About Steve Knopper

Steve Knopper Articles written 57

Steve Knopper is a Billboard editor at large, former Rolling Stone contributing editor, contributor to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, GQ and many other publications, and the author of two books: Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age and MJ: The Genius of Michael Jackson. A longtime Super Lawyers contributor, he has written numerous oral histories, including one about civil rights attorneys in Alabama in the 1950s and ’60s, and another on the pioneering wave of women attorneys in Southern California in the 1970s. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

Articles written by Steve Knopper

‘I Should’ve Done it Sooner’

Never mind that it’s ‘all on you.’ Six local attorneys who took the leap to solo practice have never looked back

While clerking for a Columbus firm during his last year of law school, Emmanuel Olawale was told he was being let go. “I asked, ‘Was there a reason? Of all the law clerks, I put in more time.’ I didn’t want to be seen as an affirmative-action hire. The HR person told me, ‘No, you were actually our best law clerk. But we just thought you didn’t fit.’” This news was devastating for Olawale, who had come to the U.S. in 1997 from Nigeria, and had just married his fiancé, who then …

‘Where It’s Been, Where It’s Heading’

A talk with rising stars who will take the legal profession into the 2050s

Although he has been a lawyer for seven years now, Kenneth Eng has what he calls “a young face,” so opposing counsel occasionally still asks if he’s a paralegal. “Maybe 60 or 70% of adversaries will recognize that I’ve been there before,” he says, “and won’t be condescending.” And for those who didn’t get the memo, Eng has a message: “You may think I haven’t been around the block, but what you might not expect is I have a huge support network. I’m going to ask around, …

‘I Don’t Think I Was Meant to Be an Employee’

Six attorneys on the ups and downs of going solo

Back in the day, if you wanted to go solo, you’d rent an office with shelf space for legal books, hire a secretary, hang a sign to draw walk-up clients, and contract an accountant for self-employment taxes. It’s a little different now. You might not even need the office. “All you need are a laptop, an internet connection and an email address,” says Stephen Chen, who opened his family law practice in 2012. “And,” he adds, “you need to be able to produce quality work.” It still …

The Public Domain

Former DAs and PDs on what they loved and hated about the job

When Gretchen Taylor Pousson was 25, she made her first visit to jail—as an assistant public defender in Roanoke. At first, her clients did not receive her well: “Aw, man, they gave me a baby lawyer?” she remembers one saying. But she quickly figured out ways to gain their trust. "I learned to listen to them and talk to them in a way they understood, without talking down to them,” she says, adding, "It probably made me have a potty mouth early on.” The five Virginia and West Virginia …

Going 20 For 20

Seven perennial Super Lawyers listees on the last two decades of life and law

When Georgia Super Lawyers magazine was first published in 2004, Allegra Lawrence-Hardy was an associate hoping to make partner at a large firm; today, she’s an election-law specialist, and the recent chair for Stacey Abrams’ gubernatorial campaign, who runs a firm so diverse, she says, “we look like an ad for United Colors of Benetton.” And in between? She, and we, experienced a global financial meltdown, a worldwide pandemic, and a revolutionary wave of technology and social media …

Where Have We Been, Where Are We Going

Six perennial top listers talk about the last 20 years of law

Leave it to Morgan Chu to give us a perfect example of how much things have changed since 2004 when he graced the first cover of Southern California Super Lawyers magazine. “In the last 20 years, it was as if the clock sped up,” says the IP litigator who has won billions for clients in patent-infringement suits. “Scientific discoveries kept coming at a faster and faster pace.” And then he lays it out: “You have in your pocket more computing power than the Apollo moon shot was using to …

Front Runners

Six attorneys whose stories have graced our covers reflect on the last two decades

It was 20 years ago that the first Ohio Super Lawyers magazine hit the mailboxes, complete with our inaugural list of the state’s top attorneys. To mark the anniversary, we spoke with six of the lawyers whose faces have graced our covers over the years. Here they reflect on what’s changed in the past two decades for the law, for society, and for themselves. Some are still going full-steam; some have shifted priorities. Dave Kamp’s life has changed dramatically since 2018, when he was …

Small Pond

Six attorneys who found happiness in Florida’s quieter corners

Of the 77,000 lawyers who practice in Florida, it’s doubtful that many have been paid in lobster tails. Dave Manz was. “I did lobster-violation cases where several defendants were caught in possession of undersized lobster tails,” explains Manz, who has practiced family law in Marathon, a town of 8,700 people in the Keys, for 34 years. To thank him for getting them out of hot water, the clients sent him lobster. Regulation size. Lots of them. “Twenty-four tails to a flat. I’d come …

Catching the American Dream

Five Georgia attorneys tell their immigration stories

Atlanta attorneys Shirley Cristina Zambrano and Dina Khismatulina both immigrated to the U.S. but in dramatically different ways. Zambrano was a teenager in Ecuador whose mother had already immigrated to the U.S. Once she remarried, her new stepfather petitioned for Shirley and her three siblings to obtain green cards. She was 15 when she arrived. It was was hard at first. She didn’t know the language; kids bullied her at school. Khismatulina, born in Siberia, came to the U.S. after literally …

Exactly Rocket Science

Gary M. Paul’s work during the heyday of the space race

It was November 14, 1971, and Mariner 9 was about to become the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. NASA had launched it six months earlier, to much fanfare, and now it was time for the California Institute of Technology’s celebrated Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to handle the ignition burn—firing a rocket to slow Mariner down so Mars could capture it into its orbit.  A young scientist named Gary M. Paul handled the countdown. As a control systems engineer for the laboratory, he …

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