Lady Legal Not So Ladylike
Posted Oct 12, 2011 10:52 AM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward
Clients retaining the services of Connecticut’s Lady Legal Group, thinking that their money is going to a women-owned business, might be in for a surprise.
The group’s marketing materials feature lawyers Marissa Bigelli and Teresa DiNardi, reports Robert Ambrogi’s Lawsites, but at the bottom, in fine print, is language stating that James O. Ruane is responsible for the advertising’s content. Further, Lady Legal and its offshoots, Lady Divorce and Lady DUI, are not law firms, but collective advertising by lawyers with independent offices.
Based on Ruane’s law firm bio, it appears that he is indeed a man, as his name suggestions. DiNardi, who defends DUI cases, is an associate with Ruane Attorneys at Law, and she appears to be the only woman at the firm of six lawyers.
"We are not the old boys network," DiNardi says in a Lady Legal Group press release, "but young female attorneys can bring a lot to the table."
Lawsites reports that Lady DUI has previously been written about in the New York Times, and DiNardi told the paper that “the brilliant Jay Ruane” conceived the female-focused marketing plan.
In Connecticut, Lady DUI billboards appear on highway billboards. They feature a picture of DiNardi, and along with credit card logos the signage includes a rainbow GLBT flag icon.
“In an area of practice undoubtedly dominated by men, I can’t fault DUI lawyer DiNardi for marketing her gender. There are probably plenty of potential DUI clients--men as well as women--who would prefer a women defense lawyer,” Ambrogi writes. “Still I find it ironic that this whole ‘advertising gimmick’ was the idea of a man and is in part designed to bring business to a male-owned and male-dominated law firm.”