MSU College of Law



November 30, 2007



Student’s Advocacy Leads to Favorable Settlement

EAST LANSING, MI – Michigan State University College of Law third-year student Sarah Daya earned favorable comments from Judge David Laro while trying a case in the U.S. Tax Court in Detroit earlier this week. Advocating for her MSU Law Tax Clinic client, Daya’s effort impressed the judge to the extent that he commended Daya and the clinic for their fine work.

Judge Laro further stated that Daya’s efforts rivaled those of practicing attorneys who have appeared in his court. Her case involved a client disabled by depression and hoard and clutter syndrome (HCS), among other illnesses, who was seeking relief from IRS penalties based upon   a showing of disability. No reported case has granted a taxpayer relief from these penalties based upon a showing of HCS. Daya’s labors resulted in a favorable outcome for her client after a settlement conference convened by the judge post-trial.

“Sara’s excellent work in her Tax Court case is representative of the unparalleled dedication all of our student clinicians have for their clients. Sara worked tirelessly to prepare her client’s case, all the while cognizant of the client’s extreme sensitivity about appearing in court and revealing extraordinarily personal facts,” says Professor Michele LaForest Halloran, director of the Tax Clinic.

Michigan Court Rule 8.120, which allows second- and third-year law students to practice law under the supervision of clinical faculty who are members of the State Bar of Michigan, permitted Daya to try the case. The Tax Clinic is a legal aid clinic, providing services to clients and a hands-on opportunity for tax students to represent low-income taxpayers who have cases or controversies with the IRS, including representation in Tax Court.

“Few law school graduates can say what Sara can – that she already has successfully represented real clients, has tried a case in Tax Court, and has received accolades from the presiding judge for her trial presentation,” concludes Professor Halloran.

MSU College of Law was in founded in 1891 and is a private institution of higher learning devoted exclusively to professional education in law. The Law College is one of only a few private law schools to be affiliated with a research university, enabling it to provide a comprehensive interdisciplinary legal education program. Classes offered in its state-of-the-art facilities provide students the benefits of a Big Ten campus while maintaining the small school culture. Its 2006 graduates achieved a 93 percent bar examination passage rate and the Law College’s Intellectual Property and Communications Law Program falls in the nation’s top-20 according to U.S. News & World Report. The Law College is one of the oldest continuously operating independent law colleges in the nation. For more information about the Law College, visit