(from left to right): Fernando Valle, Saren Williams, Guerby Noel, Christine Freer, Ana Vino, Lauren Astigarraga, Lonny, Avery Fenton and Brendan Ryan.
Miami Law's Litigation Skills Program recently awarded scholarships and cash prizes to its top students who distinguished themselves through their hard work and talent.
Lauren Astigarraga accepted two of the awards given to students enrolled in the semester-long Litigation Skills I course – the Marco A. Vazquez Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $8,000 and the Thomas Ewald Memorial Award. The Marco A. Vazquez Memorial Scholarship was established in 1996 in honor of Marco A. Vazquez, a 1993 graduate of Miami Law. It is awarded each semester to an academically qualified second or third year law student who has completed the Litigation Skills Program and has demonstrated financial need. The Thomas Ewald Memorial Award is given to a student who best exemplifies the devotion to high standards and ethical conduct followed by Thomas Ewald. This award comes with a Montblanc pen - homage to the late Ewald, the Miami Law litigation professor who was known to carry the pen in his shirt pocket.
Saren Williams was awarded the Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton Scholarship. As part of her winnings, she received from the law firm a $10,000 scholarship, which is awarded to one minority law student who has completed the Litigation Skills program and has expressed an interest in trial advocacy. Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton have been donating their time and funds to Miami Law's Litigation Skills Program since its establishment in 1995. The law firm has also hired Miami Law graduates who have taken litigation skills courses.
Beyond litigation training for the courtroom, the Litigation Skills Program incorporates feedback from active serving judges and lawyers. Students even have to dabble in theatrics training. During the art of persuasion portion of the curriculum, students are critiqued by faculty at the University of Miami Theatre department on their ability to put on a good show.
The performance, combined with strategic thinking, is what Professor Laurence Rose, director of the Litigation Skills Program, says are ultimately the variables that made certain student cases more favorable than others.
Additional winners included:
- Fernando Valle, and Avery Fenton each received the John F. Evans Memorial Scholarship, a $2,000 award, which was established in 1989 in memory of John F. Evans, a criminal defense attorney, former deputy chief of the U.S. State Department's Miami Strike Force, and founding partner of the law firm of Zuckerman, Spaeder, Taylor and Evans.
- Anna Vino received the Honorable Theodore Klein Endowed Scholarship, a $3,000 award, which was established in 2006 in memory of a former Law Professor and Federal Magistrate who was known for being a leader among his peers.
- Benjamin Keime and Christine Freer received the Litigation Skills Adjunct Faculty Scholarship. Benjamin received an award in the amount of $1,500, and Christine Freer received $3,000. This scholarship is awarded to a second or third year student who has demonstrated excellence in advocacy, professionalism and civility in the Lit Skills I class.
- Guerby Noel received the American Board of Trial Advocates Award (ABOTA). This $1,000 is given each spring to the top third-year minority law student who is interested in becoming a civil trial lawyer.
- Benjamin Keime and Brendan Ryan each received the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL) Award. This $250 cash prize is awarded to the top second or third year law student who shows great promise in the practice of criminal litigation.
Each semester students who distinguish themselves in Litigation Skills I qualify to receive these prestigious awards and scholarships generously donated to the law school.