Student advocates from Samford University's Cumberland School of Law have proven themselves among the best in the nation in several competitive categories during the 2012-13 academic year.

Two Cumberland teams placed in the top eight out of 320 teams in National Trial Competition (NTC), and another team placed third in National Client Counseling Competition. Cumberland student Jennifer Reynolds claimed an individual honor by qualifying to represent Cumberland in the Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition, to be held in June.

Other Cumberland teams won top regional awards and finished with high rankings and honors in various competitions.

"I am extremely proud of our students who excel in national competitions against other law schools," said Cumberland dean John L. Carroll.  "Their success speaks volumes about the quality of a Cumberland legal education and validates the practical approach that Cumberland takes to legal training.  This is truly a place where good people become exceptional lawyers."

The details:

  • In National Trial Competition, third-year teammates Jennifer Reynolds and Chambers Waller, and second-year teammates Alex McFall, Blake Milner and Genevieve Turner competed to the quarter-final round before being defeated.  The two teams had qualified by sweeping regional competition in February, making Cumberland the only school with two teams at the national event in San Antonio, Texas, in April.

Additional supporting team members were Jackson Neal, Ben Odendahl and Nick Rayburn.  Cumberland alumni Jim Roberts, Sara Williams and Ross Massey coached the teams.

  • Cumberland teammates Victoria Ebrahimi and Kayla Schoen advanced to the championship round of the American Bar Association's National Client Counseling Competition to finish third in a field of 138 teams. The event was held at Baylor University School of Law in Waco, Texas, in March.

Ebrahimi and Schoen had advanced to the national level by winning region five competition in February.  The region includes law schools from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Puerto Rico. Cumberland professor LaJuana S. Davis coached the client counseling team.

  • Reynolds, a third-year student from Mobile, Ala.,  defeated trial advocacy teammate Chambers Waller to represent Cumberland in the Top Gun National Mock Trial Competition. The event in Waco, Texas, involves the single best advocates from the nation's top 16 trial advocacy schools. The 2013 competition marks the fourth consecutive year that Cumberland has received an invitation to send a representative. The national winner will receive $10,000 and the title of Top Gun.


Other Winners


  • Earlier in the semester, Cumberland teammates Carl Chang, Abigail Bains  and Paul Simon took top honors at a regional round of the American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition, held February 14-17 in Las Vegas, Nev. They swept all five of their rounds in the 36-team competition to claim the regional title and advance to the national finals in Chicago, Ill., in April.  Cumberland alumna Anne Durward coached the team.


  • Teammates Meg Greer, Courtney Bailey and Will Coffman represented Cumberland in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in White Plains, N.Y., in February. Greer was named best oralist in two preliminary rounds and received an overall honorable mention as best oralist at the event, which drew more than 200 competitors. Birmingham attorney Aaron McLeon coached the team.



  • Cumberland trial team members Jackson Neal, Rebecca Hall and Cory Ricci and Keith Knowlton advanced to the quarterfinals at the South Texas Mock Trial Challenge in Houston, Texas, in March.  Knowlton was named an outstanding advocate at the competition, which had 44 participating teams. Cumberland alumni Bains Fleming, Setara Foster and Todd Buchanan coached the team.


  • A team representing Cumberland's Black Law Students Association (BLSA) advanced to the quarter-finals to finish fourth at the Southern Region BLSA Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial competition in Nashville, Tenn., in February. Cumberland teammates Jerrika Jones, Steven Miller, Danny Patterson, Jr., and Chris Weaver were among 30 teams vying for honors.


  • A team from Cumberland's sports law class advanced to the quarter-final round of the National Baseball Arbitration Competition in New Orleans, La., in January. Teammates Jacob Jackson, Rory McKean and Cline Thompson were coached by sports law professor Donald Jackson.


  • Moot court team members Nico Arciniegas, Sandra Koslin and Lauren Nunez placed in the quarterfinals at the Leroy R. Hassell, Sr., National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition in Virginia Beach, Va., in October.


  • Melissa Isabel, Benjamin Odendahl, Nick Rayburn and Carl Williams won the Professional Ethics Award at the Michigan State National Trial Advocacy Competition in East Lansing, Mich., in October.


  • Keith Knowlton, Jackson Neal, Jennifer Reynolds and Dain Stewart placed in the semi-final round at the 2012 Lone Star Classic in San Antonio, Texas, in October. Knowlton won the award for best cross examination.


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.