Published on October 25, 2017 by Maryellen Newton  
Robinson Hall

Three different groups from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law National Mock Trial Team participated in competitions Oct. 21-22. Two groups won their competition, with the other earning individual honors. 

Stephanie Gushlaw ’19, Jennifer Jayjohn ’19, Craig Shirley ’19, Andrew York ’19 and Denzell Moton ’19 won first place in the National Civil Trial Competition Championship in Los Angeles. En route to the finals, the team defeated four teams that also are ranked by U.S. News and World Report in the top 10 law schools for trial advocacy. Team member Andrew York won Best Advocate in the final round.  The team was coached by Jim Roberts ’94 and Sara Williams ’06. 

“These students not only continued the Cumberland tradition of excellence, but our tradition of professionalism,” said Roberts. “For that, I am very grateful and proud.” 

In Pontiac, Michigan at the National Trial Advocacy Competition, the team of Keith Stephens ’18, Candace Towns ’18, Kameron Buckner ’19 and J.B. Brown ’19 went undefeated taking first place honors with a 5-0 record. Setara Foster ’12 and Matt Woodham ’15 coached the team. 

"I could not be more proud of these students,” Woodham said. “It is incredible what they have accomplished, especially with three of our advocates never having been to a competition before.” 

The third group of students, a team of second-year and third-year students, competed at the Lone Star Classic National Trial Team Tournament in San Antonio. The team, consisting of Callie Brister ’19, Ashley Feltman ’18, Morgan Hoggle ’19 and Kingsley Okpara ’18 faced SUNY Buffalo Law School, University of South Carolina School of Law and University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, the eventual tournament winner. Of the 16 teams and 64 advocates competing in the event, Okpara won the award for best opening statement. This team was coached by Spenser Templeton ’15 and Stewart Alvis ’17. 

Cumberland School of Law is ranked sixth in the nation for best trial advocacy programs in the 2017 rankings by U.S. News & World Report. 

Maryellen Newton is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Division of Marketing and Communication.

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.