September 08, 2020

Law Student Tax Challenge

The LL.M. Winners of the 19th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge receive their award from Section Chair Thomas J. Callahan at the 2020 Midyear Meeting.

The LL.M. Winners of the 19th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge receive their award from Section Chair Thomas J. Callahan at the 2020 Midyear Meeting.

Robb Cohen Photography & Video

20th Law Student Tax Challenge

Update: 2020-2021 LSTC JD Division Questions and Answers

  1. Clarification on the prompt, and on the rules

    Question 4 on the prompt asks for an answer regarding “when the best time is for [the clients] to sell the real property.” Should this portion of the prompt be interpreted by its plain language, or should the memo also include analysis regarding time of sale for personal property (i.e. the classic car)?

    You should respond to the question as written and analyze only the optimal timing for sale of the real property.

    b.      The rules are clear that plagiarism is prohibited. My competition partner and I competed as teammates in last year’s LSTC. If this year’s problem contains similar issues as last years prompt, is reusing small excepts of language from a previous LSTC submission prohibited?

    Solely for purposes of the LSTC, the prohibition on plagiarism does not apply to students’ use of their own prior work product, with the exception of course exam submissions and other prohibited works that would be in violation of an academic honor code or professional policy. Thus, students are allowed to use their own past LSTC work product in their current LSTC submission.

  2. Gift-tax questions

    I thought that, at the JD level anyway, the issues were limited to individual income taxation. Assuming that is true, may I tell that to my students?

    Yes the issues in the JD problem are limited to U.S. federal income tax consequences.  Student do not have to analyze any potential gift tax consequences.


A Note on This Year's Competition

The LSTC Administrators are carefully monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 situation. To protect the health and safety of the LSTC participants, the Oral Defense Part of the Competition may be held virtually, via Zoom or a similar virtual platform. Further information will be provided by the LSTC Administrators well in advance of the Midyear Tax Meeting, so that each semi-finalist team can make appropriate arrangements. The LSTC Administrators reserve the right to make any accommodations or adjustments to the Competition, in its sole discretion, that it deems necessary to protect the health and safety of Competition entrants.

Important Dates

  • Problem Release Date:    September 8, 2020, released by 5pm ET
  • Submission Deadline:    November 9, 2020 by or before 5pm ET
  • Semi-Finalists and Finalist Notified:    December 18, 2020
  • Oral Round Competition & Awards:    January 29, 2021

Entry Form



How Does the Challenge Work?

An alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge (LSTC) is organized by the Section’s Young Lawyers Form. The LSTC asks two-person teams of students to solve 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. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL.M. Division receive a free trip to the Section’s Midyear Meeting, where each team presents its submission before a panel of judges consisting of the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including tax court judges. The competition is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable exposure to the tax law community.

LSTC Archive

We have created an archive of previous Law Student Tax Challenge problems, best written winners, results, and more. 

LSTC on Tax Connect

Join the Young Lawyers Community on Tax Connect to learn more about the Law Student Tax Challenge.  Competition updates will be communicated here.

What is Tax Connect?

Tax Connect is an online and email platform for networking, exchanging ideas, getting advice, and interacting with fellow lawyers, law students, and legal professionals with whom you share similar areas of interest. 

For questions about Tax Connect, contact the Section's Technology Manager Dan Swenson. For all questions related to the LSTC or the Section of Taxation, please contact