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Chicago Lawyer
February, 1990

Forget Siskel and Ebert. Try Nottage & Ward.

Partners Rosaire Nottage and Eunice Ward braved the popcorn and sticky floors to view "The War of the Roses" but found the movie no escape from the realities of stories from their divorce practice. Art imitated life.

"The audience either thinks it's frightening or a joke," recalls Ward. "They don't realize that it is what happens. In the movie, the wife runs over the lawn and smashes the husband, who's in another car. We had the same situation happen in one of our cases. Two people drove around each other on the lawn while the wife called on her car phone for legal advice."

Nottage says the movie is "unbelievable. It couldn't have been more true to life. The reviews say it was a black comedy. I didn't think so. Well, toward the end it was a little exaggerated."

She saw bits and snippets from many divorce cases combined in "Roses" and told of one couple who "lived in separate bedrooms with deadbolt locks for four years. They argued about square footage and had separate refrigerators and squirreled property away in their locked rooms."

So how does this happen to normally rational people?

"When you get into a divorce, often times you step into wonderland," Nottage said. "I forget what the Queen of Hearts says, but things are not what they seem. It escalates. It's retaliation. It's hard to talk reasonably when people end a relationship. Their whole web is unravelling."

Even so, "we could see the humor. You have to laugh once in awhile," she said. "But it's also a cautionary tale. Clients call and say, 'Could this happen to me?'"

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