Friday, March 16, 2012

Shaming the Divorce Bar in New Mexico- and Everywhere

The Huff Po often swipes the news from other media - usually with an uber-compelling, National Enquirer-type headline.

So when I saw a headline in Huff Po Divorce about a rogue lawyer caught on tape breaking and entering the home of his client's estranged husband, I figured it was the usual sensationalist, anti-lawyer nonsense. You know, where the questionable misdeeds of one crazy-bad guy are supposed to portray the theoretical reality of the rest of us members of the matrimonial bar. And because I've posted an occasional blog on Huff Po Divorce, and attracted the ire of lawyer-hating Internet surfers - I know from personal experience just how nasty lawyer-bashing can get on Huff Po Divorce.

But this time? OMG, the "target" lawyer managed to shame not only himself but the entire legal profession.

Despicable Lawyer Raymond Van Amam not only broke into and entered his client's estranged husband's home in a violent fashion, destroying and absconding with the personal property inside - INCLUDING the husband's personal legal papers!!- but embraced his female client in an uncomfortably intimate fashion for at least twenty seconds, after he insisted, "I want a hug, I need some relaxation!"

It made my skin crawl when I heard him murmur, "Shh shh shh shh shh, oh yeahhh, put it behind you, shh shh shh shh shh oh yeahhhhh." The client didn't seem to realize that his moves were absolutely improper.

Just wrong. I sincerely hope the New Mexico Bar does NOT allow Mr. Van Amam, who used to be president of the local bar association, to put any part of his disgusting conduct behind him. He was suspended from practice once before, for cocaine. For crying out loud, get rid of this man's law license!!

The Huff Po's story generated only six comments:

Versus the hundreds of comments generated in response to posts about Newt's infidelities and Susan Sarandon's divorce.

This is my comment (only the seventh comment in response to the story):

This is amazing - this story generated only SIX comments????

As a member of the matrimonial bar, I find the misconduct of Mr. Van Amam an absolute disgrace. I can't fathom his being permitted to continue to practice law after such egregious behavior, captured on videotape for heaven's sake.

Breaking and entering, destroying and absconding with personal property -- and to top it off, asking his female client for "relaxation" and tightly embracing. (His sarcastic comments to the estranged husband are despicable too...)

Appalling misconduct. I shudder to think of the damage this guy could cause to tarnish our reputation even more - that is, if the world of Internet surfers cared about something other than the latest celebrity train wreck.

I guess I should be relieved no one's paying attention to this.

All I can say to this is.. unbelievable.


  1. the entire divorce bar is a shame to the legal profession. the divorce bar in albuquerque is composed of lazy, greedy, over billing lawyers who take on twice as many cases as they can handle competently. they wait until the last minute to prepare for a hearing or any other event occuring in their cases. as a result they are not prepared to perform as one would expect a civil litigator to perform.
    the sad reality is the divorce bar and the judges who preside over it, are all practicing divorce law becasue they are too incompetent to handle any other kind of civil litigation. it is shameful. The citizens of NM should demand a complete overhaul of divorce law in NM. Lawyers should be removed from the process or their role minimized to the role of securing data in a contested divorce. lawyers should report to a case mediator who replaces the role of judges. case mediators shoud be trained and regulated by the supreme court. they should be tested and certified to fill this role. they should deal directly with the litigants in all occassions, and only with lawyers producting specifically requested data when it appears one of the parties is not being fully compliant with asset and debt disclosure.
    NM Citizens can't wait for our lawyer legislators to create a new decent system for divorce in NM. it will never happen. Some other body of non profite associations need to take the lead on this kind of issue and create a completely new system to take to the legislature at the earliest possible time.

    1. Thank you so much for your comments, Anon. Having no idea what New Mexico is like for matrimonial litigants or the divorce bar, I agree that this incident is a terrible reflection on all of us, not just the matrimonial bar.

      That said, your more sweeping condemnation saddens me. I wrote an answer to you that is so long, I've decided to write a separate thread.

      So, I thank you for provoking this conversation! I really do appreciate the opportunity to go through my own thoughts and analyze my opinions.

      In any event, this particular case and lawyer are revolting. We definitely agree on that!