Experience is the best teacher. Front-line experience can be one of the best predictors of future success in the legal profession. Each year, the FJA Research and Education Foundation sponsors The Honorable E. Earle Zehmer Memorial Mock Trial Competition, bringing together students from Florida’s leading law schools. Hosted by the FJA Young Lawyers’ Section, this competition features carefully-selected teams of the brightest law students from across the state for an innovative, hands-on opportunity to demonstrate their trial skills.
Students compete for scholarships and winner’s accolades. The Foundation provides financial support for each team, committing up to $20,000 per year for this initiative. The Foundation plans to include more Florida law schools in the competition and provide a modest travel stipend to each law school’s team.
The 2022 E. Earle Zehmer Memorial Mock Trial event occurred at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building in Miami, Florida over Veteran’s Day weekend.
In the end, St. Thomas Law’s all-female defense team took four out of the five ballots, winning the top spot and school bragging rights.
Ten teams competed and were judged by nearly 50 trial lawyers serving as scoring jurors with real judges presiding over each of the rounds. Participating schools included Florida State University, University of Miami, Barry University, Stetson University, and St. Thomas University. Each team had six weeks to prepare their cases; from witness preparation to exhibits, opening statements, and closing arguments.
1st Place Winners (Defense): Team of Gaby Matos Gutierrez, Sophia Carrasco, Victoria Pineda, and Vanessa Guiracoche;
2nd Place Winners: Team of Conor Sloan, Quinn Coolidge, Andrew Tuma-Waku, and Michael Rizo.
Advocates Gaby Matos Gutierrez, Conor Sloan, Jonathan Vega, and Victoria Pineda all won Best Advocate in their Preliminary Rounds, with Gaby Matos Gutierrez winning the Overall Best Advocate Award for Preliminary Rounds.
We want to thank all our participants, volunteers and judges for joining us for this incredible weekend and thank you to the many sponsors that made this event and the scholarships possible. Congratulations to all of the teams who competed.