The Center for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution

National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition | Thursday, March 16 - Saturday, March 18, 2016

The National Criminal Justice Trial Competition, held in Chicago, Illinois, is co-sponsored by the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association and The John Marshall Law School.

Upcoming Relevant Competition Dates

Competition Application Period: August 1–November 1, 2017
Accepted Teams Announced: November 10, 2017
Registration Fee ($650) Due: December 15, 2017
Competition Materials Available: January 22, 2018
Question & Answer Period Ends: February 26, 2018 | 5 p.m. CST
Final Question & Answers Posted: March 2, 2018 | Midnight CST
Competition Dates: March 9–11, 2018


The competition committee will send registration details to teams accepted to compete in the competition. Invited teams must register by November 30, 2017. The registration fee is $650.

General Rules

Four students constitute a team — in each round, two students act as advocates and two as witnesses. This means two students will be defense and two students will be prosecution. All students must perform both advocate and witness roles; “swing” students are not allowed. During the trials, each student advocate must conduct a direct examination of a witness, a cross examination of a witness, and present either the opening statement or the closing argument. In the following round, those student advocates play the role of witnesses. The Federal Rules of Evidence apply.

The competition consists of two preliminary rounds followed by a quarterfinal round in which eight teams compete, then a semifinal round with four teams competing. The two winning semifinal round teams compete in the championship round. During the preliminary rounds, each team prosecutes and defends the case.


Contact Us

Kelly Navarro
Associate Director, Center for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution
Phone: 312.427.2737 ext. 146