Students from Harvard Law School took second place in the 22nd Annual National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition, held March 29-31, in Chicago.

The competition, which brought together teams from 18 law schools across the United States and from Ateneo de Manila School of Law in the Philippines and Interamerican University of Puerto Rico School of Law, is sponsored annually by the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association and the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, which hosted the event.

Representing HLS were Ieshaah Murphy ‘12, Andrew Roach ’13, Richard Young ’13 and Justine Goeke ’13. Murphy received three perfect scores, the most in the tournament, Roach received one, and Young was recognized for best cross-examinations. Coaching the team were Criminal Justice Clinical Instructors Dehlia Umunna and Kristin Muniz.

It was a bittersweet finish for Ieshaah Murphy who graduates this May and will begin her career as a Public Defender with the D.C. Public Defender Service. Over three years of active participation on the trial team, she has earned high honors as best advocate in several competitions.

“The competition this year was intense,” said Murphy. “However, both of our coaches put in hours upon hours to train us in the weeks prior, so we were more than prepared. We stayed focused and gave it our all in every round. We’re extremely grateful for their dedication and guidance along the way.”

Dehlia Umunna said: “As always, we fielded a talented team of top-notch advocates for this competition. It came down to a one-point difference in scores. We are very proud of the quality of HLS’ performance. Our students were poised, tenacious and brilliant. We want to thank Dean Minow, and Professors Sullivan and Ogletree for their support. We could not continue to perform at such a high level without their backing.”

A team from Barry University’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, in Florida, was named the national winner at the 2012 National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition. This year’s semi-finalists were Creighton University School of Law and Golden Gate University School of Law.

The ABA competition is one of the largest and most prestigious trial competitions in the country. Over the course of several days, students from around the country engage in mock trials of a criminal case.

This year’s case was People v. Pat Baer. The teams prosecuted and defended a law student accused of killing an undocumented worker, possibly in connection with the worker stealing the defendant’s winning lottery ticket. The judge of the final round was Cook Country Criminal Courts Judge Stanley Sacks.