UVA Law Team Places Third in Annual Tax Moot
A team of students from the University of Virginia School of Law won third place in this year’s International and European Tax Moot Court Competition, which culminated April 2.
This year’s team was Bethany Labrinos ’21, Zeke Rosenberg ’21, Bolton Smith ’22 and Killian Wyatt ’21, with Ian Macdonald ’21, a member of last year’s team, serving as student coach.
The team’s strong finish continues a streak of UVA Law student teams at the competition. UVA took home first place each of the three prior years, having become the first U.S. team to win the competition in 2018.
The competition, which attracts dozens of teams from around the world, allows law students to sharpen their oral and written argumentation skills on tax issues with global implications. The event is sponsored by the Institute of Tax Law of KU Leuven and the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation. As with last year, the teams competed virtually due to the pandemic.
“There are not many opportunities in law school to compete internationally against some of the best teams in the world on an extremely challenging topic,” Labrinos said. “I grew a lot from the experience, and I know I will be a better litigator because of it.”
This year’s problem was about a hybrid financial instrument that could either be taxed as a whole, or bifurcated and taxed in parts. The two options produced different tax implications. Labrinos and Smith argued for the government's position, and Wyatt and Rosenberg argued for the taxpayer's position.
“We often mooted each other and edited each other’s briefs, so it was a collaborative effort,” Labrinos said.
The competition capped off a learning experience as an extension of Professor Ruth Mason’s full-year International Tax Practicum Law course.
“The practicum is a great way for students to hone their litigation skills, learn an area of substantive tax law, and try their hands at treaty interpretation,” said Mason, whose scholarship often focuses on cross-border taxation. “I am incredibly proud of our team for the way that they worked together to break down the problem into manageable parts and write persuasive briefs on both sides of a complex international tax issue. Once again, our team showed that UVA is a superb place to study tax law and international law.”
Consistently ranked one of the top law schools for tax, UVA Law prepares students for tax careers in government, private practice, business and the nonprofit sector. Among the nation’s top scholars, the school’s tax faculty are known for converting students who are fearful of studying tax into fans of the field. Professors bring experience from Congress, the Treasury Department and private practice. The school’s Virginia Center for Tax Law serves as a hub for tax law activities at the school, and the Virginia Tax Review also offers students experience in cutting-edge tax issues.
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.