Knowingly or not, most Supreme Court advocates have interacted with Mayer Brown partner Stephen Shapiro by poring through “Supreme Court Practice,” the tome he co-authored that tells how to navigate the arcane traditions, rules and preferences of the court.

The depth and seriousness of the book and of Shapiro himself makes his violent death on Monday, at the age of 72, all the more stunning. He spent his professional life quietly building a Supreme Court practice when such a thing was rare. In the book, he told his colleagues and adversaries how the institution works.