IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Students Will Argue a Hypothetical Case Related to the 1963 Bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law will compete in the 2013 National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s Tournament of Champions, taking place October 31-November 3 at Cumberland School of Law located at Samford University, in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Tournament of Champions is one of the most prestigious law school trial competitions in the country. Each year, 16 schools from the nation’s nearly 200 law schools are invited to participate. Invitations are based on the schools’ three-year performance record at the National Trial Competition and the National Student Trial Advocacy Competition and in prior Tournament of Champions competitions.

This is the seventh consecutive year and the 12th time overall that IIT Chicago-Kent has participated in the competition. IIT Chicago-Kent won the overall Tournament of Champions and its best advocate award in 2010.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham and the involvement of Cumberland School of Law’s alumni in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing cases, teams in the 2013 Tournament of Champions will argue State of Unita v. Tommy Axelwood. It is a hypothetical case that parallels many of the events and much of the evidence from these cases. On Sunday, September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church, which was at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement. Twenty-two people were injured, and four girls—Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley—were killed.

Third-year students Holli Dobler, Lauren Elliott and Lauren Zabrin and second-year student Emily Schroeder will represent IIT Chicago-Kent in the Tournament of Champions. The team will be coached by Judge Erickson, adjunct professor David Lavin, and IIT Chicago-Kent alumni Joshua Jones ‘08, Tara Korthals ‘13, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Demetrios G. Kottaras ‘84 and Rachel Moran ‘08.

Team member Holli Dobler graduated cum laude from Miami University with a major in English literature and minors in linguistics and Spanish. Teammate Lauren Elliott completed her undergraduate education in business economics and public policy at Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business. Teammate Emily Schroeder graduated from Purdue University with an honors degree in political science with minors in history and Italian. Teammate Lauren Zabrin graduated cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in political science and a minor in Spanish.

-From left: Holli Dobler, Lauren Zabrin, Lauren Elliott and Emily Schroeder