A team from Samford University's Cumberland School of Law won the National Civil Trial Competition (NCTC) in Los Angeles, Calif., the weekend of Nov. 8-10. The competition hosted by Loyola Law School of Los Angeles featured 16 of the nation's top trial advocacy teams in one of the nation's premier trial advocacy events.
Cumberland's team of law students Alex McFall, Blake Milner, Jackson Neal and Genevieve Turner swept through the three preliminary rounds by taking every judge in wins over Stetson University College of Law, Syracuse University College of Law and Baylor University Law School. In the semifinal round, they defeated the University of Akron School of Law and in the final round, beat McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific.
Judge James H. Roberts of Tuscaloosa, Ala., a 1994 Cumberland graduate, and Sara Williams, a 2006 Cumberland grad, coached the team. Judge Roberts said, "These students not only demonstrated extraordinary trial skills during this competition, but they represented our school in a most professional manner."
The competition focuses on bringing the top trial training law schools from around the country together to argue in a civil lawsuit trial. Each team presented opening statements, direct and cross examination of two witnesses per side and closing arguments. The lawsuit was based on a sexual harassment and hostile work environment case in which an employee voluntarily terminated employment due to emotional stress after making complaints of sexual harassments and gender discrimination to upper management, and changes were not made to protect the employee.
Loyola law professor Susan Proehls noted that the event "gives the students the opportunity to try out both sides, and determine what type of litigator they want to be." She said, "Watching 64 students from the top law schools in the country litigate a trial representing the plaintiff, and then the defense, is so much fun."
Cumberland was ranked fourth in the nation for its trial advocacy programs by U.S. News & World Report.