The Myth of the 'Father's Rights' Attorney

Chauncey discovered his wife, who cheated on him for years, has now filed for divorce, AND a restraining order, even though he never laid a hand on his worthless, philandering wife. Hence, he woke up at 7:00 a.m. on Monday to a sheriff banging on his door to serve him a Temporary Restraining Order as well as a "kick out" order. "But I don't have any family here, where should I go?" he asked the somewhat helpful deputy. "Sorry sir," replied the deputy, "you're going to have to work something out until your hearing on the permanent restraining order in 3 weeks." He then added, "Until then, if you come in the house, we'll have to arrest you."

Dejectedly, Chauncey threw some items into his car and drove off. He knew why his wife was doing this: he told her he would fight tooth and nail for split custody of their four year old daughter. Now, his ex was going after a bogus restraining order for leverage in a custody battle. Shortly thereafter, Chauncey could take no more: he called he called in sick to work and drove to a 7-11 for coffee. But upon arriving in the parking lot, Chauncey just sat in his car at the 7-11 parking lot blasting the same song on repeat…

"I got 99 problems and a b**tch ain't one/She's all 99 of 'em; I need a machine gun/

I'll take 'em all out, I hope you hear this song and go into a cardiac arrest/Have a heart attack and just/Drop dead and I'mma throw a f**kin party after that" "So Much Better", Eminem, 2013.

Finally, after an hour of this, and still with nowhere to go, Chauncey turned on his AM dial to listen to some sports talk radio for a brief distraction. As is seemingly always the case on AM radio, it was on a commercial break. Minutes later, an ad came on for a "champion of father's rights." Mr. Blah Blah, promised to FIGHT for all dads, who were "chewed up and spit out by the system that favors mothers." Mr. Blah Blah learned to "turn the system on its head" and his proprietary strategies have allowed him to help "hundreds" of dads over the years get the custody "they deserve" for their children. This has GOT to be a sign, thought Chauncey. I'm calling Mr. Blah Blah NOW…

In the land of family law, I see a lot of colleagues/competition try to express whatever purported niche they want to market: some market themselves as the "absolute lowest cost option," some market themselves as being the most experienced, and some market their ability to give the most exceptional customer service. I will abstain from giving my thoughts on all of these strategies; though it bears mentioning that I have already tackled the issue of why attorneys who market the "predictability" of flat fee arrangements might not be providing the best customer service.

With all of that said, one marketing strategy/scheme that literally makes me cringe is when I see attorneys market themselves as "Fathers' Rights" Attorneys. Look, everyone needs to make a living and I get that. But I am a natural born cynic; my professional practically requires that I be one.

The last time I checked, there are only two types of clients: men and women. So if an attorney wants to represent only one of these types, more power to him (that leaves more potential clients for me). With that said, if an attorney tells you he champions "fathers' rights," then you should probably ask if he has any female clients. I hate to break this to you, but if a woman walks into an attorney's office and says she can pay a $20,000 retainer upfront in cash if he agrees to "bury" her husband, welllll, father's advocate or not, he's probably taking the money. If you don't believe me, well then maybe you believe in this, this, and this too.

In reality, lawyers are "clients' rights" advocates. We'd represent monkeys if we could. Even as support for same sex marriage hit an all time high of 58%, I can pretty much guarantee you no matter the politics of each practicing family attorney, support for the same has been closer to 100% for the past decade. The bigger the pool of potential clients, the happier we are.

When I started my practice, probably 85% of my clients were men, and that was primarily because without an initial advertising or marketing budget, I mainly represented friends and family. Today, I hover around 50/50. Do I feel that I represent "fathers" any less zealously because I have "sold out"? No, in fact, I feel my perspective over the years has gotten tremendously better by representing both genders (as well the aforementioned same sex couples). The better big picture perspective attorneys have in cases, the better they may represent their clients.

At the end of the day, it is both a personal and emotional decision to hire counsel. But that decision should be one made based on the trust, rapport, and intellect that whatever attorney you select exudes. The hard sell and myth of the "father's attorney" should never enter the equation…no matter how much sense Eminem makes in a 7-11 parking lot...

If you or someone you know seeks a "Client Advocate," please contact the attorneys at the Cannon Legal Group.

Categories: Divorce, Fathers' Rights