Within the context of debate, one individual in particular has proven himself synonymous with greatness demonstrating a wake of success on an international basis. A glance at his accomplishments and one thing is crystal clear: this man is no debate boyscout. And these are not merit badges. It is almost as if he was indeed born behind the podium.

Keith A. Fink

Keith Allen Fink is an American lawyer, teacher, and legal commentator. Fink is known for his involvement in many high profile legal cases and his aggressiveness as a litigator.



Keith Fink was born in Santa Monica, California and grew up in Bel Air, California. He attended University High School and went to college at the University of California at Los Angeles. As an undergraduate Fink was a college debate star.


While winning the National Collegiate Debate Championship three years in a row Fink won dozens of debate tournaments throughout the country. Fink and his debate partner Lisa Allred set the single season college debate record for most tournament wins in a year while they were only juniors. His debate coach at UCLA is quoted saying "Fink was the greatest debater in UCLA history." Fink was a frequent panelist on the television show Youth & The Issues while at UCLA.

After college Fink taught Debate at the Harvard School while also editing a college debate handbook called Fink's Files which provided analysis and arguments on the yearly college debate topic. Fink also taught Speech at Stephen S. Wise Temple.


Fink earned his J.D. studying at Southwestern Law School. He is currently the principal at Fink and Steinberg.

UClA’s debate captain Keith Fink with debate coach Tom Miller after capturing UCLA’s first national debate championship
UCLA’s Keith Fink being honored by US Attorney General William French Smith after winning a second consecutive national collegiate debate championship.
UCLA’s Debate Team of Keith Fink and Arthur Wang after winning the USC’s Alan Wilitures Debate Tournament. Keith Fink was the only debater to have won this tournament three years in a row.
UCLA’s Keith Fink honored in UCLA Daily Bruin after capturing the BYU - University of Utah Debate Swing Away

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Who's No. 1? No argument

UCLA defending its national debate championship


By Sandy Gee


UCLA may have dropped in the basketball polls but it's still No. 1 in debate.


The team, defending national champion, confirmed its ranking with victories in three Utah tournaments during the last week of January, keeping it on top of the more than 400 colleges and universities in the NationalCross-Examination Debate Association. It has held the No. 1 position since November.


CEDA, UCLA Director of Forensics Thomas Miller said, is the largest debate organization in the country.


ln the tournament at Weber State University Ogden Jan. 24-25, senior Keith Fink, whom Miller called "the winningest debater in UCLA history," won the top individual speaker award and then teamed with Sophomore Michael Veregge to take first place over the other eight best CEDA teams invited to the meet.


The topic for all the year's remaining CEDA meets, starting with the Utah meets, is the statement: "Individual rights of privacy are more important than any other constitutional right."


Fink and Veregge proceeded to place second in Brigham Young University's "Cougar Classic" two days later. UCLA also won the tourney's sweepstakes, based on the scores of all teams' ballots.


The week's triumphs were completed at the University of Utah tournament Jan. 29-31, with Fink again taking first prize in the speaker event and combining with Veregge for fourth place in the senior team division. Veragge finished sixth in the speaker competition.


Strong finishes in the junior division were the UCLA teams of Ken McVay and Kimberly Doo, Brian Boydston and Alan Whitcomb, and Damon Fortier and John Figueroa, placing second, fifth and sixth respectively. In the individual speaker events, Poo was third and McVay was fourth.


Fink's and Veregge's successes at BYU and Utah won them CEDA's "swing award," given to consistently successful debaters, Miller said. Fink also won last year's swing award with partner Lisa Allred, one of the debaters most responsible for UCLA's 1982 national championship.


Among the recognitions for last year's national championship win were an appearance at a reception here by U.S. Attorney General William French Smith, a 1939 UCLA debater, mention in the congressional record by Rep. Robert K. Doman, and congratulatory letters from President Reagan and Sen. Alan Cranston;


"I'm blessed with a particularly de­dicated squad," said Miller, who has coached the debate team since 1978. Although many of the more than 75 students in the program compete successfully in non-debate areas such as persuasive speaking and poetic interpretation, Miller said debate attracts many students because it is "the 'sexiest' and the hardest. ... They (the debaters) are the superstars." He noted also that debaters obtain research skills and the ability to think critically.


Debaters Fink, Veregge, McVay and Doo admitted that debate takes 90 percent of their time, even requiring researching during vacations. On the various majors of the debaters, Miller said most were the ''North Campus type of people" – political science, history and philosophy students.


Debate team


Miller said CEDA considers teams' win/loss records monthly to determine rankings; points are also computed for each tournament leading to the national championship. Some larger meets are weighted more heavily; Miller predicted this week's debate at Tuscon will be one of the toughest.


This year's national championship will be decided April 3 at the Reno, Nevada tournament. Other teams in contention for the championship include the Air Force Academy, BYU, Vanderbilt University and the University of Arizona.


The teams debate on two topics a year, narrowed from five by a vote of CEDA members; each school receives one vote. The topic debated in the first half of the season was the wisdom of a nuclear weapons freeze. The teams switched to the rights of privacy at the midseason Utah tournaments. 


