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Varnum Summer Associate Wins Prestigious Writing Competition

October 12, 2016

Herman Hofman, a Michigan State University College of Law graduate who will join the Varnum law firm in 2017, was recently awarded top honors in the 2016 National Religious Liberty Student Writing Competition, sponsored by the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University.

Hofman, who served as a summer associate at Varnum last year, won first place and a $4000 prize for his paper "For Richer or for Poorer: How Obergefell v. Hodges Affects the Tax-Exempt Status of Religious Organizations that Oppose Same-Sex Marriage."

The purpose of the annual writing competition is to promote legal and academic studies in the field of religious liberty by law students and students pursuing related graduate studies. Submissions are required to relate to the topic of domestic or international religious liberty and consist of 9,000 – 13,000 words, including footnotes.

Hofman's paper explores whether religious organizations that "advocate and act on beliefs arguably contrary to Obergefell (or the right to same-sex marriage) violate public policy" to the point that "the Treasury Department and the IRS could revoke the tax-exempt status of these organizations."

Hofman is currently working as a law clerk for Hon. Robert J. Jonker, Chief Judge for U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. He will join Varnum in September 2017 following his clerkship.

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