After participating in the first Legal Eagle Closing Argument Competition at Miami Law, alumnus Warren Zinn was the proud recipient of the Bilzin Sumberg Trophy.
Zinn, who graduated from Miami Law in 2009 and is an attorney at Shohat, Loewy and Shohat, was written up in The Florida Bar News for winning the prize. The competition took place earlier this summer at the law school.
Spearheaded by retired Judge David M. Gersten and Miami Law alumna Jane Muir, JD '09, the competition included 32 attorneys under 40 years of age who practice in the 11th Judicial Circuit and have been members of the Florida Bar for less than seven years. Legal Services of Greater Miami sponsored the contest alongside the Dade County Bar, the School of Law and LSGMI's GenNext Initiative, created by a group of legal professionals to raise awareness and support for LSGMI.
"This competition is the great equalizer," said Gersten, a former judge in Florida's Third District Court of Appeal. "Big firms, little firms or solo practitioners have the opportunity to show what they got, strut their stuff and prove who is the best closer in the county."
The one-day competition was judged by panels of sitting judges and private practitioners. The competing lawyers received facts and materials about the cases 48 hours before the competition began, but did not learn whose side they were on until the morning of the competition.
After the final round, the trophy – contributed by Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod, where Gersten is a partner in the litigation group – was presented to the winner at a reception for judges, competitors and supporters.
"It is a challenge for young lawyers to prove the quality of their advocacy because cases often settle before trial," Muir said. "It can take many years for a lawyer to build a reputation for high-quality trial practice."