Posted by a client
I hired Rita to represent me through a very painful divorce. At the time, my child was an infant when I discovered that my spouse was a sex addict. Like the other reviewers, I never felt like she trusted my version of the story and had an unhelpful bedside manner.
As a working mom, who was faced with the terrifying situation regarding my spouse's addiction, I was concerned for my child. His addiction caused me to have contracted several STDs, one of which was life threatening. She did not take the time to get to know the details and she continually lost her temper with me, at one point telling me to 'stop crying'. Further, she never pursued delving into my spouse's dangerous behavior and the impact that it could have had on our child. I wasn't looking for anything that wasn't fair, and I wasn't looking for revenge on my spouse, but I certainly didn't expect having to pay my spouse child support nor to have received a 50/50% custody arrangement.
I should have had much better representation. Further, I was told by other lawyers, who reviewed my case, that they were surprised at her "shoddy" lawyering, as she had, at that time, a stellar reputation. I do think that her performance may have been impacted by the fact that her husband's killers had finally been apprehended and were being brought to justice. Ms. Bender's husband was a brilliant civil rights activist (as was Ms. Bender at the time) who was killed by members of the KKK in the late '60s in MIssissippi, and the events of this heinous crime were the basis for the movie, "Mississippi Burning". While I felt terrible for her loss and the public drama that unfolded subsequent to his death, I would've preferred that she recuse herself from my case, rather than have had to endure her unsupportive and distracted demeanor that ultimately led to a less than desirable outcome.
Posted by Jeff
My dissolution was very contentious. My spouse's attorney, Gordon Wilcox, made any expeditious and fair result impossible to achieve. Given this, Rita did attempt to keep things focused, professional, and moving toward resolution, but ultimately she was not up to the task.
From the first, I never felt she believed my story. In court with her (a hearing) she was disorganized, unprepared with my case and very ineffective at defending me against opposing counsel's accusations. I became very fearful of what would happen if my case actually proceeded to trial.
She also seemed out-witted by Wilcox, who seemed to control the flow of events in such a way that she was surprised or at least not thinking ahead of the game.
At one point, she actually blamed me for the time-crunch we were in, even though she had known for months about certain delays and had done nothing to maneuver for more time to prepare. Admittedly, our personalities clashed, but this was unprofessional!
In the end, we came so close to the trial date (thanks to Wilcox) that mediation ended up being a forced, one-day affair and I accepted an agreement that I don't believe was fair. After paying more than $100,000, I still have things to fix, but I will be searching for another attorney for help.
Posted by a Divorce client
I would characterize Bender as a legal junk yard dog. This may be great in some types of litigation, but when dealing with painful family break-ups her over the top style may only exacerbate the pain and the expense of the process. Her abrasive and confrontational approach to family law has left permanent and unnecessary scars on our family.
Posted by a Divorce client
Rita's main concern appeared to be stringing things along in order to inflate her bill. Her style made the divorce process harder, longer and more expensive than it needed to be. I finally hired another lawyer before she got all my money.