Last week, the UF LitiGators raised money for the Florida Bail Fund. Florida Bail Fund, organized through the Florida Justice Center, pays bail for those who cannot afford it. Their mission is to “make society a better, more just, and equitable place for all people.” LitiGator Naomi Hardin suggested the team raise money to support peaceful protestors in their fight for justice for George Floyd. “As a prominent pre-law organization I think it is important to do,” she said. LitiGators collected donations through social media, family, friends, and made personal contributions. By the end of the week, we raised and donated $900 to the Florida Bail Fund!

In addition to the fundraiser, many LitiGators attended vigils and participated in protests to support the fight for racial equality. Some took action in Gainesville while others attended events throughout the state of Florida and across the country. LitiGator Brandon McKay was one of the leaders who organized a Gainesville vigil to honor George Floyd. At the vigil, he read an original poem. “We’ll stand hand in hand to withstand all of the hatred and rebrand this land,” said Brandon. LitiGators continue to take action in the fight for justice and equality in their communities.

The start of spring semester marks the beginning of the American Mock Trial Association’s (AMTA) national competition season. The LitiGators began by hosting 29 teams at the Second Annual Swamp Invitational held at the UF Levin College of Law. Three LitiGator teams competed at Swamp while the remaining two teams competed at the Ramblin Wreck Invitational hosted by Georgia Tech. All five LitiGator teams then competed at an assigned regional, either in Orlando, Florida; Tallahassee, Florida; or Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Two LitiGator teams were preparing to compete at the Greenville Opening Round Championships, but in light of the COIVD-19 situation, all future AMTA tournaments were postponed. The LitiGators finished off the 2020 spring season with three bids to ORCS, five Outstanding Attorney Awards and six Outstanding Witness Awards. We continue to work together over Zoom and are looking forward to future mock trial tournaments!

The UF Mock Trial LitiGators are one of the early frontrunners in the 2020 American Mock Trial Association national competition season. The first step in that season is Regional tournaments, where the 700 teams across the country are divided into 24-team groups. The top quarter of those teams receive a bid to compete at the next level of competition, Opening Round Championships (ORCS), which is the last stop before Nationals. The LitiGators have fielded five teams, with two assigned to the Orlando Regional, two to the Tallahassee Regional and one to the Chapel Hill Regional.

LitiGators teams include 10-11 students who research and perform roles of attorneys and witnesses. Teams brainstorm ideas to formulate a cohesive case theory through an opening statement, witness examinations, and closing argument. The LitiGators competed at three regionals against some of the most competitive teams in the country. We won three bids to ORCS, four Outstanding Witness awards, and two Outstanding Attorney awards! Two LitiGator teams are currently preparing to compete at ORCS in Greenville, South Carolina on March 20-22. The LitiGators continue to work hard and strive to secure a spot at Nationals!

The University of Florida Mock Trial Team, also known as the UF LitiGators, recently hosted the Swamp Invitational on January 18-19, 2020. The Swamp Invitational was sponsored by Phelps Dunbar, a law firm that offers national talent with local pricing to companies in the Gulf South.

The competition consists of four rounds in which a team prepares a case for both the prosecution and the defense. The teams use the case they have prepared to go against another school’s team. The Swamp Invitational hosted 29 teams from 18 schools throughout the Southeast and Midwest region. The tournament was held at the UF Levin College of Law and totaled to nearly 300 competitors all competing for the number one spot!

There were 10 attorneys who won an Outstanding Attorney award and 11 witnesses took home an Outstanding Witness award. Team awards were given to the teams who won the most ballots overall. Among the top teams were Florida State University, University of Alabama, Georgia Tech, and the University of Florida. The Swamp Invitational also gave out the C. Richard Parker Professionalism Award, our version of a good sportsmanship award. This award goes to the highest ranked team in terms of honesty, civility and fair play. While many teams exhibited these qualities, the one team that best embodied these characteristics was the University of West Florida.

The UF Litigators recruited over 60 local judges, attorneys, professors, UF Law admissions staff, and law students to judge at the tournament. We are grateful to all the judges who took time out of their day to help judge The Swamp Invitational!

The goal of the Swamp Invitational is to provide teams a fun, competitive experience to prepare them for Regionals in February. We are so pleased by the amount of teams that enjoyed The Swamp Invitational! Florida State University said, “this was a fantastic invitational, and I genuinely appreciate the hard work put into this tournament. The Tournament Director deserves a pat on the back for this one.” None of this would have been possible without our Tournament Director, Mumtaz Abdulhussein, and our head coach, Dr. Laura Sjoberg. It is because of them that The Swamp Invitational was a success!

