CBA Responds to Slayton


Jordan Furlong, Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), sent us a comment that the CBA has provided a response to the Slayton interview.

CBA President J. Parker MacCarthy stated,

“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 defend their clients’ interests on a daily basis, and there are countless examples of lawyers who provide pro bono legal services in their communities.”

Kudos for an effective and timely communications strategy.

Maclean’s responds has also responded to the CBA press release in full here.

Slayton himself responded to the CBA release for Maclean’s, stating,

I’m suggesting to J. Parker MacCarthy, the president of the Canadian Bar Association, that perhaps he and I should have a face-to-face debate about these substantial issues. Whatever you think about these issues, I don’t think you can deny that they’re of real importance, not just to the legal profession.

We would agree that the issues are important. Furthermore, we support dialogue on this any many other issues. However, there does seem to be a bit too much sensationalism at play.

Group Libel

James Morton of the National Report comments,

Under Canadian law, group libel is not actionable. No matter how malicious or false a comment about a group is, the comment cannot give rise to damages. You may safely call all bankers thieves – even if identifying just one of them by name would make you liable to be sued for defamation.

And the Blawgosphere Responds

The Precedent blog actually contacted Slayton for his comment. They asked, “Are lawyers rats?” and Slayton said,

First of all, I didn’t have anything to do with the cover. That was Maclean’s. I just saw it this morning. Second, it’s a magazine. It wouldn’t be a good headline if it said, “Some lawyers from time to time exhibit rat-like tendencies.” [emphasis added]

I just took my grandson to see Ratatouille and the central character, as you may know, is a rat. This is a rat that is a brilliant, principled and creative. So maybe the people who are upset are not up-to-date with their popular culture.

Slayton may have a new book to sell, but playing off of stereotypes to make headlines is somewhat distasteful.

About the Author

Law is Cool
This site is intended to provide a resource for those interested in law. Current law students, graduates preparing for their bar exam, and members of the general public, can all benefit from a deeper understanding of the legal framework that helps shape our society.