Published on November 24, 2020 by Morgan Black
The fall 2020 semester has looked different from years past due to hurdles created by COVID-19, but Cumberland School of Law’s national advocacy teams have adapted and thrived in a challenging environment. Through the use of virtual platforms, Cumberland’s teams have proven successful during the fall competitions, upholding the school’s commitment to excellence in training practice-ready, ethical advocates.
Team members received Best Advocate awards in multiple competitions. Mason Osborn won the award at the Summit Cup hosted by the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Center for Advocacy. During the Syracuse National Trial Competition, Rachel Williams won the award during the preliminary rounds and the team placed 5th overall. Nicholas Patti won the award during the preliminary rounds of the Battle of the Experts hosted by Drexel University School of Law.
“Being a member of Cumberland’s National Trial Team has been the most rewarding experience imaginable,” said Osborn. “Although the competitions were online this semester, our coaches and professors made sure that we were always prepared and at the top of our game. Not only did I become a better advocate, but I had a great time doing it!”
“The continued success at National Trial Team competitions this fall is a testament to Cumberland’s commitment to our advocacy programs,” Patti added. “Each virtual competition brought a new set of challenges, but none were too difficult for our Cumberland advocates and coaches. Having the opportunity to represent Cumberland School of Law in trial competitions has been the most rewarding part of my law school experience. I am thankful for my teammates and my coaches for pushing me to become the best advocate I can be every single day.”
The success continued during the American Bar Association’s (ABA) regional Negotiation Competition. The team of Dylan Martin and Allison Lowery won the entire competition, Lauren Huston and Ryan Jones were finalists and Payton Cato and Whit Whitfield placed 5th. All three teams were 6-0 on ballots after the preliminary rounds.
Nicole LeMier and Pierce Ostwalt, National Moot Court Team members, reached the finals of the New York Bar Moot Court Competition. Additionally, National Arbitration Team members Jordan Doggett, Rachel Jernigan, Alyssa Kuhnel and John Tully reached the finals of the ABA National Arbitration regional tournament.
“Being a part of the National Moot Court team has been such a blessing to me during law school,” LeMier said. “I am so grateful for all that my coaches and teammates have poured into me. Although this year was different considering the competitions were virtual, I think it was super important. These are skills that we will need once we get out into a practice that is full of unknowns.”
National Trial Team members Kate Belyayeva, Antoinette Pruitt, Dillon Rheuby, Valentina Sayago Caicedo and Trent Testa placed 5th at the National Civil Trial Competition where they also won the professionalism award.
During the semester, teams also competed in the All Star Bracket Challenge. All teams were coached by Cumberland School of Law alumni.
"Our teams have adapted exceptionally well to the new normal of competing online," said Ramona Albin, associate professor and director of Cumberland's advocacy program. "Hard work, preparation and professionalism, hallmarks of Cumberland advocacy training, have allowed our teams to excel during these unprecedented times."
Cumberland is ranked 3rd in the nation in the Trial Competition Performance Rankings and 7th for Best Trial Advocacy Programs by U.S. News & World Report.
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