The LitiGators sent teams to three Regionals: Orlando, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The UF Mock Trial Team secured a bid at all three regionals! Congratulations to Brandon McKay for his attorney award, and to James Cowan, Jake Kalphat, Liam Rogan, and Cody Davis for their witness awards. After a successful Regionals, the LitiGators sent two teams to ORCS in Decatur, Georgia. At ORCS, Casey Witte won a witness award, and the LitiGators qualified for Nationals! The LitiGators then traveled all the way to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to battle the country’s top mock trial teams at nationals. Congratulations on a great season!

The UF LitiGators hosted their First Annual Swamp Invitational at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Nearly a dozen schools from Florida, the East Coast, and the Midwest attended the Swamp Invitational, sponsored by Phelps Dunbar. Judges, attorneys, and law school students from Gainesville and beyond volunteered to judge the four rounds of the Invitational. The Invitational also provided lunch for all competitors on both days, thanks to Phelps Dunbar and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. The LitiGators are looking forward to our next Swamp Invitational!

The UF LitiGators spent their summer in a variety of ways. Whether it be traveling, interning, studying or working, the LitiGators were there. As the summer comes to an end, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight the summers of three LitiGators. 

This summer, LitiGator Jessica Lorenzo interned at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP in New York City. She was an intern for the Firm’s Department of Corporate Governance & Securities Fraud. Her responsibilities included gathering information regarding high profile cases, strategizing a plan with the attorney, preparing case briefs for the attorney, and reviewing and organizing various documents. She says, “My experience as an intern was very rewarding and I have gained such a valuable insight into the legal profession.” Jess was subsequently selected amongst 1,500+ college students as one of the top 100 Interns across the country by WayUp. This list highlights the most ambitious, passionate, and talented interns in the country. Congratulations, Jess!

Dominic Mayo spent his summer studying abroad in Australia. With a passion for wildlife, Dom truly found his home away from home in Australia. He learned about Australian biodiversity, habitats, animals, and plants through hands-on work in the field. Dom also learned how Australians are saving endangered wildlife and their ecosystems by utilizing management practices, community outreach, and conservation strategies. Highlights from his trip include ziplining over the Daintree Rainforest, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, and making friends with kookaburras, wallabies, crocodiles, and kangaroos!

Zoe Terner spent the summer in Washington, D.C. as a legislative intern. She worked with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, a progressive, faith-based nonprofit organization.While there, she worked on environmental justice and international religious freedom portfolios. Additionally, she looked over relevant legislation, wrote bill analyses, attended coalition meetings, and attended hearings and lobby meetings on Capitol Hill. Zoe had the opportunity of working with a former U.S. Ambassador At-Large for International Religious Freedom, Rabbi David Saperstein. Zoe very much enjoyed her internship on Capitol Hill.  

These three summer experiences are only a handful of the team. LitiGators could also be found studying abroad throughout Europe, teaching high school students about mock trial, and traveling the world. You may have even spotted some LitiGators in Gainesville taking classes, preparing for their LSAT, and tabling about mock trial in Turlington. While our summer adventures may be over, the LitiGators are ready for an exciting year of mock trial!

Pictured: Jessica Lorenzo at BLB&G, Dominic Mayo with a kangaroo, Dominic Mayo on a beach in the Daintree Forest, and Zoe Terner on Capitol Hill.

In April 2019, the LitiGators hosted the Growlin Gator Charity Tournament at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. With the competitive season coming to a close, dozens of teams from as far as Wisconsin traveled to Gainesville, Florida to compete in the charity tournament. The proceeds of the tournament were donated to Innocence Project to help the wrongly convicted and prevent future injustice. The LitiGators won first place and dozens of attorney and witness awards. The charity tournament provided an opportunity for teams to gain valuable mock trial experience while benefiting a charitable cause. The LitiGators are excited for many more charity tournaments in the future!


Liti-Gator  history was made at the Opening Round Championship Series this year! UF Mock Trial had unprecedented success at the Greenville, SC ORCS, and for the first time since the team’s inception, both teams came away from ORCS with a 7-1 record—the two highest scores in the entire competition—earning them 1st and 2nd place in the tournament as well as two bids to the National Championship in Minneapolis, MN. Additionally, Andres Chinchilla, Matt Solomon, and Stewart Subjinski left with individual attorney awards, and Michael Goldman won an individual witness award! We couldn’t be more proud of our Liti-Gators!

This year’s National Championship was one for the books! For the first time in Liti-Gator history, UF Mock Trial sent two teams to the National Championship Tournament in Minneapolis, MN. After a week of hard work scrimmaging and competing at the National Championship, we came home with the National Spirit of AMTA Award as well as an individual All-American Attorney Award for Kalie Maniglia! Great job to our competitors, and thank you to everyone who made this year’s success possible!