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For Immediate Release:                                     Contact: Jennifer Jones
March 12, 2021                                           

Mayer Brown LLP Sponsors Chicago Debates 2021 Urban Debate National Championship  

Chicago Debates and Mayer Brown LLP are teaming up to again host the 2021 Urban Debate National Championship tournament, Saturday, March 13th.  Mayer Brown LLP is a longtime supporter of Chicago Debates and has sponsored this tournament for nearly a decade! The specialty tournament, a national qualifier, welcomes top debate teams from across the Chicago Debates league. Students from six schools will compete for the opportunity to participate in the National Debate Expo hosted by the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL) April 16-18. The annual Expo brings together student debaters from the 22 Urban Debate Leagues from across the country.  All Expo finalists will receive a college scholarship of at least $1,000.  The National Debater of the Year will receive at least a $2,000 scholarship and deliver an acceptance speech at the Expo’s “Opening Night”. This year, the Expo will be virtual.

Founded in 1881, Mayer Brown’s Chicago office is the original and largest office of its firm.  Mayer Brown specializes in finance, corporate, and litigation work, and has a long and impressive history of public service. One of the firm’s core values is civic involvement, encouraging its lawyers to contribute to many of the city’s most worthy causes. “Students who have won this tournament in past years have often experienced tremendous success at the national tournament.   Year after year, this event has been a fantastic opportunity for Mayer Brown to give back to the community and directly benefit the deserving and inspiring debaters of Chicago Debates. We’re happy to support and encourage them in their academic achievement through debate,” said Jerry DeBerry, the firm’s Director of Diversity & Inclusion.

Schools participating in this year’s tournament:

Solorio Academy High School

Thomas Kelly High School

Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center



Hancock College Prep

Kenwood Academy

Little Village Lawndale High School

“Chicago Debates is immensely grateful for the longstanding partnership and unwavering support of Mayer Brown LLPFor several years we’ve been able to rely on Mayer Brown LLP to sponsor this special tournament.  The tournament also provides debaters with an opportunity to dialogue with some of Mayer Brown’s brightest legal minds to learn about the profession and receive invaluable insights into what it takes to become a lawyer,” said Executive Director Dr. Toinette Gunn 

You can support Chicago Debates by making a donation at or by texting CHIDEBATES to 243725.

About Chicago Debates:  Chicago Debates is bridging the opportunity gap for Chicago Public School (CPS) students by providing them with an after-school program that supports their academic, career, and leadership success.  Our mission is to advance the educational achievement, community contributions, and life success of Chicago’s youth through the transformative power of academic debate.  We envision a world in which Chicago youth are empowered to find their voice, succeed in college and career, and become leaders in their community.  Debate may not fix all of the world’s problems, but it can shape the next generation of leaders who will. We exist to ensure that includes some of Chicago’s most marginalized youth.  Chicago Debates quickly pivoted to virtually deliver debate programming when school was shut-down last March due to COVID-19. Within this school year, nearly 900 students have participated in 43 tournaments hosted by Chicago Debates.