Although I have been practicing law since 1983, it was not until 1999 when the way I practiced matrimonial and family law began to transform to better serve my clients. In 1999, in addition to maintaining a private practice, I began doing volunteer work at the Coalition for Family Justice (“CFJ”). This not-for-profit organization is dedicated not only to helping people who are going through a divorce, but also to reforming the divorce and family law system to promote fairness, accountability, affordability, and transparency.
Who Should the Process be Working For?
I believe the divorce and family law system should be serving YOU - the clients, consumers, and taxpayers of the legal system – and NOT the lawyers, judges, and others who administer it.
At the monthly CFJ meetings, I heard mostly “horror” stories of what people were experiencing ranging from problems with their own lawyers to various sorts of problems and pitfalls people were routinely experiencing in the court system. The faces at the monthly meetings were changing over time, but the sorts of problems people were experiencing were remaining the same.
I was helping people at these meetings doing mostly “legal triage”. But I was not satisfied and believed it would be much more valuable if I could find ways to help people avoid these common problems from occurring in the first place doing “preventive law”.
Preventive Law is Better than Legal Triage
So, I began asking myself “what can people do to avoid each of these situations from happening?” I started speaking at the monthly meetings about solutions to various problems, to writing articles on specific topics, to eventually conducting more comprehensive seminars about “what lawyers and judges do not want people to know”, and writing manuals to give people detailed guidance on how to make the system and process work better for them.
For instance, I explain how people can ask a prospective lawyer for references from former clients and meet the attorney’s objection of “confidentiality”. I show people how retainer agreements with lawyers can be negotiated so that lawyers do not get away with “legalized theft”. I also show people how to avoid being coerced into entering into verbal and binding contracts and settlement agreements in the courthouse, among many other things.
Divorce and family law is an area where emotions, money, and concerns about the children regularly collide to create the perfect storm exposing already overwhelmed and vulnerable people to being taken advantage of.
I once came upon a bumper sticker that read “ignore your rights and they’ll go away.” Part of my responsibility as your attorney will be to give you an honest and realistic assessment of your case and educating you about the law and the process to make them work better for you so that you can more expeditiously reach a resolution.
John H. Rubin, Esq., Law and Mediation Offices
New York, 1983
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, 1998
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, New York, June 1982, J.D.
The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, June 1979, M.A.
Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, May 1977, B.A.
“Navigating Through the Divorce and Family Courts (What Lawyers and Judges Don’t Want You to Know)”
“The Nuts, Bolts, and Monkey Wrenches of Divorce”
Awards and Activities
New York State Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the 9th Judicial District
Past Chairman of the Board and on-going Volunteer Attorney, Coalition for Family Justice, Inc.
Former President and present board member of the Wyndcrest Homeowners Association
Former Big Brother in the Big Brother/Big Sister Program
Professional Associations, Memberships, Special Training
New York State Bar Association, Family Law Section. Westchester County Bar Association, Family Law Section. Association for Conflict Resolution, Family Mediation Section. Matrimonial Mediation Training Program, Unified Court System of the State of New York. Divorce Mediation Workshop, Mediation Matters.