David Hahn ’19 Wins Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing

February 26, 2019

The Burton Foundation has announced that David Hahn ’19 is the winner of a 2019 Distinguished Legal Writing Award.

In the 20 years since the award’s creation, Law School students have received it 11 times. Only two other law schools — Georgetown University Law Center (13) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School (12) — have won the award more.

Hahn’s winning entry, “Late for an Appointment: Balancing Impartiality and Accountability in the IRS Office of Appeals,” was written as a note for the Minnesota Law Review. The piece discusses constitutional issues raised by the structure of the Internal Revenue Service and its tax collection procedures.

“David continues our tradition of writing excellence at the Law School,” says Professor Christopher D. Soper, director of legal writing. “He succeeded in his first-year legal writing course, which was taught by an adjunct attorney professor and a student instructor in a small group of nine first-year students. As a 2L, he served as a student instructor in the legal writing course, working alongside an adjunct professor. We think that offering our upper-level law students the experience of teaching principles of rigorous legal analysis and clear writing helps them hone their own legal analysis and writing skills. In addition, David completed our law journal note-writing course, where he worked with a full-time faculty member on his award-winning note. His winning note is a further example of the great writing, and great writers, produced by Minnesota Law.”

Hahn says he is “grateful to the Law School for prioritizing quality legal writing in its curriculum.” He also says he ”owes much to my peers on Minnesota Law Review for their thoughtful feedback and work in preparing the Note for publication.”

The Burton Foundation was established by William C. Burton, a former New York state assistant attorney general and a strong advocate of plain language in legal writing. The ten previous Law School legal writing honorees are: Frank Guenthner ‘18, Alysha Bohanon ’17, Andrea Miller ’15, Phillip Walters ’12, Eva B. Stensvad ’11, Noreen E. Johnson ’09, Emily C. Melvin ’08, Dan Robinson ’07, David Leishman ’06, and Kari M. Dahlin ’01.

David Hahn
R. David Hahn '19

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