Title: 1) Attorney; 2) Historical Activist and Writer
Company: Greenberg & Kaplan, LLP
Location: 1) New Rochelle, New York, United States; 2) New York, New York, United States
James S. Kaplan, Attorney at Greenberg & Kaplan, LLP and Historical Writer, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Lawyers for dedication, achievements, and leadership in taxation law.
With more than 48 years of experience as a lawyer, Mr. Kaplan has excelled as a founding partner and principal with Greenberg & Kaplan LLP since 2014. Prior to this position, he was active as a member of and Head of the Tax and Estates Department at Herzfeld & Rubin, P.C. between 1997 and 2014. Before that, he served as Consulting Special Tax Counsel to the New York City Law Department (a part-time 20 hour a week position) from 1985 to 1997 and as counsel to several small law firms including Ashinoff, Ross & Goldman from 1985 to 1990, Siller Wilk & Mencher from 1990 to 1993, and Spector, Scher & Feldman from 1993 to 1996, as well as his own firm, Gordon & Kaplan, from 1996 to 1997. From 1983 to 1985, Mr. Kaplan was a tax partner at the firm of Demov Morris & Hammerling, where he specialized in rendering tax opinions on real estate and equipment leasing tax shelters.
Mr. Kaplan began his career as a tax associate with the Wall Street law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel, in 1975 and from 1976 to 1979. From September 1975 to September 1976, he was the law clerk to the Hon. Lee P.Gagliardi, a federal district judge in the Southern District of New York. After leaving Cahill Gordon, he was a tax and estate associate at Arky Freed Stearns Watson & Greer in Miami, Florida from 1979 to 1981 and at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in New York City and Miami, Florida from 1983 to 1985.
Mr. Kaplan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Yale College in 1971, where he majored in political science and economics. He then continued his education with a Doctor of Jurisprudence in January 1975 from Columbia Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review. In addition, while working at Cahill Gordon, he received a Master of Laws in taxation from New York University Law School in 1979. Mr. Kaplan has been admitted to practice in New York since 1976, Florida since 1980 and New Jersey since 1991.
In connection with his legal endeavors, Mr. Kaplan has had a number of notable accomplishments over the course of his career, including while working for the City designing the City’s lobbying strategy on the 1976 Tax Act, advising on more than $20 billion of real estate projects and tax-exempt financings, litigating a major case on the tax-exempt status of bonds issued to finance certain of the City’s housing programs, and acting as the chief advisor for federal tax matters to the New York City payroll and pension systems. In the latter capacity, he designed the City’s systems by which contributions to the City’s Deferred Compensation Plan can be an alternative for City employees paying social security and securing more than $750 million in social security refunds for the City and its employees. In private practice, he drafted more than 100 wills and estate plans, has advised on complex transnational problems involving multimillion international estates with assets in France, Germany and Israel. More recently, he has been heavily involved in representing clients in estate litigation in the Surrogate’s courts and guardianship litigation in the New York State Supreme Court. As an adjunct to his estate administration and guardianship practice, he has recently litigated a number of landlord-tenant cases in housing courts in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. He is an active member of the New York State Bar Association Estate, Tax and Elder Law Sections and a regular contributor to those sections list serve.
Outside of his legal activities, Mr. Kaplan been extremely active as a civic historical activist and writer, particularly on matters relating to New York City history. He is currently a co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Lower Manhattan Historical Association (LMHA), which runs historical events including the City’s July 4 parade (at which he has several times been the keynote speaker). Previously, he conducted a walking tour of Lower Manhattan for the Frances Tavern Museum from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. every July 4 from 1996 until the founding of the LMHA in 2015. He has also written more than 20 articles on subject relating to New York City history for the New York Almanac and done more than 10 podcasts as the New York City correspondent for Bob Cudmore’s Historians podcast. He has also been active as a founder of the Committee to Save the Thomas Paine Memorial building in New Rochelle, and is a member of the New Rochelle/ La Rochelle Sisters City committee. for which he has spoken at the Committee’s Bastille Day celebrations in from of New Rochelle City Hall on July 14.
Looking toward the future, Mr. Kaplan hopes to continue building the brand and reputation of his law firm and expanding its personnel and activities. He believes its policy of primarily taking risks to seek justice for its clients, even some of whom cannot currently pay rates demanded by other law firms will continue to cause it to thrive in the future. He also intends to continue with increasing vigor his efforts to promote education about the history of the City of New York through his historical activities and writing.
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