The Bruce M. Kohen Courtroom at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law will be dedicated at a public reception on January 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the law school’s Lewis Collens Atrium, 565 West Adams Street (between Clinton and Jefferson streets) in Chicago.
The courtroom is named for Bruce M. Kohen, a retired partner of Anesi, Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen Ltd. in Chicago, who graduated from IIT Chicago-Kent with honors in 1979. Kohen practiced in the areas of personal injury, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death and construction-related injuries. He worked tirelessly with Illinois legislators to protect workers’ rights and has consistently secured multimillion dollar awards for his clients. Kohen served as president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and has been listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” for over ten years.
“Bruce Kohen has distinguished himself as a trial lawyer, a leader in the fight to preserve laws that protect consumers and victims, and as a staunch supporter of the law school,” says IIT Chicago-Kent Dean Harold J. Krent. “This courtroom and his example serve as an inspiration to the IIT Chicago-Kent and legal communities.”
When Kohen was in law school, there was no on-site courtroom in which he and his trial advocacy classmates could practice. (A courtroom honoring federal judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz ’25 was built at the law school’s current location in 1992.) Kohen knew early on that his interest was “in being a trial lawyer, in doing litigation.”
“I’d like to think that this courtroom will help students prepare for the practice of law in many, many ways,” says Kohen. “There’s no question that setting a realistic and proper atmosphere is the best way for students to practice the art of advocacy. You don’t want the first time somebody walks into a courtroom to be when they’re actually representing a client.”
The Bruce M. Kohen Courtroom is a 738-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility designed by award-winning architect Thomas Roszak, a 1989 graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture. The courtroom will primarily be used for classes and competition practice by students on IIT Chicago-Kent’s trial advocacy and moot court teams.
It is furnished with a judge’s bench, attorneys’ tables, a six-seat jury bench and a gallery. The courtroom also includes two 90-inch television monitors, a Crestron control system for the lights, and audiovisual systems. The AV system has three built-in document cameras and four display monitors – one each on the judge’s bench, plaintiff and defense tables and the witness stand. Visual display is available via computers, the four display monitors and the TV monitors. The sound system can play audio from computers, cable TV or from the courtroom’s three built-in-microphones.
“You want students who go into trial work to be excited about it,” says Kohen. “It is indeed exciting for students to be in a realistic atmosphere that will instill in them the sense of decorum, the intensity and the confidence that successful lawyers possess—you can build that by going into a courtroom such as this.”
“This is a state-of-the-art facility,” he adds. “Today, more than ever, you have to balance your advocacy in courtroom along with your technology skills and there’s no better place to experiment than in a courtroom such as this.”