Published on February 21, 2022
Samford University Cumberland School of Law’s national trial competition teams swept Region 8 of the National Trial Competition sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Texas Young Lawyers Association. The National Trial Competition is the oldest and one of the most prestigious law school trial competitions in the country. Both Cumberland teams won their final rounds and will advance to the national tournament in Fort Worth, Texas, March 30-April 3. Again, this year, the Regional Championships were conducted virtually, forcing the student-advocates to master not only advocacy skills, but also the challenges of virtual advocacy.
This marks the third straight year that Cumberland has swept Region 8 of the National Trial Competition. It is also the 12th time in the past 15 years that a Cumberland team has won the Regional Championship of NTC and the 6th time Cumberland has swept the regionals since 2011. In total, 18 Cumberland teams have advanced to nationals in the last 15 years.
The team of Mason Osborn, Ghada Abouhaidar and Kate Belyayeva defeated teams from the University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law, the University of Alabama School of Law, the University of Tennessee College of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School and the University of Mississippi School of Law by winning the ballots of 18 of the 19 judges who scored them.
The team of Antionette Pruitt, Samantha Breland and Tyler Yarbrough defeated teams from Vanderbilt University Law School, Northern Kentucky University Chase School of Law, Belmont University College of Law, the University of Tennessee College of Law, and the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law by also winning the ballots of 18 of the 19 judges who scored them.
Additionally, the teams were greatly assisted by team members Jake Blalock, Ashland Kelley, Rachel Sanders and Morgan Vardaman in preparation for this competition and by serving as witnesses, and even bailiffs, throughout the tournament.
The teams were coached by Judge Jim Roberts '94, Sara Williams '06 and Craig Shirley '19.
“Cumberland is blessed to have extremely talented and hardworking students. This group of students were always willing to listen and be coached and were dedicated to working countless hours at nights and on weekends while juggling their schoolwork, jobs and family responsibilities so that they could learn the art and skill of trial advocacy and better serve their clients and their community in the future. For that, I am extremely thankful and proud of each one of them,” said Judge Roberts.
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.