November 2- Stetson Law team wins nation’s premiere trial competition

Contact Frank Klim
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Gulfport, Fla. – A team of Stetson University College of Law students went undefeated and won the 2004 Tournament of Champions in Los Angeles. The competition, sponsored by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, invites 16 teams from the nation’s elite trial advocacy programs to compete against each other. Since the competition’s creation in 1989, Stetson has won five titles, more than any other school.

The Stetson team consisted of third-year students Richard Barbara and Julia Metts with witnesses Cindy Demestre, also a third-year student, and Michael Kest, a second-year student. Stetson’s Trial Advocacy Fellow Pam Bell coached the team. Barbara was named the Best Oral Advocate for the final round.

“Winning was obviously a big thrill, but even more of a thrill was how we did it,” said Bell, trial team adviser. “Coach after coach came up to me and told me how glad they were that Stetson won because we are professional, polished and classy.”

In the final round, Stetson defeated a team from the University of Akron School of Law, last year’s champion. In earlier rounds, Stetson prevailed over Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law, and the University of Maryland School of Law.

“It’s incredible for the school,” Metts said. “Wins like this let people know why we are ranked among the best in the country.”

The National Institute for Trial Advocacy is the nation’s best trial lawyer-training program. Pepperdine and Loyola Law School served as the program’s hosts in Los Angeles. With the victory, the competition will come to Stetson’s campus in two years.