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Zac DesAutels (’11) Wins 2011 Paul Faherty Tax Writing Competition

MAY 23, 2011—Zac DesAutels (’11) is the $3,000 grand prize winner of the 2011 Paul Faherty Tax Writing Competition for his article, "Virtually Untaxable? Red Earth LLC v. United States and Congressional Authorization for State Taxation of Internet Sales."

DesAutels, a former staff member and article submission editor on the Minnesota Law Review, discovered Red Earth LLC v. United States while working at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo, N.Y., in the summer of 2010. He says he thought the due process question of the case was interesting and decided to write an article on it to submit to the competition.

"I had a lot of fun writing the paper," DesAutels says. "By that September my Law Review responsibilities had ended, so writing the paper was a nice way to stay a little bit in touch with academic legal writing."

DesAutels says he learned the majority of the material for the article from Prof. Prentiss Cox in Civil Procedure and from Prof. Laura Cooper in Conflicts. Much of his research was merely developing the concepts they taught him, rather than learning new material, he says.

As for the award, DesAutels says the money will be nice. "I've only worked unpaid since school started, so this will be the first of what I hope will be many law-related paychecks!"

As a 1L, DesAutels went to Miami with the Asylum Law Project and volunteered with HOME Line and Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, then worked at a plaintiff-side class action firm in Minneapolis. He worked at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis last fall. All three years, he played guitar for the Theatre of the Relatively Talentless, the Law School's student-produced annual musical.

DesAutels is currently volunteering part-time with U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Diana E. Murphy (’74) while he looks for full-time work as a judicial law clerk or government attorney. He will take the Minnesota Bar exam in July.

The Paul Faherty Tax Law Writing Competition is presented by the Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. It was endowed by James Lynch, a partner at Winston & Strawn, to honor Paul Faherty, former director of the Center.

DesAutels’ article has been published on the John Marshall Law School site and will be excerpted in an upcoming issue of the Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefit’s quarterly newsletter.


Zac DesAutels

Zac DesAutels (’11)