The Florida State University College of Law Trial Team has won first place in the Fourth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. National Civil Rights Competition. The competition took place virtually October 15-17 and was hosted by University of California Davis School of Law. The competition problem involved litigation of Eighth Amendment claims of cruel and unusual punishment arising from the arrest and detention of homeless citizens interned indefinitely pursuant to a governor’s executive order enhancing the punishment for vagrancy.
Twenty-two law school teams from around the country participated in the competition, including Harvard University, which FSU Law defeated in the final round of competition. Other schools competing were Emory University, Fordham University, New York University, University of Texas, and William & Mary.
Winning team members are third-year law students Rachel Akram, from Melbourne, Fla.; Zuriel Denmark, from Lakeland, Fla.; Kalie Maniglia, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Shaina Ruth, from Jacksonville, Fla. In addition to winning the competition, Akram was named best overall advocate and Ruth won best cross-examination honors.
FSU Law alumni Samuel Gilot (’16), an associate at Berger Singerman in Tallahassee, and Louis Jean-Baptiste (’16), a partner at Webster and Baptiste Attorneys at Law in Tallahassee, coached the team to victory. As law student Trial Team members, Gilot and Jean-Baptiste were on the team that won first place in the 2015 National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition.
“Congratulations to our Trial Team students on bringing home another national title to FSU Law,” said Dean Erin O’Connor. “We are extremely impressed by their hard work and advocacy skills, and grateful to their coaches for their inspirational mentoring.”