Recent Work

Go here for my stories on crime victims and here for details on God’s Nobodies, my Kindle Single story on a Syracuse murder case. This page lists other stories I have produced as a freelancer in recent years.


Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 5.40.46 PMHow can an updated version on an old concept, community-oriented policing, help heal the troubled relationship between police and our highest-risk neighborhoods? I went to Minneapolis to look at one embattled police department’s efforts, and compared those uncertain results with a successful experiment just across the city line in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, in this December 14, 2015, feature.

The Trace

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.15.22 AMAt a time when critics of “stand your ground” self-defense laws are pushing to repeal or curtail the laws, the statute that started the trend and that represents the most extreme form of such laws may be toughened even more. I wrote about it September 27, 2015, with a follow-up on an American Bar Association report that documents the opposition to such laws.

Vanderbilt Law

fall-2014For this alumni magazine’s Fall 2014 package on graduates who have pursued business careers, I profiled Daryl Wickstrom, Sotheby’s deputy chairman and Asia chief; Rick Engle, heir to the Hasbro toy dynasty who joined his brother to form their own entrepreneurial toy company; and John Phillips, another lawyer tending to the family business, this one the storied thoroughbred breeding and racing operation Darby Dan Farm.

The American Lawyer

In the January 2014 issue, I wrote about one of the finalists in the Litigation Department of the Year contest, LA-based O’Melveny & Myers, and I did a Q&A with former Big Law managing partner and corporate CEO Tom Richards, the outgoing mayor of Rochester, who offers some poignant lessons in work-life balance.

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December 2013 “Bar Talk” on the Baby Veronica adoption case, focusing on the enormous legal effort generated by one little girl’s fate. The case provoked intense passions on both sides for years, but what struck me most about it was the dedication by lawyers on both sides to causes and clients they truly believed in. I concentrated on the winners, but in a case where one family had to lose, it’s tough to declare anyone a real winner.

TAL ScardinoMay 2013 “Bar Talk” on West Webster (N.Y.) Fire Department volunteer Ted Scardino and his decision to lend his voice to one piece of gun-control legislation. Scardino was one of four firefighters shot on Christmas Eve 2012 by a convicted felon who allegedly obtained his weapons through a straw purchase. I tell how Scardino, a technologist at Nixon Peabody in Rochester, turned his anger into a resolve to prevent future attacks.


Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 7.58.30 PMA heavily touted New Republic cover story on the supposed death of Big Law provokes me to return to the scene of my former career covering that world, with this critique of the piece (July 24, 2013). The upshot: the writer’s condensed version of business history leaves much to be desired. But at least he got one thing right: don’t let your kids grow up to be associates at big corporate law firms.

“Vote for Harriet!!! The dubious professional distinctions of Harriet Miers,” an October 2005 essay calling on my years covering the Texas bar to lend some perspective on a Supreme Court nominee.

O, The Oprah Magazine

Ostory101In the July 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, I told part of the story in a feature focusing on Tim’s grandmother, Esther Rufo, whose love for her grandson and dedication to the truth led to her expulsion from her marriage and family.

Inc. magazine

“Learn to Love Your Lawyer,” December 2004. This was a reported feature giving entrepreneurs advice on dealing with lawyers.

Stanford University Press

“Bench Press: The Collision of Courts, Politics, and the Media,” 2007. I wrote a chapter analyzing news coverage of Samuel Alito Supreme Court nomination. This book grew out of a conference I helped organize in Washington, D.C., televised on C-SPAN, which launched Syracuse University’s Institute for the Judiciary, Politics and the Media.

CNY Sports

“46 Peaks, 35 Years.” The story of my fitful quest to climb New York’s 46 highest mountains. This appeared in the Summer 2010 of a regional sports magazine. (Download PDF)

FPO magazine

“Re: Write,” a column of advice and reported stories for a quarterly magazine on editing and art direction. A link is available for one piece, on legal review of magazine copy.


For nearly three years, ending in May 2009, I wrote a daily critique of legal journalism that was twice named one of the top legal news blogs by the ABA Journal. (Website no longer online.)

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A writer and editor on law, crime, and business