Joel S. Finkelstein said he received an invitation this summer from his fellow equity partners to attend a meeting on the financial condition of the three personal injury firms they controlled.
He showed up for the June 10 meeting “in good faith and fully prepared to discuss the financial issues and problems of the law firms,” Finkelstein said in court papers. But when he got there, his key card did not open one of the doors at Finkelstein & Partners’ Newburgh, N.Y., offices. Finkelstein said he asked his younger brother, Andrew, for an explanation.
It was at that point that Joel said Andrew, the managing partner of all three firms, handed him his walking papers.
In a suit filed by Joel Finkelstein last week in Manhattan Supreme Court, he claims he had been duped into attending a “sham” meeting where he learned that his partners, “without prior notice or warning and without any substantive basis, had removed him without cause as a partner” from Finkelstein & Partners and two other firms, Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices and Fine, Olin & Anderman.
Andrew Finkelstein disputes his brother’s version of events. He said in an interview that Joel called the meeting and after some discussion, the other partners voted unanimously, and in his presence, to oust him for cause.
“It is terribly sad that my brother didn’t live up to the standards and contributions we expect from all partners,” Andrew said.
Finkelstein & Partners was founded in 1959 by Howard S. Finkelstein. The Newburgh-based firm has multiple offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, with nearly 70 attorneys and more than 220 support staff.
According to Fine Olin’s website, that firm was founded in 1963 and counts more than 100 attorneys.