Chicago attorney Corri Fetman has been in the legal news for several years now for her provocative marketing theme "Life is Short. Get a divorce." In "Racy Lawyer Advertisements Create a Spiralling Strip-Poker Race to the Bottom" at Slaw, law Mona Zabafian traces the trail of tastelessness down the slippery slope:
Fetman’s advertisements cannot be viewed in isolation as they have implications for family law firms and other areas of law in general. In the area of family law, playing on sexuality and relationships could encourage a downwards spiralling strip-poker-style race to the bottom, in which models wear less and less clothes with each advertisement. As Fetman herself said “[w]e’re not going to stop. In fact, we’re getting ready to do more racy photos.” The issue boils down to determining the vision of society lawyers wish to endorse. The broader impact on legal advertising is that Fetman is creating a society in which unethical behaviour is seen as salvageable by simple legal mechanisms. Every advertisement asserts a greater degree of aggressiveness, provocativeness, and novelty than its predecessors. This new chain of advertisements could lead to situations where criminal defence lawyers use advertisements such as “Life is short. Rob a bank. We’re here to help.” Similarly, another advertisement could read “Is your wife black and blue? Come see us today!” Thus, Fetman’s undignified advertising sends a message about the general legal profession. Taken just a step or two further, her advertisements could lead to lawyers endorsing criminal and unethical behaviour in the name of profits. Society at large would not tolerate this kind of behaviour.