A team of predominantly second-year students from Cumberland School of Law competed and succeeded by taking third place in the National Trial Advocacy Competition (November 4-6) in Lansing, Michigan. The national competition, hosted by Michigan State School of Law and the Michigan Young Lawyers Association, consisted of 12 law schools from prestigious programs around the country. Cumberland's team included Kingsley Okpara (2L), Amanda Wineman (2L), Keith Stephens (2L), Austin Evans (3L), and Charlie Hearn (2L). Despite Cumberland's youth, the team advanced to teh semi-finals prior to being eliminated by eventual champion Houston School of Law.
"I am so proud of how this team performed against teams made up of third-year law students," said coach Setara Foster '12. "You would have thought our advocates were already practicing law."
"We were fantastic," agreed coach Ross Massey '11. "Not only did we win in the courtroom but we won reception afterward as well. Our students made fast friends with all of their competitors which was great to see."
Cumberland also participated in the ABA Region 6 Negotiation Competition (Nov 10-11) and were pitted against some fierce competitors. The schools in Cumberland's region included Ohio State, Michigan State, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern, Marquette, Cincinatti, IIT Chicago, Northern Illinois, University of Illinois and Western Michigan. Several of these schools have very well-known alternative dispute resolution programs.
Cumberland competed directly against teams from IIT Chicago, Michigan State, and Northern Illinois on Saturday. For the second year in a row, two teams advanced to the Regional Final. Kevin Bufford and Jacey Mann had the best score of the day and Aaron Pannell and Alex Parish tied for third.
On Sunday Cumberland went against teams from Northern Illinois and Marquette in the finals. Bufford and Mann won the competition and Pannell and Parish came in third. The teams are coached by Brian Turner '95 and will compete in the National Finals in Chicago next semester.