Mar 1, 2010    #020
Contact: Laura Byerley
(816) 235-1592

UMKC School of Law alumni place first in American Bar Association tax challenge

City recently honored Tax Challenge and Negotiating teams

In the middle of tax season - a time when people often whine and pull their hair out in frustration - two University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law alumni are basking in their recent first-place victory and recognition for Best Written Submission in the LL.M division of the American Bar Association's Ninth Annual Law Student Tax Challenge. Coached by Professor Judith Frame Wiseman, Nicole Forsythe and Ryan White beat teams from 25 schools, such as Georgetown University and Temple University. Along with members of the School of Law's Negotiating Team who reached the ABA National Semi-Finals, the Tax Challenge team was honored by the City of Kansas City, Mo. in late February for success in their respective competitions.

As a two-person student team, Forsythe and White researched and wrote about a tax planning problem in the fall of 2009. Tax practitioners from across the country then judged the written submission, and invited Forsythe and White to present their tax planning strategies before competition judges at the Section of Taxation's January 2010 meeting in San Antonio.

The Law Student Tax Challenge was developed and is administered by the Section of Taxation's Young Lawyers Forum, and is designed to reflect everyday tax issues that might arise. A complete listing of the teams entered in the 2009 competition, along with samples of entries, is available on the section's Web site at:

"This is a tremendous accomplishment," Professor Wiseman said. "To win the competition is wonderful. To win both the oral portion and the written portion is just terrific. They competed against students from other top tax programs and came out on top."

Forsythe received her juris doctor degree in May 2009 and her LL.M. (or Masters of Law) in Taxation in December of 2009, while White received his juris doctor degree in May 2009 and is anticipated to receive his LL.M. in Taxation in May of 2010.

The LL.M. in Taxation is a 24 credit hour degree that is designed to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of taxation, excellent research skills and the development of the necessary practical skills to become outstanding tax attorneys. For example, students can work in the Kansas City Tax Clinic, which is housed in the School of Law. A project of the UMKC Graduate Tax Law Foundation, the clinic represents clients of limited means in tax controversy matters under the supervision of the director and volunteer tax practitioners.

The School of Law's VITA (volunteer taxpayer assistance) program allows students to assist lower-income Kansas City residents with their tax return preparation, while the school's Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic offers students the opportunity to work with Kansas City-area entrepreneurs. Under the supervision of Clinic faculty attorneys, students address legal issues related to forming new businesses, giving advice and drafting documents to help businesses begin running. The supervising lawyers then read and evaluate students' work, providing helpful feedback.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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