National Trial Competition

Real-life Trial Format

The National Trial Competition uses a real-life trial format, taking students through a jury trial from pre-trial motions to closing arguments. This competition tests a student’s grasp of the rules of evidence, public speaking, and trial procedure.

What to Expect

  • This competition is open to second- and third-year law students.
  • First-year students are encouraged to volunteer as witnesses for the team’s practice scrimmages.
  • Teams are made up of two to three student attorneys.
  • The case alternates, annually, between civil and criminal.
  • The competition challenges the team’s ability to conduct a trial effectively and persuasively.
  • Considerable time is required for case preparation and practice.

At the Competition

  • The regional competition lasts several days and is in late January or early February.
  • Teams in our western region take turns hosting the regional tournament.
  • Each round may take up to three hours and includes the opportunity to make and respond to pre-trial motions, objections, opening statements, direct and cross examinations, and closing arguments.
  • The top two teams from each regional competition advance to the national competition in Texas, held in the spring.

After the Competition

  • Winners advance to a regional competition held in early March.
  • Winners from regionals advance to national competition held in early April.