About Steve Knopper

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Steve Knopper Articles written 53

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

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 …

'Where You Are and Where You've Been'

Six attorneys share their stories of coming to America

Long before he went to law school, Mazin Sbaiti faced a more difficult challenge: When he was 13, Saddam Hussein invaded his country. “August second, 1990,” he says. “I remember that day very well.” He and his parents were visiting U.S. colleges with his older sister, so the family never returned to their Kuwaiti home. Instead, they moved into his grandmother’s house in Carrollton, Texas, where Sbaiti became a heavy-metal bassist, then joined a debate team, before heading to Columbia …

Going Solo

Six attorneys on the joys and challenges of hanging a shingle

If you’re an attorney working alone, you’re not alone. Last year, 26% of respondents to an American Bar Association survey were solo practitioners.  There are as many reasons for hanging a shingle as there are for becoming a lawyer in the first place, including the desire for opportunity and independence. And though hanging a shingle means playing with your own stakes rather than the house’s, all six Oregon soloists we spoke with came out ahead. “Now,” says criminal defense lawyer …

'The Doors Were Opening'

An oral history of the first wave of women attorneys

The 1970s were the tipping point.  According to the American Bar Association, women made up just 3.4% of J.D.s in 1960, and while by 1970 that number had more than doubled, to 8.6%, it was still just a sliver. Over the next 10 years it exploded. By 1980, 34.2% of the attorneys in the country were women.  The six San Diego attorneys interviewed here experienced that revolution firsthand. When Candace Carroll graduated from Duke University Law School in 1974, about 25 women were in her class; …

Representing Rosa, Cheating the Hangman, and Other Stories from 400 Years of Law

Seven attorneys from four states—each with 50+ years in practice—talk about their careers

Being a lawyer in the Mid-South in the ‘60s meant contending with historic strife:  James Robertson fled his home state of Mississippi for Harvard Law School after not supporting segregation on his college newspaper; H. Watt Gregory joined the Army Reserve partly to avoid fighting in the Vietnam War.  Then there’s Fred Gray. He was a year out of law school when he was called on to represent NAACP secretary Rosa Parks after she refused to give up her seat on a city bus. Shortly afterwards, …

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