Symone Shinton wins the 2016 Ilana Diamond Rovner Appellate Advocacy Competition


From left: Symone Shinton and Chief Judge Diane Wood

Symone Shinton, a third-year student at Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech, has won the 25th annual Ilana Diamond Rovner Appellate Advocacy Competition, sponsored by the law school’s Moot Court Honor Society. The competition is named for Chicago-Kent graduate Ilana Diamond Rovner, judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

This year, students argued Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a First Amendment case out of Colorado. After a devoutly religious bakery owner refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding, the couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, invoking a state civil rights law that forbids places of public accommodation from discriminating based on sexual orientation. At issue in the U.S. Supreme Court are bakery owner John Phillips’ defenses under the First Amendment.

In the final round of competition, Symone Shinton argued against second-year student Kara Angeletti. As the winner, Shinton received the Ilana Diamond Rovner Award for Outstanding Appellate Advocate. Shinton earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in international affairs and Spanish. After graduation, she will join the law firm of Greenberg Traurig in Chicago as a litigation associate.

Second-place winner Kara Angeletti received the Fay Clayton Award for Outstanding Oral Advocate. Fay Clayton, who graduated with honors from Chicago-Kent in 1978, was a founding shareholder of the Chicago law firm of Robinson, Curley and Clayton, P.C., until she retired in 2016.

Quinn Ford, a second-year student, received the Ralph L. Brill Award for Best Brief. Ralph Brill, a member of the faculty since 1961, founded the law school’s legal research and writing program and its award-winning moot court program.

The final round of the competition was judged by a distinguished panel that included the Honorable Ilana Diamond Rovner; the Honorable Diane P. Wood, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; and Chicago-Kent Professor Steven J. Heyman.

Established in 1992, the Ilana Diamond Rovner Program in Appellate Advocacy provides training for students in Chicago-Kent’s Moot Court Honor Society. Students in the program complete intensive course work in appellate litigation, represent the law school in appellate advocacy tournaments throughout the United States, and are eligible to participate in the Ilana Diamond Rovner Competition.