Hi Jenny, I have a set of questions to get to know you better and to learn about your unique experiences as a woman in tax law. Our intention is to give other lawyers and law students insight into potential career choices in tax law and words of advice on how to build a successful tax practice. Let’s get started.
Can you describe your career progression in tax law, including why you chose tax law or did it choose you?
Tax definitely chose me. I went into law school after a journalism career expecting to go into communications law. My first tax course immediately changed my plans. After my tax professor described the specialty of tax litigation to me, I never looked back. My summer and associate positions at Bay Street law firms were selected based on their tax departments and tax litigators. After five years of private practice in a big firm, a female tax litigator arranged a secondment to the Department of Justice (Canada) for me to get Tax Court trial experience. During the secondment, I was doing a trial or a motion almost every week. As the year-long secondment was drawing to an end, I quit the Bay Street law firm and officially joined the DOJ. After eleven years as a tax litigator at the DOJ, and experiencing literally one of the best places to work and train as a lawyer, I returned to Bay Street and joined Fasken as a partner. I now practice tax litigation across the country, excluding Quebec.
Can you elaborate on the focus of your tax law practice? (i.e., tax planning or litigation? Corporate tax or personal tax? International or domestic? Private equity, public company, or owner manager? Little bit of everything? etc.) If you had a pie chart, how would you apportion the slices of that pie (e.g., 50% tax litigation, 20% dispute resolution matters with CRA, 30% private enterprise tax planning)?
Right now I would put it at 50% tax litigation and 50% dispute resolution with the CRA.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Assertive, organized, analytical.