On June 30, 2012, Warren Zinn (Shohat Loewy & Shohat) took home the Bilzin Sumberg Trophy for the First Annual Legal Eagle Closing Argument Competition. The competition was spearheaded by retired Judge David Gersten (Bilzin Sumberg) and Jane Muir, (Gersten & Muir, P.A.) and benefitted Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. (LSGMI).
The competition included thirty-two attorneys who had been practicing for less than seven years in the 11th Judicial Circuit. “The competition showcased all we expected and more.” said Gersten. “To have such an incredible array of talent compete, and compete hard, made this competition the toughest any lawyer would want to face. It is not as if you face off one time and the game is over. Instead, the competition tested skill, stamina and the will to win.”
Twelve sitting judges and six local attorneys judged the competition. “We in Miami-Dade are so lucky to have such dedicated public servants.” said Marcia Cypen, Executive Director for Legal Services of Greater Miami. “They serve the public during the week and then serve the legal profession during the weekend. They serve as role models for all attorneys.”
The young lawyers who competed received facts and materials 36 hours before the competition began. They argued for ten minutes at a time, going once as plaintiff and once as defense. The top sixteen competitors were announced at lunch, and then the sixteen went head-to-head in four more rounds to determine the winner overall. Among the four finalists were Oshia Gainer-Banks, of Clarke Silverglate, Scott Holtz, Assistant State Attorney, and Matthew McElligott, Assistant Public Defender. Warren Zinn is an associate at Shohat Loewy & Shohat.
“It was exciting to watch extremely talented lawyers delivering their closing arguments.” Zinn said. “The competition was fierce and I am honored to support this important cause, and to be this year’s winner.”
The event was held at the University of Miami School of Law. “The University of Miami was so gracious to host this memorable competition. We had the cooperation of the university, the law school, the Litigation Skills Program, and even the mock trial team. We could not have put this competition on without the University of Miami’s help.” Muir added.
The event was intended to provide critical financial support to LSGMI, which annually provides services benefitting 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 other loss of housing. The need for free legal services in our community has never been greater and continues to grow as the economic recovery stalls. The goal of the GenNext Initiative, a group of rising young professionals in our community, is to raise awareness about LSGMI’s mission and to provide support. The competition gave the competitors the opportunity to perform at the highest level and to raise funds for Legal Services of Greater Miami. Inc. to help those
who need access to the judicial system.