IIT Chicago-Kent Wins 2014 Championship and Best Brief Award at the William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition

IIT Chicago-Kent students Eric Shinabarger, Melody Gaal and Nicholas Bartzen won the 2014 championship and best brief award at the McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition.

Second-year students Nicholas Bartzen, Melody Gaal and Eric Shinabarger won the overall competition and the best brief award February 20-22, 2013 at the University of Minnesota Law School.

The students argued Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Secretary of U.S. Dept. of Health and Human, a case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the application of the so-called contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Bartzen, Gaal and Shinabarger won preliminary round competitions against Whittier Law School and another IIT Chicago-Kent team before winning elimination rounds against Washington University, Howard University and the University of Wisconsin. IIT Chicago-Kent defeated the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the finals for the championship.

Bartzen earned a degree in economics and management at Beloit College. Gaal received a bachelor of science degree in biology with a minor in law and society from the University of California, San Diego. Shinabarger graduated from Taylor University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. The team was coached by third-year students Scott Lechowicz and Stephen Pauwels.

The competition is named for University of Minnesota Law School alumnus William E. McGee ’80. The first African-American to be appointed chief public defender in the state of Minnesota, McGee served as a public defender and prosecutor for Hennepin County. He also worked as a staff attorney and, later, as executive director at the Legal Rights Center. He devoted time to numerous community and legal organizations, including the NAACP, the Legal Redress Committee, and the Minnesota Criminal Rules Committee. McGee was a founding member and a past president of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. He died in 2000.

Founded in 1888, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design and law. IIT Chicago-Kent is the only law school ever to win the National Trial Competition and the National Moot Court Competition in the same year (2008), and the first school to win the National Moot Court Competition in two consecutive years (2008 and 2009).