And Justice for All? Superman or Super Marketing?


jennifer-rose-3ASK JENNIFER

Attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, Jennifer Rose, answers readers’ questions about family and matrimonial law.

Dear Jennifer,

I’m a guy who’s considering a divorce. I have friends who keep telling me that I need to get one of the men law firms I keep hearing about so I won’t “get screwed.” I guess I need help understanding the difference between a “men’s firm” and other firms. They say they specialize in helping men, is there really something to that or am I being a sucker? I have kids so it’s extremely important to me to make sure I’m protected. I’d really like to know your opinion.

Manly man in Birmingham

Dear Manly,

I understand your wanting to make sure you hire the right firm to protect your interests.  First and foremost, the most important factor, over any sort of label a firm has branded, is finding an attorney who is up to date on all family law matters and who does this type of law every single day.  As to the “men’s firms” you are speaking about, I personally think the whole men’s firm thing that has popped up lately is first and foremost a marketing gimmick. For starters, unless they have earned certification in family law, like myself and maybe ten other attorneys in our state, they aren’t even allowed by the bar to call themselves a family law specialist or even say that they specialize in any certain field. The commercials I’ve heard get around this rule by saying they “specialize” in “helping men” which literally only implies they don’t take female clients. Basically, it’s a way for them to stand out and attract clients without necessarily having to specialize, win awards, etc. Now you might ask, why do they specifically go after men? Well, the answer is simple, historically, men have been the primary breadwinner or controller of the money in a marriage. Knowing this fact, my opinion is that these firms then market themselves to appeal to the spouse they assume will have easier access to money with which to pay them. I personally feel that I am better able to strategize and represent my clients by actually seeing both sides of the coin on a regular basis. There isn’t any inherent legal advantage being gained by limiting your practice to one gender. Ultimately, I advise against basing your decision on who to hire solely on what gender of clients a firm accepts; any good family law attorney will fight for all their clients man or woman. Here are a few recommendations on finding an attorney that is a good fit: First, meet multiple attorneys and ask them questions about their experience with cases like yours; Second, ask them what they would plan on trying to accomplish if they had your case; Third, check their reputation and qualifications online; and fourth, make sure you are hiring someone you mesh with personality wise and who you feel comfortable confiding in. Then and only then should you decide who deserves to represent you based on how they fit for YOU.

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