The IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law team of Lindsay Gephardt ’12, Heather Widell ’12, and Erik Wilson ’12 has advanced to the final rounds of the National Trial Competition (NTC), the premier trial advocacy tournament in the nation. IIT Chicago-Kent was one of two winning teams in the NTC Region 8 tournament, held February 9 to 11 at the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago. Gephardt, Widell and Wilson will join a team from John Marshall along with 26 teams from 13 other regions in the national finals, which take place March 21 to 24 in Austin, Tex.
To win the regional championship, IIT Chicago-Kent defeated teams from Valparaiso, Loyola, John Marshall and Northwestern, the defending national champions. This is the sixth consecutive year in which IIT Chicago-Kent has represented the region in the national tournament. IIT Chicago-Kent won the national championship in 1988, 2007 and 2008.
The competitors argued Stockard v. Murphy, a vehicular accident case brought by the estate of a passenger killed in the accident.
Team member Lindsay Gephardt graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a major in justice studies and a minor in sociology. She was a member of the IIT Chicago-Kent team that reached the finals at the 2010 Stetson National PreTrial Competition. Teammate Heather Widell graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in sport management and psychology. Widell was a member of the IIT Chicago-Kent team that advanced to the national finals of the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law’s 2010 Law Student Trial Advocacy Competition. In addition, she and teammate Erik Wilson were members of the IIT Chicago-Kent team that finished as semifinalists in the 2011 National Civil Trial Competition. Team member Erik Wilson received a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Florida A & M University. Wilson and Gephardt were members of the IIT Chicago-Kent team that finished as semifinalists in the 2011 AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition Midwest regional tournament.
A second team from IIT Chicago-Kent — Joseph Carlasare ’12 and Rachel Remke ’12 – reached the semifinal round of the regional competition.
The National Trial Competition, established in 1975 by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, is one of the oldest and most prestigious competitions in the United States. The tournament is designed to encourage and strengthen law students’ advocacy skills and provide them with valuable interaction with judges and attorneys. The competition is co-sponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Bar Association.
The teams are coached by David A. Erickson, retired Illinois Appellate Court Justice and director of IIT Chicago-Kent’s Trial Advocacy Program, along with adjunct professor David Lavin and IIT Chicago-Kent alumni Joshua Jones ’08, Anthony Lucafo ’07, Alexandra Molesky ’07 and Dee Brown Lee ’97. (Jones was named the National Trial Competition’s top advocate in 2008, and he was the first person in the tournament’s history to be on back-to-back championship teams.)