Years ago, family law attorneys carved out a special niche, catering to women seeking divorce, child custody, or spousal support. More recently, law firms like The Firm For Men have also addressed men’s needs for the same family law services. With this form of gender-specific legal representation come misconceptions about the work. We have our pin ready; let’s pop some of these balloons.
Myth: Men-Only Lawyers are Misogynists
This one is completely illogical when you give it more than a second’s thought, because without women marrying men, attorneys specializing in divorce would find their livelihoods disappearing. We want Virginia’s men and women to marry and we wholeheartedly support family. We want you to work at, well, making things work. Of course, we also want to be there in the event that things don’t work out as planned. It’s what we do.
Lawyers who work only for male clients have the same family relationships, marriages, and lives as any other workaday stiff. They deal with school recitals, bloody noses and poopy diapers; they send anniversary flowers and surprise their wives with Friday dinner dates.
Their work is to defend the rights of men in family law court, but their personal beliefs are no more connected to that work than, say, a Virginia chicken rancher who prefers to eat hamburgers for lunch.
Misconception: Representing Male Clients is an Insider’s Club
Somehow a vision of some stuffy male-only club room has been conjured up so that some folks think a law firm only takes an exclusive clientele. If you are not on “the list,” the thinking goes, you do not get representation.
We have all been through the phase of life where we wanted to be like the popular kids, whether we were 15 or 50. Representing Virginia’s men in family law matters is not some kind of secret-handshake cult; it is a business, open to those who need zealous, forthright legal representation in court. No password needed.
False Alarm: What You’re Doing is Illegal!
People ignorant of the law often bandy it about like some kind of magnificent cudgel, thinking they are leveling their opponents with (completely fictitious) legal opinions. A law firm cannot discriminate and select only male clients, they cry. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 — a real, honest-to-goodness actual law, mind you — says otherwise. A business can discriminate in hiring practices (and client selection) if the discrimination (men only, for instance) is “reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise.”
So, a law firm can choose to take only men as clients, and then work hard every day in court to protect their rights.
Fake Panic: Men Get More Rights!
Some people seem to think a law firm specializing in men’s rights is somehow expecting extra rights, or more rights, or special rights. That is not true. When Virginia judges determine custody, for example, Code of Virginia § 20-124.2 specifically bars favoritism toward one sex or another:
“As between the parents, there shall be no presumption or inference of law in favor of either.”
Men in divorce cases do not get more rights than the women they are divorcing; they just get the services of a law firm dedicated to upholding their equal rights and understanding the law and its nuances from the perspective of a man.
Legend: Your Lawyer Will Be Your Attack Dog
Some people think the only reason a man will go to a men-only law firm is if he is really, really mad at the woman he wants to divorce. The warped thinking goes, “I hire you and you make mincemeat of her.” To those gentlemen who scream, “Make her bleed!” we’ll happily explain that while we’re certainly aggressive and good at what we do, that’s not our goal.
Lawyers are almost never like the ones portrayed on television. A significant amount of their time is spent on rather tedious filings, motions, briefs, opinions, and other paperwork. The real ability of a good lawyer is keeping all that paperwork prim and proper, never forgetting a filing, and having the right documents at the right time. Many lawyers never raise their voices in or out of court. And they never, ever, serve as some kind of thuggish attack animals against their worthy opponents.
Seriously, why go for thunder and blood when you can get a win for your client with little more than a deftly turned phrase and the right legal citation? Do not expect an attorney for a male-only practice to somehow transform into an avenging beast. There’s so much more to practicing law!
If you are a Virginia man in need of good legal counsel, your call to 757-383-9184, or your online contact, will connect you with The Firm For Men. We represent men only, but not because we think any less of Virginia’s women. We defend men’s rights in court, without fuss, without drama, but with some of the sharpest legal minds in Virginia.