Robert M. Harper concentrates his practice in trust and estate-related litigation in Surrogate’s Court and Supreme Court. He handles matters including probate contests, accounting proceedings, discovery proceedings, removal proceedings, guardianship proceedings, and wrongful death compromise proceedings. In addition, he is a Special Professor of Law at his alma mater, Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law.
As co-chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Trusts & Estates Section’s Legislation and Governmental Relations Committee, Rob was instrumental in ensuring that proposals to amend Estates, Powers and Trusts Law sections 11-1.5 and 11-A-2.1 and Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act section 1724 passed the New York Legislature and were signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2014. Rob also authored a proposal to amend Mental Hygiene Law section 81.21, which the Governor signed into law in 2015.
Rob previously served as a law intern to the Honorable Arthur D. Spatt, to the Honorable E. Thomas Boyle and to the Honorable Lawrence J. Brennan.
What are some of your standout cases?
Some of my more memorable matters have involved obtaining summary judgment in contested probate and accounting proceedings and the dismissal of proceedings to vacate probate decrees and revoke Letters Testamentary. I also have negotiated numerous favorable settlements for clients, including one that resulted in the very unusual revocation of a marriage in a hotly contested guardianship proceeding.
“Success means getting a good result – and doing it the right way – so that it reflects well on our clients and on ourselves.”
How do you keep your clients happy?
I keep them informed at every step of the matter. It’s vital that clients understand the merits of their cases and the issues that arise, especially when their emotions are running high. It’s about building a level of trust between the client and me. When they call with a question, they know that I will give them honest, accurate answers and that I am available to assist them however I can.
What are some ways you give back to the community?
I’m a Special Professor of Law at Hofstra University. I really enjoy working with students and helping them to develop their skills as future advocates and attorneys. I am also involved in the Suffolk County Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association, because I find that they positively impact the legal profession. In addition, I take on pro bono cases, serving as a guardian ad litem on several matters and trying to have a positive impact on our community.