That’s right, I said, “Win an A in Tax Law.” That’s because it’s ba-a-a-ck! My popular “Write a post for taxgirl” contest for law and paralegal students at taxgirl is back for a second year.

So let’s get to the good stuff.

How do you enter?

Write a guest post for about any hot tax policy issue. And I don’t mean a news or legal summary. I want a policy post – tell me what the issue is and why it matters. In other words, pick a topic and take a position. Tell me why the law is right or wrong, or just make me think about things in a different way. The kind word here is policy.

Some recent policy posts on the site include:

Tax Breaks for New Cars Not Yet Law

Governor Paterson Not So Sweet on Soda: Fat Tax Proposal

Paulson Changes His Tune (Again)

To be clear, I’m not asking for a treatise or a law review article. You don’t have to cite like crazy, though clearly you need to credit any sources or quotes. I’m looking for thought-provoking, well-written posts about tax. Oh, and relatively short ones, at that. This is a blog, after all. Posts must weigh in, for purposes of the contest, at between 250 and 1000 words. I’ll tell you what a professor once told me: extra words don’t mean extra credit, they just mean extra words.

The student who writes the best entry (in my humble taxgirl opinion, see below) wins! There are two runners up.

What are the rules?

  • Entries must be sent via email with “Law Student Submission” in the subject line via email to by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 31, 2009. I’m giving you the extra time over spring break just in case you plan to pack your laptop with your flip flops when you fly off to where ever you’re going to do whatever it is that students do on break. I wouldn’t know. I was always a good girl (remember, my mother could be reading).
  • Posts must be between 250 and 1000 words – in English. And in case you think like my little brother and assume that writing in all caps or italics will get you noticed – you’re only half right. It will get you noticed in that I won’t read it.
  • Format: Plain Text (either as a text file or just type directly in the body of the email) or PDF Only. No other attachments or formats will be accepted.
  • You must be a part-time or full-time law student at an accredited US law school or a part-time or full-time paralegal student participating in an ABA-accredited paralegal program.
  • You must include your full name, your law school or paralegal program, the name of your tax professor, and your email address with your entry. I won’t publish your email address, but I do need contact information for the winning entry. I respect your privacy, and I will not send you anything unrelated to your entry in this contest.
  • By entering the contest, you agree that I may post any part or all of your submission including your name and school, as a part of the contest announcements or promotions, with the exception of your email address.
  • And like one of the most famous judges of our time, no, not Judge Learned Hand, but Judge Judy, my decision is in my sole discretion and is final.

What can you win?

Oh c’mon. Admit it. You scrolled down here first. And why wouldn’t you? There are some amazing prizes for the winners (one “grand prize winner” and two runners up).

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf will donate one $5 gift card valid for 30 days at their retail locations and one bag of coffee to each winner – always welcome to help keep you awake during your late-night study sessions!

Each winner will also receive a taxgirl coffee mug (I mean, you already have the coffee…) of course, if you don’t win and you’re dying to have one anyway, you can buy your own mug by clicking here

Seagate will donate a new portable storage drive to each winner. Seagate’s FreeAgent Go portable hard drives are the ideal electronics gift: they store, protect, manage and secure boatloads of digital content and entertainment, including music, games, photos, videos, and files – and they come in really cool colors!

JBL will donate a Duet II speaker system to the grand prize winner. The JBL Duet multimedia speaker system provides smooth and accurate sound for any portable music player or computer. With its incredibly easy setup and use, Duet is a sophisticated approach to achieving great two-channel sound.

JBL will donate an On Stage Micro to each of the runners up. The On Stage Micro is a portable iPod docking sound system ready to go anywhere and fits into the palm of a hand without compromising sound- proving that size does not always matter! Connect it to your computer to upgrade your speakers and keep your iPod in sync while freeing up a ton of desk space. Built-in mini stereo jack and additional cables for connecting to other digital music player devices, CD players, gaming devices, laptops, and desktop computers.

Rizzoli New York will donate a copy of the book Law in America to each of the three winners. Law in America is written by Kauffman and Collier, law librarians and professors at Yale University Law School, and takes readers through the decisions and events that have collectively formed the American legal system. If you can’t wait – or just want one for your own – you can order it from

Ed Poll, J.D., MBA, CMC, who runs LawBiz©, will provide a copy of his book Business Competency for Lawyers for the grand prize winner. Ed practiced law for over 25 years, and now he operates LawBiz®, as a law firm consultant. Ed’s work is nationally recognized; he has written several books and audio guides and has a column syndicated in 8 states. You can read his bLAWg at

PowerDreams will donate a full MP3 download set (6 recordings) of their recordings, the first product to address the mental component of preparing for the bar exam. By using a combination of proven scientific methods, the PowerDreams series of recordings will increase retention capacity and heighten focus and concentration to both maximize comprehension of your main bar course materials and reduce any exam anxiety that interferes with your ability to succeed. These recordings are also GREAT for law students to use in preparing for final exams.

Debra Snider will donate a copy of her book, A Merger of Equals, to the grand prize winner. A Merger of Equals is a fast-paced, incisive story set against the backdrop of the business world. It’s told in the first person by its two main characters: Jane is ambitious, brilliant and sure she’s going to meet resistance at every turn; Charlie is successful, hardwired with the rules of the game and determined to make a difference. You can find out more on Debra’s site.

Pixily will donate two free months of service to each of the three winners. Pixily is a digital organization assistant that quickly organizes paper and electronic materials securely online so information can be found in an instant, whenever and wherever it is needed – including journal papers, notes, and more.

Each winner will have their post featured on my site – you’ll have bragging rights!


The best part of all… I’ll send a note to the grand prize winner’s law professor in any tax course and ask them to give that winner an A.

Of course, I can’t really make your law professor give you an A. You know this and I know this. But sometimes, a little push from the outside just to let your professor know that you’re really interested in a subject can go a long way. It could also serve as the basis for a tax policy paper for a writing course or a law review article.

As for those bragging rights? Last year, taxgirl was named one of the top 100 legal blogs by the ABA Journal. And there’s a decent number of tax folks and lawyers that read the blog. And some of those tax folks and lawyers are in the position to, oh, say, hire students. And in a crazy market, every little thing helps, right? Winning the contest could make for interesting conversation during job interviews (*ahem*) and get you a little bit of exposure – the good kind, not like the Dianna Abdala kind (Google it). Heck, it would impress me.

I’ll post the winning entry – and maybe some standouts – in April.

If you want to see what a winning entry looks like, check out Caroline Rummel’s piece on mortgage interest deductions.

What could be better? Writing about tax and being published? That’s like a dream job. (note to self: you have a dream job).

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Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.


  1. Makes me want to become a tax lawyer just to enter – egads! Must go splash cold water on my face 🙂

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