A team of students from the University of Mississippi School of Law won first place in the inaugural Southeastern Regional Tax Challenge presented by the University of Missouri schools of Law and Accountancy.
All Southeastern Conference universities were invited to send teams of law and accountancy students to participate.
The Ole Miss law school team of Kyle Carpenter, from Jackson; Patrick Huston, of Milton, Florida; and Devin Mills, of New Albany, brought home first place after two days of competition. They also won Best Presentation, and Devin Mills won second place in the Best Presenter category.
“It was an amazing opportunity that would not have been possible if not for professor Green and all the other professionals involved,” Mills said.
Each team was given a set of facts that dealt with the potential acquisition of an up-and-coming pharmaceutical company by a venture capital company. The team had two weeks to prepare its oral and written presentations for the judges – attorneys, accountants and professors from throughout the Southeast – who acted as clients.
The presentations broke down each possible acquisition method, along with the pros and cons, and also focused on the tax consequences of each acquisition method.
“It was a nice opportunity for students to think about a real-life transaction that happens quite regularly,” said Karen Green, UM professor of law who coached the team. “The students were given only about 10 days to prepare, so they were under the pressure of researching the acquiring company’s options and preparing their oral and written presentations.
“They weighed all the different options from both the tax law and the corporate law sides, and they had to prepare projections of the tax benefits depending on which way the transaction was structured. They really did a great job.”
Teams were allowed only two practice sessions. To help her team prepare, Green enlisted the help of Oxford tax attorneys Jack Nichols, Gray Edmondson, Josh Sage and Brandon Dixon, along with law school faculty members Donna Davis, Richard Gershon, K.B. Melear and Jason Derek, to quiz the students and challenge their arguments.
On the first day of competition, the team competed twice Feb. 11 before different panels of judges. After the scores were compiled, they were notified that they were one of the top four teams and would advance to the final round.
This was the first time the UM School of Law has competed in a tax law competition.
By Jordan Thomas
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