Trial Team

Washington University School of Law participates in two Trial Advocacy Competitions each semester.  In the fall, students compete in the Tournament of Champions (TOC) or the National Civil Trial Competition (NCTC). In the spring they compete in the National Trial Competition (NTC), sponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers, and the American Association of Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition (AAJ STAC).  These competitions are designed to promote trial advocacy training and to provide a forum for exercising knowledge of the laws of evidence and trial strategy.  Selected students participate in a full trial in which each competitor makes opening statements, conducts direct examination and cross-examination of witnesses, and presents final arguments.  Students receive two credits for participation.

All 2nd and 3rd year law students are encouraged to tryout for the Trial Team.  Team members are selected by an intramural competition during which each competitor delivers a 15 minute closing argument either for the prosecution or for the defense (based upon a previous years national problem). The top individuals from round one will be paired up and will be automatically sided for either the prosecution or defense for a second round if necessary.  Round two of the tryouts will involve a direct and cross-examination for a witness.  Round two competitors are responsible for getting their own witness for direct examination.  Depending on the strength of the students trying out for the Trial Team, the Trial Team will consist of ten to fourteen students, and students selected from the Trial Team will compete in four competitions over the course of year.

The team coach is The Honorable David C. Mason, of the 22nd Judicial Court of Missouri, who has served in that role since 1989.  Judge Mason, a 1983 WU graduate, was a member of the 1983 national championship team.  He is assisted by a host of qualified members of the Bench and Bar in St. Louis.

For more information please contact Dorothy Campbell, Trial and Advocacy Program Coordinator, or 314-935-7964.


Twelve (12) to sixteen (16) students are selected to participate on the Trial Team. Each year, the Trial Team competes in four (4) to six (6) national trial competitions (usually from the competitons listed below). Through participating in these competitions, students 1) learn how to analyze case files, 2) argue pretrial motions, 3) construct a theory of the case that frames their opening statements, 4) conduct direct and cross examinations, 5) examine expert witnesses, 6) use demonstrative evidence and introduce exhibits, and 7) make closing arguments.

  • Tournament of Champions (TOC) 
  • National Civil Trial Competition (NCTC) 
  • National Trial Competition (NTC) 
  • AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition (AAJ STAC) 
  • ABA Labor & Employment Law Competition (ABA LEL) 
  • Missouri Attorney General's Cup Trial Competition (AG Cup)  

Trial Team - 2018-2019 Tryouts

  • [view] Tryout Problem
  • [view] Guidelines
  • [view] Tryout Information