Women in Litigation Conference: Teaching Trial Advocacy & All Star Bracket Challenge Midwest Regional

Friday, October 1, 2021 -- Monday, October 4, 2021

presented by the Dan K. Webb Center for Advocacy 

About the Event

Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s Dan K. Webb Center for Advocacy is pleased to present a unique conference and competition experience, as it holds its bi-annual Women in Litigation Conference in connection with the All Star Bracket Challenge regional mock trial competition it will be hosting the first weekend of October 2021.

"Teaching Trial Advocacy" is a multi-day virtual conference which will focus on concepts in teaching trial advocacy while addressing issues of gender and race. The All Star Bracket Challenge is the largest invitational mock trial competition in history, and the first to have regional-to-national qualifiers.

The competition includes 64 schools, divided into four regional tournaments of 16 schools each. The conference will begin Friday, October 1st in the afternoon with a practical skills training course in how to give effective feedback to trial advocacy students.

Over the weekend, we are asking all licensed attorneys to serve as a judge (virtually) in at least one round of the 2021 All Star Bracket Challenge Midwest Regional so you can put your recent training into action. This year, the competition problem is a criminal case involving allegations of domestic abuse.

The conference will then conclude on Monday, October 4th in the evening with two one-hour long panel discussions that will center on the subjects of 1) teaching opportunities in trial advocacy and 2) managing difficult case files in the classroom. The panel discussions will tie in themes from the fact pattern presented in the mock trial competition and touch on some of the diversity and inclusion issues that may arise in the academic trial advocacy space. These events are free of charge.


Virtual events will be hosted via the Zoom platform.

Continuing Legal Education Credit

The conference program has been approved by the Illinois MCLE Board for 3.75 hours of general credit, including 2.0 hours of Diversity & Inclusion professional responsibility credit.  Illinois Continuing Legal Education Credit will also be available to all attorneys who judge the competition. 

Agenda (CST)

*Friday, October 1, 2021
Practical Training Program
1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

A practical skills training course in how to give effective feedback to trial advocacy students. The workshop will include small group work through breakout rooms.

• Kathleen Farrell Duhig, Law Offices of Farrell & Farrell, Ltd.
• Bill Elward, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
• Rosemary Hollinger, Partner Up LLC
• Wendy Muchman, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
• M. Claire Nicholson, United States Attorneys’ Offices

*Friday, October 1, 2021 – Sunday, October 3, 2021
Optional Mock Trial Judging Opportunity – All Star Bracket Challenge Midwest Regional Competition
Judge one round or more!
Round 1: Friday, 10/1, 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Round 2: Saturday, 10/2, 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Round 3: Saturday, 10/2, 3:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
Round 4: Sunday, 10/3, 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

*Monday, October 4, 2021
Panel Discussions
5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

Teaching Trial Advocacy- 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

This session will discuss how you can prepare yourself to teach trial advocacy. Panelists will speak to the opportunities that exist, and different capacities in which there are, to teach trial advocacy and explain potential career path avenues you can take to get there.

• Elizabeth Lippy, Temple University School of Law
• Kelly Navarro, University of Illinois Chicago School of Law
• Judge Cynthia Stephens, Michigan First District Court of Appeals
• Presita West, Federal Defender Services of Eastern Tennessee

Managing Difficult Trial Advocacy Case Files- 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

This session will discuss considerations for drafting, editing, reviewing and selecting a case file for a class or competition. The panel will present constructive solutions to ethical problems and conflicts that may be presented when teaching or coaching a trial advocacy case file that deals with difficult or uncomfortable topics. The conversation will also detail why it is important to advocate for use of case files that include diversity and inclusion issues and how to use trial advocacy to educate law students on such matters.

• Robin Andrews, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
• Anita Royal, National Institute for Trial Advocacy
• Elise Wilson, Case Author for 2021 All Star Challenge Mock Trial Competition

Registration & Judge Sign-up

While it is our hope you will join us for both events, you may attend the conference without serving as a judge for the competition, and you may judge the competition without attending the conference.

Conference Registration (Judge registation is part of the conference registration form.)

Conference Materials


Robin Andrews is senior counsel at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement.  For over sixteen years, Robin has invested and ligated various violations of the Federal securities laws, including participating in parallel criminal investigations with the U.S. Attorney's Office and Federal criminal investigative agencies.  Robin has also taught various trial practice courses at Loyola Chicago School of Law for the past seven years, including a semester-long seminar using a complex document-intensive securities fraud case file that he drafted specifically for the course.  Robin also teaches trial practice for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.  

Bill Elward is a full time instructor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  Bill teaches Evidence, Advanced Evidence, Bar Exam Preparation, and Trial Advocacy.  Bill also teaches Trial Advocacy at the University Of Chicago School of Law each year and has taught trial advocacy at numerous law schools.  Bill is the Director of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) Midwest Trials Skills Program.  He teaches deposition practice, motion practice, and trial skills for NITA nationally and internationally.  From 2014 to the present, Bill has worked as a consultant for National Institute for Trial Advocacy, developing programs for government agencies and law firms throughout the U.S.

