Published on March 26, 2019 by Morgan Black  
trial advocacy group laden with awards

Cumberland School of Law has once again been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top law schools in the country for trial advocacy training. The 2020 rankings place Cumberland’s program number 15 in the nation out of 187 law schools listed. 

The consistently top-ranked program teaches students the art and science of advocacy and train aspiring lawyers to think strategically and tactically, in and out of the courtroom. A student in the program can earn a certificate in trial advocacy that will highlight his or her area of focus. Additionally, third-year law students have the opportunity to try real cases under the supervision of a licensed attorney through the third-year certification program. 

“Cumberland has a tradition of excellence in advocacy. Our 2020 U.S. News & World Reportranking as one of the top 15 trial advocacy programs in the country is a testament to the strength of our curriculum, quality of our faculty, commitment of our trial team coaches, and professionalism of our students. Our program produces lawyers who are ethical, effective advocates who excel in representing their clients and who make substantial contributions to their communities,” said Ramona C. Albin, assistant professor and director of advocacy programs. 

Trial advocacy courses at Cumberland include Basic Skills in Trial Advocacy, Advanced Skills in Trial Advocacy, Pre-trial Practice and Procedure, ADR with a focus in Negotiation or Mediation, Scientific Evidence, Advanced Evidence, Digital Evidence, and a Pre-approved Litigation Externship. The advocacy program ensures that students are ready to practice in a 21st century litigation environment. Beginning in the 2019-20 academic year, the curriculum will expand to include a new Deposition Skills and Technology class and a Jury Selection class. And, in the fall of 2018, iPads were purchased for students to use for exhibits and trial presentations and courtroom technology was upgraded to allow the seamless use of this wireless technology for trial purposes. 

Ashley Reitz Peinhardt ’10, a graduate of Cumberland’s trial advocacy program noted, “Right out of law school, I had more experience in a courtroom than all of my peers and many of the older lawyers. I was offered an associate position at one of the oldest and most well-respected plaintiff firms in the country within a year of graduation. The partners had the confidence in me to allow me to try my first case solo early on in my career. I won the case, with a total verdict for all four plaintiffs of over $15 million dollars. I then argued that case on appeal in front of the Alabama Supreme Court. It was affirmed in its entirety and is the largest damages affirmance in 20 years. I am consistently the youngest person in the room at depositions, hearings and trials. I owe my success to this school.” 

To learn more about Cumberland School of Law’s top-ranked advocacy program, see here.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.