Pence Law Library Honors Student Authors at Annual Reception

This spring, The Pence Law Library honored American University Washington College of Law student authors at its Ninth Annual Student Author Reception. This reception attended by faculty and staff recognized the research and writing accomplishments of students and celebrated their success in scholarly activities.

“This annual event was made to publicly reward students for their time and effort toward scholarly activity,” said Billie Jo Kaufman, associate dean for library and information resources. “Research and writing are two pillar skills within the legal profession; Students who make this extra step toward publication deserve to be celebrated for their endeavors.”

The law school has an upper-level writing requirement and many law reviews, journals, newsletters, and briefs for students. Library faculty and staff assist students in their research through reference inquiry and cite-checking. The library also provides students with ExpressO accounts to help manage submissions to law reviews.

See the full list of student authors and read more about several of them below.

Sheng Zhou – “Bitcoin Laundromats for Dirty Money: The BSA’s Inadequacies in Regulating and Enforcing Money Laundering Laws over Virtual Currencies and the Internet”

Third year student Sheng Zhou has always been interested in new technologies, and as a law student, became interested in the cutting-edge field of cyber law.

“It’s definitely on the cusp of becoming a very big and emerging technology field—it’s blossoming,” said Zhou.

Zhou decided to research the intersection of virtual currency and cyber law, and after discussing this idea with Professor Michael Carroll, specifically chose to explore the emerging virtual currency known as Bitcoin. The resulting article, “Bitcoin Laundromats for Dirty Money: The BSA’s Inadequacies in Regulating and Enforcing Money Laundering Laws over Virtual Currencies and the Internet,” was published in the Journal of Law and Cyber Warfare. It explores Bitcoin and explains how current money laundering laws are insufficient when it comes to the currency.

“As we move toward everything becoming internet- or e-commerce-based, we’re going to have increasing problems with these issues,” explained Zhou, who hopes his research reaches the hands of policymakers who work on laws regarding money laundering. “I know the Departments of Commerce and Treasury are tackling Bitcoin issues as a whole; they’re aware there is a huge problem and loophole, and are trying to draft legislation as a solution.”

“I also hope people that are interested in Bitcoin will read and look at the situation in a different light – buyer beware.”

Christina Fetterhoff – “Defining Sexual Violence as a Crime against Humanity in Colombia:Recommendations for Chamber of Deputies Bill 037/2012”

An article by 3L Christina Fetterhoff, published in Eyes on the ICC, examines whether changes to Colombia’s Criminal Codes, enacted through new legislation to assure access to justice for victims of sexual violence in the context of the armed conflict, provides adequate definitions to bring Colombia in line with international legal standards.

“Conflict-related sexual violence is a particularly sensitive, and many times hidden, issue,” said Fetterhoff.“I chose to examine Colombia's efforts to address it because of my long-held interest in Latin America and women's rights.”

She originally wrote the article to fulfill the Upper-Level Writing Requirement through a class taught by Professor Susana SaCouto.

“I mentioned that I would be interested in continuing to refine the paper beyond turning it in for class, in the hopes of getting it published somewhere,” said Fetterhoff. “Professor SaCouto very generously offered extra comments and feedback, and I am grateful for her support and guidance.”

Fetterhoff was also recognized at the Student Author Reception for "Reflections on the Guatemalan Genocide Trial One Year Later" in the Human Rights Brief.

Yoonhee Kim: “Reconciling Twombly and Patent Pleadings Beyond the Text of Form 18”

When third year law student Yoonhee Kim interned at the Federal Trade Commission in Spring 2013, he became interested in the challenges small businesses face in the world of patent law.

His article, “Reconciling Twombly and Patent Pleadings Beyond the Text of Form 18” forthcoming in the Chicago-Kent Journal of Intellectual Property, explores ways to strike the right balance in patent pleadings in a way that would not be advantageous toward to Patent Assertion Entities (a.k.a. patent trolls). Yoonhee hopes that his article will prevent small businesses like street retailers from being targeted by patent trolls through license payments or threats of litigation over patent infringement.

Professor Paul Schoenhard sponsored the article.

“He taught the Patent and Trademark Appeals course I took, and was insightful during the whole writing process,” said Kim.

Katie Popper: “The Value of the U.S. Tax System’s Home Mortgage Interest Deduction and Charitable Deduction as Mechanisms to Incentivize Behavior: An Examination of U.S. Tax Policies, Economic Consequences, and Questions of Change”

Third Year student Katie Popper became interested in tax reform during the media coverage of the financial crisis. Popper’s interest in the topic increased further after taking a Federal Personal Income Tax Course during her 2L year.

Popper authored her comment “The Value of the U.S. Tax System’s Home Mortgage Interest Deduction and Charitable Deduction as Mechanisms to Incentivize Behavior: An Examination of U.S. Tax Policies, Economic Consequences, and Questions of Change,” which suggests options for tax reform to help with the recovery of the U.S economy in the wake the 2008 financial crisis.

Popper’s article was published in the Tax Management Real Estate Journal. She credits adjunct Professor David Kempler, whose tax practice focuses on corporate tax, business planning, and not-for-profit tax matters, with helping her through the process.

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