About Joel Warner

Joel Warner Articles written 15

Joel Warner is a Denver-based journalist. He is author of The Curse of the Marquis de Sade: A Notorious Scoundrel, a Mythical Manuscript, and the Biggest Scandal in Literary History, and co-author of The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny. He currently serves as managing editor of the investigative news outlet The Lever, and his writing has appeared in Esquire, Wired, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, and Grantland, among many other publications. His work has earned accolades from the James Beard Foundation Awards, The Best American Sports Writing anthology, as well as the Society of Professional Journalists for his Super Lawyers feature “Tackling Giants.”

Articles written by Joel Warner

The World Turned Upside Down

How New York lawyers are dealing with a pandemic that’s put the law on hold

It’s an early morning in late May, and business litigator Michael C. Rakower sits in his home office in the leafy suburbs of Westchester County talking to other housebound colleagues from Rakower Law via videoconference. He checks on the progress of cases, determines pressing tasks, and gets status updates of the sort he used to get via casual hallway conversations back when the firm’s Madison Avenue office was open.  “It’s actually more structure than we used to have,” he says. …

Distinguishing Herself

How Jean Chou took a virtual Park Avenue address and made it real

In 2010, barely a year out of law school, Jean Chou launched her own Manhattan-based law firm focusing on real estate transactions. It didn’t matter that, until that point, much of the 26-year-old’s experience in the field consisted of navigating small-time tenant-landlord disputes at the Queens Housing Court; Chou was eager to make a go of it. She paid $100 a month for a virtual midtown office space so that she could list “100 Park Avenue” on her letterhead, and set up shop in her East …

Can Cannabis Become Big Business in New York?

Exploring the potential pot of gold

In 2009, after an associate told attorney Michael Hiller how medical cannabis helped alleviate symptoms of her mother’s pancreatic cancer, he considered entering the new legal field. But a partner was concerned it might alienate existing clients. In 2014, after the partner left, Hiller took the jump. Now cannabis represents a quarter of his firm’s business—from commercial enterprises and treatment providers to pro bono cases for medical marijuana patients. And instead of being repelled by …

Masterpiece Theater

Parsing the recent Supreme Court decision on gay rights and religious freedom 

In 2013, Paula Greisen, a civil rights and employment attorney at King & Greisen in Denver, received a call from the Colorado chapter of the ACLU. The Colorado Civil Rights Division had found probable cause that Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, had discriminated in 2012 against a same-sex couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, by refusing to bake them a wedding cake, based on Phillips’ religious beliefs. The case was likely to go before an administrative law …

Persistent as Hell

Paula Greisen isn’t going to wait around for someone else to enact change

Paula Greisen sits in the gallery of a federal courtroom in downtown Denver, legs crossed and hands splayed out on the wooden bench on either side of her, radiating impatient energy. She’s watching a preliminary hearing in the federal lawsuit Masterpiece Cakeshop Incorporated et al v. Elenis et al. It’s one of two cases being dubbed “Masterpiece 2.0,” following up on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the blockbuster 2018 Supreme Court case over Colorado cake …

Rights and Bites: The Growing Field of Animal Law

From pet custody to standing, lawyers discuss legal developments

A growing number of attorneys are devoting all or part of their practice to animal law, while more state bars are launching animal law committees. The range of cases is growing, too: custody disputes and trusts; disputes over “no pet” housing policies; animal cruelty incidents; police shootings of companion animals; and, of course, injuries sustained by aggressive animals. Much in the same way that, 50 years ago, the environmental law movement became a force to be reckoned with, animal …


On the slopes and the courtroom, Ellie Lockwood leaves the competition behind

Ellie Lockwood can see the snow-topped peaks of the Rockies from the windows of her firm’s 19th floor office in downtown Denver, and, every fall, as the seasons begin to shift, she feels their pull. “I always have this weird feeling like I am supposed to pack up and go to the mountains,” she says. Born in Cleveland, Lockwood began skiing at about 2 years old and relished going with her parents to ski resorts in nearby New York every winter weekend. Then, as a young teenager, she tried …

Anything You Post Can and Will Be Used Against You

How the use of social media impacts six types of legal case

In December 2010, Isaiah Lester achieved a little justice for the death of his wife, Jessica. Or so he thought. Three years earlier, an Allied Concrete cement truck overturned in Charlottesville, Virginia, landing on Jessica’s car and killing her. A Virginia jury awarded Lester and his in-laws $10.6 million in a wrongful death suit against the driver and the cement company. But the victory wouldn’t last. In October 2011, Virginia Circuit Court Judge Edward L. Hogshire halved that award and …

How to Fight the Rise of Elder Abuse in Colorado

Legal tips to combat exploitation and mistreatment

When Colorado became one of the last states to require mandatory reporting of elderly abuse, neglect and exploitation in 2014, state officials expected a 15 percent increase in the number of cases reported statewide. Instead, Colorado has seen a 50 percent increase in elder abuse and exploitation reports, with 17,743 cases reported in fiscal year 2016 alone. Thanks to new reporting laws and high-profile elder exploitation cases such as those involving Brooke Astor and Mickey Rooney, more people …

Sales Force

Med-mal attorney Jim Leventhal went from selling suits to winning them

The opposing counsel looked at Jim Leventhal and told him he wasn’t going to win.  It was 1980, and Leventhal, then 32, was taking his first medical malpractice case at his new firm to trial. The facts were in his favor: His client had been prescribed an unnecessary hysterectomy. The problem, his opponent suggested, was that Leventhal was out of his league. He was a clothing salesman turned public defender. He had no formal medical training and was facing off against two seasoned attorneys: …

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