The valuation in a divorce case of a lawyer’s partnership interest in his firm should not be revised to account for a practice-altering change in the law or the departure from the firm of a major client, a Long Island, N.Y., judge has ruled.
The partnership interest of the lawyer, whose name was redacted from the decision but who was identified elsewhere in court records as Allan B. Mendelsohn of Zavatsky, Mendelsohn, Gross, Savino & Levy, had been valued by a court-appointed expert at $195,000, as of Dec. 31, 2002, and $273,000 as of Dec. 31, 2003.
Those valuation dates were near the May 2003 date when Mendelsohn’s wife, Nancy, filed for divorce. But Mr. Mendelsohn had asked Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Anthony J. Falanga to instead tie the valuation to start of trial on Aug. 9, 2006.
Mr. Mendelsohn had argued the change was warranted because reforms to the Bankruptcy Code adopted in October 2005 had severely impacted his practice, reducing his number of trustee assignments from as high as 80 a month to 80 a year. He also said his firm had been hit hard by the departure of a partner who took a major client with him to another firm.
But Justice Falanga said the events cited by Mr. Mendelsohn did not justify a change in valuation.