UF Law Team Wins National Civil Trial Competition

LOS ANGELES, CA – A four-member team from the University of Florida College of Law won the National Civil Trial Team Competition held here last weekend (Nov. 14-16), beating competitors from 13 other American Bar Association accredited law schools from throughout the United States.

Second- and third-year UF law students Desiree Demonbreun, Kenneth Grace, Stacey Gross and J. Phillip Warren took top honors, besting Syracuse University representatives in the finals. Teams from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and Campbell University in North Carolina were the other two semi-finalists.

“We’re extremely pleased these men and women represented UF in such an outstanding manner,” said law school Dean Jon Mills. “These type national events help us measure the quality of our efforts, and clearly the trial program is very effective.”

The UF team prior to beating Syracuse topped teams from Cumberland School of Law, Temple University and Campbell. Other teams competing included those from the universities of Alabama, Georgetown, Houston, Pepperdine and Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Each team argued a hypothetical wrongful termination case based on Federal Rules of Evidence, and judges were drawn from the local legal community and U.S. Superior and District Courts. The UF team was coached by Gainesville area attorneys Karin Moore, sole practitioner, and Jennifer Zedalis, who this week joined the law school faculty as a legal skills professor and director of the trial
practice training program.

Zedalis noted the championship was “truly a team effort, since in addition to the four advocates who competed in the courtroom trials, four other law students assisted with the research necessary to prepare for the case – Tameika Pottinger, Catherine Chien, Paul McDermott and Della Jensen.”

Earlier in the fall, other units of the UF Trial Team competed in the Tournament of Champions in Austin, Texas; the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers competition in Chicago, Ill.; and the National Trial Advocacy Competition at Michigan State University.

Mills noted funding for the Trial Team and its competitions – held each school term on state, regional and national levels – is provided by alumni, friends and law firms. Major sponsors of the UF unit include Coker Myers Schickel Sorenson Higginbotham & Green of Jacksonville; S. William Fuller Jr., Tallahassee; the Ronnie H. Walker Trial Team Scholarship; and Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell of Orlando.

NOTE: Electronic transmission of national champion team/coaches photograph available. Please call 352.392.9586.

Published: November 21st, 2002

Category: News