Published on October 11, 2019 by Morgan Black  
Trial Performance Rankings2019

Samford University Cumberland School of Law’s national trial team has once again been ranked in the top 10 in the national Trial Performance Rankings. 

Compiled by Fordham University School of Law, the Trial Performance Rankings have named Cumberland’s national trial team number 10 in the country for 2018-19, and number six in the country since 2016. The rankings are an objective snapshot of achievement in interscholastic law school trial competitions for the academic year. 

“Cumberland’s national trial team’s tradition of excellence and professionalism continued this year,” said Ramona Albin, assistant professor and director of Cumberland’s advocacy program. “Cumberland excelled in national and regional tournaments. Because of these outstanding results, the newly released Trial Competition Performance Rankings placed Cumberland’s trial team as number ten in the nation for 2018-19 and number six since 2016. We are very proud of our students and coaches for this outstanding result. The future is bright for Cumberland’s advocacy program.”

Cumberland’s success continued at Baylor University School of Law’s Top Gun National Trial Competition. This invitation-only mock trial tournament invites the single best advocates from the top 16 trial advocacy schools across the nation (based on results from the other major national competitions) to go head-to-head for the honor of being designated as “Top Gun.” The case is not provided to the students or coaches until one day before the first trial begins. 

Created in 2010, this competition is innovative and unique. Preparation includes reviewing depositions, records, and photographs, and making a site visit to view the scene where the events occurred. Shortly before each round, competitors are assigned the witnesses who may be used at their discretion during the round. The jurors for each round are distinguished trial lawyers and judges. Recent graduate Craig Shirley of Dothan, Alabama, represented Cumberland in the competition where he finished second overall. Fellow recent graduate Stephanie Gushlaw of Potsdam, New York, served as Shirley’s second chair.

Cumberland’s National Trial Team head coach Judge Jim Roberts added, “We were blessed to coach a terrific group of students this past year. Their talent and work ethic drive the continued success of our program. I’m also very proud of the excellent coaches who dedicate their time and expertise to train our students to not only advocate at the highest levels, but to do so with collegiality and professionalism.”

“Our advocacy teams’ continued success and national rankings are a tribute to Cumberland’s long tradition of excellence in advocacy education,” dean Henry C. Strickland added. “The dedication of our students and coaches to perform at the highest level while maintaining impeccable ethical standards and professionalism is inspiring.”

To learn more about Cumberland’s nationally ranked advocacy training program, see here.