The following is a chapter excerpt from Chasing Justice: Florida Justice Association 1950-2000 by Larry…
Most attorneys agree that hands-on experience can be one of the best predictors of future success in the legal profession- that’s why each year the FJA Research and Education Foundation and FJA Young Lawyers Section annually host the Honorable E. Earle Zehmer Memorial Mock Trial Competition. Creating opportunities to take their knowledge gained from the classroom to the courtroom, Mock Trial brings together teams of the brightest law students from across the state for an innovative, hands-on opportunity to demonstrate their trial skills.
This year’s event occurred at the Duval County Courthouse where eight teams comprised of rising law students from Barry University, Florida State University, St. Thomas University, and Stetson University took to the courtroom to show off and put their trial skills to the test in practice. The teams had six weeks to prepare their case, with special emphasis on witness preparation, exhibits, opening statements and closings arguments.
When the final round was set, it was a battle for school bragging rights at Barry University, with both of their teams advancing to the final round. Ultimately, the winning team came from Barry University’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, as did the two-time winner of the Best Advocate award, Hannah Shanley.
“The Honorable E. Earle Zehmer Memorial Mock Trial Competition is phenomenally run—not only is it well organized, but the most amazing part for young law students was having [actual] presiding judges in Duval County oversee their trials and rule on evidence. This event allows students to experience practical application of a real-life trial in a fictional setting. Students can learn basic trial skills in a setting where if you make a mistake no one’s liberty, life, or property will be taken away,” said The Honorable Judge Michael Kraynick, coach of Barry University School of Law’s team.
The Honorable E. Earle Zehmer Memorial Mock Trial Competition is made possible thanks to the generous support of event sponsors. To learn more about Mock Trial and other FJA Research and Education Foundation events, visit myfja.org/foundation.