Chicago-Kent's Trial Advocacy Program ranked among top three nationwide

Thursday, March 31, 2016
Nicolette Ward '16 (left) and Emily Schroeder '15 defeated six nationally ranked trial teams to win the 2015 National Trial Competition, the premier trial advocacy tournament in the United States.
Nicolette Ward '16 (left) and Emily Schroeder '15 defeated six nationally ranked trial teams to win the 2015 National Trial Competition, the premier trial advocacy tournament in the United States.

The Trial Advocacy Program at Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technology has been ranked third in the nation in the 2017 U.S. News and World Report law school specialty rankings (published March 2016), up from fourth place last year and sixth place two years ago. The annual U.S. News rankings evaluate nearly 200 law schools in the country.

Chicago-Kent has been a pioneer and national leader in the teaching of trial advocacy since the founding of its rigorous Trial Advocacy Program in 1971. Over the past 45 years, thousands of law students have learned courtroom skills through the program. Today, more than 26 class sections of trial advocacy are offered each year. Students are taught by a highly skilled and dedicated group of judges, prosecutors, public defenders and private practitioners, including many alumni of the program.

The law school's long tradition of excellence in trial advocacy is one of the hallmarks of legal education at Chicago-Kent. Each year, an elite group of students is chosen to represent the law school in regional and national interscholastic competitions across the country. Over the years, Chicago-Kent teams have won numerous national championships, including the National Trial Competition (1988, 2007, 2008 and 2015), the National Ethics Trial Competition (2008, 2012 and 2015), and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy's Tournament of Champions (2010). Chicago-Kent is among the top schools in the country in advancing to the final four in national competitions. [See the team record from 2014–15 and 2015–16.]

In 34 years of competing for the National Trial Competition’s regional championship, Chicago-Kent has won the Midwest regional tournament 25 times. Additionally, Chicago-Kent has been the regional champion four of the last six years in the American Association of Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition. 

Justice David A. Erickson (ret.), director of the law school’s Trial Advocacy Program, has coached Chicago-Kent teams since 1983. Before joining the law school faculty full time in 2006, he had a long and distinguished legal career as an appellate court justice, supervising judge, felony court judge, private practitioner and state prosecutor. In 2015, Judge Erickson received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching Advocacy from Stetson University College of Law.

Founded in 1888, Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, also known as Illinois Tech, a private, technology-focused research university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, science, architecture, business, design, human sciences, applied technology, and law.

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