For 17 years, Raymond Nadel considered himself a partner at Cherry Hill, N.J.’s Starkman & Nadel. His name was on the marquee and he worked under an agreement that gave him 25 percent of the firm’s net profits.

But in 2004, firm founder Morris Starkman canned him, citing concerns about performance. Nadel sued for what he claimed he was due, and a Chancery Division judge awarded $2.9 million.