IIT Chicago-Kent to Participate in National Trial Competition Regional Tournament

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law will send two teams to participate in the National Trial Competition’s (NTC) Region 8 tournament February 9-11 at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago.

The National Trial Competition, established in 1975 by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, is the one of the oldest and most prestigious competitions in the United States. The tournament is designed to encourage and strengthen law students’ advocacy skills and provide them with valuable interaction with judges and attorneys. The competition is co-sponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Bar Association.

IIT Chicago-Kent will compete against law school teams from Illinois and Indiana in the regional tournament, with the top two teams advancing to the national competition to be held March 21 to 24 in Austin, Tex. Teams from IIT Chicago-Kent have represented the region in the national tournament for the past five years and for 24 out of the past 30 years. In 2011, IIT Chicago-Kent students were national finalists and won the best oral advocate award. In 1988, 2007 and 2008, IIT Chicago-Kent won national championships.

Third-year students Joseph Carlasare and Rachel Remke will compete on one of IIT Chicago-Kent’s teams. Carlasare and Remke were members of the IIT Chicago-Kent team that won the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s 2010 Tournament of Champions, with Carlasare also receiving the tournament’s best advocate award. Joseph Carlasare graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy with a minor in economics. Teammate Rachel Remke graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a double major in political science and psychology. An Honors Scholar, Remke was a member of the IIT Chicago-Kent team that finished second in the 2011 National Trial Competition finals.

The second IIT Chicago-Kent team will comprise third-year students Lindsay Gephardt, Heather Widell and Erik Wilson. Lindsay Gephardt graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a major in justice studies and a minor in sociology. She was a member of the IIT Chicago-Kent team that reached the finals at the 2010 Stetson National PreTrial Competition. Teammate Heather Widell graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in sport management and psychology. Widell was a member of the IIT Chicago-Kent team that advanced to the national finals of the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law’s 2010 Law Student Trial Advocacy Competition. She and teammate Erik Wilson were members of the IIT Chicago-Kent team that finished as semifinalists in the 2011 National Civil Trial Competition. Team member Erik Wilson received a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Florida A & M University. Wilson and Gephardt were members of the IIT Chicago-Kent team that finished as semifinalists in the 2011 AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition Midwest regional tournament.

The teams are coached by David A. Erickson, retired Illinois Appellate Court Justice and director of IIT Chicago-Kent’s Trial Advocacy Program, along with adjunct professor David Lavin and IIT Chicago-Kent alumni Joshua Jones ’08, Anthony Lucafo ’07, Alexandra Molesky ’07 and Dee Brown Lee ’97. (Jones was named the National Trial Competition’s top advocate in 2008, and he was the first person in the tournament’s history to be on back-to-back championship teams.)