Forrest Sumlar

I graduated from Morgan Park High School in 2003 after spending two years on the debate team. I continued my debate career in college at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign, where I co-founded Illinois Policy Debate. I later went on to attend law school at DePaul University College of Law, and I am now a practicing attorney at an investment advisory firm.

During college, I utilized the skills and knowledge I obtained through debate to excel in and out of class. While many would assume that policy debate skills do not easily translate into a material benefit for accounting courses, I found it to be my most significant asset. Policy debate taught me critical thinking skills that made it easy for me to analyze the case materials and develop a position. Policy debate also taught me oral presentation and persuasion skills that I used to explain and defend my position.

To no surprise, these skills also benefited me in my pursuit of becoming an attorney. The Law School Admissions Test is essentially a test of one’s ability to read, interpret, and analyze information quickly. That is debate! Even without taking a prep course or spending significant time preparing for the LSAT I was able to parlay my debate skills into scoring around the 80th percentile of those that took the same exam.

More significantly, I utilized those same skills to successfully defend real clients in front of real judges in real criminal proceedings. I now use my debate skills in my day-to-day activities ensuring that my firm is complying with securities regulations.

Debate has been everything to me.