NEW BEDFORD — A local attorney is receiving some national attention for his work on the Aaron Hernandez double murder trial.

The National Trial Lawyers Association has nominated George J. Leontire, Esq., and the three other members of the defense team who won the acquittal of Hernandez of his double murder charges, as finalists for Trial Team of the Year.

Five teams were selected as finalists, and will be recognized and receive their award at the Trial Lawyers Summit being held February 4-7 in Miami, Florida.

The National Trial Association is a professional organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from across the country who exemplify superior qualifications as civil plaintiff or criminal defense trial lawyers.

"It's my understanding that we are the only criminal team that was selected. There were five total teams, four civil and one criminal," Leontire said. "We get the award just for being one of the five finalists. Trust me, that's good enough for me. I'm happy to be one of five. I don't have to be one of one."

He noted that the National Trial Lawyers Association is the premiere association of trial lawyers in the country.

"It's nice, frankly, to be chose for such a prestigious award, and also to have the kind of work we did it that case, which was a very difficult case and took an immense amount of time and effort, and be recognized by one's peers," Leontire said.

Leontire has practiced law for 36 years before the state and federal courts of numerous jurisdictions, as well as the United States Supreme Court. He said it is "bittersweet" to be a finalist for Trial Team of the Year, because of the case for which he was nominated. Although Leontire and his team got Hernandez acquitted on the double murder charges, he was hoping to be able to reverse Hernandez' conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd, before Hernandez killed himself in his jail cell on April 19.

"It's almost incomprehensible, but when you understand what Aaron's condition was, with respect to CTE, the kind of brain disease he had, in retrospect I guess it's no so surprising," Leontire said. "It's the kind of disease that has been well known to be a participating factor in suicide, as well as aggression and loss of impulse control and judgement. It's just a tragedy all around for Aaron and his family, and for the victims."
That's not the only recognition Leontire has received for his work on the Hernandez case; he has also been selected as a member of the teaching faculty for the Harvard Law School Winter 2018 Trial Advocacy Workshop.

"It's a great opportunity to interact with third-year law students at Harvard, as well as colleagues, judges and other trial lawyers who are going to be involved in the course," Leontire said. "I'm excited about that, because I enjoy talking about the law and the trial practice itself. That's going to be a lot of fun."