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

The Expert

Greg Joseph is the corporate litigator you want answering that 3 a.m. (or 4 a.m.) phone call

Last October, at 4 o’clock on a Friday morning, a phone call from Michael S. Helfer, general counsel of Citigroup, awoke Gregory Joseph. A few days earlier Citigroup had made a deal to acquire troubled Wachovia bank, and Helfer had subsequently learned that Wachovia wanted to accept an offer from Wells Fargo instead. He needed Joseph to go to court to enforce the original deal. “I have to be on a plane to Moscow at 4 o’clock this afternoon,” a groggy Joseph warned. Didn’t matter. …


Noah Hanft leads the charge at MasterCard

In 1972, when Noah Hanft was looking for part-time work to help pay his way through college, he interviewed for a job with CREEP, President Richard Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President. Instead, he opted for a position as a receptionist in a girls' dormitory. It was the first in a succession of discerning career choices by Hanft. He eventually gave up the receptionist job to study in Europe and graduate from college, then worked for a solo practitioner during law school, spent five years …

International Road Warrior

Rachel Robbins, lead lawyer for the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, always knows where her passport is

In 1966, when Rachel F. Robbins was 16, she wrote a letter to herself, describing her hopes and her dreams. She sealed the letter in an envelope, vowing not to open it until her 30th birthday. She wanted to remind herself, as an adult, of what she had been like as a teenager, and to capture that sense of wonder and possibility. When Robbins dug out the letter in 1980—yes, she waited until her 30th birthday—she was struck by two things: "I said I wanted to be working, self-supporting," she …

Mr. Connected

Angelo Genova goes from coffeehouse crooner to power player

Even though these days Angelo Genova is regarded as Mr. Connected in New Jersey law and politics, he still sees himself as the hippie-haired, guitar-strumming student teacher from his days at Montclair State. And why not? It's the qualities he developed as a barroom entertainer that have helped him become the hugely influential attorney whose name is on the door at Genova, Burns & Vernoia in Newark. From his earliest days as a middle child in a big family, he learned to be a negotiator and …

Rupert Murdoch’s Right-Hand Man

Lon Jacobs helped News Corporation take over The Wall Street Journal and MySpace

Things were going so well at News Corporation, the parent company for media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's many holdings, including Dow Jones, MySpace, and DirecTV, that Murdoch went to his general counsel and announced he wanted to buy more shares in the company. Could he do it? "Sure," Lon Jacobs replied. "But if you do, you'll go to jail." Murdoch, who hadn't realized the company was in a "quiet time"—when executives are subject to insider trading restrictions before announcing information that …

Pepsi One

Larry Thompson stands behind an iconic American brand        

For a while there, Indra Nooyi, the chairwoman and CEO of PepsiCo, was getting tired of all the speculation that Larry D. Thompson, her general counsel, was going to take one of those big law jobs in Washington. First it was the opening for attorney general when John Ashcroft resigned in late 2004. Then there were the two Supreme Court vacancies in 2005 when Sandra Day O'Connor retired and William Rehnquist died. And in 2007, the attorney general job opened up again after Alberto Gonzales quit …

Boies v. Bush v. Gore

David Boies looks back at a brilliant career... and a Supreme Court decision that changed a nation

It's a cruel irony that David Boies, one of the most celebrated trial lawyers of his generation, may best be remembered for his biggest defeat—as Al Gore's lawyer in Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court case that stopped the recount in Florida and handed the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush. Boies, famous for his calm, used to say, "Why should I worry? Because I might lose? That's the worst thing that could happen to me?" No more. There are things worse than losing a case. "I lost …

What Is Life Worth?

After 9/11, Kenneth Feinberg had to answer that unanswerable question

The images still wake him at night. The smoke, flames, falling bodies. Like all of us, Kenneth Feinberg was shaken by 9/11. Like none of us, he was asked to put a monetary value on the suffering of survivors and family members of victims. Feinberg, the lawyer who headed the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which was established by Congress just days after the disaster, spent three years distributing money. He sat down with injured survivors and families of the dead and listened to their stories. …

Help Me

Joseph Hayden answers the call

The newspaper reports and television images coming from Alabama in March 1965 weren’t good. Police were gassing and beating civil rights marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Across the nation, thousands of sympathizers headed south to join the marches from Selma to Montgomery. At Boston College, nine students chipped in and rented a station wagon and drove straight through. “It was the ultimate middle-class role reversal,” one of those students, Joseph Hayden Jr., remembers three decades …

The First First Amendment Lawyer

Floyd Abrams on the Pentagon Papers, Judith Miller and why clerkships are great (it’s not why you think)

It’s not trendy to say you like the media, but Floyd Abrams doesn’t care.    “Journalists do have awfully thin skins for people who can dish it out,” Abrams says. “But they’re smart, fun, exciting.”   That’s one reason why the 71-year-old partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel teaches at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism rather than, say, any law school he desires.   “I like law students,” he says. “I hire law students. But if I had to pick a social class to …

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