Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2011-11-04



A trial team from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law took top honors at the prestigious Tournament of Champions competition held Oct. 27-30 at St. Johns University School of Law in New York City.

Cumberland students Maurine Evans, Setara Foster, Cory Ricci and George Shifflett defeated a team from Northwestern University law school in the final round to win what is considered the nation’s premier law school trial competition.  The tournament is sponsored by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and LexisNexis.

The Tournament of Champions invites only 16 teams from the nation’s top trial advocacy law schools. Invitations are based on the school’s previous performances at the National Trial Competition, the American Association for Justice’s national student trial advocacy competition, and prior appearances at the Tournament of Champions.

The Cumberland team defeated St. John’s law school in the semi-final round after winning all four preliminary rounds against Stetson, St. Johns, Duquesne and Wisconsin, during which they lost only one judge’s ballot out of 12.

During the tournament, each Cumberland team member had a role as an advocate depending on the side of the case being represented.  The criminal case used in the competition involved a number of complex evidentiary issues that resulted in a variety of rulings, and essentially a different trial each round.

The Cumberland team is coached by Cumberland alumni and Birmingham attorneys Mike Rasmussen and Marc Jaskolka.


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.