The movie Divorce Corp, directed by Joseph Sorge, opened in multiple theaters in January. We were given an advance copy for our review.
By Martha Chan, Marketing Consultant to Family Lawyers and Divorce Professionals
Divorce Corp is promoted as a “shocking exposé of the inner workings of the $50 billion a year U.S. family law industry,” along with claims that the movie “shines a bright light on the appalling waste, and shameless collusive practices seen daily in family courts.”
The film portrays various cases of injustice motivated by money and corruption in American judges and lawyers. Divorce Corp suggests that the lack of jurors in family court allows judges to ‘play god’; it also insinuates that family lawyers ask about their clients’ income and assets simply to confirm they will be paid and to ensure that when a client runs out of cash, they have a property that can be sold to continue paying their attorney fees. Ultimately, the film calls for a major reform of the American family court system in favor of the Scandinavian system.
The movie features interviews with victims of horror stories, quotes many damning statistics, and includes interviews with prominent family lawyers, including Gloria Allred and Peter Walzer, who do not come across as very warm-hearted lawyer who are concerned about their clients’ best interest. Notably absent are the spouses of the victims and decent family lawyers and judges.
Family Law Attorney/Mediator Mark Baer posted a series of conversations with the director discussing the 58 issues he had with the film. Mr. Baer notes that Mr. Sorge had a hidden agenda for creating Divorce Corp, which becomes obvious after reading Mr. Sorge’s divorce case, In Re Marriage of Sorge.
There have been many related comments made in our Linkedin group, Marketing for Divorce Professionals, including this post:
“About 2 years ago, I was asked to be part of a documentary about divorce around the world. The company was from L.A. and I googled the producer, James Shurlock, who had valid credentials and had won awards for his work. When they came to New York, they crossed into Jersey and a 3-hour interview took place. None of the questions seemed controversial and the 5-man crew was very professional.
The splice about ‘two hours equals a year salary’ was related by me in a case where the family was worth hundreds of millions of dollars and at the case management conference almost 50 lawyers and experts were in attendance. I stood each one up asking their hourly rate and it totaled $22,000 an hour. The next time only 5 people came to court.
The second snippet states ‘I make a hundred decisions a day and if I make a bad decision I make another decision.’ What is unreported is my saying ‘a judge cannot always be right but can always be fair.’
When the crew finished, they said their next stop was Sweden. I had no reason at any time to think that the released film would portray [myself] or our profession in a negative way. I think I share the same passion for what we do as you profess to hold for yourself. I was shocked at the title and the trailer, but my view of life is that I am fortunate not to be visiting someone I care about in a hospital and I cannot control what others think or say. Please circulate for me and I hope this context is helpful. Happy New Year to you and your family.
Judge Thomas Zampino (ret.)”
Martha Chan is a marketing expert for family lawyers. She is co-owner and Vice President of Marketing for Family Lawyer Magazine, Divorce Magazine, and Divorce Marketing Group, a marketing agency dedicated to promoting family lawyers and divorce professionals. She is co-author of The Essential Marketing Guide for Family Lawyers. She has served as a marketing consultant to many Fortune 500 companies and countless family law firms over the past 30 years. Martha can be reached a 866-803-6667 or marthac@divorcemarketing group.com. For more Marketing Tips for Intelligent Dummies, follow her column at www.divorcemarketinggroup.com.