IIT Chicago-Kent takes second place in the 2010 Buffalo-Niagara National Mock Trial Civil Competition and wins individual honors

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The IIT Chicago-Kent team of Patricia Berlin, Ryan Nolte, Rachael Sinnen and Karolina Zielinska has taken second place in the civil competition of the seventh annual Buffalo-Niagara National Mock Trial Competition, with Zielinska and Nolte winning individual awards for the competition's Best Preliminary Opening Statement and Best Oral Advocate, respectively.

 Ryan Nolte, Rachael Sinnen, Patricia Berlin and Karolina Zielinska
Chicago-Kent's 2010 Buffalo-Niagara Mock Trial team, from left: Ryan Nolte, Rachael Sinnen, Patricia Berlin and Karolina Zielinska

The prestigious invitational tournament, featuring several of the nation's top-ranked trial teams, was hosted by the University at Buffalo Law School and held at Buffalo City Court November 10-14.

This year's Buffalo-Niagara tournament was the first to feature a combination civil/criminal competition where sixteen teams tried the civil case, The Hartfeldt Insurance Co. Inc. v. Zak Nugent Siriusz, and another sixteen tried the criminal case, People v. Thomas Osiski. Both the civil and criminal cases dealt with determining responsibility for the death, under suspicious circumstances, of an insurance policy holder. The Chicago-Kent team argued the civil case in the tournament, finishing second to St. John's University School of Law.

Chicago-Kent team member Patricia Berlin, a third-year student, earned her undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Teammate Ryan Nolte, also a third-year student, graduated with departmental honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and criminal justice and a minor in sociology. Teammate and third-year student Rachael Sinnen graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor's degree in Spanish and a master's degree in business administration. Teammate and third-year student Karolina Zielinska graduated summa cum laude from DePaul University with a degree in business administration.

Berlin and Zielinska were members of the Chicago-Kent team that finished as quarterfinalists in last year's Buffalo-Niagara competition and received awards for Best Preliminary Advocate and Best Preliminary Opening Statement, respectively.

The team was coached by adjunct professors Tony Lucafo '06 and Alex Molesky '07, as well as alumni Liza Laughlin '08, Daniel Martin '84 and Mark Griffin '08. Griffin was a member of the National Trial Competition's 2008 championship team and winner of the 2008 regional tournament's Best Advocate award.

Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design and law. Chicago-Kent's trial advocacy teams have won numerous individual student honors and regional and national competitions, including the 1988, 2007 and 2008 National Trial Competition championships. In 2008, Chicago-Kent became the first law school to win both the National Trial Competition and the National Moot Court Competition in the same year.