The Temple Law team of Louis Couture LAW ’21 and Michael Rios LAW ‘21 clinched the top spot out of six teams in the J.D. Division of the prestigious ABA Law Student Tax Challenge. The competition tasks two-person student teams with solving a complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result.
Their coach, Director of the Temple Center for Tax Law and Public Policy and Professor of Law, Alice Abreu praised the team for their efforts throughout the competition, culminating in a masterful final round before an exceptionally tough bench.
“Mike and Louis were outstanding,” said Professor Abreu. “They mastered a tremendous quantity of very complicated tax law and managed to explain its application to the clients and the senior partner clearly and succinctly. The problem even required them to master recently enacted law that required them to weigh a number of different factors in order to devise the most advantageous course of action. They reflected a level of mastery and maturity far beyond their years. I’m so proud of their performance – it was intensely gratifying to see all the law they learned in a very short period of time.”
“I was very proud to represent Temple in this competition and to win it for the school,” said Louis Couture. “Professor Abreu was a star coach who was instrumental in our victory, and I am very grateful for her mentorship. I am also very thankful for my teammate, Mike Rios, whose hard work and tax savvy helped us go through the technical difficulties of the problem. Finally, I want to thank the faculty members and practitioners who helped us practice and provided us with invaluable feedback.”
Michael Rios echoed the thanks and appreciation for the many members of the Temple Law tax community who contributed to their win through coaching and critique, saying that their win was “reflective of not just our effort, but of a larger collective effort by Temple. Professor Abreu had set up multiple different “moot court” panels, with different judges, which allowed Louis and I to refine our arguments. The impact of those moot sessions was clear to me because we won 1st Place, which was oral argument, even though we did not win for best written submission. Clearly, those sessions resulted in our presenting a stronger, winning, argument.”
Their faculty mooters, including their coach, Alice Abreu, were Professors Kathy Mandelbaum, Andy Weiner, Jules Epstein, Marian Braccia, and Rick Greenstein. Their practitioner mooters were Joan Arnold, Chair of the ABA Tax Section and an Adjunct Professor, who co-teaches International Tax with Professor Abreu; David Shechtman of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP; David Shapiro of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP; Nina Nelson LAW ‘09, LLM ‘10 of Berwind Corporation; and Kayci Petenko LLM ‘16 of Fleming Petenko Law. Finally, last year’s winners of the LL.M. Division of the ABA Law Student Tax Challenge, Jennifer Breton LLM ‘20 and Joshua Runyan LAW ’19, LLM ‘20 joined Professors Abreu and Weiner for a final moot.