Chicago-Kent’s highly ranked appellate advocacy program offers advanced training in appellate writing and oral arguments, through its Moot Court Honor Society and a slate of teams sponsored by student organizations and specific departments.
The Ilana Diamond Rovner Program in Appellate Advocacy is the umbrella that hosts the Moot Court Honor Society. After their first year of legal writing courses, where they write an appellate brief and prepare oral arguments, students can elect to try out to join Moot Court Honor Society. Those invited to join start off by enrolling in Appellate Advocacy, generally in the fall of their second year. There, they receive advanced training in overall persuasive techniques, brief writing, and oral argument skills. Throughout their tenure on MCHS, members receive detailed feedback on their written work and extensive feedback on their oral arguments from peers, faculty, and alumni.
The centerpiece of the Appellate Advocacy course is the Ilana Diamond Rovner Appellate Advocacy Competition, which typically uses a live case currently pending before the United States Supreme Court. Ilana Diamond Rovner, a Chicago-Kent alum and former Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals judge, typically presides over the final round. Several scholarships are presented at the conclusion of the competition, recognizing excellence in brief writing and oral advocacy.
Moot Court Honor Society members then go on to represent Chicago-Kent in interscholastic competitions throughout the United States.
Students have other opportunities to sharpen their appellate advocacy skills at Chicago-Kent. Multiple student organizations, including the Chicago-Kent chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Black Law Students Association, and Lambda Legal, regularly sponsor teams to engage in competitions that relate to their organizations’ missions. Several subject-specific J.D. programs also sponsor teams, such as the Intellectual Property, Bankruptcy, and Environmental and Energy Law programs. Many alumni and faculty support these teams by coaching and serving as guest judges.
Cherish M. Keller Professor and Director of Ilana Diamond Rovner Appellate Advocacy Program