Published on November 6, 2023 by Sofia Paglioni  
Cumberland School of Law National Trial Team 2023

Cumberland School of Law National Trial Team members Alexandra Sexton, Treasure Sutton, Grayson Walden, John West, Nicole Fried and Keneshia Mahan reached the National Championship round and finished second in this year’s National Civil Trial Competition hosted by Loyola Los Angeles Law School, Nov. 3-6.  In addition to the team’s success, Sexton was recognized with the Best Advocate Award in the final round.

Sixteen of the country’s top trial advocacy schools competed in the competition. Cumberland School of Law’s team won all their preliminary rounds, defeating teams from Georgetown University, South Texas College of Law, University of Buffalo and Stetson University. They advanced to the semifinal round as the number one seed where they defeated Campbell School of Law. 

The team was coached by Sara Williams, JD ’06, Cumberland School of Law’s visiting director of advocacy, Michael Eldridge, JD ’12, Walt Cobb, JD ’19, and Trent Testa, JD ’21.   

Law National Trial Team 2023 with trophy

Williams commented, “There were so many amazing moments these students had over the course of this competition, but what stood out to me the most was their self-awareness and ability to adjust. These students were gracious in both victory and defeat. The Cumberland School of Law community should be proud to have them as ambassadors of our advocacy program and the entire institution.”

In the final round against the University of Akron, the team lost in a split decision with a one-point difference on the deciding ballot.

Judge Jim Roberts, JD ’94, director of Cumberland School of Law’s National Trial Teams, also commented on the recent competition. He said, “The National Civil Trial Competition (NCTC) is one of the most difficult and challenging competitions in the country. Finishing as national runner up at NCTC is a fantastic result. I am incredibly proud of our students for their hard work, dedication and professionalism. Our coaches, Sara Williams, Michael Eldridge, Trent Testa and Walt Cobb, did an amazing job of teaching, preparing and inspiring these students. Congratulations to Alexandra Sexton for winning Best Advocate of the final round.”

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.