Katie DeBoer and Matthew Smart receive the 2016 Marc Grinker Student Commitment Award

Katie DeBoer and Matthew Smart, both May 2016 graduates of Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech, are the recipients of the 2016 Marc Grinker Student Commitment Award.

The award was created in memory of Professor Marc A. Grinker, a member of the Chicago-Kent faculty from 1990 until his death in 1996, who served as the first director of the law school's Appellate Advocacy Program. Under his leadership, the program won local, regional and national individual and interscholastic honors. The Grinker Award honors students who embody Professor Grinker’s dedication to the program and to the law school.

Katie DeBoer earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in ethics and public policy and journalism/mass communication from the University of Iowa. DeBoer and her teammate, Matthew McElwee ’16, finished as quarterfinalists last fall in the National Moot Court Competition’s Midwest regional tournament, and she was named second-best oral advocate at the 2015 ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition’s regional tournament. This spring, she coached the Chicago-Kent team that won a regional championship in the 2016 ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition and won the top two advocacy awards and finished in the top four at the national competition. After she takes the bar exam in July, DeBoer will clerk for the Honorable John E. Jones III of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

“As one nominator said, 'Katie's fingerprints are all over the successes of our program in the last two years,'" said Professor Kent Streseman, current director of the appellate advocacy program. "She has been an outstanding competitor. But that's not why she's getting this award. She has been an incredibly effective ambassador for our program, convincing many an outstanding 1L to join our little club. She has done tons of work behind the scenes to keep the MCHS chugging along and to make it better going forward. She has been a great practice judge for many of our candidates, Rovner competitors, and teams. And she was a fantastic coach throughout her ABA team's inspired run."

Matthew Smart graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a degree in costume design and technology. Smart was the first runner-up in Chicago-Kent’s 2014 Ilana Diamond Rovner Appellate Advocacy Competition, and he and his teammate, Justin Joffe ’16, won the Appellate Lawyers Association’s 2015 National Moot Court Competition championship and best brief award. This spring, he coached a Chicago-Kent team that finished in the quarterfinals at the 2016 William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition. Smart is currently working as a PILI Graduate Fellow for the ACLU of Illinois. Following the July bar exam, he will join Kirkland & Ellis LLP as a corporate restructuring associate.

"Matt has been a great competitor, coach, mentor and ambassador for the program," said Professor Streseman. "He is a gifted spotter and developer of talent. And he's supremely generous with his time and his intellect. Every one of the many arguments he judged was better for his involvement. He was an amazingly effective coach to a great (and grateful) team in the McGee Civil Rights Competition."

Chicago-Kent's Ilana Diamond Rovner Program in Appellate Advocacy, the umbrella program for many of the law school’s moot court activities, was established in 1992. Since then, Chicago-Kent students have won numerous individual honors and regional and national competitions, including consecutive titles in the New York City Bar Association’s National Moot Court Competition.

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