Brooklyn Law School student Zachary Kuperman ’12 has been selected as a recipient of a Burton Award for Legal Achievement for his note, “Cutting the Baby in Half: An Economic Critique of Indivisible Resources Partition,” which was published in the Fall 2011 issue of the Brooklyn Law Review.
The Burton Awards are presented by the Burton Foundation, a non-profit devoted to recognizing excellence in the legal profession. Since 1999, the organization has focused primarily on the refinement and enrichment of legal writing by honoring attorneys and law students who use plain, clear, and concise language in place of archaic legalese.
In his note, Kuperman argues that the laws of partition are inadequate to efficiently solve modern co-ownership disputes as there are only two generally recognized judicial methods of partition: partition in kind and partition by sale. These two methods assume that property can either be physically divided or sold at a judicial auction in order to divide the proceeds. “But what if a property can be neither sold nor physically divided, such as the case of two siblings fighting over ownership of their grandfather’s rocking chair?” he asks.
Kuperman, who conceived of this idea while studying property law, reasoned that a third option should be available, one that takes into account the perceived value of the property deemed by the involved parties. “I use game theory in order to propose a new method of partition that I argue is more fair and efficient,” Kuperman explained. “Instead of being beholden to the old rules of partition, courts should use economic theories to allocate resources.”
Kuperman will receive the 2012 Distinguished Legal Writing Award during the 12th Annual Burton Awards Program and Gala in June at the Library of Congress.
Kuperman, who will work on class action litigations at Herzfeld & Rubin, P.C. after graduation, is the third BLS student to receive a Burton Award, joining Rachel Braunstein ’03 and Michael Weitman ’07.