Trial Strategy Team Wins National Competition

April 12, 2011

The Northwestern Law Bartlit Center for Trial Strategy team recently won the Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition, the oldest and most prestigious law school trial tournament in the United States.

The winning team included Northwestern Law students Clare Diegel JD ’12 and Karim Basaria JD ’12, who won all six rounds at the national finals held in Houston. In an extremely close trial, Northwestern won the championship over Chicago-Kent College of Law by a final vote of 10-9. Andrew Crowder JD ’12 was the team’s first alternate and provided backup throughout the tournament.

The Bartlit Center team defeated teams from Yale Law School, St. John’s University School of Law, and the University of Texas School of Law in the three preliminary rounds, and qualified for the playoff rounds as the No. 1 seed.

Northwestern then defeated Wake Forest University School of Law in the quarter-finals and Salmon P. Chase College of Law in the semifinals, before facing Chicago-Kent College of Law in an all-Chicago final round. In an extremely close trial, Northwestern won the championship over Kent by a final vote of 10-9.

“Karim and Clare were simply phenomenal,” said Northwestern’s head coach Richard Levin, of the Levin Riback Law Group. “They were wonderfully creative and their hard work paid off.”

Adam Riback and Karen O’Malley, both of the Levin Riback Law Group, and Richard Lakin of Iron Financial, also helped coach the Northwestern team. 

The 2011 tournament began with nearly 300 teams competing in 14 regions, with the top 28 teams advancing to Texas. Eight teams survived the three preliminary rounds. Both Northwestern and Chicago-Kent were undefeated going into the final round.

“This year’s success demonstrates that Chicago is truly the epicenter of trial advocacy education,” said Steven Lubet, the Williams Memorial Professor of Law and director of the Bartlit Center for Trial Strategy. “It is almost always the toughest regional, as was obvious from this year’s final round between Northwestern and Kent.” 

This was the fourth TYLA National Trial Championship for Northwestern, having previously won in 1992, 1997, and 2002.