Kenny Leigh’s attitude toward family law is simple: “You shouldn’t have to prove that mom’s a crack whore for a dad to get the kids every other weekend.”
Leigh, of Kenny Leigh & Associates, is the founder and CEO of the largest firm of for-men-only family lawyers in Florida, with offices in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale. You may have seen his billboards advertising MenOnlyFamilyLawOnly.com popping up around the state recently.
As he sees it, he’s out to fight for men’s rights as they navigate divorce, child custody, and alimony disputes.
“Family law is basically the one area on the planet where being a man puts you behind,” Leigh said. “The truth is — and this is not sexism, this is a simple fact — in family law, it is not equal.”
To be clear, the laws themselves are perfectly equal. But Leigh says they are often applied unequally to men and women. That’s why men need a special brand of masculine representation from lawyers who specialize in representing men.
“Our philosophy is to be overly prepared and overly aggressive – that’s how you have to be when representing a man,” Leigh explains. “In family law, with men, if you lay down, it’s over.”
Leigh almost surrendered when he first entered the men-only legal business. After excluding half the population from his clientele, he found himself behind on his rent in a small studio apartment with his credit cards maxed out, nearly bankrupt. But his mission to protect men from the iniquities of the legal system kept him going.
“That was my cause,” Leigh said. “I’ve gotten so much flack over the years for representing only men. I promise, if I represented only women, I would be a hero. And I love that, because it makes it all the more meaningful.”
Now, Leigh says, his law firm’s ten locations draw more than a thousand new clients a year, and he still has no qualms about representing only men.
“It’s no different from a personal injury attorney only taking plaintiffs, the injured party,” he said.
The injured party here, of course, is fathers. Leigh points to a double standard: Everybody wants fathers to be present in their children’s lives, but judges only give them custody of the kids every other weekend – four nights a month.
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“How can you spank a child with four nights a month if you’re a spanker? You can’t,” Leigh said. “You have to be nice all the time. That’s not a father. That’s a friend.”
When New Times asked Leigh about the moral implications of representing a man in a same-sex divorce against another man, he admitted he had never thought about it before. He reasoned that although he wouldn’t be “going up against a woman,” he would still be helping a dad, so it would fit with his firm’s mission.
“I did this for a cause, but I’m also not a saint,” Leigh said. “I’m a lawyer. If you’re going to hire me, I’m going to take the case.”
Unless, of course, you’re a woman.