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

Friday, February 10, 2012

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law will defend its regional championship in the National Black Law Students Association's (NBLSA) Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Midwest Regional Competition. IIT Chicago-Kent will compete against teams from 12 states in the region during NBLSA's Midwest convention February 15 to19 in Columbus, Ohio. The top two teams in the Midwest competition will join ten teams from five other regions at the national finals March 7 to 11 in Washington, D.C.

 From left, IIT Chicago-Kent students Hazel Gumbs, Rachel Oliver, Joanna Ojo and Brittany Pritchett will defend the law school’s regional title in the 2012 National Black Law Students Association’s Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Midwest Regional Competition.

From left, IIT Chicago-Kent students Hazel Gumbs, Rachel Oliver, Joanna Ojo and Brittany Pritchett will defend the law school’s regional title in the 2012 National Black Law Students Association’s Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Midwest Regional Competition.

Third-year students Hazel Gumbs and Brittany Pritchett and second-year students Joanna Ojo and Rachel Oliver will represent IIT Chicago-Kent in the tournament. The team is coached by Cook County Circuit Court judges Maxwell Griffin, Jr., and Donald Havis and Chicago attorney Michael Baron.

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.

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, psychology, architecture, business, design and law. The law school established a chapter of NBLSA in 1974. IIT 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, IIT 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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