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.
For information on registration, sponsorship opportunities or to volunteer as a judge for this event, please click the links below and fill out the form. All sponsorship contributions made to the FJA Research and Education Foundation are tax-deductible, as provided by law. Your name or your firm’s name will be recognized at the event, in the Mock Trial program, on the FJA Foundation website and in the FJA Journal.
The 2021 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.