IIT Chicago-Kent wins the 2010 Tournament of Champions

Joseph Carlasare is named the competition's best advocate

Monday, November 1, 2010

The IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law team of Jeremiah Lewellen, Julie Levinson, Joseph Carlasare and Rachel Remke has won the National Institute for Trial Advocacy's 2010 Tournament of Champions. Team member Joseph Carlasare is also the winner of the competition's best advocate award. The competition, which was hosted by Duquesne University School of Law, took place October 28 to 31 at the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

 Joseph Carlasare, Rachel Remke, Julie Levinson and Jeremiah Lewellen
Chicago-Kent's 2010 Tournament of Champions team, from left: Joseph Carlasare, Rachel Remke, Julie Levinson and Jeremiah Lewellen

"Chicago-Kent proved once again that we are far and away the best in the country. I am extremely proud of the way this team handled themselves—both skillfully and ethically—at the Tournament of Champions," said Judge David A. Erickson, retired Illinois Appellate Court justice and director of the law school's Trial Advocacy Program.

The Tournament of Champions is one of the most prestigious law school trial competitions in the country. Each year, sixteen schools from the nation's nearly 200 law schools are invited to participate. Invitations are based on a three-year performance record at the National Trial Competition and the National Student Trial Advocacy Competition and in prior Tournament of Champions competitions. This is the fourth consecutive year and the ninth time in the history of the competition that Chicago-Kent has been invited to participate.

The competition involved a complex products liability case in which the plaintiff sustained severe injuries while using a hay baler manufactured by the defendant. Chicago-Kent faced teams from the University of Wisconsin, University of Akron, Loyola University Chicago and Cumberland in the opening round before emerging as the tournament's top seed in the final round of competition. Chicago-Kent beat last year's champion, Stetson University, in the semifinals before defeating the University of Maryland for the championship.

Third-year students Jeremiah Lewellen and Julie Levinson were members of the Chicago-Kent teams that finished in third place in last year's Tournament of Champions and as semifinalists in the National Trial Competition's regional tournament.

Jeremiah Lewellen earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a major in history and a minor in English. In June 2010, Lewellen represented Chicago-Kent at the inaugural Top Gun Trial Competition. Teammate Julie Levinson graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in speech communication with a concentration in psychology. Second-year student Joe Carlasare, winner of the competition's best advocate award, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in political science and philosophy with a minor in economics from Loyola University Chicago. Last year, Carlasare became the first first-year law student in Chicago-Kent's history to compete both semesters on the trial advocacy team. Teammate Rachel Remke, also a second-year student, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a double major in political science and psychology.

The team was coached by Judge Erickson along with adjunct professors Nicholas A. Caputo '01 and David Lavin and alumnae Dee Brown Lee '97 and Sulema Medrano '09. Third-year student Erik Wilson served as the team's student advisor.

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.