Disgraced Calgary lawyer resigns from top Canadian firm

Kristine Robidoux has resigned from Gowlings following her suspension from practicing law by Alberta’s law society.
Kristine Robidoux, one of Canada's top corporate ethics lawyers, was suspended for four months after she admitted to leaking damaging information about her client Arthur Kent to a National Post columnist. (CBC)

One of Canada’s most prominent corporate corruption lawyers has resigned from Gowlings, one of the country’s largest law firms, following her suspension from practicing law by Alberta’s law society.

In a news release Tuesday, Gowlings confirmed Kristine Robidoux had resigned from its Calgary office, where she was a partner and led its “Global Business Integrity Practice Group.”

A Law Society of Alberta panel suspended Robidoux for four months on Monday after she admitted, in an agreed statement of facts, she had leaked damaging information about her client, high-profile journalist turned political candidate Arthur Kent, to a newspaper columnist during the 2008 Alberta election.

“The events in question took place prior to Ms. Robidoux joining Gowlings in 2008,” the news release states, adding that Gowlings takes the matter very seriously and respects the law society’s decision.

“When appropriate, following the completion of her suspension, we expect Ms. Robidoux to return to the firm,” the release states.

Robidoux, a long-time Conservative party supporter, admitted to the law society she provided then-National Post columnist Don Martin with damaging and misleading internal campaign emails and other information, even though she knew Martin intended to write a negative column about Kent.

Martin used the information to write a column that derided Kent, the provincial Tory candidate in Calgary-Currie. In the column, he referred to the internationally-known war correspondent as the Scud Dud, a reference to his nickname the Scud Stud.

But even realizing the column was “unbalanced and wholly negative,” Robidoux admitted she did not attempt to set the record straight with Martin.

Journalist revealed source

Robidoux’s role as Martin’s source was revealed by the journalist during civil court proceedings in which he also named Tory insiders Rod Love and Alan Hallman.

Kent also sued Love, Hallman and others alleging a conspiracy to harm his reputation but the lawsuits were dismissed as being without merit.

In 2013, Canadian Lawyer magazine named Robidoux one of Canada’s 25 most-influential lawyers, in large part due to her handling of high-profile international corruption cases involving corporate clients.

In 2011, Robidoux defended Calgary-based Griffiths Energy after it was charged with bribing the Chadian ambassador to Canada. The charge resulted in the largest settlement - $10 million – in the history of the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.

Robidoux also defended Niko Resources in Canada’s first corruption case. The firm pleaded guilty to bribing Bangladesh’s junior energy minister in 2005 with a luxury Sports Utility Vehicle and North American trips. The firm was fined $9.5 million