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Congratulations to our FIU Trial Team on their quarterfinal finish this past week at the Chester Bedell Memorial Mock Trial Competition.

Sponsored by The Florida Bar Trial Lawyers Section and held in Tampa this year, the Bedell tournament is considered Florida’s state championship and features the many law schools in Florida’s traditionally tough mock trial region.

FIU won Bedell in 2016 and was a semi- and quarter-finalist last year.

The FIU team comprised of HAYDEN CRUISE, TREMAINE HEMANS, JULIO MONTESINO, and JULIE TALBOT advanced through this year’s preliminary rounds before being bested in the quarterfinals — by a lone judge’s vote – to the ultimate second-place finisher.

FIU’s Bedell team practiced diligently — days, nights, and weekends — beginning right after exams in December, all through winter break, and on into the spring semester until just these past few days.

“As demonstrated by this quarterfinal finish, the (literally) hundreds of hours these selfless students put in certainly paid off,” said Professor H. Scott Fingerhut, Bedell lead coach and Assistant Director of the Trial Advocacy Program.  “The degree of dedication to craft, devotion to the well-being of one another, and consistent commitment to excellence these students displayed were both stunning and emblematic of the FIU Trial Team and what Professor H.T. Smith, our Program Director, and I are cultivating as the FIU Way.”

FIU was also represented proudly at the Bedell competition by our squad comprised of ERIN BERRY, DAVID MORAN, KRYSTINE OLMEDO, and ELIZABETH UTSET.  They too performed proudly and represented our Trial Advocacy Program faithfully and well.

Along with Professor Fingerhut, the Bedell team was coached by FIU Trial Team alumni TerryAnn Howell (COL ’14), a former Miami-Dade County Assistant Public Defender currently with Legal Services of Greater Miami, and Ari S. Goldberg (COL ’12), a former Palm Beach County Assistant State Attorney currently practicing criminal defense with Meltzer & Bell, P.A., in West Palm Beach, and also teaching as an adjunct professor here at FIU in Trial Advocacy.

To learn more about the FIU Trial Team and Trial Advocacy Program, call 305-348-8095 or visit