How Ankit Kapoor went from cop to family lawyer
Published in 2023 New York Metro Super Lawyers magazine
By David Levine on September 25, 2023
When police officers trade in badges for bar memberships, many go into criminal defense. Not Ankit Kapoor. He went from working the night shift in one of Brooklyn’s busiest precincts to practicing in one of the busiest areas of law.
“When someone calls 911, they’re in a stressful situation. When someone calls a matrimonial attorney, they’re usually in a stressful situation as well,” he says. “So I figured this area of the law would be a good fit for me.”
Born in India, Kapoor came to America in 1999 at age 9 with his parents and younger brother. First in Queens and then on Long Island, Kapoor had to learn a new language, attend different schools and move among different social classes. Early on, he became fascinated with law enforcement and took the police entrance exam at age 17.
“Part of it was, ‘I get to have a gun and a badge,’” he says. “But I also wanted to make a difference.”
Because the entrance qualification was valid for four years, and with an eye on law school, he first studied political science at Hofstra, graduating a semester early. It was only then, in 2011, that he went into the police academy. He asked to be assigned the overnight shift in the 79th Precinct, which encompasses what was a still-dangerous Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.
Despite his share of difficult calls, including car pursuits, he says, “I never fired a gun except at the practice range.”
Two years into police work, he got a scholarship from Brooklyn Law School and attended part time to keep his police pay and benefits. “I’d go to school from 6 to 10 p.m., then work overnight and sleep days. It was crazy but that’s how I spent my first year of law school.” During meal hours, he says, “I would pull out my torts textbook and read in the police car at 3 a.m.”
After passing the Bar in 2018, Kapoor took a staff position with the New York City Law Department, where he gained “heavy litigation experience.” At least one judge, Lisa A. Sokoloff, was impressed. Knowing his interest in family law, she connected him with iconic attorney Harriet Newman Cohen, and he interviewed at her office. “It was like a blind date, in a way,” Kapoor says. He started in July 2019, learning matrimonial law from Cohen.
When the firm dissolved in December 2020 he joined Cohen and her daughter Martha Cohen Stine to create Cohen Stine Kapoor. “When I first interviewed, I told them I wanted my name on the door next to yours. I knew I wanted my own firm and my own clients,” he says. “When the move was made, they said, ‘Guess what, your name is going on the door.’”
Having reached many of his goals at age 34, what does Kapoor plan now? “I’m always a work in progress,” he says. “If I can work hard and improve myself, the success will continue to come.”
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