Moot Court Honors Society Standouts Recognized by Peers for Mentorship and Support
Two Chicago-Kent College of Law students were hailed by their classmates for their dedication to and mentorship within the school’s Moot Court Honor Society, enabling them to receive the organization’s highest annual honor.
Hayden Dinges ’21 and Sakshi Jain ’21 both received the 2021 Marc Grinker Student Commitment Award for their support of fellow students, who nominated the two via anonymously written testimonials.
“They both repeatedly went above and beyond to help their colleagues succeed and keep [the society] a vibrant and supportive organization,” says Chicago-Kent Professor of Legal Writing and Research Cherish M. Keller, who oversees the society. “I am incredibly grateful and honored to call them my fellow [society] alumni.”
Dinges was a teaching assistant for the school’s Legal Writing, Civil Procedure, and Appellate Advocacy courses in 2020, and became a moot court mentor and coach in 2021. That same year, he and a classmate won “best brief” and reached the quarterfinals in one of the nation’s most prestigious moot court contests: the National Moot Court Competition.
During competitions, Dinges became known for his dogged, unflinching style. Classmates seemed bewildered that he could compete on such a level with all the time he dedicated to them on the side.
“My moot court experience would not have been the same without Hayden and his expertise, guidance, and friendship,” one fellow student wrote, adding that Dinges “truly poured his all into this organization, competing in the spring of his [final year], while also balancing all of his other responsibilities, including coaching another junior team! On top of everything else, Hayden judged dozens of practices this year.”
“He is the person students work with in class, he’s a coach, and he’s a competitor,” another student added. “He carries more than his weight in every endeavor.”
Dinges says of receiving the award, which includes a stipend that varies from year to year, “It was very unexpected…Given how much help I received from my mentors—their actions were selfless—I really made it a point to pay it forward.
“For me, moot court has been the highlight of my law school experience. In moot court, you’re able to become who you need to be as a lawyer early on,” Dinges adds.
Jain also excelled in competitions, receiving “best brief” with Dinges in the 2020 William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition, in which the pair reached the quarterfinals. She coached and judged as well, and quickly became known for her above-and-beyond support of fellow students, both professionally and personally.
“I think that [Jain’s] knack for empathy makes her stand apart,” one student wrote. “She always made a point to ask about life outside of moot court and to check in with me personally. She made me feel like moot court was a place where I could grow professionally, but beyond that, make real friendships.”
Another wrote, “Not only is she the kindest judge with the nicest feedback, she also volunteered to judge our team and was always super helpful—no matter if we were at our best, or at our worst.”
“I am absolutely elated to be honored with the Marc Grinker for an organization that I absolutely love. Through [the society], I have met the best people of my life,” Jain wrote of receiving the award.
“Now that I have graduated, I am reminiscing about my time in [the society]. It is an amazing group of people who are dedicated, hardworking, and fun to be around. I was glad to be a part of it.”
Jain received her bachelor’s in law from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, in New Delhi. She worked as a tax associate for PepsiCo India before enrolling at Chicago-Kent. During school she worked as a law clerk at SmithAmundsen and will start working as an associate at Ice Miller’s Chicago office this summer.
Born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, Dinges received a degree in English and urban studies at Vassar College before going to work at AmeriCorps and, later, as an emergency management consultant for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He says he chose Chicago-Kent primarily because of the reputation of its legal writing program.
In August he will start as an appellate attorney at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.