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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Miami, FL – March 7, 2023)

The FIU College of Law Trial Team has gone back-to-back, repeating as Regional Champion of the American Association for Justice National Student Trial Advocacy Competition (AAJ STAC).

The champion team, 3Ls all, include swing advocate Alexander A. Pollock, advocate-witnesses Adrienne Kanter and Benjamin Zavelsky, and double-witness Jonathan Valdes Rosado.

All four now go on to New Orleans to vie for the AAJ national title.

FIU convincingly defeated top-ranked Stetson by a 4-1 juror vote in the final round to retain the title.

The FIU win also earned critical points to help maintain the Trial Team’s Top 20 national ranking.

The 2023 victory is the Team’s second AAJ regional championship in as many years.  FIU won the AAJ STAC regional in 2022.

FIU Law Trial Team 2023 AAJ Regional STAC Champions (pictured left to right): Professor H Scott Fingerhut, coach Chandler Lefevere, team members Adrienne Kanter, Jonathan Valdes Rosado, Alexander A. Pollock, and Benjamin Zavelsky, and coach Justin J. Duran.

The 2023 regionals were held virtually and comprised of ten national regions, with 160 teams competing in total.

In FIU’s southeast region, the Trial Team defeated the University of Georgia and Emory in preliminary rounds, and UF in the semifinals, before taking down national powerhouse Stetson in the finals.

Other teams in FIU’s region included FSU, Barry, St. Thomas, John Marshall, Wake Forest, Charleston, and the University of South Carolina.

Competing alongside FIU at AAJ nationals will include: NYU, Fordham, Howard, William and Mary, Drexel, Michigan, Chicago-Kent, Cumberland, Connecticut, Akron, Colorado, Mercer, Washington University, South Texas, UCLA, and Georgia, also representing FIU’s southeast region.

This year’s competition trial is a negligence action alleging the wrongful death of a uniform supply company employee who perished after suffering injuries inside of an antiquated stonewash jeans production machine.

The AAJ team began preparing in January, worked weekdays, weekends, and through spring break, scrimmaging remotely in friendlies against Temple, Thurgood Marshall, St. Mary’s, and Fordham to help prepare along the way.

“To repeat as national regional champions is a phenomenal achievement by our students, and a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff,” said Professor H. Scott Fingerhut, Assistant Director of the Trial Advocacy Program and the team’s lead coach.  “Climbing to the top of the mountain the first time is one thing.  But staying there, as everyone else takes a swipe to knock you down, that is infinitely tougher.  But as the late great Dean John F. Stack, Jr., loved to remind us,” Professor Fingerhut continued, “‘the great thing about FIU is that for its students it’s performance over privilege.’  For the heights to which they aspire, and how much they care to make positive, substantial change in the world around them, I could not be prouder of these courtroom-warriors, women and men of principle and passion, who proudly represent our special FIU Law Trial Advocacy Program brand to cultivate the next generation of great trial lawyers.”

AAJ STAC is one of the country’s two premier open mock trial tournaments.

Our champion team was coached by Professor Fingerhut, along with Trial Team alumni Justin J. Duran (’18) and Chandler A. Lefevere (’21), Trial Advocacy Adjunct Professor, and former Trial Team captain, Ari S. Goldberg (’12), and, of course, Professor H.T. Smith, Founding Director of the FIU Law Trial Advocacy Program.

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