Partner Fired by Brother for 10 years of 'Abject Laziness'

By Jason Beahm on November 05, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Lawyers have been called many things over the years: greedy, argumentative, out of touch, cold, mean spirited, etc. A recent case from New York will do little to dispel that portrayal.

A top partner at a law firm, Andrew Finkelstein, 45, fired his own brother, Joel Finkelstein, 50, calling him lazy and saying that he displayed "flagrant acts of disloyalty," and "[did] little or no productive work for nearly a decade." Andrew Finkelstein also accused his brother of extensively playing Scrabble at work instead of doing his job, calling it abject laziness. Ouch--that's harsh.

His brother wasn't about to take the firing lying down. He filed a $7 million lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against the firms and their partners. The three firms are Fine, Olin & Anderman; Finkelstein & Partners; and Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices. How one becomes an attorney at three different firms at the same time is a mystery to me, but kudos to anyone who can pull it off, especially while having time for Scrabble on the side. I can only wonder whether he was playing it online or if he just brought in a board and was playing in the conference room during depositions.

But the New York Post obtained an email that seems to support the case of Andrew Finkelstein. Joel allegedly described a "typical day or ½ day" at work to his father Howard Finkelstein, which included chatting "about the weather," and discussing "Halloween decorations," baseball and high school soccer with colleagues.

According to Andrew, that was par for the course. Andrew claims that Joel used firm profits to fund his own lavish lifestyle. Eventually Andrew and the partners decided they had put up with the abject laziness long enough and voted unanimously to fire him, for cause.

Naturally Joel Finkelstein and his attorney, Arthur Ciampi, see the situation quite differently. They contend that Joel was wronged and that Andrew's claims are untrue. All that's left now is the kicking and punching... in court of course.

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