Senior Arthur Wang and freshman Chris Leslie, Miller said, contributed points toward the national championship by placing first once, second twice, and third four times in fall tournaments.


Other debaters cited by Miller include Brian Boydston, John Figueroa, Damon Fortier, Tim Fulkerson, Laura Lovett, Terry McGarrity, Gia Paladino and Alan Whitcomb. Debate coaches besides Miller are director of debate Tim Dixon, individual events directors Matt Chapa and Shelley Miller, and debate assistants Gina Luidzius and Rich Simon.

UCLA’s Keith Fink and Lisa Allured after winning national collegiate debate championship in Reno.

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Vol. 2, No. 23 May 3-9, 1982 May 3, 1982


Lisa Allredand Keith Fink are the top collegiate debaters in the country ar UCLA won the national Cross Examination Debate Association championship in Reno, Nevada.

UCLA’s Keith Fink honored in Congressional Record after winning National Collegiate Debate Championship

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of California



Wednesday, May 12, 1982


Mr. DORNAN of California. Mr Speaker, I would like to recognize the outstanding performance of the UCLA debate team at the recent national championships. 


The UCLA debate team won the national championship in the competition sponsored by the Cross Examination Debate Association, the largest national collegiate debating society in America. UCLA's outstanding achievement was recognized at the final tournament of the year, the Great Western Invitational held at the University of Nevada at Reno, April 1-5, 1982.


On the road to the national championship, the UCLA debate team placed first 24 times this season. In addition, the new college record of 11 tournament wins in one season was set by Lisa Allred of Burbank and Keith Fink of Bel Air. Other team members making significant contributions to the national championship were Evan Caminker of Cypress, graduating senior Robert Hartmann of Huntington Beach, Gia Rae Paladino of Burbank, and Michael Veregee of Portland, Maine.


Led by Thomas Heinkel Miller, Director of forensics for UCLA's College of Letters and Science, Division of Honors, the win capped a near perfect year. In the past 2 years the team has finished second and third in the Nation.


Other team members helping to dominate the 250 other colleges and universities in the competition were Katie Buckland of Westlake Village, Kimberly Doo of Turlock, Zakia Feres of Cerritos, Timothy Fulkerson of San Francisco, Bill Grisolia of Kansas City, Kans., Robert Louk of San Marino, Laura Lovett of San Diego, Steve Oetting of Sherman Oaks, Daria Rotithmayr of Moss Point, Miss., Hal Shwimmer of Beverly Hills, Ted Spanos of Bakersfield, and Arthur Wang of Redlands. 


Assisting the team were coaches Ron Carr of Alhambra, Kevin Beachem of Los Angeles, Gina Liudzuis of Glendale, Rich Simon of NOrthridge, Brad Zerbe of Washington D.C., and administrative Assistant Hazel Richmond of Los Angeles. Deans E. Bradford Burns, Gerald Kissler, and Eugene Weber were invaluable in their unceasing support for forensics.

UCLA’s Keith Fink wins first ever National Cross-Examination Debate Association Round Robin held at Weber State and Fink was awarded best speaker of the tournament

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12A The Salt Lake Tribune     Thursday, January 27, 1983


UCLA Captures Team Title at Weber Debate Tourney


OGDEN (UPI) – Senior Keith Fink won the top individual honors Tuesday combined with Michael Veregge in leading UCLA to the team title in a national Cross-Examination Debate Association tournament at Weber State College. 


UCLA won 12 of its 16 matches to claim the team title in the tow-day round robin tournament. Arizona and Brigham Young both had 11-5 records in the collegiate competition between eight schools.

However, totals were given for only the top three teams.


Fink was rated as the top individual in arguing both sides of the question: "Individual rights of privacy are more important than any other constitutional right."


Tim Norman of Arizona finished second in the individual competition, followed by Scott Toth of Southern Colorado, David Allen of host Weber State, and Kevin Boyer of BYU.

UCLA’s Debate Team of Keith Fink and Lisa Allred set a national record in 1982 by winning 11 debate tournaments on their way to a national collegiate championship

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Los Angeles Times W/Thursday, April 29, 1982


A forensic first – Lisa Allred of Burbank and Keith Fink of Bel-Air talked their way into the top scores in the country as they led a 20-member UCLA debate team to its first victory in the national Cross Examination Debate Assn., held in Reno in early April. Allred, daughter of feminist attorney Gloria Allred, and Fink won 11 tournaments this year. This established a record for UCLA debaters.

Los Angeles Times mentions UCLA’s Debate Team of Keith Fink and Michael Wise during UCLA's run to a second straight national championship

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Los Angeles Times, W/Thursday, January 20, 1983




UCLA's debate team is rated No. 1 In competition at mld-season, according to the Cross Examination Debate Association, which In January rates teams from more than 400 colleges and universities. 


"Keith Allen Fink of Bel-Air and Michael Veregge are  Westside students on the team.

UCLA's debate team won the national championship last year, according to Thomas Heinkel Miller, director of forensics.