Student Articles Win Legal Writing Competitions

David Rubin ’19 Wins IFA USA Contest; Justin Aimonetti J.D.-M.A. ’20 and Christian Talley ’20 Win Inaugural Stanford Law Review Competition
UVA Law School

Photo by Robert Llewellyn

January 16, 2020

Two University of Virginia School of Law students and a recent alumnus have won prominent legal writing competitions.

David Rubin, who graduated last spring, won the International Fiscal Association USA Branch 2019 Writing Competition for the best scholarship exploring any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.

Rubin said in his paper, written while he was a student, that Brexit could have serious consequences for U.K. nationals and corporations that are currently taking advantage of U.S. tax treaties because of a U.S. safe-harbor provision that extends benefits to residents of EU member states.

“I figured the best way to determine what would be interesting to international tax practitioners was to ask one, so I posed the question to one of the co-chairs of the Gibson Dunn tax practice group, who is a UVA Law alum,” Rubin said. “He suggested a couple of topics, and I found this one particularly fascinating given Brexit’s potential impact on the global economy.”

His paper, “EB or Not EB? That Is the Question Treasury Must Answer After Brexit,” published in the Tax Management International Journal, referring to equivalent beneficiaries, looks at the U.S. government’s options for addressing the issue. He analyzes benefits and downsides of each option, and concludes that the most workable path is for the Treasury Department to preserve the status quo by entering into intergovernmental agreements with its treaty partners.

Professor Ruth Mason, an expert in international tax law, served as Rubin’s faculty sponsor.

“I am very lucky to have worked with Professor Mason and others on this project during my time at UVA Law,” Rubin said. “Professor Mason provided guidance while I initially mapped out my arguments, and our conversations throughout the entire process oriented me in the right direction when my research began to get too scattered or hit a dead end.”

At UVA Law, Rubin was a member of the 2018 International and European Tax Moot Court team, the first U.S. squad to win the competition. He served as student coach for the 2019 team, which also won.

Rubin, currently an associate in the Los Angeles office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, follows a string of UVA Law student wins in the IFA USA writing competition. David Maranjian ’17 won in 2017, and Amanda Leon ’17 was a co-winner in 2016.

Additionally, third-year students Justin Aimonetti J.D.-M.A. and Christian Talley won the Stanford Law Review’s inaugural Student Essay Competition with “Game Changer: Why and How Congress Should Preempt State Student-Athlete Compensation Regimes.”

They argue that Congress should intervene to regulate student-athlete compensation regimes to prevent a state-by-state approach that could undermine national uniformity in college sports.

Essays were selected through an anonymous review process that considered the novelty of the piece and its contribution to existing scholarship, clarity and writing style, support from citations and interest to a general audience.

Aimonetti, who is also an M.A. candidate in legal history, serves as an articles editor on the Virginia Law Review and is a member of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. Talley serves as a notes and comments editor on the Virginia Law Review, a research assistant for Professor Saikrishna Prakash and a Legal Writing Fellow mentoring first-year law students.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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