IIT Chicago-Kent Announces Its NBLSA’s 2014 Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Midwest Regional Competition Team

From left: Kendra L. Lee '15, Henderson Banks '15, Zachary Jordan '16, and Kendra D. Spearman '15

Henderson Banks ’15, Zachary Jordan ’16, Kendra L. Lee ’15 and Kendra D. Spearman ’15 will represent IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law in the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Midwest Regional Competition in Minneapolis. Sponsored by the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), the tournament will be held during the organization’s regional convention January 29 to February 2, 2014.

IIT Chicago-Kent will compete against law school teams from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. The top two teams in the Midwest tournament will join ten teams from five other regions in the national finals March 11 to 16 in Milwaukee during NBLSA’s national convention.

Team member Henderson Banks graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with a double major in political science and labor and employment relations. Teammate Zachary Jordan completed his undergraduate education at Northern Illinois University with a degree in philosophy and political science. Teammate Kendra L. Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and business administration and an MBA from Florida A&M University. Teammate Kendra D. Spearman received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Spearman earned a master’s in public administration with an emphasis in public management from DePaul University. She is currently working on a masters in Christian ministry degree at Northern Seminary.

The team is coached by Cook County Circuit Court Judges Israel A. Desierto ’90 and Maxwell Griffin, Jr. IIT 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.

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