News & Press

WAD Attorneys Help the Next Generation of Lawyers Become Courtroom Ready


Birmingham, AL – White Arnold & Dowd P.C. is pleased to announce that Cumberland School of Law trial teams coached by firm attorneys have won their respective regional tournaments and will now proceed to compete at the national level.  Multiple firm attorneys, including Lisha L. Graham, W. Chambers Waller, IV, Curtis H. Seal, and Craig A. Shirley, are veterans of Cumberland’s nationally-ranked trial team program.  Each credits the program for helping develop their courtroom skills and ensure they were prepared to enter the firm’s busy trial practice.  They have volunteered time since their respective graduations from Cumberland to serve as coaches and otherwise support the program. 

Seal, who serves as a coach for the trial team competing in in the Student Trial Advocacy Competition hosted by the American Association of Justice, was a team member the last time Cumberland advanced to the regional finals of the competition in 2017. Two Cumberland teams competed in the AAJ regional competition this year, meeting each other in the final round.  Seal shared, “Cumberland prides itself on a reputation of being one of the best trial advocacy programs in the country. Maintaining that reputation meant getting back to the winner’s circle of this regional competition, which was well overdue.” Seal’s team compiled a 5-0 record during the competition, defeating teams from Tulane School of Law, Mississippi College School of Law, University of Wisconsin School of Law, and St. Thomas University School of Law. Cumberland will be one of sixteen law schools from across the country to compete in the AAJ national competition in April. More information about the AAJ competition and win can be found here

Shirley coaches Cumberland’s National Trial Competition team this year, which swept Region 8 and earned a berth in the national competition.  Like Seal, Shirley is no stranger to trial team success, as he was a member of the National Trial Team that won the 2017 National Civil Trial Competition in Los Angeles.  While this year’s team had the additional challenge of virtual competition, Shirley and his fellow coaches led the team to continued success: Cumberland has advanced 15 teams to the national level of the NTC in the last 13 years. This year’s team of second-year students defeated teams from the University of Mississippi School of Law, the University of Memphis Humphrey School of Law, Northern Kentucky University Chase School of Law, and Faulkner University Jones School of Law to earn the opportunity to compete at the national competition in April.  More information about the NTC victory can be found here.

The coaching and training that students receive through participating in Cumberland’s trial program uniquely prepares students for the practice of law in ways the classroom alone cannot. Seal observed, “we do not teach and train students how to be good at mock trial. As coaches, our focus is on students becoming good lawyers and the best version of themselves. Cumberland’s mock trial success flows naturally from there.”

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Kitty Rogers Brown
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