Cumberland School of Law Team Wins ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition Regional

Posted: Wed, 02/20/2013 - 11:04

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- A team from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law took top honors at the Las Vegas regional round of the American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC). The regional round was held at the Lloyd D. George U.S. Federal District Courthouse in Las Vegas, Nev., from Feb. 14–17.

The law school’s team consisted of third-year law students Carl Chang (brief writer), Abigail Bains (oral advocate), Paul Simon (oral advocate) and Anne Durward (coach and Class of 1995). They swept all five of their rounds in the 36-team competition. The Cumberland School of Law team defeated teams from Louisiana State University Law Center (two teams), Southern Methodist School of Law, and Southwestern University School of Law. They will advance to the national finals in Chicago, Illinois, on April 4–6.

To begin, this team’s brief was ranked seventh among 36 submitted briefs. The competition’s topic revolved around an unlawful seizure and several other constitutional violations. 

“We faced great teams with strong advocates, and that is why we practiced so hard leading up to the competition. This is an ABA [American Bar Association] competition; every team is stellar. We are thrilled with the outcome, and we are looking forward to the national finals in Chicago in April,” said Simon. Simon the 2012–13 Cumberland School of Law Senior Class president.

In addition, Cumberland School of Law sent a second team to the competition. The team consisted of Curt Tanner, Brittany Tedford and Lauren Nunez. The performed very well, narrowly missing the cutoff to advance.

Tanner noted, “The NAAC in Las Vegas was a great experience for the six of us. Our hard work showed through our advocacy skills.” Tanner went on to say “the experience overall was very valuable” and that he will takeaway several lessons from the competition to be a stronger advocate.

“I could not be more proud of being a part of the teams we sent to the ABA competition this year,” said Bains. “We all poured our hearts and souls into those arguments, and had a great time along the way. We look forward to building on our success at regionals as we represent Cumberland School of Law in the finals.”

At this year’s American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition, 226 teams participated in six regional competitions, with the top four teams from each region advancing to the national finals in Chicago. According to the ABA’s website, “The ABA Law Student Division National Appellate Advocacy Competition emphasizes the development of oral advocacy skills through a realistic appellate advocacy experience. Competitors participate in a hypothetical appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The competition involves writing a brief as either respondent or petitioner and then arguing the case in front of the mock court.”