R. James Miller is a Partner in Miller Mayer’s Litigation group, focusing on Family and Matrimonial Law.

Mr. Miller is one of the founding partners of Miller Mayer, LLP. Mr. Miller’s practice is concentrated in the areas of matrimonial law and real estate. Mr. Miller has earned a reputation as one of Ithaca’s premier matrimonial attorneys with extensive trial experience. In addition to his work with Miller Mayer, Mr. Miller has also taught at Ithaca College, was the City Prosecutor for the City of Ithaca, was an Assistant District Attorney for Tompkins County, and has served on the board of directors of several not-for-profit organizations.

Mr. Miller is a member of the New York State bar. He received his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh Law School and his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University.


Real Estate Law

The corporate structure for complex real estate projects must take into account very complicated relationships.  We provide consultations during the formative period to assist in identifying a suitable legal structure.  We then draft the appropriate legal documents for the organization, including the certificate of incorporation or articles of organization and bylaws or operating certificate, depending on the type of organization.

We have assisted clients in a variety of financing matters, including representing corporations in the issuance of tax-exempt bonds and commercial bank mortgaging of real property. We have provided the legal work for both individuals and entities engaged in major acquisition and construction projects, such as the financing and construction of new hospital wings, skilled nursing facilities, apartment complexes, and office buildings.

Because the purchase of a home is the largest single investment most people will ever undertake, careful consideration should be given to the practical and legal complications involved in the transfer of real estate before any action is taken.

Whether you are seller or buyer, you should understand the terms in a purchase contract and how they affect you.  Typically, the buyer’s agent prepares a purchase contract once a purchase price and other terms have been agreed upon, although our office can also do this.  There are a variety of terms and conditions to be considered when you enter into such a transaction. The best time to consult an attorney is before you sign a purchase offer.  The next best time is immediately after signing a contract if the contract contains an attorney review/approval clause.

When you buy a home you should be assured that you have the right to occupy it without interference other than utility easements or other possible limitations such as deed restrictions and zoning laws.  A title search by your attorney ensures that the seller can convey title to the property to you as agreed upon in the contract of sale and that you later will be able to sell or mortgage it without problems.  Your attorney can also advise you whether to obtain title insurance and on the terms, exceptions, and conditions of a title insurance policy.  Your attorney will also review all the documents required to convey title to be sure that the conditions and promises of the purchase contract are fulfilled.

We have extensive experience in the development of commercial real estate, as well as condominium and cooperative projects. The real estate finance industry is heavily regulated, and we have developed expertise in sorting through the intricacies of complex regulatory systems. We work closely with governmental agencies as needed for specific projects and are effective in handling the regulatory machinery that often makes the difference between success and failure.

We have served as counsel to many complex real estate projects in the formation and regulatory stages.  We have also provided advice to homeowners’ associations, cooperatives, condominiums, and co-housing projects regarding formation, operational and management issues and have represented builders and developers on numerous projects.

We represent corporate and individual clients in their dealings with area municipalities in subdivision approvals, applications for variances, rezoning issues, site plan approval, and appeals of municipal decisions. We have negotiated and drafted easements for public utilities and access, and been involved in the preparation of environmental impact statements. When necessary, we work with attorneys in our Litigation Practice Group to challenge municipal decisions in planning and zoning matters.

Civil Litigation

Joint ventures
Intellectual property assignment and licensing agreements
Distribution agreements
Sale of goods
Commercial paper
Purchase and sale agreements
Shareholder agreements
Partnership / Shareholder disputes
Business dissolution
Intellectual property disputes
Breach of fiduciary duty
Diversion of assets
Corporate control disputes
Employment / Non-compete agreements
Insurance coverage
Commercial real estate
Residential properties
Construction disputes
Will challenges
Probate and estate litigation
Breach of fiduciary duty claims
Trust disputes
Undue influence, fraud and unconscionability claims

Family and Matrimonial Law

Child Support / Child Support Modification

Custody and Visitation

Custody and visitation
Financial settlements and spousal support
Child support
Equitable distribution
Rights to pre-marital property and separate property
Rights to pensions, securities and business interests
Immigration status
Grandparents’ rights


Disorderly conduct
Criminal mischief
Certain types of sexual abuse
Reckless endangerment
Forcible touching
Criminal obstruction of breathing / circulation
Identity theft
Certain types of larceny

High Net Worth Divorce

Maintenance / Maintenance Modification

Marital residence
Retirement Savings
Business Ownership
Pre-marital property and separate property
Earnings from pre-marital property
Unvested or unexercised options

Parental Relocation

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Orders of Protection

Civil Litigation

With our comprehensive knowledge of the technicalities of New York contract law and our broad experience in a wide range of substantive law areas, we have the focus and know-how you need when others fail to meet their contractual obligations.
Our experience in contract disputes includes:

Joint Ventures
Intellectual Property Assignment and Licensing Agreements
Distribution Agreements
Sale of Goods
Commercial Paper
Purchase and Sale Agreements
Shareholder Agreements

When litigation threatens your business, choosing a lawyer with a thorough and sophisticated understanding of all aspects of business law is vital. The highly experienced attorneys at Miller Mayer, LLP can help.  We will draw on our extensive knowledge of business law – bringing team members when beneficial – to help you reach excellent and effective results. We will help you troubleshoot your business practices to avoid disputes, and when necessary, we will fight aggressively for your rights.
We can help you resolve disputes including:

Partnership / Shareholder disputes
Business Dissolution
Intellectual Property Disputes
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Diversion of Assets
Corporate Control Disputes
Employment / Non-compete Agreements
Insurance Coverage

From commercial real estate to residential properties and construction disputes, the attorneys at Miller Mayer, LLP bring local litigation expertise and local real estate experience to bear to help you achieve excellent and cost effective results.

Trust and Estate litigation requires expertise in two areas:  trusts and litigation.  At Miller Mayer, LLP we draw on our depth of knowledge in these areas to assemble a strong and efficient team that is able to handle your case and achieve excellent and cost-effective results.
We represent executor, beneficiaries and fiduciaries in:

Will Challenges
Probate and Estate Litigation
Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims
Trust Disputes
Undue Influence, Fraud and Unconscionability Claims