Published on March 27, 2012 by Mary Wimberley  

A trial team from Samford University's Cumberland School of Law took top national honors in the 2012 American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition.

The four-member Cumberland team defeated a team from the University of Maryland law school to win the title Sunday, March 25, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Teammates Michael Eldridge of Andalusia, Ala., , Maurine Evans of Birmingham, Drew Haskins of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Brittany Stancombe of Clarksville, Tenn., advanced to the finals after defeating a Stetson University law school team in the semi-final round. They won preliminary rounds against law school teams from Emory University, William Mitchell and Chicago Kent.

Cumberland alumni Mike Rasmussen, J.D. '75 and Marc Jaskolka, J.D. '00, both Birmingham attorneys, coached the Cumberland team.

The 14 teams in the national event had won the right to compete by winning regional competitions that began with 233 teams in contention. The Cumberland foursome that took the national title had defeated another Cumberland team in the final round of their regional competition earlier in March.

The case argued in Las Vegas involved a professional hockey player who sued his team for failure to diagnose a concussion.

The win marks the third national AAJ championship Cumberland has won since 2000. In addition, this year Cumberland teams have also taken top national honors at the Tournament of Champions and Michigan State University National Trial Advocacy Competition, and claimed a regional win in the National Trial Competition.

"Cumberland has had a banner year, appropriate for its 50th anniversary," noted dean John L. Carroll, referring to the move the law school made from Lebanon, Tenn., five decades ago to become a part of Samford.


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.