The IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law team of Zeke Katz ’14 and Jack Marshall ’13 won the Evan A. Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition held March 15 to 17 in Madison, Wisconsin. Katz and Marshall also won the award for the second-best respondent’s brief.
Twenty-six law school teams from many of the top moot court programs in the country participated in the tournament, which is named for Judge Evan A. Evans, an 1899 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School who served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 1916 to 1948. During his years of private practice, Judge Evans was noted for both his brief-writing and his outstanding oral advocacy. This is the third time in six years IIT Chicago-Kent has won the tournament.
The students argued State of New Haven v. James Morinth, a hypothetical criminal case involving a defendant charged with driving under the influence and refusing to give a DNA sample, in accordance with state law. After three strong preliminary round arguments, the winning IIT Chicago-Kent team defeated teams in four equally difficult elimination matches—including one against a second IIT Chicago-Kent team in the quarterfinals.
Second-year students Jake Berger ’14 and Colleen Nickel ’14, members of the second IIT Chicago-Kent team, advanced to the quarterfinal round of the competition but were defeated by Katz and Marshall. Berger was honored as the tournament’s third-best oral advocate from among 52 eligible competitors.
“This was the seventh time in my stint as director that IIT Chicago-Kent teams have faced each other in elimination rounds,” said Professor Kent D. Streseman, director of IIT Chicago-Kent’s Ilana Diamond Rovner Appellate Advocacy Program. “Both teams were magnificent in that argument. It would have made a great final round.”
In the final round held at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, IIT Chicago-Kent faced two-time defending champions University of California, Hastings College of the Law. The final-round panel featured seven judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, two state supreme courts, and the Wisconsin appellate courts.
“The panel provided a superb test of real-world appellate advocacy skills, and it was gratifying to see our students perform so well in those conditions,” said Professor Streseman.
Winning team member Zeke Katz, a second-year student, majored in philosophy and religion at Colgate University. Teammate Jack Marshall is a third-year student who graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a double major in English and political science.