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Matthew Hu (’14) Wins Federal Bar Association Award for Tax Law Writing

FEBRUARY 13, 2014—Matthew S. Hu (’14) has been awarded first place in the Federal Bar Association's annual Donald C. Alexander Writing Competition for his article "Fine-Tuning the Tax Whistleblower Statute: Why Qui Tam Is Not a Solution." As the winning author, Hu will receive $2,000 and a trip to the FBA Section on Taxation's annual tax law conference, to be held later this month in Washington, D.C. His article will be considered for publication in the FBA magazine, The Federal Lawyer, or the Section on Taxation's newsletter, Inside Basis.

The Alexander competition is open to any full- or part-time J.D. or LL.M. student who submits an original paper concerning federal taxation. "I was delighted to hear of Matthew's achievement," said Professor Kristin Hickman, a federal tax expert who, along with Professor Stephen Cribari, advised Hu as he worked on the article. "He deserves recognition both for writing the piece and for showing the initiative to enter it. Don Alexander was admired by tax attorneys nationwide. By winning the competition established in Alexander's honor, Matthew shines a positive light on his own abilities and on the Law School."

In summarizing his article, Hu says, "Current tax law offers little protection for whistleblowers whose claims are ignored or handled sluggishly by the IRS. Some commentators have argued for reinforcing whistleblowers' rights by adopting qui tam provisions"—which allows a private person to sue a tax code violator on behalf of the U.S. government. "However, I have critiqued this argument and offered an alternative solution, by reinforcing the existing tax court appeal right and by permitting use—albeit limited—of taxpayers' confidential information."

Hu has been a student attorney at the Law School's Insurance Law Clinic since September 2013, and he is a staff member of the Minnesota Law Review. He has served as a judicial intern with U.S. District Court judge Ronald A. Guzman in Illinois and Minnesota District Court judge William H. Koch in Minneapolis. He earned his LL.B. at Seoul National University College of Law in 2010. After completing his second year at the University of Minnesota Law School, Hu worked during the summer in Seoul as a law clerk at Kim & Chang, Korea's largest law firm, and as a research assistant for the Strategy & Operations Group at Deloitte Consulting.

"I was both honored and greatly surprised by the news [of the award]," Hu said. "Although I enjoyed the writing process, I never could have imagined that the paper would actually bring me a prize. I thank Professor Hickman for suggesting the topic, for her guidance and inspiration on the project, and for sharing her passion for tax law. I also thank Professor Cribari, who helped me come up with creative solutions to the problem."


Matthew Hu

Matthew Hu (’14)