howell2_web.jpgMIAMI-DADE – Terry-Ann Howell, a Florida International University third year law student, won the “Exceptional Advocate” Award at the 17th Annual National White Collar Crime Mock Trial Invitational.

The White Collar Crime Invitational is a three-day trial advocacy competition, which features a federal criminal trial focused on white collar issues. Past problems include insurance fraud, honest services fraud, and lying to federal investigators.

The competition was sponsored by the Georgetown University Law Center Barrister’s Council.  “Being in Washington, D.C. to represent my school was an amazing experience and a huge honor,” said Howell. “One of our coaches, Professor H.T. Smith told us that, ‘pressure is a privilege.’

It was my privilege to represent my school under pressure with passion, pride and principle.”

This year’s tournament, held at the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse at Judiciary Square in Washington, D.C., featured 80 student-competitors from 20 law schools, including Georgetown, George Washington, John Marshall, South Texas, Stanford and the University of Virginia.

It presented a federal criminal prosecution alleging computer fraud against the accused for automatically downloading nearly 3 million academic and scholarly journal articles from a world premier online database. The FIU team was composed of Howell, Yanelis Zamora, Sally Pendleton, and Dylan Gonzalez.

The competition consists of three preliminary rounds, followed by a semi-final and final round. During each mock trial each student advocate was expected to conduct the direct examination of a witness, the cross examination of a witness, and to present either the opening statement or the closing argument of the case.

The advocates are evaluated on their professionalism in making routine objections and handling exhibits. A judge and a “jury” of experienced trial attorneys score the performances.

“She [Howell] is the only African American on my trial team and I am so proud of her and my team,” said Smith, director of the Trial Advocacy Program. “Our students defended FIU’s national championship (won at Georgetown last year) with poise, presence, and power, enhancing the FIU brand, and further demonstrating that FIU Law is cultivating the next generation of great trial lawyers.”