National Criminal Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition

The Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) sponsors and coaches a four-person team to compete at the National Criminal Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition.

Each year the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association (ABA) and The John Marshall Law School co-sponsor the National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition.   The Competition, created and directed by Professor Ronald C. Smith of The John Marshall Law School, attracts law schools from throughout the United States.   Students from representative law schools engage in several rounds of mock trials of a criminal case.   The Competition is widely regarded as the best trial advocacy competition in the country and law schools vie to receive one of the prized invitations, as only one out of every three applicants is invited each year.

Over sixty different law schools, scores of law professors and trial advocacy teachers, more than 400 law students, and as many as 800 lawyers and judges, have participated in the Competition in its first 15 years.

While most of the judges and evaluators are drawn from the bench and practicing bar in the Chicago area, many out-of-town members of the Criminal Justice Section of the ABA travel to Chicago each year to participate. The student advocates and their advisors repeatedly praise the quality of the written and oral evaluations provided by the volunteer practitioners and judges. In turn these attorneys and judges report they are delighted and energized by their experience in contributing to the skills training of law students who have clearly worked hard to prepare for this trial advocacy competition.