On Saturday, April 2, ten pre-qualified teams from the Chicago Debate League gathered at the beautiful downtown offices of Mayer Brown LLP for the 2011 Mayer Brown Urban Debate Nationals Qualifier of Chicago.  The participating teams competed to represent Chicago at the Urban Debate National Championship, held this year in New York City.

The Mayer Brown tournament was one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the season for Chicago Debate League debaters.  Merely qualifying to attend is considered a significant accomplishment.  To qualify for Mayer Brown, teams had to display exemplary competitive success throughout the season or reach the finals of their conference championship tournament.

Once at the tournament, students competed in five rounds over one day in front of two-judge panels which consisted of one Mayer Brown attorney and one Chicago Debate League judge.  At the end, the two teams with the highest number of ballots won were selected to represent the CDL at the Urban Debate National Championship in New York City the next month.  The two top teams were Lane Tech and Whitney Young.

Mayer Brown volunteers were actively involved in judging and administering the event.  They also interacted with students and provided valuable information by answering questions about working at a major international law firm.

Students also participated in a very informative workshop with Mayer Brown Associates, moderated by former President of the Chicago Board of Education and Mayer Brown Partner, Mary Richardson Lowry, titled “Urban Debate and Diversifying the Legal Profession.” The Chicago Debate Commission would like to extend special thanks to Mrs. Lowry for her tremendous support of the Chicago Debate League during her tenure as President of the Chicago Board of Education, and for her ongoing efforts to improve education throughout Chicago.