'Life's Short. Get a Divorce.' -- Chicago Billboard Turns Heads
Divorce lawyer calls firm's ad "grotesque."
May 7, 2007 — -- 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.
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