Lawyers Gone Bad: Money Sex and Madness in Canada's Legal Profession (Philip Slayton)

AuthorKatrina Edgerton-Mcghan
Reviewed By Katrina Edgerton-McGhan*
CITED: (2008) 13 Appeal 102-104
I am having lunch with a friend over the workweek and wander by a newsstand in Cal-
gary’s TD Square. The controversial July 26, 2007 issue of Maclean’s magazine which features
an interview with Philip Slayton, author of Lawyers Gone Bad 1, is front and centre at the news-
stand. I pause the lunch date to hustle in and purchase the magazine. The newsstand sales-
women start to laugh, and one says, “so which one of you is the rat…. er, lawyer?” My friend
points at me and I furiously attempt to avoid eye contact with anyone. “Which one are you?”
asks the other saleswoman as they lean over the magazine. They have three options to choose
from underneath the headline: “I pad my bills”; “I take bribes”; or “I sleep with my clients”.
“She’s that one, isn’t she?” asks the saleswoman of my friend, stabbing her f‌inger at the
cover. “Or is she this one?” My friend laughs awkwardly, the saleswomen laugh hysterically as
I continue to stare at the ground.
I did not start reading this book without lingering irritation from the above experience. Nor
did I start reading it without pre-existing doubt as to its quality given the author’s outrageously
smug Maclean’s interview (Journalist: Did you pad your bills? Mr. Slayton: I was part of the legal
culture of the time and I did what it demanded”.2 As Warren Kinsella so accurately puts it, “Uh
huh. Pot, Kettle, Black.”3). However, even if I had approached this book welcomingly, I would
still have been seriously disappointed by the time I was halfway through the f‌irst chapter.
Lawyers Gone Bad opens by hypothesizing why lawyers Go Bad. The book then tells the
story of several lawyers in the last few decades who have Gone Bad, and concludes with a short
critique the self-regulation of the profession and lack of access to justice.
The problems with this book are clear from the f‌irst chapter. Stylistically, it is poorly or-
ganized and disjointed. Substantively, it is rife with sensationalist exaggeration that borders
* Katrina Edgerton-McGhan is a third year student at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law. She will be articling in Cal-Katrina Edgerton-McGhan is a third year student at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law. She will be articling in Cal-
gary, Alberta at Code Hunter LLP.
1 Kate Fillion. Lawyers are rats. A top legal scholar exposes the corruption of his profession. MacLean’s Magazine (26
July 2007), online: [Lawyers are
2 Ibid.
3 Warren Kinsella.The Rats Fight Back: Lawyers now have a Chance to Change Perceptions about their Profession”, Edito-
rial, National Post (16 August 2007), online: .

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