Ilana Diamond Rovner Program in Appellate Advocacy

Ranked #2 in the country by the Blakely Advocacy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center (April 2018)

The Ilana Diamond Rovner Program in Appellate Advocacy is the umbrella program for IIT Chicago-Kent's extensive appellate advocacy activities. A joint effort of the students, alumni, staff, and faculty of the law school, the Rovner Program consists of intensive course work in appellate litigation, intramural competitions, and participation in local, regional, and national appellate advocacy competitions. The program is named for The Honorable Ilana Diamond Rovner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Judge Rovner is a 1966 graduate of the law school.

Students selected for the Rovner Program (based on grade point average and previous intramural competitions) become members of the Moot Court Honor Society and start off by enrolling in Appellate Advocacy, generally in the fall semester of their second year. The course contains segments on advanced brief writing, advanced research skills, oral argument, and appellate procedure, and builds upon Chicago-Kent's first-year legal writing and research courses.

The students in the course receive personalized instruction in brief writing, including detailed, one-on-one critique of their work. The students are divided into small groups for oral argument instruction, which includes videotaping each student and critiquing that videotaped performance.

The centerpiece of the course is the Ilana Diamond Rovner Appellate Advocacy Competition. Each student prepares a brief on a significant appellate issue, as well as an oral argument on both sides of that issue. The top eight students in the first round compete in a quarterfinal round. The top four students then compete in a semi-final round, from which two students are selected to argue in the final round before a panel of federal and state judges.

Three scholarships are presented at the conclusion of the competition. The Ilana Diamond Rovner Award for Outstanding Appellate Advocate is given to the student with the highest combined brief and oral argument scores; the Ralph L. Brill Award is presented to the student who wrote the best brief; and the Fay Clayton Award is presented to the student with the best oral argument performance.

Students who have completed the course in Appellate Advocacy are eligible to be selected to represent Chicago-Kent and the Rovner Program in interscholastic competition. The students with the best combined brief and oral argument scores in the Rovner Competition are offered a place on one of eight interscholastic teams the law school enters in spring semester competitions. These students are also eligible to participate in a second interscholastic competition in the fall of their third year at Chicago-Kent.

Fall 2017 Competition Schedule

November 3 and 4

National Health Law Competition
Competitors: Anna Ceragioli, Miles Kelson and Matthew Loffredo 
Competitors: Matthew Griffin and Ben Mahon
Location: Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale, IL

November 3 and 4

Appellate Lawyers Association National Moot Court Competition
Competitors: Marko Ilich and Katherine LaRosa 
Competitors: Timothy Lavino and Alexandrina Shrove
Location: Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, Chicago, IL

November 16 and 18

Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition
Competitors: Brennan Hutson and Matthew Kasl 
Competitors: So Young "Anna" Lee, Jacqueline Mazur and Jane Sternecky
Location: Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, Chicago, IL

November 18 and 19

National Moot Court Competition (Milwaukee regional)
Competitors: Kara Angeletti and Max Morimoto 
Competitors: Stephanie Flowers and Quinn Ford
Location: Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, WI


Spring 2018 Competition Schedule

January 25 to 27    

Andrews Kurth Kenyon Moot Court National Championship
Location: U.S. Courthouse, Houston, TX
Competitors: Christopher Gerardi and Anthony Joseph

January 29 to February 1    

National Moot Court Competition (National Finals)
Location: New York City Bar, New York, NY
Competitors:  Stephanie Flowers and Quinn Ford

February 15 to 17

ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition (Regional Tournament)
Location: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Chicago, IL
Competitors: Emily Edwards and Carl Sessions
Competitors: Margaret Kamm and Yuliya Patlata

February 23 and 24

William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition 
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Competitors: Jack Amaro, Keisha McClellan and Mahira Musani
Competitors: Pauline Panayi, Betul Serbest and Tamara Sonenshein        

March 2 to 4

Evan A. Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition
Location: Dane County Courthouse and the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Madison, WI
Competitors: Meaghan Fontein and Samantha Ruben
Competitors: Katherine Stryker and Blake Thompson

March 9 and 10

National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare & Adoption Law
Location: Ohio Statehouse and the Supreme Court of Ohio Judicial Center, Columbus, OH
Competitors: Joshua Locke, Stacey Meyers and Rebecca Spira

March 9 to 11

Frank A. Schreck Gaming Law Moot Court Competition
Location: William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
Competitors: Taylor Brewer, Colin Pochie and Jin To
Competitors: Javier Ortega Alvarez, Alida Pecanin and Rebecca Quade        

March 23 and 24

August A. Rendigs Jr. National Products Liability Moot Court Competition
Location: Hamilton County Courthouse and Potter Stewart Federal Courthouse, Cincinnati, OH
Competitors: Daniel Flores, Gianna Gizzi and Alexander Spiratos