IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law second-year students Bernadett Guy, Jordan Lebovitz, Tara Korthals and Erin Mayer are the winners of the seventh annual National Ethics Trial Competition, held March 15 to 17 at the Robert T. Matsui Federal Courthouse in Sacramento, Calif.
IIT Chicago-Kent was one of only 16 law school teams invited to participate in the competition, which tests students’ trial advocacy skills in combination with their knowledge of professional conduct and responsibility. Five of the nation’s top ten trial advocacy programs competed in this tournament.
The students argued a complex legal malpractice case filed by a client against his former criminal defense attorney. The IIT Chicago-Kent team won five consecutive trials–three on behalf of the plaintiff and two on behalf of the defendant.
This is the third consecutive year that an IIT Chicago-Kent team has reached the tournament’s “Final Four” and the second time since 2008 that IIT Chicago-Kent has won the championship. Teams from IIT Chicago-Kent, Stetson University, Catholic University and St. John’s University advanced to the semifinal round. IIT Chicago-Kent beat Catholic University and advanced to the finals to face Stetson University, which it defeated to win the national championship.
Winning team member Bernadett Guy is a cum laude graduate of Loyola University Chicago, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a bachelor of science degree in psychology. Teammate Jordan Lebovitz earned his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Michigan. Teammate Tara Korthals graduated with honors from Miami University with a major in marketing and a minor in business legal studies. Teammate Erin Mayer is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in Spanish and minored in history.
The team was coached by IIT Chicago-Kent alumni Nicholas Caputo ’01, the Honorable Israel Desierto ’90, Nikitas Fudukos ’09, Gerise LaSpisa ’91, Daniel Martin’84 and Marcie Thorp ’92.
The National Ethics Trial Competition was established in 2006 by the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law to promote ethical and civility awareness through the mock trial competition format. According to the organizers, it is “the only law school-sponsored competition that features both an ethical component in the issues to be tried and scoring based on the participants’ observation of ethical and civility principles.”