Kathleen Farrell Duhig focuses her practice on probate, estate planning and real estate.  She is active as a trial advocacy instructor with Loyola University Chicago School of Law and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.  Prior to her time at Farrell & Farrell, Ltd., Kathleen worked for much of a decade as a criminal prosecutor for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, culminating her public service career as a member of the Trials Assistance Bureau, prosecuting violent crimes and murder trials across the state of Illinois.  She is the current president of the Southwest Bar Association.

Rosemary Hollinger is the founder of Partner Up LLC.  She practiced law for over 30 years in various capacities including legal aid attorney, law firm associate and finally as an attorney and manager for the US government.  Rosemary started at the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission as a trial attorney and eventually served as a Deputy Director in the Division of Enforcement and as the Chicago Regional Administrator.  She currently represents asylum seekers through the ABA Immigration Justice Project.  She has taught the National Institute of Trial Advocacy Deposition and Trial Advocacy programs for over 20 years and at DePaul University Law School.  More recently, she completed the training to become certified as an ADHD coach and specializes in coaching lawyers with executive function challenges or ADHD.

Elizabeth Lippy is the director of trial advocacy at Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and maintains a private practice as a founding member of the law firm of Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. where she focuses on criminal defense and civil litigation matters including serious sexual assault cases.  Elizabeth also created Trial Advocacy Consulting & Training (TACT) through which she offers individualized and unique trial advocacy training, one of which is the For Women By Women Trial Advocacy Training.  Elizabeth has been named a Super Lawyer in Pennsylvania for the past decade and was most recently named one of Pennsylvania’s 10 best female attorneys by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys. 

Kelly Navarro is the Director of the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) School of Law’s Trial Advocacy & Dispute Resolution Program.  She manages the nationally ranked trial advocacy and dispute resolution competitive team program and administers and teaches advocacy simulation courses.  For nearly 30 years, Kelly directed the ABA JMLS National Criminal Justice Trial Competition.  As a certified mediator, Kelly founded and directed the UIC law school’s Conflict Resolution Institute.  Before joining UIC, she served as a Cook County State’s Assistant State’s Attorney, where she gained significant trial experience and specialized in the prosecution of sex crimes.  As a practitioner, she serves as an arbitrator, mediation trainer, and criminal defense attorney.

Wendy Muchman is the Harry B. Reese Professor of Practice at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.  She primarily teaches classes in Professional Responsibility.  Between 1989 and 2019 she worked at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, where she most recently served as Chief of Litigation and Professional Education.  Her other teaching experience includes courses at Chicago-Kent College of Law where she taught intensive trial advocacy and a course she developed, Ethics and Advocacy.  She is a faculty member for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy for regional and national trial advocacy, and deposition programs, as well as various law firm training workshops, and serves as a team leader for the Midwest Regional Trial Program.

Claire Nicholson is a special assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, assigned to the criminal division. Prior to that she worked at the Illinois Attorney General’s Office as a criminal prosecutor in both the Trials Assistance Bureau and the Financial Crimes unit. Claire has tried dozens of bench and jury trial to verdict.  Claire has taught trial advocacy at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, the John Marshall Law School and at University of Chicago.  She is also a certified National Institute for Trial Advocacy Instructor and teaches trial advocacy courses to licensed attorneys. 

Anita Royal began teaching for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy in 1999.  Teaching and inspiring excellence in trial advocacy is her passion.  Anita taught trial advocacy for more than two decades at the University of Arizona College of Law.  Prior to, Anita worked in the bankruptcy and commercial litigation section at the law firm of Stompoly and Stroud where she represented numerous large institutional commercial and financial entities and maintained a small criminal defense practice, and in the Office of the Pima County Public Defender where she spent nearly five years successfully representing hundreds of persons subjected to involuntary civil commitment as well as juveniles and adults charged with felony criminal charges.

Judge Cynthia Stephens was appointed to the Michigan First District Court of Appeals in 2008.  Prior to, Judge Stephens served as Judge of the Third Circuit Court and the 36th District Court.  She has served as adjunct faculty at Wayne State University Law School, the Detroit College of Law and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and in Emory University’s Kessler-Eidson Advocacy Program.  Judge Stephens has been active in bar work including 16 years as a Commissioner of the State Bar of Michigan.  She is the co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and serves on the board of the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Court.  Most recently she was reappointed as a Judge of the Court of Claims in May 2017. 

Presita West is an assistant federal defender working on the behalf of clients in the eastern district of Tennessee federal system.  Presita previously worked as a Cook County public defender for 16 years, representing clients charged with juvenile petitions, traffic cases and felony charges.  She has honed her teaching skills at the University of Chicago Intensive Trial Practice Workshop, and through the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Midwest Trials Program.  Presita is a former recipient of two fellowships through First Defense Legal Aid, where she served the Englewood community as educator and attorney representing individuals detained in Chicago Police custody.

Elise Wilson is a civil defense attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who focuses her practice on aviation, trucking, and other complex tort litigation.  Elise is a candidate member of the American Mock Trial Association Board of Directors and a member of the American Mock Trial Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  She has competed in, coached, and written cases for trial advocacy competitions at the high school, college, and law school mock trial levels. This semester, she is serving as a coach for the Harvard Law School Tournament of Champions team and four teams from the Georgia Tech undergraduate mock trial program.