Published on November 16, 2023 by Morgan Black  
Samford University Cumberland School of Law’s National Arbitration Team competed in the American Bar Association’s (ABA) regional arbitration competition, Nov. 10-12. Two Cumberland School of Law teams competed in the event hosted by Mississippi College of Law where one team finished third overall.
Cumberland’s “Team Blue” included third-year students Jacob Bruner and Brittney Sanders and second-year students Keeton Cross and Jasmine Paynter. “Team Red” included third-year students BriAnna Tomlin and Ford Waters and second-year students Elley Smith and Hannah Walters.
Of 10 total teams in the preliminary round, Team Red went into the semifinals as the #2 seed and fell short of the finals by only one ballot. The team placed third overall in the competition, finishing only behind Texas Tech University School of Law who took both first and second place.
Both Cumberland School of Law teams were coached by alumni J.C. Lentine, JD ’20, and Anthony Bowling, JD ’17.
Lentine said, “This year’s Arbitration Team overcame hurdles and adapted to late changes in the roster when preparing for this competition. Students that stepped up to the challenge to learn a new skillset in such little time quickly became great assets to this year’s team. The team proved that challenges can be overcome with hard work, perseverance and diligence. They fought through adversity in the regional competition with poise, professionalism and passion. These students represented and embodied what it means to be a ‘Cumberland lawyer’. I cannot put into words how proud I am of each member of this team and how grateful I am for how much effort they put into their work.”
This effort is a testament to Cumberland School of Law’s commitment to providing excellent advocacy training.
Sara Williams, JD ’06, visiting director of advocacy, said, "I am extremely proud of our arbitration team's performance in this past weekend's ABA regional competition. The team overcame numerous hurdles going into the competition. Their performance over the weekend is not only a testament to their phenomenal coaches, but also to their skill, determination and resilience. We look forward to these students continuing to lead the way as our program expands into other competitive fields to showcase the broad range of what Cumberland's student advocates.”
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.