Chicago-Kent College of Law Wins Best Advocate Awards at the 2016 Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition


From left: Benjamin Jacobs, Whitney Williams, Brandi Burton, and Dion Beatty

Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech won the top two best advocate awards at the national round of the 2016 Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition. Brandi Burton ’16 won the competition’s first-place best oral advocate award, and her teammate Dion Beatty ’17 won the second-place best oral advocate award.

The Chicago-Kent team, which included Beatty, Burton and their teammates Benjamin Jacobs ’17 and Whitney Williams ’16, entered the semifinal round undefeated, winning third place in the overall competition. The team received a special distinction from the U.S. Marine Corps for legal prowess and professionalism. Eighteen teams from six regions competed in the national round, held March 9 to 13 during the National Black Law Students Association’s national convention in Baltimore. Chicago-Kent qualified for the national finals after winning second place at the Midwest regional tournament in Chicago.

Beatty earned a master of social work degree and an undergraduate degree in sociology and creative writing from the University of Michigan. Beatty also holds a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in human resources from DePaul University. Burton graduated from Spelman College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Jacobs completed his undergraduate degree in economics at Allegheny College. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from the University of Missouri.

The team was coached by alumnae Adella Deacon ’11, Janelle Dixon ’11 and Katrice Matthews ’10, all of whom have represented Chicago-Kent in the national finals of this competition.

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.

Chicago-Kent’s trial advocacy teams have won numerous individual student honors and regional and national competitions. In the most recent U.S. News & World Report graduate school rankings, Chicago-Kent’s Trial Advocacy Program is ranked fourth in the country.

This event reflects the values expressed in IIT’s Diversity Statement and is intended to promote diversity at Illinois Tech.