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Learning by Doing: Trial and Appellate Advocacy

In 2015, Chicago-Kent brought home the National Trial Competition championship title for the third time in the previous nine years and the Best Oral Advocate award for the fourth time in nine years. And our appellate advocacy teams garnered accolades from an extensive slate of competitions throughout the 2015–16 season. (See results below.) While we're very proud of the successes of our trial and appellate advocacy programs, our focus is on what's most important about training in both settings—preparing you for the practice of law.

Trial Advocacy

Fully 70 percent of Chicago-Kent students elect to cultivate courtroom skills by studying trial advocacy. Our rigorous trial advocacy curriculum, led by a talented corps of judges, prosecutors, public defenders and private practitioners, demands effort, skill, intelligence, and a clear sense of duty to court and client.

Founded in 1971, the program offers three courses to Chicago-Kent students in general—Trial Advocacy 1 (in full-semester and eight-week intensive formats), Trial Advocacy 2 and Litigation Technology. In addition, a special six-month session provides training for an elite group of students selected to compete on the law school's interscholastic trial advocacy teams at the local, regional and national levels.

Learn more about trial advocacy at Chicago-Kent.

Appellate Advocacy

At Chicago-Kent, dozens of talented professors and practitioners train students in the art of appellate advocacy, including advanced brief writing and persuasive oral argument. The focus of our curriculum is the Ilana Diamond Rovner Program in Appellate Advocacy, which provides sophisticated and systematic instruction for students invited to join our highly selective Moot Court Honor Society.

Moot Court Honor Society students complete intensive course work in appellate litigation and compete intramurally and in tournaments throughout the United States. They receive careful mentoring in teamwork, accountability and collegiality. Chicago-Kent also fields student teams in competitions independent of the Moot Court Honor Society. These competitions generally focus on specialized areas of law, including international, environmental and intellectual property law.

Learn more about appellate advocacy at Chicago-Kent.


2015–16 Trial Advocacy and Appellate Advocacy Competition Wins, Finalist Placements and Additional Awards

Trial Advocacy

NBLSA Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition
National Best Oral Advocate
Brandi Burton

National Second-Place Best Oral Advocate
Dion Beatty

National Third-Place Team
Dion Beatty, Brandi Burton, Benjamin Jacobs and Whitney Williams

Regional Finalists
Dion Beatty, Brandi Burton, Benjamin Jacobs and Whitney Williams

National White Collar Crime Mock Trial Invitational
National Finalists
Tyler Mikan, Ana Montelongo, Michael Sherer and Nicolette Ward

ABA Section of Labor & Employment Law Student Trial Advocacy Competition
Regional Champions
Gus Hernandez, John Higgins, Haley Jenkins and Mohini Lal

Stetson National Pretrial Competition
Top Oral Advocate for the Second, Third and Fourth Rounds
Symone Shinton

Appellate Advocacy

Appellate Lawyers Association National Moot Court Competition
National Champions and Best Brief
Justin Joffe and Matthew Smart

Best Oral Advocate (two-way tie) and Best Oral Argument in the Preliminary and Semifinal Rounds
Kyle Jacob

William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition
National Champions and Best Brief
Maxwell Eichenberger, Kathleen Karnig and Jenna Kim

Second-Place Best Oral Advocate (two-way tie)
Jenna Kim and Rebecca Horgan

ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition
National Best Oral Advocate
Caitlin Ajax

Second-Place Best Oral Advocate
Matthew McElwee

Regional Champions
Caitlin Ajax and David Love

Regional Finalists
Alex Halaska and Theresa Starck

Regional Best Oral Advocate
Alex Halaska

Regional Third-Place Best Oral Advocate
Theresa Starck
Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition
National Finalists, Second-Place Best Brief, Second-Place Best Oral Argument
Stephanie Crigler and Kenneth Matuszewski

Regional Champions and Regional Best Brief
Stephanie Crigler and Kenneth Matuszewski

National Moot Court Competition
Regional Champions
Angelo Christopher and Lauren Darwit

Regional Best Oral Advocate
Matthew McElwee

Evan A. Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition
Best Respondent's Brief
Nick DeRyke and Daniel Ristau

Best Oral Advocate
Daniel Ristau

National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition
Second-Place Best Oral Advocate
Karolen Younan

National Health Law Moot Court Competition
Second-Place Best Oral Advocate
Holly Venhuizen

National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare and Adoption Law
Second-Place Best Brief
Debora Barbosa, Briana Mayes and Ariel Olstein