Collecting taxes from clients is certainly not part of a law firm’s core business. It’s a task lawyers are usually content to leave to support staff and accountants. That’s why many lawyers have paid little attention to any of the details involved in the move to harmonized sales tax (HST) in Ontario and British Columbia. And it’s the reason why some law firms and sole practitioners are in for a few nasty surprises, according to tax experts in both provinces.
Quebec City lawyer Micheline Montreuil made history in the first case she pleaded as a woman.
It began in 1997 when Montreuil, an out-of-the-closet transgender who had practised law for 25 years as Pierre Montreuil, launched the first of three highly publicized court challenges against the refusal by Quebec’s registrar of civil status to allow her to legally change her name to Micheline.
So far, only Quebec has introduced legislation to stop lawsuits from big companies that appear to pick on the little guys opposing their plans. Goliath didn’t have the option of suing David for malicious use of a slingshot, but today’s corporate giants can and sometimes do use the law as a blunt instrument to intimidate weaker foes.