IIT Chicago-Kent advances to the NBLSA Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition finals

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Chicago-Kent College of Law team of Adella Deacon, Janelle Fairchild, Clyde Guilamo and Katrice Hall has advanced to the national finals of the National Black Law Students Association's (NBLSA) Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. Chicago-Kent, one of the top two teams in the Midwest regional tournament held February 18 to 21 in Minneapolis, will join ten teams from five other regions in the national finals, which take place during NBLSA's national convention March 10 to14 in Boston.

The students argued a criminal case involving felony theft, theft of trade secrets and breach of computer security. Chicago-Kent faced teams from the University of Illinois, the University of Kentucky and DePaul in the regionals. Chicago-Kent and DePaul will represent the Midwest region in the national competition. The team is coached by Cook County Circuit Court judges Sybil Thomas, Israel Desierto, Donald Havis and Maxwell Griffin Jr. The team's participation in the competition is supported by a gift to the law school from the Chicago law firm of SmithAmundsen LLC.

Winning Chicago-Kent team member Adella Deacon, a second-year student, earned an undergraduate degree in exercise physiology and a doctoral degree in physical therapy from Marquette University. Teammate Janelle Fairchild, a second-year student, is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago with a major in psychology. Teammate Clyde Guilamo, a second-year student, graduated from Northwestern University, where he majored in mathematics and economics. Third-year student Katrice Hall completed her undergraduate education at Washington University in St. Louis with a double major in African and African-American studies and marketing, and with a minor in legal studies.

The NBLSA mock court competition, established in 2002, is named for the Honorable Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Known for his work as special counsel for the NAACP in the landmark 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, Justice Marshall amassed an enviable trial record. As a civil rights attorney, he won 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court between 1940 and 1961. As a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, from 1961 to 1965, he made 112 rulings—none of which were reversed on certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court. Appointed U.S. Solicitor General in 1965, he won 14 of the 19 cases he argued on behalf of the government. Justice Marshall was elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Johnson in 1967, where he served until his retirement in 1991. He died in 1993.

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. In addition, U.S. News & World Report last year ranked Chicago-Kent's trial advocacy program among the top five in the country.