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Archive for January 12th, 2008

Saturday Review: 12th January 2008

Last weekend I was writing Blawg Review #141 for the travelling carnival of the blawgers. This weekend I find myself visiting a Family Law website, The Law Offices of Fetman, Garland & Associates Ltd. I know nothing about Family Law despite my various excursions into the state of holy matrimony – but, thanks to John Bolch of Family Lore, I now know about a hard hitting US Lawyer “Corri Fetman, Esq” who has a direct approach to marketing.

John Bolch writes: “Well, partner Corri Fetman has now found a new outlet for her (indisputable) talents. She now has a column in Playboy as the ‘Lawyer of Love’, answering legal questions for readers. Not only that, she has posed for some quite (ahem) interesting photos for the magazine, and she apparently featured as “Boss of the Month” in the February 2008 edition. Further, she has revealed that the shapely figure in the aforementioned advert was hers (the male figure was that of her personal trainer), and she is now appearing as a dominatrix on the firm’s new advert, with the slogan: “Take Control. Get a Divorce.”

It is a bit difficult to know how to write a sensible review after this information…. so I won’t….

The pics are of Corri Fetman Esq. I have absolutely no idea why a female attorney should wish wish to use the ‘Esq’… but, there again, I don’t know many lawyers, male or female, even in the US, who market themselves in this way and if she wants to use ‘Esquire’…. fine by me. Ever thorough… I have done further research on the curious use of the title “Esquire” in the US. (Two nations divided by a common language etc!) It is, apparently, according to Wikipedia, used for licensed attorneys, male or female. In Britain, it is used as a rather outmoded title for a gentleman who didn’t make it to the inner sanctum sanctorum of ‘partnership’… or the peerage – a bit like ‘of Counsel’ or ‘Director’ are used to fob of associates who don’t make partnership in top law firms these days. [Note: Some associates, after taking independent legal advice, elect not to take ‘partnership’ status. I would like to make that clear.]

Use of Titles in Britain… a brief digression from the main story…

However… I mock not. Marcel Berlins, doyen of legal commentary and analysis, has a wonderfully scathing article in The Guardian about the Ministry of Justice’s stern “guidance on how to address correctly all the country’s big cheeses, to save the rest of us from making monumental faux pas, like addressing the second daughter of the illegitimate archbishop son of a marquess-in-waiting as “Hi babe”.

I have much sympathy, being a republican, with Berlins’ views. Berlins, rightly in my “O so ‘umble opinion”, is particularly scathing about ‘judicial titles’. I do not, fortunately, have to address anyone by outmoded titles. I would not dream of calling someone “Sir Amstrad… etc etc”, “Lord Bufton-Tufton etc etc”… or whatever. I do not practise law… so I don’t need to use ‘My lord”, “Your Worship” etc etc… but if our legal profession gets off on this… does it really matter? If Prince Charles turned up at The Bollo, I would address him by his name..”Charles’ and ask if he would like a glass of Rioja. He probably would not like it… nor my choice of wine… but there we are. We are like that at The Bollo… courteous, polite and welcoming… on republican and equal terms. Regiments have their mottos… so do topers and habitues of modern British pubs. “Without fear or favour”… seems a good principle to me.

And when Charles becomes King…and pops into The Bollo (and, you never know)… I’ll call him George… his likely ‘kingly’ name…given his royal pedigree. It has been suggested that Prince Charles, when he becomes King, as he is not a Stuart, will take on the name ‘George’… like his male ancestors did… even if some of them could not spell their own King name in English.. apparently.

Anyway… history aside… when Charles III /King George VII pops into The Bollo, if I am still hanging in there alive, having ignored The Government Chief Medical Officer’s advice for most of my life, I’ll still offer him a glass of Rioja. I can’t believe he drinks Gin and Dubonnet as the present Queen is reported to do, as did his grandmother, The Queen Mother. Rioja comes from Spain… another country with a royal family. Some of my friends mock me for drinking ‘royalist’ wines. I reply to them by saying, as Tony Blair did in his day… “I’m an inclusive sort of a guy.. all welcome at my table.”]

For those of you who are worried about how to address a Duke, a Secretary of State, a Judge… or anyone else with a gong, title or award… here is the Ministry of Justice “Guidance’ in its full glory…straight from the Ministry of Justice website… unspun and pure.

Anyway… back to the main event of this review… Corri Fetman Esquire….

