A team of four third-year Harvard Law School students placed first in the National Criminal Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition, law school officials said yesterday.
Jenifer Bensinger, Anthony G. Brown '84, Joe C. Metcalfe, and Inger D. Tudor '87, who constitute Harvard's criminal trial advocacy team, competed last Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the second annual competition, which was held in Chicago this year.
They delivered opening statements, conducted direct and cross examination of witnesses, and made closing arguments in a mock trial of a criminal case, according to a press release by the Law School's Criminal Justice Institute.
Charles J. Ogletree Jr., institute director and assistant professor of law, praised the students and their coaches, Clinical Instructor William Talley and Education Coordinator Abbe L. Smith.
"Trial advocacy requires innate talent and hard work," said Ogletree in a press release. The "team of students and coaches was nothing short of superlative in both regards. We are all very proud of them."
Tudor attributed the success of the team to a combination of "natural abilities and good coaching."
Tudor and Metcalfe said instruction from practicing lawyers and judges was very helpful.
"Local judges, local defense attorneys would come in and critique our performance, so we constantly had new ideas," Metcalfe said.
Twenty law school teams from across the country participated in the competition, which was sponsored by the John Marshall Law School and the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association.
The Harvard team won all five rounds of the contest. The students and the institute were awarded with trophies.