Greenberg and Kaplan, LLP in Midtown Manhattan, New York
Greenberg & Kaplan, LLP provides the highest level of personalized service and works to achieve justice for its clients. William Greenberg and James S. Kaplan are considered leading practitioners in their respective fields and each has over 40 years experience. Together they combined forces to bring to bear extensive knowledge and a breadth of expertise: litigation, tax, estates, estate litigation, probate, guardianships, elder law, pension issues, and malpractice.
James S. Kaplan is one of the City’s leading Tax and Estates Lawyers. He has practiced law in Manhattan for nearly 40 years. For 17 years prior to forming Greenberg & Kaplan, LLP, Mr. Kaplan was Head of the Tax & Estates Department at the Wall Street law firm Herzfeld & Rubin, P.C., where he had a diversified international practice representing individuals, closely held companies, governments and not for profit entities in tax, estate and employee benefit matters.
In estate matters, he has successfully implemented estate plans for a number of major real estate entrepreneurs using family partnerships, GRATS and intentional defective trusts to save millions of dollars in estate taxes, and has drafted more than a hundred wills and trusts for both large and small clients. He has also handled numerous probates of estates, including a number involving significant properties in France, Germany, and Israel which raised difficult questions of the interplay between U.S and foreign law, and a number of estates involving difficult intrafamily personal relationships. He also has been involved significantly in contested probate and accounting proceedings in the Surrogate’s Courts. Mr. Kaplan is experienced in contested guardianship proceedings.
Mr. Kaplan was Consulting Special Tax Counsel to the New York City Law Department (1985-1997), in which position he was in effect the City’s chief in-house tax counsel on federal matters. His duties included advising on more than $20 billion of real estate projects in which the City was involved and $30 billion of municipal financings, and directing the City’s lobbying on the 1986 Tax Act (in which he obtained more than $2 billion of transition rules). He also was the chief advisor on federal tax matters to the New York City payroll systems, and was responsible for originating and filing claims for refunds of social security taxes that recovered more than $750 million to the City and its employees. Simultaneously in this period he was counsel to various small law firms Ashinoff, Ross, & Goldman, (1985–1990); Siller Wilk (1990–1993); Spector, Scher, & Feldman (1993–1996) and his own firm Gordon & Kaplan (1996–1997).
He has also recently had a number of appointments as a Guardian Ad Litem from the Surrogates of Brooklyn and the Bronx. In the tax area, he has structured the acquisition of a number of major properties in Manhattan and Brooklyn for foreign clients, represented clients in controversies with the IRS, and sought rulings on significant international transactions and obtained exemptions for not for profit organizations under Section 501c(3). In addition he has represented the City of New York and the New York City Deferred Compensation Plans in various tax and employee benefit matters. In this connection he was instrumental in obtaining the initial rulings permitting New York City employees to contribute to a Section 401 (k) plan, and in negotiating on behalf of the New York City Pension systems, two Closing agreements with the IRS dealing with difficult tax issues affecting the City pension plans.
As counsel to these firms, he structured a number of major corporate acquisitions, including the purchase by Bond Corporation (then Australia’s largest corporation) of G. Heilman Brewing Company, St. Joe Gold Corporation, and Pittsburg Brewing Company. Prior to 1985, he was a tax partner at the firm of Demov, Morris, & Hammerling and before that a tax associate at Stroock, Stroock & Lavan; and Cahill Gordon & Reindel. He also for a year and a half in the early 1980’s practiced law in Miami, Florida as a tax and estate associate at a Miami law firm. Mr. Kaplan is a member of the Bar in New York, New Jersey, and Florida. He has been listed in Super Lawyers for the past five years and has written numerous articles on tax and estate matters, and lectured and chaired panels on real estate and corporate tax matters sponsored by the New York State Bar Association and the New York City Bar Association.Mr. Kaplan is a cum laude graduate of Yale College (1971), has a J.D. from Columbia Law School (1974), where he was on the Law Review, and an LLM in taxation from New York University (1979).
He is also a historian who has led over 200 walking tours over the past 25 years, including his annual all-night July 4th Revolutionary Heroes walking tour through Fraunces Tavern Museum. He has written prolifically on numerous figures in American history, with a special interest in “unsung heroes.” He was recently awarded the Coin of Excellence by the U.S. Army’s Regimental Association for his work in promoting knowledge about General Horatio Gates, the first Adjutant General of the U.S. Army. He is Chairman of the New York Lower Manhattan Historical Association.