Lawyers 'Strut Their Stuff' in Miami Law's First Closing Argument Competition


The University of Miami School of Law is preparing to host the First Annual Legal Eagle Closing Competition on June 30.

The competition, spearheaded by retired Judge David M. Gersten and Miami Law alumna Jane Muir, JD '09, is open to all attorneys under 40 years of age who are practicing in the 11th Judicial Circuit and have been members of the Florida Bar for less than seven years. Proceeds from the event will benefit Legal Services of Greater Miami, which is sponsoring 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. So, if you think you have the goods – the raw talent, the gift of persuasion – see you on June 30th at the University of Miami Law School for 'show and tell.' When the smoke clears, this competition will prove which law firm has the best of the best."

The one-day competition, which begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., will be judged by panels of sitting judges and private practitioners. Lawyers who compete will receive facts and materials about the cases 48 hours before the competition begins, but won't learn whose side they are on until the morning of the competition.

After the final round, a trophy – contributed by Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod, where Gersten is a partner in the litigation group – will be 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. This competition will give young lawyers the chance to sharpen and showcase their trial advocacy skills."

Organizers of the event hope it lends critical financial support for LSGMI, which every year provides services to more than 30,0000 vulnerable clients, including women, children, seniors, veterans returning from combat, domestic violence victims, people with disabilities, and individuals undergoing foreclosures or evictions.

"The need for free legal services in our community has never been greater, and continues to grow as the economic recovery stalls," the GenNext group said in a statement.

"It is very inspiring to work with creative young professionals who are willing to volunteer their time and energy to support our mission of equal justice," said LSGMI's Executive Director, Marcia K. Cypen. "They are our future leaders."

To register for the First Annual Legal Eagle Closing Competition, please click here.

For details and sponsorship information, please contact Jane Muir at Gersten & Muir. Phone: 786-533-1100; e-mail: