorney endorsements

12 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Michael S. Waddington

    I endorse Richard. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community.


    Michael Waddington Military law Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Gregory Lane Sandler

    I have known Rick for many years, and he has deserved a reputation for being a talented plaintiff's injury lawyer.


    Gregory Sandler Personal injury Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Shapiro, Appleton & Duffan

1294 Diamond Springs Road
Virginia Beach, VA, 23455-3701

101 Eaton Street
Mill Point Center
Hampton, VA, 23669

440 Monticello Avenue
Suite 1800
Norfolk, VA, 23510

355 Crawford Street
Seventh Floor
Portsmouth, VA, 23704

434 North Main Street
Suffolk, VA, 23434

8 Juniper Trail
Suite 7
Kitty Hawk, NC, 27949



DCActive 199607/06/2016
WVAuthorized to practice law199608/13/2016
VAAuthorized to practice law198403/31/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Best Lawyers in America for Railroad LawBest Lawyers in America2010
"A V" RatingMartindale-Hubbell2010
Named as a Virginia "Super Lawyer" for personal injury/ 2009Law & Politics Magazine2009
Top 100 Trial Lawyers-VAAss'n Trial Lawyers of America2009
Invited Member: Million Dollar Advocates ForumMillion Dollar Advocates Forum2009
Selected to Who's Who in American Law-2009Marquis Who's Who in American Law2009
Recipient, George Mason Law Alumni Honor Scholarship, 1984.Alumni Association1984
George Mason University Law Review,Article Published-1984)Law Review Board1984
Board Certified-Civil TrialsNational Board of Trial Advocacy-MAN/A
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Secretary and Newsletter EditorRailroad Law Section of the American Association of Justice2011 - Present
ShareholderShapiro, Appleton, & Duffan1993 - Present
Association namePosition nameDuration
Railroad Accident Trial Lawyers AssociationExecutive Committee2012 - Present
Virginia Beach Injury Board BlogCo-Editor2007 - Present
Norfolk Injuryboard BlogCo-Editor2007 - Present
Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard BlogCo-Editor2007 - Present
North Carolina Advocates for JusticeMember2002 - Present
North Carolina Advocates for JusticeMember2001 - Present
Academy of Rail Labor AttorneysMember2000 - Present
Virginia Trial Lawyers AssociationMember1998 - Present
American Association for JusticeMember/Former Chair-Railroad Section1997 - Present
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Bray v. Ins. Co. of State of Pa.Won Appeal Before Federal Appeals Court for client
Ratliff v. Norfolk Southern Railrway Co.WV Supreme Court appeal victory in death case
$800,000.00 Settlement in Trip & Fall Case$800,000.00
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
carolina.hsinjurylaw.comReport on Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in North Carolina2012
Virginia Trial Lawyers AssociationStatistics Evidence in Injury Cases: Excluding It or Infusing It in Direct Exam?2012
Railroad Health & Safety; A Litigator's Guide, Am Jur. TrialsRailroad Health & Safety; A Litigator's Guide1999
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
George Mason University School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor (With Distinction)1984
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Winter ConventionNew Computer Technologies to Conduct the Deposition of a Corporate Representative2012
Selected Topics in Personal InjuryPresenting Personal Injury Evidence2012
NBI SeminarCreative Use of Visual Evidence2012
Annual ConferenceUsing Powerpoint Presentations for Effective Corporate Representation Rule 30(b)(6) Depositions2012
Annual ConferenceHot Topics in Personal Injury Law2011
Update on Release LawRelease law, under FELA2009
Moderator, Presenter-"Tools, Not Rules" Evidence SeminarEvidence Law For Lawyers2001