Friday, July 27, 2007

CBA Strikes Back

I don't know why the world seems to LOVE to characterize lawyers as bad people ... well ... actually ... I probably do know why. But to me, it's the same with all professions. There are dirt-bags everywhere, and unfortunately those that are the biggest wind-bags usually end up being the loudest ones that are mistakenly taken as a representation for all.

There are certainly some pretty amazing people in my class at U of S law, and I know that they're going to be amazing lawyers, community leaders, principled professionals, and people who genuinely care and give back to the community.

I guess that MacLeans magazine was looking to stir something up with their August 6th edition, when they interviewed Philip Slayton, author of Lawyers Gone Bad.

Nice to see that the CBA fires back with the July 26, 2007 press release below:

CBA condemns unfair characterization of lawyers in Maclean’s magazine

OTTAWA – The Canadian Bar Association has condemned in the strongest possible way the cover story in the Aug. 6 edition of Maclean’s magazine that paints a distorted, one-sided and sensationalized picture of the legal profession.

“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,” says CBA President J. Parker MacCarthy, Q.C. of Duncan, B.C. “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.”

The Maclean’s article is a broadside against the legal profession that doesn’t tell the whole story. In Canada, provincial law societies are vigilantly maintaining standards of professional conduct and disciplining lawyers who fail to meet them. Law societies look out for the interests of the public, by investigating complaints and taking necessary disciplinary action.

In those isolated cases when lawyers break the law, they are treated no differently than anyone else in society. “If they break the law, they are subject to the law and all its penalties,” says Parker MacCarthy.

Lawyers’ conduct is governed by strict and enforceable Codes of Conduct in each province and territory. The CBA’s model Code of Professional Conduct, updated in 2006, guides lawyers on many areas of their professional work including integrity, legal skill, discriminatory behaviour, conflict of interest, and confidentiality.

The CBA is a strong proponent of access to justice, or making the justice system more “user-friendly” to the average person. The association has lobbied for increased funding for civil legal aid for more than two decades. Its legal aid test case on the need for a constitutional right to civil legal aid for poor people is currently before the courts.

The Canadian Bar Association is dedicated to improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 37,000 lawyers, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.

I have to say, when there's a real story there, I have no problem with characterizing the bad guy as such. BUT ... there is real damage done when these kinds of broad, generally destructive, generalizations are allowed to propagate among the public ... for any profession.

I finished reading the 13th Stephanie Plum novel, Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich. Must say, I was sorely disappointed. Seems like Janet Evanovich had to crank this book out in a hurry, because there were no real plot developments beyond a formulaic adventure like all the other Plum novels. Too bad, I really like this series ... hopefully the next one will be better, since I'm not so turned off that I won't read that one too.

I would love to pick up a copy of Chambermaid: A Novel by Saira Rao, which I saw featured on the Precedent site. Seems that Rao clerked for a Judge down in the US, and this novel is "loosely" based on that experience. LOVE it. Can't wait to read it. This will probably be a Saskatoon read for the fall.

Also, my B-Day was this week, and I must say that I was rather spoiled. Thank you to all of my family and friends for making me feel SPESH on my day, when I've been feeling rather blue about having to move to Saskatoon (AGAIN, not that it'll be terrible, it's just that I miss being home with my family and friends ... ya know, and I'm finally at an age where b-days seem to be depressing ... the big 3 - 0 seems a little too close for my comfort now ... AND ... I find moving really stressful in general).

The folk fest is going on right now, here in Calgary, and my sisters both got to check it out last night. I'm a little jealous, I must admit.

Found this article, and found a new appreciation for Queen. Looks like Queen guitarist, Brian May, is finishing up his Ph.D. in Astrophysics. Must look up more on this guy. Looks like he co-wrote a book: Bang! The Complete History of the Universe, will have to look into it (before I switched into Computer Science, I majored in Astrophysics and I still have a passion for reading about it).

AND ... last, but not least, today is 2-for-1 Starbucks day at the hospital, and I got my venti vanilla latte for $2.00. YAY! Makes Fridays so much more bearable!

PS. I HATE using the blogger quotes feature. It always effs up my formatting. AURGH. May have to write their support. Puts in DIV tags all over the rest of my text. GERRR.

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