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National Criminal Justice Trial Competition

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

Upcoming Relevant Competition Dates Heading link

  • Competition Application Period: August 1–November 1, 2019
  • Accepted Teams Announced: November 8, 2019
  • Registration Fee ($650) Due: December 13, 2019
  • Competition Materials Available: January 24, 2020
  • Question & Answer Period Ends: March 5, 2020 | 5 p.m. CST
  • Final Question & Answers Posted: March 12, 2020 | Midnight CST
  • Coaches Conference Call: March 19, 2020 | Midnight CST
  • Competition Dates: March 26–28, 2020

Registration Heading link

The competition committee will send registration details to teams accepted to compete in the competition. The registration fee is $650.

General Rules Heading link

Four JD 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 three preliminary rounds from which four competing teams advance to the semifinals. The two semifinal winners advance to the championship round.

View 2019 Competition Photos