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On February 22, 2015 Anthony M. Sam judged the American Mock Trial Association’s Joliet Regional Competition held at the Will County Courthouse. This year’s competition featured teams from Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin.  Eight teams from the Joliet Regional will compete in the Opening Round Championship Series Tournament at the Kane County Courthouse on March 21-22, 2015. Those teams include Northern Illinois University, Loyola University, Chicago, Wheaton College, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, the University of Chicago, Lewis University, and Michigan State University.  The American Mock Trial Association was founded in 1985 and provides college students from around the country an opportunity to develop critical thinking and public speaking skills, as well as a knowledge of legal practices and procedures by participating in trial simulations. Approximately 600 teams from over 350 universities and colleges participate in the American Mock Trial Association’s tournaments each year.

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Cray Huber’s own Anthony M. Sam coached the trial team from The John Marshall Law School for the 12th Annual National Animal Law Competition which competed at Harvard Law School on February 28, 2015 and March 1, 2015.  The team from The John Marshall Law School was named national champion at the competition on March 1, 2015. John Marshall took first place in the Closing Argument Competition.  This is the sixth national title for John Marshall in the Closing Argument Competition since the competition began.  Anthony M. Sam is a former two-time national champion of the National Animal Law Competition at Harvard Law School earning national titles in 2010 and 2011.  http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/03/02/711529/10122739/en/Chicago-s-John-Marshall-Law-School-Wins-1st-Named-National-Champion-in-National-Animal-Law-Competition-Held-at-Harvard-Law-School.html

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The Client Counseling teams Chase M. Gruszka coached over the weekend of February 6-8 were tremendously successful.  After defeating ten teams from five other Midwestern law schools (including Northern Illinois University, Marquette, Loyola University, the University of Illinois and Valparaiso Law School), John Marshall’s two teams took first place and second place at the Midwestern Regional Competition.  By winning the Regional Competition, John Marshall qualified for the National Championship Tournament at the University of North Carolina in March.  This is the second year in a row Chase has coached John Marshall to a regional championship and a birth to the National Championship.

The current American Bar Association Client Counseling Competition originated as the Mock Law Office Competition at the University of Southern California in 1969.  It has been held each year since then, with the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division administering the competition.  The purpose of the competition is to promote greater knowledge and interest among law students in preventative law and counseling functions of the practice of law.

This year’s National Championship is being held at the University of North Carolina in Raleigh over the weekend of March 12-14.

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Illinois State Representative Jack Franks (D-Marengo) recently introduced HB 1441 to the Illinois General Assembly that would amend the Premises Liability Act, 740 ILCS 130/1, et seq. The bill provides that whether a condition is open and obvious may be considered by the trier of fact only in assessing the degree of comparative fault, if any, and may not be considered with respect to any other issue of law or fact, including duty. The bill was introduced on February 5, 2015, and was referred to House Rules Committee.

Whether a condition is open and obvious has traditionally been part of the duty analysis (and, therefore, a question of law decided by the court) in premises liability and some products liability matters.    Representative Franks’ Bill is more reason why defendants in Illinois need strong legal representation.

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Cray Huber Partners Daniel K. Cray, James K. Horstman, Michael D. Huber, Stephen W. Heil and Rodney E. VanAusdal have been selected to the 2015 Illinois Super Lawyers list.  Their names and contact information will be included in the February 2015 Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine and Chicago magazine.

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Daniel K. Cray has been recognized by Who’s Who Legal 2015 in the areas of Life Sciences and Products Liability.

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On March 10, Michael D. Huber and Rodney E. VanAusdal attended the 2015 Podiatry Insurance Company of America (PICA) Defense Counsel Symposium followed by the 2015 ProAssurance Defense Counsel Meeting on March 11 at the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel in San Francisco.