By Janine Perrett 

It is hard to resist the temptation to do any lawyer jokes given the disastrous slide in the share price of legal firm Slater and Gordon.

Especially given their reputation for aggressively pursuing companies in the same precarious position.

But the company's performance is no laughing matter.

I mean, what kind of company loses half its value on the stockmarket in a single day?

That is what happened to Slater yesterday with shares down more than 50%, which is 70% down since the start of the week.

And less than a week since shareholders were told all was well at the annual general meeting (AGM). More on that outrage later.

Thursday's crash followed news from the UK that the Government there was capping personal compo payouts which will have a material affect on the company given their billion dollar buy into the country less than a year ago.

Oh it was all sparklers and spin when that was announced, just like when they listed and hailed as a world first for the float of a legal company. 

(Well now it looks like their might be a good reason why that was so). 

Through its short troubled listed history Slater has been subject to constant questions and criticism about everything from share entitlements to senior company insiders to the financial reporting mess over the whole UK acquisition.

What is truly disturbing about the Slater case is that only last week, on November 20, managing director (MD) Andrew Gretch told shareholders at the AGM that the company was "not expecting any material impact from any negative regulatory impacts on the horizon".

As numerous reports pointed out yesterday; everyone but Slater seemed to see the regulatory impacts not just on the horizon, but already underway. 

The MD also said they were "assisting ASIC with inquiries" into their situation then presumably they will have a lot more explaining to do this week.

You would think a law firm full of lawyers on the board and management might have some passing knowledge of corporate law and reporting requirements.

The "we didn't see it coming" defense is not one that has stopped ambulance chasing law firms from launching class actions for aggrieved shareholders in the past.

Many other ASX listed companies will have little sympathy for Slater today and the question is whether rival law firms will be looking at doing a Slater on Slater. 

Are the ambulances circling? 

I think it's called schadenfreud.