2008 NDLS Alum Wins Tax Writing Competition

Katie Fuehrmeyer feature article Katie Fuehrmeyer, a 2008 Notre Dame Law School alum, won first place in the Tannenwald Writing Competition. The prestigious, national competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any U.S. federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted. Fuehrmeyer’s was titled CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLEMAN: ALLOWING ONSHORE DEBT-FINANCED INVESTMENTS BY TAX-EXEMPT ORGANIZATIONS.

The paper arose from Fuehrmeyer’s interests in both federal tax issues and nonprofit organizations, as well as work she had done in her 2L summer position. “I encouraged her to pursue it in part because of her topic, the treatment for debt-financed investments by tax-exempt organizations, had become a live issue in Congress and so there was a real possibility that her paper could help advance a current policy debate,” says Notre Dame Law Professor Lloyd Mayer, who served as Fuehrmeyer’s faculty sponsor on the paper. “We met on a weekly basis to discuss her research and the paper’s direction. While I am glad I was able to help her with this project, she deserves full credit for the sophistication and quality of her paper which led to it winning first prize.

Fuehrmeyer has equal praise for Mayer. “He helped me immensely with regard to reviewing my paper and helping me prepare it for the competition,” said Fuehrmeyer, who received $3,500 for her winning entry.

Fuehrmeyer attended Notre Dame as an undergrad and went to work as a paralegal at a large law firm after earning her degree—she was a political science and Spanish double major. “Because I had a few years to think about it before entering law school, I had a fairly good idea about which area of the law I wanted to focus on,” says Fuehrmeyer, who is specializing in tax at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago.

The competition is named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and is designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality. First in his class at the Harvard Law School, he went on to become a leading tax practitioner for more than two decades at the New York firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During World War II, he served as a Special Adviser to the Air Force in the European and Pacific Theatres. He later served as counsel to New York Governor Averell Harriman, as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of State during the Truman Administration, and as a member of the Kennedy Task Force on Foreign Assistance. Throughout his almost 35 years on the bench, Judge Tannenwald distinguished himself as one of the foremost tax jurists of our time.

The winning papers are selected by a panel of tax professors and practitioners.

Since its inception, the Foundation has received almost 300 entries to its annual writing competitions from students representing 83 law schools throughout the United States. Cash prizes in excess of $50,000 have thus far been awarded.