Trial Team Wins National Title
UF’s Trial Team continued its long winning streak in October, taking first place in the St. John’s National Civil Rights Competition in Queens, New York.
The Trial Team beat 15 other teams from around the country to win the competition, which draws teams from around the country to argue civil rights cases in front of sitting judges. The victory represents another in a series of national wins that have brought UF’s trial advocacy program into the spotlight in recent years.
“It’s fair to say that we’ve dominated the St. John’s competition so far,” said Trial Team member Carson Barrow. “This competition has only been around for three years, and this is the second time we’ve won. The year we didn’t win, we came in second.”
Trial Team members Justin Mazzarra and Katie Brinson played the defense role for UF, while Teesha McCrae and Takisha Richardson played plaintiff’s attorneys. Mazzarra and Brinson beat a team from Fordham University School of Law in the semi-finals. McCrae and Richardson faced a team from the College of William and Mary in the finals – and brought home the trophy.
The teams argued a case involving claims of abuse and neglect at a fictional state-run home for troubled youths. Competitors were allowed only 15 minutes to prepare their witnesses before arguing the case.
UF was the top seed throughout the competition, Barrow said. Much of the credit for the victory, she said, should go to the team’s coaches, Stacy Scott of the Alachua County Public Defender’s Office and Joshua Silverman of the Alachua County State Attorney’s Office. The advocates were supported by researchers, including Barrow, Justin McCormack and Brandy Grant.