Divorce Lawyers Assailed in Study by Albany Panel


New York Times
May 5, 1993
Written By James Dao


A committee appointed by New York State’s highest court issued a report today that sharply criticized divorce lawyers, asserting that some of them rely on pressure tactics to secure fees, overbill their clients and keep them uninformed about their cases.

Most of the divorce lawyers singled out in the report represented female clients, who had contended that they had been taken advantage of in an emotionally wrenching time in their lives. The women said that in some instances their lawyers even pressured them to give up their assets, often their houses, to pay their legal fees. . . .

“If these are adopted, women in divorce cases will have a far better chance of protecting their assests and their lives from more powerful husbands and lawyers,” said Mark Green, the former New York City Commissioner of Consumer Protection, whose office issued a report last year citing abuses by divorce lawyers against clients. That report was cited by the state committee as a major reason for its study. . . .

Justice Milonas said paying special attention to divorce cases was justified because there was broad agreement among lawyers and litigants that such cases have become too slow, too costly and more emotionally painful than necessary. . . .