FIU Law’s Alex Martini, a fourth-year, and Sam Gonas, who recently graduated, competed in the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Section of the Taxation Law Student Tax Challenge’s divisional competition. They now move on to the semi-final round which will be held in Phoenix, Arizona at the end of January. The Challenge is an alternative to traditional moot court competitions and requires two-person teams to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice.
Martini, who serves as the team’s captain, appreciates that he can combine his tax law interests with some friendly competition. “This competition has been the perfect opportunity to utilize my knowledge and experience in the subject matter that interests me most,” he said. “Sam Gonas and I are proud to represent F.I.U. Law and hopefully we can pave the way for future F.I.U. Law students who have an interest in tax law.”
The teams are 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 defend its submission before a panel of judges who consists 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.
For team member Sam Gonas this experience has opened up his eyes to new facets of taxation law. “I do not have a tax background which made learning the subject matter a challenge. However, I am fortunate for the instruction and advice provided by my team captain and Professor Gabilondo. It has been an honor to learn from them and a thrill to make it this far. It is students and faculty like this that makes F.I.U. such a special institution,” he shared.