By Luann Dallojacono
They say truth is stranger than fiction, and no one knows that better than Lynne Kramer and Jane Mincer.
In their many years in matrimonial law, the two attorneys from Fort Salonga have seen it all.
“I have so many tales to tell,” Kramer, who has more than 30 years of experience negotiating and trying complex matrimonial and custody cases, said.
Some of those tales – or, at least, stories inspired by those tales – appear in Kramer and Mincer’s new novel, “The Brockhurst File,” a thriller that centers around big-time, no-nonsense divorce attorney Lucy Bennett, her devoted all-female team, and one particularly demanding client, wealthy divorcée Skippy Brockhurst.
The “mat ladies” (short for matrimonial female lawyers) novel could be the first of many from Kramer and Mincer. The pair worked together for many years when Kramer ran her own firm in Commack. The enterprise, comprised of 15 women, was then the largest law firm of women on Long Island, they said.
In writing “The Brockhurst File,” the literary-inclined legal duo crafted scenes inspired by real events and their personal lives, all with the care and discretion of practicing lawyers.
“While writing, we had to be mindful of our clients and not to disclose anything,” Mincer said.
Except, of course, when things happened in open court – that was fair game for the book.
The result is an amusing, entertaining, keep-you-guessing story filled with universal themes. There are moments that leave you thinking, “That did not just happen!” and scenes that inspire. You may even learn some law.
Kramer and Mincer are a well-suited pair. Kramer admits she’s a type A personality; Mincer is the reserved perfectionist. Each knows how the other takes her coffee, and while they won’t finish each other’s sentences, they do complete each other’s thoughts. Together, they have captured on paper the perspectives of all players in the matrimonial law game, from clients and attorneys to judges and court officers.
“Lynne knew the protocol and what the court officers would say because Lynne lived it for so many years,” Mincer said.
Kramer, a self-proclaimed raconteur originally from Cold Spring Harbor, made a path when there was none. When she started 35 years ago, she said, there were “no girls in the game,” she said.
Kramer did not seek out matrimonial law; matrimonial law found her. In her advertising, she played up the fact that she had “A Woman’s View,” and the clients – women needing help with their divorces – started rolling in.
“I said, ‘If this is what I’m going to get, I’m going to be the best at this. That’s when I decided, ‘I’m going to be the goddess of divorce law,’” Kramer said.
If not goddess, then certainly a trailblazer. Her firm handled around 200 cases at a time, she said, and she bought the Commack building so she could build a nursery. She was the second woman president of the Suffolk County Bar Association. Known for being a skilled trial attorney, she is a familiar face in the courthouses and was the first woman trial practice professor at Touro Law Center.
Mincer, whose father and aunt are also attorneys, remembers the day she met Kramer at a Little League game.
“Our boys were both out there and we started chatting on the bleachers. The more she told me of the struggles of being a divorce lawyer, the more intrigued I became. I said, ‘That sounds like a challenge,’” Mincer said.
She soon became one of Kramer’s “mat ladies,” despite Kramer’s warning to avoid the field. As an associate there, Mincer worked on numerous matrimonial matters and custody cases, laying the groundwork for what many years later would inspire the pair’s novel.
Mincer, also a real estate associate broker with Laffey Fine Homes, said she always loved to write but was waiting for the right topic to inspire her.
“I was always waiting for material, and I found it in divorce law,” she said. “In some ways, I feel I’m actually speaking out to clients saying, ‘You’re not alone.’”
Meet Kramer and Mincer as they sign copies of and promote their book on June 11, 7 p.m. at Book Revue in Huntington village and July 16, 7 p.m. at the Cold Spring Harbor Library.