Tomer Vandsburger: 2016 Best and Brightest

Tomer Vandsburger
Tomer Vandsburger
University of Washington School of Law
Hometown: Blacksburg, Virginia
Undergraduate School: University of Virginia (BA); Pace University (MST)
Undergraduate Major and Minor: Major – Politics; Minor – History
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During Law School:
Leadership Positions: Moot Court Honor Board, President; Washington International Law Journal – Senior Comments Editor; UW Law Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Department – Legal Writing Fellow (2014-2015)
Moot Court Activities: New York State Bar National Appellate Advocacy Competition – Regional Semi-Finalist; Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson Appellate Advocacy Competition Champion, 2nd Place Orator, and 3rd Place “Best Brief” Award
Scholarships and Awards: 2015 Ronald Hjorth Tax Law Scholarship (Funding Year of Tax LLM Courses); 2014 Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (Funding Year of Graduate Studies); Public Interest Law Grant (Funding for Summer Internship)
Volunteer Activities: Immigrant Families Advocacy Project – Student Caseworker; Low Income Taxpayer Clinic – Volunteer Student Attorney; Family Law CASA of King County – Caseworker; King County Community Accountability Board – Volunteer; Rural Alaska Tax Assistance Program – Volunteer Tax Preparer
Where have you interned during law school?

  • Washington Defenders Association (Seattle, WA) – 1L Summer Intern
  • Office of the Attorney General, UW Division (Seattle, WA) – 2L Extern
  • Perkins Coie, LLP (Seattle, WA) – 2L Summer Associate

What practice area will you be specializing in after graduation? Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, and Tax Law
Why did you choose to attend law school? I chose to attend law school in order to better understand the ways that local tax policies shaped funding for public schools. I also wanted to learn about the interaction between law and education policy. While in school I became interested in regulation of employee retirement, health, and welfare plans.
What was your favorite law school class? I cannot identify one, so I’ll identify three. First, Constitutional Law because I found it intellectually fascinating. Second, Administrative Law because it helped me understand the growing importance of this “fourth branch” of American government. Third, Basic Income Tax because it introduced me to the fundamentals of my area of specialization.
Which attorney do you most admire? There are too many to count, but they include those who mentored me throughout my time law school. Among them are Stephen Hobbs, Travis Stearns, and Jeff Minzel.
What have you enjoyed most about law school? The opportunity to meet some of the smartest, most interesting people I know. I’m excited to continue working with each of my peers for many years to come.
What word best describes your professional brand? Relentless. Each time I am presented with a new challenge I do everything I can to understand exactly what I’m facing and how I can best solve the issue.
If you were debt free, how would you spend your first paycheck after landing your first law job? Take my wife on a lengthy vacation. She definitely deserves it.
“I knew I wanted to go to law school when…I knew I had to learn the causes of educational inequity in America.”
“If I didn’t go to law school, I would be…Teaching and coaching speech and debate to high school students in Brooklyn, New York.”
Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m most proud of my years as a teacher in Brooklyn, where my students consistently outperformed everyone’s expectations for them. Many of my former students are now enrolled at top colleges and universities and assuredly will be far more successful than I could ever be.
Fun fact about yourself: I walk the entire perimeter of Manhattan every time I visit New York City.
Favorite book: Anything by Kurt Vonnegut.
Favorite movie: For a Few Dollars More
What are your hobbies? Running, reading, and spending time with my wife.
What made Tomer such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?
“I am pleased to write this letter of recommendation for Tomer Vandsburger, a third-year law student here at the University of Washington School of Law. Though Tomer was never a student of mine, I have worked extensively with him as the Faculty Adviser for the UW Moot Court Honor Board, of which Tomer is the President, and as a coach for the UW Moot Court Team, of which Tomer has been a member the last two years. Based on my close work with Tomer, I give him my highest recommendation. He has a stellar legal mind and is an exceptional leader.
On the Moot Court Team, Tomer has mastered a vast array of complex legal issues, from the scienter requirement applicable to criminal insider trading prosecutions, to the application of Batson to discriminatory jury strikes on the basis of perceived sexual orientation. On these and other issues, Tomer has digested an immense amount of legal material, mastered the legal arguments from both sides, and presented convincing and elegant written briefs befitting a seasoned practitioner. His skill is remarkable.
But perhaps Tomer’s most impressive quality is his leadership. As President of the Moot Court Honor Board, Tomer oversees the law school’s entire moot court program. This responsibility includes organizing in-house competitions for UW students, creating and funding travelling teams that represent UW in national and international tournaments, and even hosting national tournaments here at the law school. In this role, Tomer has worked closely with his fellow students, members of the bench and bar, and members of the law school faculty and staff. Uniformly, his work has been excellent. His attention to detail, organization, planning, and guidance have led to a wonderful tenure here at the law school. And even more impressively, he has spent time creating systems and processes so future generations of UW students can benefit from the work he’s done. I strongly believe that not only this group of UW students, but future classes for years to come will benefit from Tomer’s work.
In short, I give Tomer my highest recommendation.”
David J.S. Ziff
Senior Lecturer | Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing
University of Washington School of Law


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