Boundless energy. Innovative ideas. A skilled litigator. A student of corporate and financial law, and a tireless advocate for her clients, her fellow attorneys, and diversity.
This is how Tiffany Harper’s peers describe her. It’s no wonder, given these glowing reviews, that Harper today ranks as one of the city’s most respected corporate bankruptcy, restructuring and financial services experts.
She is also recognized as a leader for her efforts to create a more diverse legal community in Chicago and beyond. Her peers say that no one has volunteered more time to, or worked harder to support, the Black Women Lawyers Association of Chicago.
“Tiffany is a woman of integrity,” said Josie Gough, with Loyola University Chicago School of Law.“She has proven herself to be a leader in our legal community. She is committed to diversity and inclusion, and to that end she works tirelessly to ensure that law students are ready to transition to the practice upon their graduation from law school.”
Harper began her career at Schiff Hardin, where she worked on some of the highest-profile bankruptcy cases in U.S. history. This includes the historic bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers. During this time, Harper earned a reputation as one of the most talented bankruptcy specialists in the city.
Today, Harper serves as a senior associate at Polsinelli in the firm’s loan enforcement, financial services and bankruptcy practice groups. Here, she manages multiple cases and a junior associate, all with minimal supervision from firm partners.
Frank Andreou, with Chicago law firm Andreou & Casson, has seen Harper’s talents in person. In 2012, Andreou defended a pair of commercial foreclosure cases. Harper was opposing counsel on both cases, representing bank clients. Andreou said that Harper fought hard for her clients, and won the desired result for both of them, foreclosure on two commercial properties in Peoria County and Kane County.
“Tiffany is an exceptional attorney, who has mastered many complicated and statutorily driven areas of law,” Andreou said.
Harper has set herself apart, too, for her efforts to promote a diverse legal community and is a rising diversity leader. Harper served as president of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Chicago for 2013-2014. She also serves on the associate board of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms and the board of Foundations College Prep Middle School in Roseland. She has tutored through Minority Legal Education Resources, too, preparing minority students for the Illinois bar exam. She also created and taught a state-wide diversity CLE, and regularly speaks on issues related to diversity, inclusion and the law.
Harper, along with the immediate past president of BWLA, founded and developed the BWLA Pilot Pipeline Program.This is an intensive year-long program designed to prepare first-year law students for career-building summer internships at large law firms or other legal institutions. The goal of this program is to help rectify the lack of diversity in big law. Within her own firm, Polsinelli, she is a valued member of the national diversity committee, helping revamp the firm’s diversity scholarship program and developing initiatives to support diverse attorneys.
Harper is a star, too, when it comes to legal writing. In 2011, she wrote an influential piece for the Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal on the bankruptcy code’s reliance upon marriage to identify which debtors are financially interdependent to receive certain bankruptcy benefits. Harper noted that the code is antiquated and has not kept pace with the evolution of U.S. families, resulting in a toothless law.