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This is Adeyemi Adediran, The Nigerian Harvard Law Student defending a veteran at the U.S. Court of Appeals

Adeyemi Adediran moved to the U.S. six years ago and he is currently a second year student at the Harvard Law School where he participated in the Federal Tax Clinic. He argued in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals on behalf of a military veteran with PTSD. The veteran’s appeal to the Seventh Circuit centred on his eligibility for innocent spouse relief under the Internal Revenue Code.

Just six years ago Adediran Adeyemi left Nigeria for the U.S. he had envisioned facing communication limitations. His performance at the U.S. Court of Appeals where he argued before the court shows he has triumphed over that limitation.

When Adediran left Nigeria for the U.S., his goal was to get into Harvard Law School. Adediran, who is currently a second-year student at Harvard Law School (HLS) participated in the Federal Tax Clinic, an avenue through which “students represent low-income taxpayers in controversies with the IRS, both before the IRS and in federal court.”

On September 13, 2019, Adediran argued a tax case before the U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit. Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Federal Tax Clinic, Keith Fogg, said, “The ability to argue a case before a United States Circuit court is an amazing opportunity for a law school student. Very few get that opportunity even after they graduate.”


Adediran argued an appeal on behalf of a military veteran with post trauma stress disorder (PTSD), in Chicago. According to the details of the case, “the veteran’s wife embezzled $500k from the Appleton, Wisconsin Blood Bank. . . because the couple filed taxes jointly and embezzled money is taxable, they were both legally responsible for back taxes on the money.”


Adediran argued before the court that “it was very difficult for any lay person to determine the exact amount that was owed for 2011.” He further argued that “the IRS agent who made the determination as to how much was owed found it very difficult to determine the amount for 2011.”

Adediran participated in a moot session in preparation for the case which had various professors from Harvard Law School serving as judges, giving pointers and listening to his defense for the case. Prof. Fogg said, “Mooting is an important tradition in the legal profession. Lawyers moot and in our clinic, we moot our students every time we have to do an argument.”

For Adediran, the journey to where he is currently has been wonderful and can only be grateful. Adediran is part of the Nigerians laying huge strides in Harvard Law School. In February 2017, Imelme Umana, a Nigerian was the first black woman to be president of the Harvard Law Review.


Written by PH

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