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The FIU College of Law Trial Team returns triumphant from Orlando this weekend having won the Chester Bedell Memorial Mock Trial Competition.

Comprising the championship team were swing advocates 2L Victoria Thacker and 3L Forrest J. Wilson, and double-witnesses 3L Christopher C. Chillingworth and 2L Alexander A. Pollock.

Wilson also took home the best advocate award.

Watch their championship round here.

FIU’s winning squad was power-ranked first after the preliminary rounds, and power-ranked first again going into the championship round.

FIU Law Trial Team Bedell Champions (pictured left to right) Alexander A. Pollock, Forrest J. Wilson, Victoria Thacker, and Christopher C. Chillingworth

FIU’s second team – 3L Natalia Cruz, 2L Tierra Fulwood, 2L Jonathan Gonzalez, 3L Stephanie Peña, and 2L Evan Thomas — also went undefeated in the preliminary rounds, winning all judges’ scorecards, and were power-ranked second to advance to the quarter-finals before falling to ultimate tournament runner-up, Barry, by one vote.

Trying the wrongful death case Billie Eyewish, on behalf of herself and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Casey Busgraves v. Mega Entertainment, Inc., FIU went undefeated in all five rounds, winning every judge’s ballot through the preliminaries and all but two the rest of the way, including a decisive 4-1 win in the final.

This is FIU’s second Bedell championship. Its first Bedell title was in 2016.

The trophy now comes back to Miami, where it will remain on display outside the small courtroom until the tournament next year.

The Bedell Memorial Trophy, entrusted to the winning school to display for the year.

The Trial Team began practicing together on December 16th, just two days after the conclusion of fall semester exams, worked every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, and were among the only ones on campus for weeks, as 2021 closed and 2022 began.  The team then continued its work into the spring term, using every bit of evening time after class, the MLK holiday weekend, and the days thereafter to finalize its prep.

“Our Trial Team — these students – reflect the very best that is FIU Law,” said Professor H. Scott Fingerhut, Assistant Director of the Trial Advocacy Program and the team’s head coach.  “Our students really do defy gravity, and fly — determined to live lives of purpose and consequence, by day’s end, to do more good than harm.  They cannot be outworked, and they work selflessly together, striving to become the next generation of great trial lawyers.  They are the Passionate Principled Advocates of tomorrow – and the magnificent embodiment of our special FIU Law brand.”

Along with Professor Fingerhut, the Bedell teams were coached by College of Law and Trial Team alumni Justin James Duran (COL ’18), himself a former tournament champion and team captain, Chandler A. Lefevere (COL ’21), and Trial Advocacy Adjunct Professor Ari S. Goldberg (COL ’12), a former team captain as well, and Professor H.T. Smith, the inaugural Director of the Trial Advocacy Program.

Sponsored by the Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar, the Bedell competition is the premier mock trial tournament in Florida.  Sixteen teams competed this year, from FIU, Barry, FSU, UF, St. Thomas, Nova, Cooley, FAMU, and last year’s champion, Stetson.

To learn more about Trial Ad at FIU and all that our program has to offer, call 305-348-8095 or visit