The guy on the right of the pic (above / Supra) is not another partner in the firm. According to US press reports the firm is an ‘all female firm”. From what I could gather, after a thorough investigation of the website (I had to check my sources), he is Corri’s personal trainer…. whatever that means. CPD points / hours take on a new meaning on this law firm website. Google Images has further ‘corroboration’…. vaguely office safe if you are a lawyer.

My rational mind kicked in… this must be a parody or a wind up?... Corri Fetman (Esq.) has a consultancy role for Playboy writing the “Lawyer of Love” column for Playboy… but further investigation (I was at a loose end tonight) reveals “pictures of Corri” and the fact that should one wish to join the Playboy ‘Cyber Club’ it would be possible to see nude photographs of this law firm principal. At this point, as News of The World reporters say (and I have borrowed the phrase) … “I made my excuses and left the website.”

I had a look at the bottle of Rioja to my right. It still had more than enough wine in it. Although I read tabloids and other newspapers, I felt that I must do some more research on this. Google came to my aid.

Sure enough… there was Steve Patterson, Staff reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times carrying the same story. As I am British, I am not familiar with all the subtleties of the US press. I did note, however, that The Wall Street Journal and other heavyweights were not carrying the story.

I did discover from the USA Today website that:

CHICAGO (AP) — A racy billboard proclaiming “Life’s short. Get a divorce” caused such an uproar that city workers stripped it from its downtown perch Tuesday after a week.

USA Today reports that other Chicago attorneys were taking the view that this advertising reflected badly on the legal profession and “a city alderman who lives nearby found a technical reason to jettison the sign.”

USA Today reports: “I called the building inspector and told him to do his job and he did,” said Alderman Burton Natarus. “It has nothing to do with content or anything else. They did not have a permit and they were ordered to take it down.”

USA Today were also able to assist me with my thirst for truth… for knowledge… by stating: “Fetman and Garland say they’re upset the sign was removed.

“They ripped our billboard down without due process,” Fetman said. “We own that art. I feel violated.”

Despite its brief run, the sign apparently was good for business. Since it went up last week, the two attorneys said calls to their law firm have gone up dramatically.”

Well… all good stuff. British lawyers, in terms of advertising, are… clearly… behind the curve… but they do say that when America leads… Britian follows. Problem is…I can’t see the SRA or the BSB being particularly happy with this type of advertising and a quick re-read of The Legal Services Act 2007 does not appear to reveal any provision for advertising of this nature.

***

I can’t do a Saturday Review now… but… I am able to report that I’ve decided to start a weekly netradio/podcast review. (It may be too adventurous to do a weekly podcast review – we shall see how tomorrow goes!)…

Tomorrow I am doing an audio podcast weekend review…. a bit of commentary and interviews with Geeklawyer on solicitors wearing wigs, Carl Gardner (Head of Legal) on the Peter Hain Donorsgate affair, John Bolch (Family Lore) on the latest developments in Family Law, Justin Patten (Human law) on whether barristers assist in the mediation process and a bit more besides. Should post the audio review by about 1.00…simply because I have to keep an appointment at The Bollo to meet my old friend Lord Tempranillo and listen to some Jazz…..

We also have a thought for the week, or whatever we decide to call it, from Peter Rouse of Advizory, a lawyer, coach and thinker.

I am now going to light a Silk Cut or two and drink a glass of Rioja…. I may even read a bit of Kafka. In fact, Kafka is perfect… No… I’m going to watch the BBC Parliamentary Channel…Until the morrow.

***

PS. I just had to check these facts and do more research… ABC News had the story as well.

Biographical Note from the Fetman, Garland & Associates website:

“Corri D. Fetman is a self made entrepreneur who elected to limit her practice to primarily family and matrimonial law after practicing in numerous areas of the law since 1988. Fetman worked full time while attaining her undergraduate degree at DePaul University with honors in 1985. After taking several classes in pre-law at DePaul, a professor recommended that Fetman attend law school due to her “tenacious argumentative” skills and “natural ability to present issues in a logical fashion.”

The Feltman, Garland & Associates website also notes: Corri Fetman will appear in the February 2008 issue of Playboy Magazine and on Playboy.com on January 11, 2008.

Today is January 12th… I cannot, of course, research further into this. It would not be right.

Purely in the interests of ‘integrity reporting’ (I am still of the view that this must be a wind-up) I did log on to http://www.playboy.com. (See pic above from Playboy) I did not bookmark the site, nor did I view any inappropriate material.

***

Was it King George V whose last words on earth were “Bugger Bloggers” ?

I could be wrong…but even famous historian, Sir Hugh Trevor-Ropey, got a few diaries wrong in his time.

 

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