About Timothy Harper

Timothy Harper Articles written 44

Timothy Harper is an award-winning journalist, author and lawyer. He has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Atlantic Monthly, among others. He’s also a collaborator, ghostwriter, and book doctor with a dozen books of his own, including License to Steal: The Secret World of Wall Street and the Systematic Plundering of the American Investor; and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the U.S. Constitution. He received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin and has taught in the journalism graduate schools at CUNY, Columbia and NYU.

Articles written by Timothy Harper

Lady Justice

Ellen Makofsky came to the law late but to elder law early

In the 1950s, Manhattan attorney Sidney L. Garwin gave a gold charm of Lady Justice to his wife, Esther, who put it on a necklace and wore it proudly, showing the world she was married to a lawyer. That was the norm for women in the better suburbs of Long Island back then: go to college, marry well, work for a few years and then raise kids. And for a time, the Garwins’ daughter, Ellen, followed that path. She went to Boston U, graduated in ’66, married businessman Marvin Makofsky, whom she …

Barry Berke Sees the Bullets

The famed litigator on trial prep, controlling the witness, and those impeachment hearings

Should you ever have the misfortune to be cross-examined by Barry Berke, expect him to be unfailingly polite and deferential. He will address you as “sir” or “ma’am.” His tone and body language will remain neutral and calm. No sarcasm, no looming over the witness stand, no sad headshaking toward the jury. Then he will proceed, question by question, to peel off your hide. Berke has long had a rep in rarefied boardrooms and courtrooms as an attorney with an enviable record defending …

The Closer

Steven Molo kept moving toward his perfect firm; then he created it

In the fall of 2015, Sheldon Silver, the longtime New York Assembly speaker who was under indictment over federal corruption charges, was getting hammered in the press in the months leading up to his trial in the Southern District of New York. Much of the criticism of Silver was being driven by comments to reporters from then U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, a prosecutor at the height of his power and popularity. So Joel Cohen, the Stroock attorney running Silver’s defense, called on Steven Molo. …

How to Spot Signs of Caregiver Financial Abuse

And what an attorney can do to help in New York

The elderly widow in Queens might have been slowing down a bit, but she was still mostly self-sufficient. She lived alone in the longtime family home, which she kept clean and orderly. She made her own meals, and unfailingly went out once a week to get her hair done. Her only child, a daughter, had a demanding job on the West Coast, but called every day to check in. When the mother began getting more forgetful, the daughter set up a meeting with an elder law attorney, Ron Fatoullah of Ronald …

What Are the Legal Difficulties When You Marry a Foreigner?

The hoops to jump through for a green card in New York

It used to be the stuff of romantic comedies: French non-citizen who wants a green card marries an uptight environmentalist interested in New York City apartments. INS interviews and deportation amid professions of love ensue. Simpler times.  Attorneys say seeking permanent resident status through marriage to a U.S. citizen can give an immigrant a more secure legal status. But, they add, the government has gotten better at identifying people who are actually in make-believe relationships or …

Banking on Rodge

H. Rodgin Cohen looks back at the Great Recession—and guesses where the next banking crisis might come from

It was another crisis weekend in what had become a crisis year—2008, the year the subprime mortgage market tanked, the housing bubble burst, and the big banks, along with the world economy, teetered on the edge of collapse. On this particular Saturday in mid-September, the titans of Wall Street—dozens of bankers, lawyers and government regulators—gathered at the Federal Reserve building in downtown Manhattan to try to find a way to save Lehman Brothers, one of Wall Street’s …

If Your Will Doesn't Include Your Online Property

Then your family members might be out of luck

A business executive dies and her husband can’t access their bank accounts because the records are online and the passwords were kept in her head. A soldier is killed overseas and a social media host deletes his photos before his lvoed ones can retrieve them. A software developer passes away and his lucrative income from app sales never becomes part of his estate.  Digital technology has changed the way we live, and digital life is creating a cloudy afterlife that has lawyers who handle …

The Legal Complexities of Adoption

Tips for building families in New York

Of all the hoops prospective parents must jump through to adopt a child, one of the most stressful, according to Manhattan adoption law veteran Clifford Greenberg, is the home study. Home study is a required step in the adoption process in which a social worker visits the parents’ home to evaluate their suitability and prepare adoptive families for the rest of the adoption proceedings. Many clients ask Greenberg how to present themselves in the best light for the home study. He gives …

East Side Story

David Paget survived Lower East Side gangs to become New York’s go-to environmental lawyer

Environmental lawyer David Paget has written his name on the city—once, literally. At New Yankee Stadium, he says, there’s a now-hidden girder “that I signed along with about 3,000 construction workers. So when I go there with my grandkids, it’s ‘Grandpa, where’s your signature?’ ‘Well, you’d have to remove ...’” Paget’s firm, Sive, Paget & Riesel, is the oldest environmental law boutique in America, a 27-lawyer throwback amid the global megafirms in the steel and …

Bases Covered

Jorden N. “Nick” Pedersen Jr. is on call for civilian contractors killed or injured abroad while on the job for the U.S. government

An American accountant was working for a company hired by the U.S. military to provide payroll services in Turkey. On a day off, he was moving a piece of exercise equipment into his apartment when the building’s elevator malfunctioned and he was killed.  The man’s widow filed for workers’ compensation, but the claim was denied because it was not work-related. So she turned to Jorden N. “Nick” Pedersen Jr., who specializes in helping private contractors killed or injured while working …

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