Gabriel Cheong, owner of Quincy-based Infinity Law Group, has
opened his second law firm, Cambridge Divorce Group LLC. The firm,
which opened February 4, will offer exclusively reduced-fee limited
assistance representation (LAR), in all areas of family law
including divorce, custody, child support, alimony, and property
division. Its 10 contract attorneys will help clients on a
pay-as-needed basis to fill forms, draft agreements and court
filings, and provide limited representation in court and general
It targets middle-income divorce and family law clients who
don't qualify for free legal services, but who can't afford
traditional attorney fees for various reasons. Clients, expected to
be largely walk-ins or referrals, are expected to be low-income
people or those without access to their funds. Its hourly rate is
$125, and it doesn't take up-front retainers from its
"It's definitely a volume-based business," says Cheong. The
contract attorneys, all versed in family law and all of whom are
mainly younger attorneys trying to build their own legal
businesses, choose their shifts at Cambridge Divorce Group. They'll
be able to do their own work while they wait for walk-ins, he
Ninety percent of litigants in Massachusetts probate court don't
have legal representation and encounter legal roadblocks as a
result. Referring these pro se clients to non-profit legal services
in a bad economy, does not work, because a bad economy usually
dries up Legal Services funding.
"The business model is not in sync with the population that it
services," Cheong says.
Pro bono work doesn't close the gap.
"How can you ask new young lawyers struggling to pay their own
bills, to give more of what they don't have?" Cheong says. " So I
took a look at this and said, let's try to work at it from a
A January 25 open house marking the firm's opening saw 40
guests, mostly attorneys, but also representatives from domestic
violence shelters across the state.
Cheong does say he's gotten a bit of a pushback from
legal-community skeptics who question whether they'll have to lower
their fees in order to compete. He disagrees with that assessment
-- if piecemeal legal help is all a client can afford, that client
never would have hired a more traditional-model firm in the first
place, he says. His hope, he says, is to get the legal community to
realize there is value in LAR work and that it doesn't take away
from more standard practices.