This past weekend, the Florida Justice Association Research and Education Foundation with the support of FJA’s Young Lawyers Section held the annual Honorable E. Earle Zehmer Memorial Mock Trial Competition at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building in Miami, Florida. Despite uncertainty surrounding Hurricane Nicole, the event forged forward and resulted in a flawless competition with a reception to follow.
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 closings arguments.
This was a hard year for our jurors and judges – every team put up an impressive fight. However, the final round pitted two teams from St. Thomas University School of Law against each other. The defense team won taking four out of the five ballots.
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.