Friday, July 27, 2007

Maclean's cheeses off lawyers by calling them rats

The Canadian Bar Association is spitting mad about a Maclean's story headlined "Lawyers are rats", an interview by Kate Fillion with ex-lawyer and legal scholar Phillip Slayton called Lawyers Gone Bad: Money, Sex and Madness in Canada's Legal Profession. Slayton's book has the typical disclaimer saying that most lawyers are not vermin. But the CBA fired off a letter nonetheless, in which CBA president J. Parker MacCarthy says:
“By cherry-picking the worst cases of lawyer misconduct, the article has tarnished the reputation of thousands of professionals who are honest, hard-working, and community-minded people.”

Lawyers who break the law “are subject to the law and all its penalties," he adds.

[Thanks to Melissa Kluger and her law blog Precedent for alerting us to this story. In her blog item, she notes that Slayton's book states upfront that it is about some particularly bad apples, not representative of the profession generally.]

[UPDATE: The Law Society of Upper Canada has now weighed in with a release that compares Maclean's to supermarket tabloids. Gavin MacKenzie, the treasurer of the Law Society, says in part:
It does no credit to Maclean's' claim to be a newsmagazine when its editors are prepared to rely on the tactics of the tabloid press in the place of real journalism. It is not the legal profession that is diminished by this.

Too often lawyers are silent in the face of unfair, misinformed criticism of the profession. It's business as usual. We've become inured to it. Why dignify this derision with a response?

It should not be business as usual. It is time to stop ignoring these insults and accepting these sneers. Instead, we will invite honest scrutiny, confident that it will reveal the essential role lawyers play in securing the rule of law and the integrity of the Canadian justice system.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am having this particular issue of Macleans framed...


even lawyers who aren't rats, often exhibit behaviour that is "rat-like"

tell me you don't agree?

8:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally some has the courage to speak the truth... Good For You,

11:03 am  

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