Juris Doctor, 1971
New York University School of Law
New York, NY
Bachelor of Arts in , 1968
University of Rochester
U.S. Supreme Court, 1987
U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, 1975
U.S. District Court, 1974
State of New York, 1972
David J. Lansner
With more than 36 years of legal experience, David is a seasoned practitioner in the fields of matrimonial and family law, and civil rights law. In addition to representing clients in court, David has had extensive public policy experience, working for the New York State Legislature and for prestigious commissions.
As a law student, David worked as a summer associate for the firm of Rogers & Wells. After graduation with honors from New York University School of Law, he began his public interest work, representing indigent clients in storefront offices successively in Harlem, the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and the Bronx, under the auspices of the Office of Economic Opportunity legal services programs, subsequently the Legal Services Corporation. David also spent several years working for the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Division, defending children who had been accused of crimes (juvenile delinquency) and children whose parents allegedly abused or neglected them.
In 1979, David opened his own law office, handling divorce and custody cases, business litigation, and civil rights work. In January, 1991, with Carolyn Kubitschek, David started the firm of Lansner & Kubitschek. David continues to handle matrimonial and family law, general litigation, and civil rights cases.
Matrimonial and Family Law
David has represented clients in divorce, child custody, and child support cases since 1972. His clients have come from all walks of life, from the completely indigent to blue and pink collar workers to highly successful professionals. His philosophy is always the same – to treat every client with dignity and respect and to work on each case zealously, as if it were his only case. Although he believes that divorce cases are best resolved through negotiated settlements and is usually successful in negotiating fair settlements for his clients, he is fearless in court, always ready to go to trial and, if necessary, to appeal. David is particularly proud of the fact that one of his adversaries in a former case hired David to handle the adversary’s own divorce.
David also handles the type of family cases that most matrimonial lawyers disdain – cases in which the City of New York’s Administration for Children’s Services has charged a parent with child abuse or child neglect. David is highly regarded for the depth of his knowledge in this special area of law. As in his divorce practice, David has represented clients from all backgrounds, from the poorest of the poor to the extremely well-to-do. He is so highly regarded in the Family Court that judges have called upon him to represent litigants in their courtrooms in especially difficult cases.
Civil Rights Law
David represents individuals and families whose constitutional rights have been violated by employees and officials of the child welfare system. His clients include: children who have been abused in foster care, the result of indifference and recklessness on the part of the very organization that was supposed to protect them from mistreatment; children who have been removed from their parents illegally; children who have languished too long in foster care; parents who have been unjustly accused of abusing or neglecting their children; parents whose children have been illegally removed from their care. He has won numerous landmark rulings from federal judges, expanding the legal protection for these most vulnerable children and parents.
Public Policy Work
David was a commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence from 2007-10. The Commission sets national policy for the American Bar Association on issues concerning domestic violence and provides resources for lawyers throughout our nation to provide access to justice to domestic violence victims.
From 1987 to 2000, David was employed as Speaker’s Counsel to the New York State Assembly Committee on Children and Families. During his tenure, he served three speakers – Mel Miller, Saul Weprin, and Sheldon Silver. As Speaker’s Counsel, David was responsible for drafting legislation concerning child welfare, working with the chair of the Committee on Children and Families to pass the legislation in the Assembly, and negotiating with the Senate to enact the bills into law. David met regularly with child welfare experts, social workers, advocates, lobbyists and other stakeholders throughout the state, listening to their concerns and responding to those concerns.
Since 2001, David has served as co-chair of the New York City Panel of the New York State Citizen Review Panels for Children Protection, which review and evaluate the child welfare policies and practices in New York, and make proposals for improving child welfare services both in New York City and throughout New York State. The Citizen Review Panels meet regularly with both the State Commissioner of Children and Family Services and the City Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services.
David As Litigant
Election reform has long been one of David’s passions. Consequently, he has been a plaintiff in two landmark cases involving election reform. In Lansner v. Board of Elections, 72 N.Y.2d 929, 532 N.Y.S.2d 840 (1988), David, represented by attorney Paul Asofsky, successfully challenged New York State’s antiquated system for getting candidates’ names on the ballot (and keeping them off). In Lopez-Torres v. New York State Board of Elections, 411 F.Supp.2d 212 (E.D.N.Y. 2006), aff’d 462 F.3d 161 (2d Cir. 2006), David was one of 10 individuals and organizations who challenged the constitutionality of the State of New York’s method of selecting candidates for judgeships. (In New York State, many judges are elected.) Although they won in the federal district court and the Second Circuit, the United States Supreme Court reversed, holding that New York’s system, in which the political parties, instead of the people, choose judicial candidates does not violate the United States Constitution. New York State Board of Elections v. Lopez-Torres, 128 S.Ct. 791 (2008).
David believes that being a client has made him a better lawyer. He can better appreciate the strain that litigation puts on the client because he has been one. And he has gained a better understanding of the lawyer-client relationship by experiencing that relationship from the client’s side.
Writing and Training
David serves as co-editor of two treatises on family law, published by Matthew Bender Publishing Company. He has written numerous articles on family and matrimonial law. He is in great demand to provide training on family law.
In May, 2002, David and Carolyn Kubitschek, received the Access to Justice Award, presented by the Jacob Burns Ethics Center of the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.
In February, 2002, David was a recipient of the Peace at Home Award, presented by the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
David was selected by his peers as a Superlawyer in 2009, 2010, and 2011, an honor afforded to the top five percent of attorneys in New York City.
Professional Data Management, Inc.
Vice President, 1985 – 1994
New York Civil Practice: Matrimonial Actions, Matthew Bender (Co-Editor)
A Review of New Legislation Affecting Family Law Practice, N.Y. L.J., August, 1990
New York Civil Practices: Family Court Proceedings, Matthew Bender (Co-Editor)