Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cheater-Chasing Shysters in Chicago

Chicago's "viagra triangle" promotes sleazy hook-ups. It is the natural place for the family law equivalent of ambulance chasers, the Fetman and Garland law firm, to place their billboard.

In any service business, law-status firms often resort to cheap sex in their ads to get noticed. The two women who run this firm have gone one step lower: get a divorce through us, and you can get cheap sex in real life.

Ironically, Corri Fetman, who dreamed up the ad, said she left her previous firm to set up her own because she experienced sexual harassment and a "demeaning environment." She invented their advertising campaign to "target business professionals who are informed about litigation and can appreciate the specialized, strategic services we offer."


Anonymous said...

Even an association of divorce lawyers are calling it "grotesque, undignified, and offensive." When even divorce lawyers think you've done something in bad taste, you just might have crossed the line.

Anonymous said...

Law is supposed to be a practice for "professionals", like architects or engineers or doctors. It is one of the most highly regulated professions by it's own national bar and state bars. There are so many restrictions on lawyers regarding how they can advertise, how they can solicite business, etc. so that it is ethical and not misleading to the public.

It's sad to see these women attorneys stooping to that level. Maybe they wanted to turn it around and use what hurt them to help them? Money was of course the deciding factor above taste and ethics in this case. They not only hurt their reputations but it doesn't look good for other women in the profession either.

On the other hand, how much different is it than any other business using sex to sell? I predict that as more and more lawyers flood out of law school with high school debt the public will see the profession become even more main-streamed and less "traditional" in order for the large numbers of new lawyers just to keep up with those already in the business. It's already been happening. If the sex ads and gimicks bring in business, they'll do it. It's the state bar's responsibility to regulate their advertising. If the public complains to the bar, maybe?....You can't regulate taste.

Anonymous said...

This is another mark of the sad shape of vocation. Max Stackhouse has an illuminating essay on the subject in "on Moral Business," a huge reference he co-edited.

"The historic meaning of calling and profession has largely eroded. Many think of 'vocation' in the context of 'vocational training' - that form of manual education given to those who do not plan to go to college . . . Similarly, when people use the word 'professional' they often mean someone who is an expert and who works full-time in their field."

Stackhouse says that professionals historically were understood to be those people who took "moral responsibility for the cosmopolitan shape of things." He says that people have typically expected lawyers, doctors, scientists, and clergy "not to simply live for themselves and off their institutions but to live for others, in accord with the values built into the institutions they serve, under the ethical codes of their profession, and with the recognition that they perform an indispensible role in the civilization."

Historically, the professions have been different from "any other business." It is becoming less true. I'm one of the people working in a faith community on this, striving to call business and professional people to reclaim their vocations, and to take "moral responsibility for the cosmopolitan shape of things."

Gruntled said...

One of the great strengths of law is that it has a strong cartel. Bar associations do not have great power to regulate the morals of their members, but they have more than almost any other profession does.

Anonymous said...

I am embarrassed to say that I attended classes with Corri Fetman at DePaul University. Although I had not thought of her in almost twenty years, when I learned of the risque billboard my initial reaction was "nothing changes." Fetman's persona at the law school was that of a spoiled "princess." Although she was a capable student, she probably spent as much if not more time preening and choosing her clothes and jewelry than she did studying her casebooks. She was like a forerunner of Paris Hilton and now through the wonders of beauticians and cosmetic surgery it appears that she also wants to become Paris Hilton -- or an adult entertainer.

Apparently, she learned legal ethics from watching Callista Flockhart on episodes of "Ally McBeal." The question is whether or not she should be sanctioned by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee for her calculated decision to bring the legal profession into disrepute for the sake of shameless publicity.

Her "personal trainer" remark was hilarious. Isn't it laughable, that so many of the people who boast about their hours spent in the gym at the health club always look to have spent considerable sums on cosmetic surgery? Fetman looks as if she has undergone an extreme makeover of her own, but she is fooling no one. What a total narcissist.

The individual photos of Fetman on her legal web site look like something from an adult escort service. In one pose, a bleached blonde and ultravioletly tanned Fetman appears to be addressing an oral fixation by sucking on her glasses after forgetting to button her blouse.

Thankfully, in one of his last official actions, outgoing Chicago Alderman Burton Natarus (42nd Ward) had the offensive billboard removed because Fetman failed to obtain a proper sign permit.

If there is a plus to this sordid mess, it may be an opportunity to review how wrong the US Supreme Court was in its decision to permit lawyers to advertise their services using methods that were previously prohibited.

As for the gay divorcee, it may interest readers to know that Fetman's own dissolution of marriage took almost four full years and featured numerous changes of attorneys. Thankfully, no children were involved.

Gruntled said...

Thank you for that report -- it confirms all that I had suspected about the Fetman.