Trial Advocacy Association

The Future of Litigation

Capitol Hill

John L. Costello National Criminal Law
Trial Advocacy Competition
February 6-9, 2014

Registration is now open for the Seventh Annual John L. Costello Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition, which will take place in Fairfax, Virginia on February 6-9, 2014. 

Please note that registration for the competition will close on January 6, 2014. In order to be considered for the competition, teams must submit both the registration form and fee by the registration deadline.

The tentative schedule for the competition is below, but is subject to change:

Costello Competition Preliminary Rounds
Thursday, Feb. 6, 2013: First Round (5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
Friday, Feb. 7, 2013: Second Round (5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)

Costello Competition Advancing Rounds
Saturday, Feb. 8, 2013: Octo Final Round (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
Saturday, Feb. 8, 2013: Semi Final Round (1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Costello Competition Final Round
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013: Final Round begins at 10:00 a.m.

General Information about the Costello Competition

The Costello Competition is held at the Fairfax County Judicial Center. The Judicial Center is located at 4110 Chain Bridge Road Fairfax, Virginia 22030. Please see our Directions and Venue Information Page for further directions.  

General Information about the Costello Competition

The Costello competition is uniquely designed by Judge Jonathan Thacher to take participants outside the typical realms of law school competitions. By revealing unknown facts and witnesses as the competition progresses, the Costello competition simulates the evolving and unexpected nature of real-life criminal trials. This dynamic design provides competitors with a realistic experience as counsel in a criminal trial and an exciting take on trial advocacy! Each trial will take place in a courtroom at the Fairfax County Judicial Center in front of three judges. All competition judges are local judges and practitioners, and a real judge will preside over each trial! Judges and competitors will use the Virginia Rules of Evidence as well as the Virginia Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Competing schools will be permitted to send at least one team to the Costello competition.  If for whatever reason all available slots do not fill up, then schools will be able to register additional teams on a first-come basis. The registration fee for the competition is $550 for the first team.  Should circumstances permit schools to send additional teams the registration fee for the second team will be $450.  All meals during the competition are catered and included in the registration fee. The registration fee also includes admission to a cocktail party hosted by GMUSL’s Trial Advocacy Association for all Costello competition judges and competitors. The Costello competition will be capped at 32 teams and teams will be selected after the application period.

Application may be completed by visiting the GMUSL Trial Advocacy Association website and submitting an
online application. The competition problem will be released to competitors December 1st, 2013. For any additional questions or information, please contact John Magruder at