Paul S. Cooper, Esq.
Hi, I’m Paul Silk Cooper, Esq. I have been Practicing Law now for 22 years on May 21, 2017. I was born in Staten Island in 1966 an spent the first 9 years of my life there where I attended P.S. 32 up until the third grade. My Father worked for IBM and his job moved from Manhattan to Westchester. My father could no longer make such a long daily commute. As such, we moved to Rockland in 1975 when I was in the middle of third grade.
I attended Strawtown Elementary school in my new home, Rockland County. I then attended what was then known as Clarkstown Junior High School bit was soon after changed to Felix Festa Junior High soon thereafter. After that, I attended Clarkstown South High School. I played Junior Varsity Hockey and Lacrosse while there. I had many friends. It was the 1980’s and it was a restless time in my life.
After High School, I spent a year of my life roofing, specifically, commercial, hot tar roofs. I worked for a company known as John Brennan Quality Roofing, Inc. It was very dangerous, heavy work. It was my first real taste of what it took to make a living. I spent a lot of time in areas of the Bronx and Northern Manhattan putting hot tar roofs on flat brownstone type buildings as well as commercial buildings. I had also put roofs on many commercial buildings like Nyack Hospital, the Coldwell Banker Buildings on Rt. 303, the In-Town Motel in Yonkers to name a few. I continued to roof for a whole year. I spent many long, hard working hours loading the trucks with supplies for the next job, unloading the supplies at the job, assembling the series of pipes required to transport the hot tar from the kettle to the roof, lighting, filling and minding the tar kettle and then “packing” the hot tar, rolling out the fiberglass rolls of the roofing material as the foreman mopped hot tar in front of the roll and simultaneously applying cold tar and mesh to the corners and pipes to be hot tarred over so that they would be sealed watertight. I occasionally also applied gravel to gravel, hot tar roofs. This was another bit of labor which required me to lift the gravel in large buckets on an A Frame lift.
After a year of this dangerous, hard job, I decided to return to school. I was cognizant that roofing could lead to either an on the job injury such as a bad burn. The tar was 600 degrees. Or some sought of repetitive movement injury like many of the roofers received from laying down shingles on their knee caps all day. I was still in my late teenage years and wanted more than roofing could provide me with, both economically and for my mental stimulation as well. I will always remember my time roofing though. It was an honest way to make a living and it did leave me with a feeling of satisfaction in my work when looking at the finished roof.
I had always been inquisitive and I was always interested in business, politics and law.
I enrolled in Rockland Community College and decided to learn about Business Administration. I liked RCC. It was interesting and it was a good time for me. I was a young man and I worked part time at Pergaments home Improvement Store in Nanuet after school and attended school during the morning. I received good grades and upon graduation in 1989?, with an Associate Degree in Science with a major in Business Administration. I transferred to the State University of New York at the University at Buffalo (UB, SUNY at Buffalo).
SUNY at Buffalo was an adventure. It was a different environment to what I was used to. I was a young man of 21 and found myself away from all the people I had grown up with at a large, research university on the edge of Canada in an environment that was filled with snow and wind and academics. I was a little out of place for my first month or so but I adapted to the new environment quite well. Buffalo was a very affordable place to live which allowed me to work my way through undergraduate school. I worked at several different positions while at Buffalo. I continuously worked for the University at their dining halls and their catering hall, The Center for Tomorrow. I also worked at a local supermarket until I took a position at an Atlantic Richfield Gas Station on Niagara Blvd. I enjoyed my classes and thought that when else will I have this opportunity to learn about the great thinkers of the world and how to apply their knowledge to current problems. SUNY at Buffalo was an Engineering School and although I received a Bachelor of Arts, all subjects were well grounded in empirical studies. I graduated at the end of 1991 but received my Degree in February of 1992.
After graduating college, I knew I wanted to pursue a career practicing law. My parents told me to get a full-time job first and maybe go back to school at night after I get myself settled in. I knew myself though. I was already in my mid 20’s and felt that if I didn’t go to Law School then, I probably never would. It was what I wanted to do and I had a strong feeling that this country allows people to be what they want to be and I wanted to be a lawyer. I was willing to do whatever hard work came my way and I didn’t want to let my dream die due to procrastination. I applied to several schools. I had just left Buffalo and I wanted to be in close to NYC. I picked a small law school, Touro College located at that time in Huntington NY (Long Island, it’s since moved to the federal court building in Central Islip). I loved it. Huntington was a great town. I enjoyed the people I met and my classes. They were hard but they were fulfilling. I just knew when I was taking them that I was being properly prepped for the eventual NYS Bar Exam. I did have to work while I attended law school to pay for myself. I spent some of my first and second year working in a cash room for a Tops Appliance City Store located near Wantaugh, NY so that I could cover my expenses on top of the loans I took. Law school was an expensive but well worth it endeavor. I graduated in three years, in June of 1996, and passed the Bar Exam my first time, and was admitted to the Second Judicial Department at the May 1997 term of the Second Judicial Department.
I had interned at Queens County Legal Aid, Criminal Defense Division during my last year of Law School. This was good experience for me. I was in the courtrooms in Queens in Kew Gardens and Jamaica. I had a very good practical knowledge of the criminal court system and how to practice. Upon graduation, I moved to Brooklyn and spent about a year practicing there. I was doing criminal work for the most part. I decided to move back to Rockland. I met local other attorneys and started spreading out into other areas of practice. This was in the late 90’s during the Clinton Administration and the real estate boon was just beginning. I had started closing loans for banks and learning how to compose title reports. Soon thereafter, the real estate boon of the early 2000’s would happen and I found myself immersed in it. I was closing loans for many institutional lenders and I had opened a Title Company known as Northeast Settlement & Abstract, Inc.
During this period of time, there were always fluctuations in the market which caused business to increase or decrease. I learned then that what I really wanted/needed to be was a general practitioner as I needed to make a living regardless of the state of the real estate market. I had worked with quite a few other attorneys, sometimes of counsel to their practice, other times as an employee. During those times, I taught myself to do matrimonial/family law work, and bankruptcy work. I already knew criminal work and real estate. I managed to work in this fashion up until the crash of the real estate market in 2007. Since that time, I have been immersed in foreclosure and bankruptcy work. Matrimonial work seems to go hand in hand with foreclosure and bankruptcy work though so I do quite a bit of matrimonial and family court work as well.
I generally like my job as I feel that I am really helping people. Whether it’s getting a homeowner a more affordable mortgage payment, giving someone relief from their creditors or helping a parent see their child and receive support I always look back at the hard work I’ve done to get where I am and I like to feel like I’m helping others to get ahead just like all the people who have helped me to become what I am today.
I would be remiss if I left out that I can be a fierce competitor who does not like losing. I always have my clients prepared to testify to their best ability and I always try my best to be prepared. Winning doesn’t come easily but most things worthwhile are difficult to attain so I believe anything worth doing is worth doing right.