The Honorable Mark A. Drummond: A Triple Threat

By Meg Benson, Co-Chair of the CBF Legal Aid Academy Advisory Committee

Mark Drummond

Mark Drummond is a trial lawyer, a jurist and a teacher. All at once.

Judge Drummond has been on the bench in west-central Illinois’ 8th Judicial Circuit since 1999. Sitting in Quincy, on the banks of the Mississippi River, he presides over both civil and criminal trials.

We know that once an attorney puts on that black robe, he or she has to put aside the advocacy of litigation to remain impartial and objective. However, many attorneys believe that, Once a trial lawyer, always a trial lawyer and, underneath this judge’s black robe, beats the passionate heart of a trial attorney. As a result, in addition to serving as a judge in Quincy, he teaches litigation skills to attorneys around the world.

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Each quarter, the CBF Legal Aid Academy spotlights in its newsletter one legal professional who has made important contributions to training the Chicago legal community.[/pullquote]

Judge Drummond trains attorneys though NITA (National Institute for Trial Advocacy), a learn by doing advocacy skills training program. For the past fifteen years, he has also taught them how to be NITA instructors.

His litigation and teaching skills are recognized world-wide. The judge was selected by the prosecutor’s office of the United Nation’s War Crimes Tribunal to train prosecutors at The Hague and in Arusha, Tanzania. He teaches barristers at Oxford and was tapped by the Federated Bar Association of Japan to teach advocacy skills to attorneys in anticipation of their judicial reform in 2009. He is the author of “The Eight Keys to the Art of Persuasion,” a one-day trial advocacy program and writes an advocacy column for Litigation News, a publication of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association.

A few years ago, Judge Drummond helped teach Chicago-area legal aid attorneys to be trainers for NITA. Then, those attorneys trained scores of their colleagues over a three day period. The training was intense and valuable.

This spring, Judge Drummond is serving as program director of the ABA Litigation Section’s three-day training for 32 Chicago area legal aid lawyers. In the spirit of the philosophy of paying it forward, shared by NITA and the legal aid community, program trainers will include legal aid attorneys the judge trained a few years ago.

Judge Drummond’s effectiveness as a teacher derives, in part, from the passion and joy he brings to his subject. He clearly loved being a trial attorney. Teaching advocacy skills lets him unleash the litigator lurking beneath the surface of this accomplished judge and share it with Chicago’s legal aid community.