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13 Litig. News 1 (1987-1988)

handle is hein.journals/lignws13 and id is 1 raw text is: OCTOBER 1987 VOLUME 13, NUMBER I





Sales lax On Legal Fees Okayed
Florida Supreme Court's advisory opinion
paves the way for other states to tax legal services
by Ralph A. Taylor, Jr., Associate Editor

Special Insert:
Program for
Litigation Section
Annual Fall
The Drake Hotel
October 21-24, 1987

S     tates seeking new ways to raise
revenues will be watching closely the
implementation and enforcement of a
new Florida state sales tax law imposing
a five percent sales tax on legal services.
According to Pat Sheehan, state legisla-
tive coordinator for the ABA Govern-
mental Affairs Office in Washington,
D.C . similar proposals are or have been
pending or under consideration in Texas,
Colorado, Iowa, and Arkansas. The
Florida tax on legal services may be the
first step in a nationwide trend.
On July 14, 1987, the Florida Su-
preme Court issued an advisory opinion
to Governor Bob Martinez stating that
all but one aspect of Florida's newly
enacted sales tax law appears to be valid
under the Florida Constitution. in re
Advisory Opinion to Mhe Governor,
Request of May 12, 1987, No. 70,553
(Fla. July 14, 1987). The court's
decision, however, does not address the
validity of the new law under the United
Slates Constitution and leaves open the
possibility of further legal challenges.
On April 24, 1987, Governor
Martinez signed into law the newly
enacted tax bill (Chapter 87-6, Laws of
Florida) imposing a five percent sales
tax on the sale of professional services,
including the services of lawyers,
architects, engineers, and advertisers.
(See tile July, 1987 issue of the ABA
ournal). The tax explicitly applies to
the use of a service within Florida even
where the sale of the service occurs
elsewhere. It thus appears to apply even
to out-of-state lawyers who provide
services to Florida clients.
The law, which took effect on July 1,
1987, is expected to raise nearly $500
million. The tax on legal services is

estimated to account for $94 million of
this figure.
Tile new law contains numerous
exemptions, including ones for legal
services provided by in-house counsel
and pro hono legal services. It also
exempts legal services provided to
natural persons relating to child support,
child custody, adoption, divorce.
guardianship, juvenile cases, landlord/

Ai lthough Chicago is known as
the Second City, the Section's Annual
Fall Meeting in Chicago will be second
to none. From October 21-24, organiz-
ers expect as many as 1,000 Section
members to attend over 50 presentations
designed to slress the how to side of
trial lawyering. The action-packed
meeting at Ihe Drake Hotel, one of
Chicago's grand hotels, features several
of the nation's most prominent litigalors
and offers programming for the experi-
enced and new trial lawyer. See the
insert in this issue for the complete
Section Chairman Benjamin R.
Civiletti and Program Chairman Edna
Selan Epstein's committee have planned
an exciting and multifaceted program.
Attendees can breakfast at the Chicago
Mercantile Exchange and dine at the
John G, Shedd Aquarium, eavesdrop on
jury deliberations via closed circuit

tenant relations, mobile home rentals,
enforcement of civil rights or recovery
of past or future medical expenses,
subject to a limitation of $5(XI in
services per person annually.
Passage of the law prompted a num-
ber of lawsuits challenging its validity,
including a suit filed May I, 1987 (Law
Day) by the Florida State Bar Because
(continu'd on page 6)

television, observe the reenactment of
portions of a noted copyright trial, hear
lawyers in three celebrated criminal jury
trials discuss trial tactics, confront ethi-
cal challenges that face trial lawyers.
and much more.
The play, Haymarket: Whose
Name the Few Still Say With Tears,
will be presented by a professional
repertory theater group. The Honorable
William J. Bauer, Chief Judge of the
United States Court of Appeals for the
Seventh Circuit, will address the Section
at the first annual luncheon honoring the
judiciary. The Section's annual recep-
tion and dinner/dance will i held at the
John G. Shedd Aquarium on Chicago's
lakefront. Spouses and guesls may take
tours of such Chicago landmarks as the
Merchandise Mart and adjacent Fashion
Apparel Center, downtown architecture
and the newly opened Terra Museum of
American Art. I.-

Windy City Hosts Fall Meeting
Section presents how-to programs
October 21-24
by Michael B. [lyman. Associate Editor

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