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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MIAMI, FL — Wednesday, January 25, 2023)

Please congratulate your FIU Law Trial Team on its second-place and quarter-final finishes at the 2023 Chester Bedell Memorial Mock Trial Competition.

Going undefeated through the preliminary, quarter-final, and semi-final rounds was our team led by 3L swing-advocate Alexander A. Pollock.  Flanking Alex as an advocate on plaintiff’s side was 3L Jonathan Gonzalez, and on the defense, 3L Benjamin Zavelsky.  Starring in witness roles for our runner-up squad were 3L Rebekah B. Wise and 2L Alisha Hurdle.

FIU’s other team featured 2022 Bedell defending champion and FIU Trial Team president and captain, 3L swing-advocate Victoria Thacker, alongside Trial Team Vice President, and fellow swing-advocate, 3L Evan Thomas, along with phenomenal witnesses 3L Adrienne Kanter and 3L Jonathan Valdes Rosado.  This crew advanced strongly to the quarter-final round, before falling to ultimate tournament champion St. Thomas.

FIU won Bedell twice before — last year and in 2016.

(Pictured, from left to right, our Bedell FIU Trial Team: Benjamin Zavelsky, Evan Thomas, Victoria Thacker, Alexander A. Pollock, Jonathan Gonzalez, Alisha Hurdle, Adrienne Kanter, Rebekah B. Wise, and Jonathan Valdes Rosado)

Sponsored by the Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar, and held this past weekend in Orlando, the Bedell competition is the premier mock trial tournament in the state.

This year’s competition jury trial was in negligence for the wrongful death of Kay Denning, a University of Middle Sunshine student, against fraternity Zeta Lambda Nu, at whose party she was fatally injured after diving from an unstable lifeguard chair into a shallow, makeshift pool.

Other schools vying for the Bedell title included Barry, Nova, Cooley, UM, UF, and Stetson.

Our Bedell team began preparing last November, and picked up the pace beginning December 16th, once exam period concluded, putting in their countless hours, practicing every day through winter break — except Christmas and New Year’s — weekdays and weekends, often past midnight, on into the spring term.

“Theirs was a mammoth effort, filled with the type of personal sacrifice and genuine camaraderie that this between-semester, prestigious, competition requires,” said Professor H. Scott Fingerhut, lead team coach and Assistant Director of the Trial Advocacy Program.  “These second-place and quarter-final finishes are a testament to our students’ extraordinary courtroom talent, work ethic, and teamwork that are the hallmark of our program and Passionate Principled Advocates of tomorrow.”

The Bedell team was also coached by FIU Law alumnus, Trial Team captain, and Bedell 2016 champion and best advocate award winner Elroy John (’16), fellow Trial Team alumna Chandler Lefevere (’21), team alumnus, captain, and Trial Advocacy adjunct professor Ari S. Goldberg (’12), and Professor H.T. Smith, founding director of the Trial Advocacy Program.

Last fall, FIU also placed second at the Georgetown National White Collar Crime Invitational, and for the first time achieved national recognition, ranking Top 14 and Top 19 in the country’s respective national rankings.

To learn more about the Trial Team, and all that the FIU Law Trial Advocacy Program has to offer, visit