Published on May 6, 2024 by Sofia Paglioni  
law students DR03282024478

Cumberland School of Law consistently excels in regional and national legal skills competitions, maintaining a remarkable performance record. Renowned as one of the nation's most accomplished law schools for trial advocacy, Cumberland School of Law students also regularly excel in other areas of advocacy. The 2023-24 academic year was no exception and culminated in these results:



National Trial Competition Regional Champions, Two team sweep, advanced to nationals

American Association of Justice Regional Champions, Two team sweep and one team advanced to national elite 8

Online National Championship, Three teams in top 13 and one team in the semifinals out of 50 competing schools

Trials and Tribulations Trial Competition, Quarterfinalists and semifinalists

The Verdict Trial Competition, Third place

National Civil Trial Competition, National runner up

Moot Court

American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Regional, won all 3 oral arguments


American Bar Association Negotiation Competition, advanced to nationals

The success of Cumberland School of Law in trial competitions is not merely a recent development but a testament to its commitment to excellence. With a legacy spanning nearly five decades of national-level trial competitions, the recent achievement of sweeping both regionals marks a historic milestone.

Judge Jim Roberts, JD ’94, is in his 26th year coaching and directing Cumberland School of Law’s National Trial Teams, alongside other renowned lawyers who invest in each student. He commented on the trial team’s season results, saying, “The double sweep from this year is a rarity in the national trial advocacy community and is a tribute to our program’s philosophy of creating a space where students are encouraged to find their own, authentic voice and then taught to use that voice to advocate for others. The true joy of coaching and directing this program is watching the growth our students experience through their hard work and dedication to our profession. Of course, this would not be possible without students willing to learn and sacrifice in an effort to find their inner greatness or the countless hours volunteered by our alumni coaches who give back to our program by teaching the next generation.”

Under the dedicated guidance of their coaches, Cumberland's students have not only showcased exceptional skill but also epitomized the institution's ethos of producing practice-ready lawyers. This year’s coaches included:

Matt Woodham, JD ’15, assistant director of advocacy programs, said, “It is hard to overstate how impressive these results are for our program. I am so grateful to our coaches for the many hours they have spent preparing the next generation of practice-ready lawyers, and I am so proud of how our students have demonstrated their incredible potential.”

In addition to the success of the student competition teams this year, Cumberland School of Law’s advocacy program hosted four regional competitions: the American Association of Justice’s Student Trial Advocacy Competition Regional, the National Trial Competition Regional, the American Bar Association (ABA) Mediation Regional Competition and the ABA Negotiation Regional Competition.

Sara Williams, JD ’06, visiting director of advocacy programs, said, “Our coaches and students continue to prove that Cumberland School of Law is one of the greatest programs in the country for practical legal education. I am immensely proud of this group not only for their performance, but for their display of integrity and grace throughout the competitions this year.”

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.