James P. Joseph
James P. Joseph, Managing Partner
James P. Joseph leads one of Long Island's top boutique matrimonial law firms, with a record of successes and a well known commitment to their clients and to divorce law. Focused and hard-working, Joseph says his firm never loses sight of its goal: obtaining an equitable resolution for clients without inflicting unnecessary financial and emotional damage on the family. "We don't believe in wasting people's money," says Joseph, adding that they won't represent anyone whose goal is to simply extract a 'pound of flesh' from his/her spouse. "Our role is to ensure that our clients receive their fair share of the parties' assets and, to the extent feasible, that they can maintain their standard of living post-divorce. At the same time, our firm seeks to avoid increasing the tension level between the parties. When children are involved, the more contentious the divorce, the more damage that is done to the kids. Our firm will not contribute to the animosity to satisfy a misdirected client nor to earn a fee. On the other hand, when justified, we will thoroughly and aggressively pursue all avenues of relief."
The firm caters to a wide clientele, ranging from business owners, doctors, lawyers and other professionals, executives and members of the finance industry, to having represented the spouse of billionaire Ronald Perelman.
At Hofstra Law School, Joseph distinguished himself for his involvement in trial advocacy work and upon graduation was honored with both the New York State Bar Association Law Student Legal Ethics Award and the Hofstra Law Service to the School Award. His continuing commitment to the highest standard of ethical behavior has been recognized with his appointments to both the Grievance Committee and the Judiciary Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association.
In his second year after law school James joined a firm with a significant matrimonial law practice. For the next several years he focused primarily on matrimonial law. (This time included a period in which he served in the New York State Senate as Chief Counsel to an old friend, Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr.).
In 1998, he decided to launch his own practice - a decision that reflected an intensity and ambition many attorneys do not possess. "I have very high professional standards and only through my own firm could I ensure that my staff and my associates shared these standards." Today, Joseph Law Group, P.C., has five attorneys and a support staff of five and practices solely in the areas of divorce and family law. Fast-thinking, a quick study, but low-key ("there is almost never a need to yell and scream and rarely are those tactics effective"), James takes pride in the professionalism and commitment to clients shared by each and every employee of the firm. "Preparation is the key to our success and our staff and attorneys are the most dedicated I know." By maintaining a manageable caseload the firm is able to be proactive, which results in cases settling more quickly and on better terms than might otherwise be possible.
Born in Manhattan and raised on Long Island, where he continues to reside, James and his wife have two children.
Observations & Perspectives
From James P. Joseph
A client once telephoned me to intervene in a dispute he'd had with his soon-to-be ex-wife over who should pay for their child's ice cream cone - and I cut him short. I said to him, Do you really want me to argue over who should pay for your child's $3 ice cream cone? Because after a few phone calls and maybe one or two follow-up letters it will have become a $300 ice cream cone. Without some significant tangible benefit, that's really not in anyone's interests.
That goes to the heart of how our firm approaches our job. We're not interested in wasting people's money even if they are willing to pay. Unless we stand to gain some strategic advantage, we avoid creating unnecessary problems - at the same time we are committed to ensuring that our clients receive at least that to which he or she is entitled. However, the notion of running up an hourly rate over something like an ice cream cone simply because a client is upset really bothers me.
It's about keeping focused on the goal. If we're not reasonable, an otherwise simple situation can quickly and easily be turned into an ugly, drawn out, and expensive divorce. If the clients aren't reasonable, they don't stay my clients. I don't need the headaches, and they will ultimately learn the hard way, hurting themselves and their children in the process. But our firm is fortunate - we can be selective as to which cases we accept.
Although I don't think it's the role of the attorney to be a therapist, I advise all my clients that no one is naturally equipped to handle the stress of a divorce and they should consider seeking a mental health professional to assist them during this time. It is part of my job to keep everyone grounded, everyone focused on the objective - a resolution to their divorce that allows them to successfully move forward with their lives.
I understand people and I understand human nature, and that helps me as an advocate. Although we have been told that we are aggressive, the label shark does not apply to our practice. Instead, we are committed to fairness and efficiency. That saves our clients money. We play it very straight and we begin preparing for trial from the start, all the while pushing for a settlement. This approach generally avoids the need for a trial as it allows us to be more effective advocates from the outset. And in the small percentage of cases that we do try, we are always well prepared.
We spend a lot of time educating our clients. Our first meeting is Divorce Law 101, for which my clients are grateful. They appreciate the time we take and they leave understanding the process and what they can expect. The clients whom we accept stay with us - we have a very high retention rate for this field. The vast majority of our clients have been referred to us by clients we previously represented, or by other lawyers.
One of the things I am most proud of is the growth of our firm which, I believe, is a testament to how we handle our cases - with zealous advocacy, speed and focus.
It's part of my job to keep everyone grounded, everyone focused on the objective - a fair and lasting settlement.
Areas of Practice:
Matrimonial and Family Law
- New York, 1994
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, 1995
- U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, 1995
Hofstra University School of Law, Hempstead, New York, 1993
Honors: Hofstra Law Service to the School Award
Honors: 1993 NYS Bar Association Law Student Legal Ethics Award
Hofstra Law School Alumni Association, Board of Directors
Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, 1989
- Mediator, New York Supreme Court, Early Neutral Evaluation Program
- Fee Arbitration Panel, New York State Office of Court Administration
Honors and Awards:
- New York State Bar Association Law Student Legal Ethics Award
- Hofstra Law Service to the School Award
Professional Associations and Memberships:
- Nassau County Bar Association
- Board of Directors, member, 2015 - present
- Judiciary Committee, member, 2015 - present
- Grievance Committee, member, 2015 - present
- Matrimonial Committee, member, 1995 - present
- New York State Bar Association
- Matrimonial Committee
- New York State Bar
- Family Law Committee
- American Bar Association
- Fee Arbitration Panel of the New York State Office of Court Administration
- Lead Arbitrator
- Unemployment Action Center, Inc.
- Founder, Long Island Chapter
- Hofstra Law School Alumni Association
- Former Member, Board of Directors
- EAC Network
- Chairman of the Board, 2016
- Member, Board of Directors, 2011 - 2016
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- Annual Massapequa Turkey Trot Charity Event, co-founder and co-race chair, 2011 - present
- Long Island Chapter, Board of Directors, member, 2009 - present, and Vice Chair, 2015 - present
- Light the Night Walk, Co-Chair, Executive Leadership Committee 2015 - present
- Long Island Chapter, Man/Woman of the Year Candidate, 2014