Two major international law firms with very large Chicago offices, DLA Piper and Baker & McKenzie, have become partners and sponsors of the Chicago Debate League this year. Each firm has established new debate programs at schools that have joined the CDL.
DLA Piper is sponsoring the new debate program at the University of Chicago Woodlawn Charter High School and Baker & McKenzie is sponsoring the new debate program at McCutcheon Elementary School. Both firms provide not only financial support for these debate programs and for the Chicago Debate Commission, they have also provided connections between their lawyers and the coaches and debaters at these thriving debate programs.
These firms are not new to supporting these communities. Both law firms are engaged in broader charitable projects in the area in which they wanted to invest in building debate programs.
DLA Piper has a broad pro bono and community-building project that it has been engaged in for several years in the Woodlawn neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. According to DLA Piper’s Chicago Pro Bono Manager Anne Geraghty, “We have been working hard to find the very best programs to invest in for the Woodlawn community, an area we are committed to making a substantial difference through our pro bono efforts here at the firm. The Chicago Debate League’s proven record of success dovetailed nicely with our design. We have been very pleased so far with the development of the University of Chicago Woodlawn Debate Team.”
U. of C. Woodlawn Principal Shayne Evans sees the debate program as highly valuable to his school and students. “What I have seen in the debate team so fr this year is a remarkable synthesis of academic rigor and student engagement and excitement. I’m 100 percent behind it, because it’s making a real difference for our students here.”
Baker & McKenzie has a long-standing and deep commitment to supporting and assisting McCutcheon Elementary School, in Chicago’s hard-scrabble Uptown neighborhood. “I can’t think of a program that can do more good academically and in preparation for later in life than a competitive debate program can. That’s why I supported the firm’s investment in a debate team for McCutcheon,” said Robert Deignan, Senior Partner at Baker & McKenzie who leads the effort for McCutcheon Debate, at a firm he has been with for more than 35 years.
DLA Piper is a major global law firm with 3,500 lawyers located in 30 countries and 69 offices throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.
Baker & McKenzie brings an instinctively global perspective and deep market knowledge and insights with its 3,750 locally admitted lawyers in 68 offices worldwide.
If your law firm or business is interested in sponsoring a debate team in the Chicago Debate League or Chicago Middle School Debate League, contact the Chicago Debate Commission today — CDC@UrbanDebate.org or 312-427-0524.