Law and Order

Paul Kopell is a criminal defense attorney and Jack McCoy's friend of 25 years. He started working for the Dosso Crime Family as their inside counsel and conspired with them to commit crimes.


Paul met and married a woman named Anna. He started attending New York University together with McCoy in 1970, and both joined the basketball team, where Paul served as a point guard. While Paul was on the team, they beat their medical school rivals three years in a row. The two became best friends, and McCoy befriend Anna as well. They all stayed friends after graduation, even though Paul and McCoy opted for opposing occupations: McCoy a prosecutor and Paul a defense attorney. At some point, Paul was hired to represent a local crime boss, Vincent Dosso. Over time, Paul became immersed into the Dosso crime family and started helping facilitate their activities.

To this end, Paul paid an elderly woman living above Dosso's social club for the use of her apartment 2G, whenever she left town, by members of the Dosso family to discuss their criminal dealings. Paul sat in on some of these meetings, overhearing Dosso and one of his hitman, John Furini, discussing and planning the murders of several people, including labor boss John O'Malley. When Dosso was arrested for O'Malley's murder, Paul constructed the jury questionnaires so he could find a juror susceptible to bribery. One of Dosso's henchmen then bribed a court clerk with $5,000 to give him the names of the jurors and gave Dosso's associates David Lempert. After that, Lempert agreed to shift the trial in Dosso's favor by refusing to vote guilty, in order to pay for his daughter's college bills.

House Counsel

Paul was in the apartment with Dosso and Furini when they decided to have Lempert killed to hide the evidence. When Dosso and Furini are arrested for murdering Lempert, Paul represents Dosso. Paul and his co-counsel, Mr. Murphy, both file motions to suppress the recording in which they confirm their roles in Lempert's murder. Paul manages to convince the judge to do so by arguing that Dosso made the call from a payphone that wasn't covered in the police warrant. Murphy, however, fails to get the judge to grant his similar motion. Paul and McCoy talk in a friendly manner while Paul tells him that he will be filing a motion to dismiss the charges. The motion is granted and Paul later meets with Dosso in apartment 2G, where they discuss the murder as well as possible options where the wife is concerned.

Dosso is rearrested outside the social club after the police bugged the apartment, and Paul represents him at his arraignment. Paul files a motion to suppress the new recording on the grounds that it is bound by attorney-client privilege. In the judge's chambers, Paul states that one of the voices on the tape is himself and has an expert testify to that. Kincaid tries to use the fact that there were three people on the tape to their advantage, but Paul reveals the third voice is Al Gennaro, another client. Because they aren't discussing future and ongoing criminal enterprises, the judge suppresses the tape. With the tape out as evidence, Paul moves for another dismissal and the judge grants it while McCoy strongly objects. While the Kopells are hosting a party, McCoy has Paul arrested for conspiracy to commit Lempert's murder after McCoy managed to find the court clerk Dosso bribed and extracted a confession from him.

Outraged by his arrest, both Paul and Anna march into McCoy's office to chastise him for having him arrested in front of their friends to intimidate him. They all argue over each others' actions, and it ends with Paul bragging that he will get the charges dismissed without any problems. At the dismissal hearing, Paul represents himself and argues that McCoy has no evidence directly connecting him to the murder. McCoy argues that the murder conspiracy started with the questionnaires, and also uses the tape recording Dosso's confession to the murder. Despite Paul arguing attorney-client privilege, McCoy argues that Paul is a part of Dosso's criminal organization and the privilege doesn't apply, especially to Paul since privilege protects the client, not the attorney. The judge decides to hear evidence on the issue next week.

At the hearing, Furini testifies to Paul's criminal activities and his culpability to four murders, including that of Lempert. Paul vigorously calls Furini's credibility into question, but the judge is satisfied with the prosecution's evidence and allows the case to go to trial. Paul refuses to turn on Dosso and defends his actions as getting into the mind of a criminal to better serve him. He even admits that he liked hanging out with a crime lord and smugly states that they will never win the trial. He refuses a plea bargain when offered to him, despite his wife and McCoy urging him to take the deal. Despite his best efforts, Paul is convicted of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder.

Known Victims

  • Unknown dates:
    • Lloyd Lipman (killed by Furini on Dosso's orders after conspiring with Paul)
    • Tomaso Bucci (killed by Furini on Dosso's orders after conspiring with Paul)
    • John O'Malley (killed by Furini on Dosso's orders after conspiring with Paul)
    • David Lempert (shot three times in the chest by Furini on Dosso's orders after conspiring with Paul)


  • Kopell is based on Bruce Cutler, the attorney for famed Mafia boss John Gotti, who was removed as Gotti's counsel because he was deemed to be too immersed in Gotti's activities to be an independent counsel. Gotti was found not guilty in part due to the bribery of juror George Pape.