IIT Chicago-Kent to compete in 2011 NBLSA Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Midwest Regional Competition

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Two teams from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law will compete in the Midwest regional round of the National Black Law Students Association's (NBLSA) Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. Chicago-Kent will compete against teams from 11 states in the region during NBLSA's Midwest convention February 16 to 20 in Chicago. The top two teams in the Midwest competition will join ten teams from five other regions at the national finals March 9 to 13 in Houston.

Third-year students Adella Deacon, Janelle Fairchild and Onika Angus, and second-year student Marcell Taylor are the members of one of Chicago-Kent's teams. Deacon and Fairchild were also members of the Chicago-Kent team that represented the region in the 2010 national finals in Boston. The second Chicago-Kent team comprises third-year student Natashia Holmes, second-year student Temilade Oduala, and first-year students Latonya Starks and Rachel Oliver. Oduala is also the current president of Chicago-Kent NBLSA chapter.

Both teams are coached by Cook County Circuit Court judges Sybil Thomas '91, Israel Desierto '90, Donald Havis and Maxwell Griffin Jr. Chicago-Kent's participation in the competition is supported by a gift to the law school from the Chicago law firm of SmithAmundsen LLC.

The NBLSA mock trial 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. The law school established a chapter of NBLSA in 1974. 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.