Published on July 5, 2022  
Jim Roberts

In recognition of 24 years of tireless commitment to advocacy education, Judge Jim Roberts ’94, head coach of Cumberland’s national trial teams, was awarded the Cornerstone Award at this year’s Educating Advocacy Teaching Conference. The Cornerstone Award recognizes unwavering commitment to protecting the right to trial by jury, development of training opportunities for trial lawyers, and support of the profession in both word and deed.

Selected by the nationwide community of advocacy educators, the award is presented in special circumstances to someone that “is a foundation for us all; someone that, if we didn’t have him, we would tilt to the side,” said Liz Boals, director of advocacy at Stetson University College of Law. 

In accepting the award, Judge Roberts said, “We have a noble profession. We have to teach our students to approach it that way -- with the professionalism, ethical behavior, and the passion to be great lawyers. We have to teach our students the importance of being a lawyer, and that is where the future lies. We encourage them. We inspire them. And if all goes well, we ignite in them a passion for being a real lawyer, representing real people, with real problems. Ultimately, they get to affect lives long after we are gone. Through that, what we do lives on.”   

At the same conference, Judge Roberts was also the recipient of an award presented by the American Association of Justice. The award was given in recognition of Judge Roberts’ efforts to revive The Student Advocacy Competition, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious national trial competitions. 

Under the leadership of Judge Roberts, Cumberland’s national trial teams swept Region 8 of the National Trial Competition for the third year in a row this spring.

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.