An all-female law firm is turning heads in Chicago with a new billboard and a blunt message:
"Life's Short. Get a Divorce.''
The billboard, sponsored by Fetman, Garland & Associates, Ltd., a firm that specializes in divorce cases, features the six-pack abs of a headless male torso and tanned female cleavage heaving forth from a black lace bra.
The ad is the brainchild of Corri Fetman, who told ABC News' Law & Justice Unit, "Law firm advertising is boring…Everything's always the same. It's lawyers in libraries with a suit on and the law books behind them. They don't say anything. What, I should hire you because you have a law degree? C'mon. So we wanted to try something different."
Reaction from those who work in and around Chicago's divorce courts has been less than enthusiastic.
"It's grotesque,'' said John Ducanto, past president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. "It's totally undignified and offensive."
"It trivializes divorce and I think it's absolutely disgusting," Rick Tivers, a clinical social worker at the Center for Divorce Recovery in Chicago, told ABC News. "Divorce is traumatic enough without this kind of [advertising]. We try and help people go through the divorce process with as much integrity as possible. A lot of my work is helping people grieve the loss of a divorce, and their own sense of betrayal. This makes divorce seem like it's not a big deal, and it's a huge deal for many people.''
Ducanto called on the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee of Supreme Court of Illinois to sanction Fetman. "I don't think they'll just let this pass,'' said Ducanto, who seemed genuinely hurt by the ad. "I have been in practice for 52 years, and I've worked my ass off to change the image of this particular area of the legal practice, and to see some punk try and pervert the whole image in the interest of lucre. … Sure, she's got a lot of attention, but it's like a guy who spits on a table — you got the attention, sure, but what kind of attention is it?"
But the ARDC's deputy administrator James Grogan told ABC News that traditionally Illinois has been reluctant to sanction lawyers for anything short of false or misleading advertising.
Recently, Grogan said, the commission took action against a lawyer who was advertising on local ethnic radio.
"The radio spot had the sounds of jungle noises and then a voiceover in Polish saying, 'I am the lion of the courtroom!''' Complaints began to flood in when potential clients realized the truth behind the lion's roar.
"The guy had never tried a case in court before,'' Grogan said.
One of the genuine lions of the American divorce courts -- New York's Raoul Felder -- said the ad was a new low for the profession.
"This has to be the Academy Award of bad taste,'' Felder told ABC News. Fetman is "not your run-of-the-mill Perry Mason lawyer,'' he opined. "Hell, that's not even 'L.A. Law.' It's bizarre,'' he said. "I don't think anybody walks away from that ad thinking more of the legal profession that they did before they saw it.''
Karen Enright, president-elect of the Women's Bar of Illinois, shared similar feelings. "It's actually a disappointment to the profession and to the institution of marriage, which is something our community holds as sacred,'' she said. "Our profession, and lawyers in general, have been under attack for advertisements similar to this and I think,'' she said, pausing. "I think that it's not in good taste.''