IIT Chicago-Kent advances to the National Moot Court Competition finals

Monday, November 14, 2011
From left, 3L students Jack Kennedy, Helena Gonzalez and David Jorgensen are the winners of the National Moot Court Competition regional tournament, held November 12 to 13 in Milwaukee. The team will compete in the national finals in New York January 30 through February 2, 2012.
From left, 3L students Jack Kennedy, Helena Gonzalez and David Jorgensen are the winners of the National Moot Court Competition regional tournament, held November 12 to 13 in Milwaukee. The team will compete in the national finals in New York January 30 through February 2, 2012.

Helena Gonzalez, David Jorgensen, and Jack Kennedy, third-year students at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, will advance to the finals of the National Moot Court Competition after winning the regional tournament held November 12 and 13 at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee. Jorgensen, who recently participated in a moot court at Chicago-Kent before U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke '83, also won the competition's best oral advocate award.

The National Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the New York City Bar Association, is the nation's oldest and largest appellate advocacy competition. Law schools from Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana competed in the Region 8 tournament, and this year's top two teams, IIT Chicago-Kent and Loyola University-Chicago School of Law, will join 28 teams from 15 other regions for the national finals in New York January 30 through February 2, 2012.

Gonzalez, Jorgensen and Kennedy defeated John Marshall and Marquette in the preliminary rounds before eliminating a second team from John Marshall in the quarterfinals. The team beat Northwestern to earn a place in the final round, where they defeated Loyola-Chicago.

"Although tournament rules prohibit two teams from the same law school from participating in the national finals, it was very nearly an all Chicago-Kent final round in the regional competition," said IIT Chicago-Kent Professor Kent D. Streseman, director of the law school's Ilana Diamond Rovner Program in Appellate Advocacy.

A second IIT Chicago-Kent team, third-year students Richard Gutierrez and Margot Nikitas, also went undefeated in the preliminary rounds, then beat Marquette in the quarterfinals before losing a close semifinal match-up against the Loyola-Chicago team. Gutierrez and Nikitas wrote the second-best brief in the regional tournament

"With so many strong teams in the regional tournament, our students had to perform magnificently in every round," said Professor Streseman. "I am proud that they did. I am also thrilled that Chicago-Kent will have a chance to compete for another national title."

This is the sixth time in seven years that IIT Chicago-Kent has advanced out of the regional tournament to the national finals. In 2008 and 2009, IIT Chicago-Kent became the first law school in more than 30 years to win back-to-back national championships in the tournament.

Winning team member Helena Gonzalez graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in economics and a minor in business administration. Teammate David Jorgensen earned his undergraduate degree in business administration-real estate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Teammate Jack Kennedy graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a major in political science and a minor in French.

Team member Richard Gutierrez graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a dual degree in English and history. Teammate Margot Nikitas earned her undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, science, psychology, architecture, business, design and law. IIT Chicago-Kent's advocacy programs have a tradition of excellence. 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.

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