The Valentine's Card in the Operating Room: Codes of Ethics and the Failing Ideals of the Legal Profession


  • Gavin MacKenzie



This article discusses the growing disillusionment with the legal profession shared by both lawyers and non-lawyers. This trend is coincident with an evolution of codes of conduct, from those reflecting ethical aspirations to those that spell out legally enforceable minimum standards. The author summarizes some of the contributing factors of this disillusionment. They are the increasing commercialism of practice, the fragmentation of the profession, rampant specialization and the excesses specialisations of the adversary system. The author attempts to answer the question, "Can modern codes of conduct effectively serve both ideological and regulatory functions?" by analyzing the reasons for disillusionment with the profession, the evolution of such codes and by making proposals for the future.