Attorney Bio

photo of P.W. Matthews

Even though selecting the right lawyer is very important, most people know very little about their lawyer.

I was born in Gainesville, Florida. My father was a poorly paid English professor. My mother immigrated to the United States from France. When my father was young he changed jobs frequently and we moved around quite a lot. I lived in Florida, Arkansas, upstate New York, and Norfolk Virginia, where my father taught at the college of William and Mary.

I moved to New York City after college.

Law was my second career. Before I became a lawyer I was a senior credit analyst for large textile mills and subsidiaries of large banks who serviced the textile and apparel industries. While working in that industry I went to grad school at night, and obtained an MBA , with honors, from Baruch College.

Due to the collapse of the textile industry, I found myself looking for a second career. I considered many options, including pharmacy, psychology, and physical therapy, but finally decided to go to law school instead. I quit my job and went full time to Brooklyn Law School. In Law School I interned at the Legal Aid Society, and was a summer clerk for the Honorable Frank Altimari, Judge of the Federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

I was interested in international law and turned down Law Review instead opting to join the Brooklyn Journal of International Law.

I graduated summa cum laude in 1992, first in my class, and was awarded over 10 prizes and awards for academic excellence, including 7 prestigious American Jurisprudence Awards for highest grades in selected classes.

After graduation I served for 3 years as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the New York City Law Department. I worked for two years in the Torts division, defending New York City and its agencies from lawsuits involving personal injuries and property damage alleged to have been the fault of the City.

In my third year I worked in the Family Court Division, working in the Manhattan Family Court, where I became interested in Family Law.

In 1996 I opened my private practice. I was also a partner in the New York immigration law firm of Matthews & Schiff.

My current practice is focused on family law appellate cases and family based immigration cases .

I am in the process of phasing out my trial practice and intend to limit my practice to appellate cases and immigration cases because I believe that helping people have great marriages and families is just about the most rewarding kind of work that a lawyer can do.

I have taught numerous Continuing Legal Education courses to other lawyers, and have trained and mentored many younger attorneys in how to become trial lawyers.

I was also the co-founder of the New York Family Court Bar Association, a specialty bar association under the New York State Bar Association. I served as president of the association for over 10 years.

After my first wife passed away I married Yali, who came to the US about 10 years ago from China. We currently live in New York City.