About the Sixth Annual Capitol City Challenge

February 27 - March 2, 2014

The American University, Washington College of Law Stephen S. Weinstein Trial Advocacy Program and Mock Trial Honor Society proudly announce the Sixth Annual Capitol City Challenge. This year’s competition takes place on February 27 - March 2, 2014, at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The competition features a civil case problem and access to modern courthouse technology. Please visit the Online Application page for more information on how to apply to the 2014 Capitol City Challenge.

The Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony will be hosted at the WCL campus on the evening of February 27, 2014. All participants and coaches will be invited to a welcoming reception to meet and greet each other over drinks and hors d' oeuvres. Following the reception, all teams will participate in the Challenge Ceremony.

The Challenge Ceremony

The Challenge Ceremony will determine all first-round pairings. A representative from each team will draw a number. Beginning with the team that draws number 1, team representatives will stand up and announce who their teams wish to compete against in the first round. When a team is challenged, that team will have the opportunity to indicate whether they want to argue for the prosecution or the defense. At the conclusion of the Challenge Ceremony, all teams will receive their courtroom assignments for the following morning. All subsequent rounds will be determined by the results of the foregoing rounds.

21st Century Courtroom Experience

The competition, in keeping with WCL's strong commitment to experiential and experimental learning, exposes participants to the dynamics of trial advocacy in a 21st century courtroon. Modern trial advocacy has become dependent on the use of technology, and law students are learning to integrate the use of this technology to prepare and present their cases. Unlike many existing competitions, the Capitol City Challenge facilitates the creative use of technology in the presentation of trial materials. The parameters and limits of the technology will be released with the case problem.

The DC Litigation Experience

The competitors will also have the opportunity to showcase their skills and learn from some of Washington D.C.'s finest litigators and judges. The three preliminary rounds of trials take place on Friday and Saturday at both WCL's campus and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  The competitors will be evaluated and critiqued by approximately 50 experienced federal and state prosecutors, public defenders, and private practice attorneys.  The advancing quarter-finalists and Best Advocate awards are announced at a Casino Night following the preliminary rounds, and compete the following day.  On Sunday morning, these eight advancing teams will return to the courthouse to compete in the quarter-finals, of which four will advance to the semi-final round.  After a brief recess, the winners of the semi-final round will compete in the championship round.

 

A Realistic Trial Environment

To simulate a realistic trial experience, the two teams that advance to the championship round will have the opportunity to perform a voir dire of potential judges (jurors) to determine their final evaluators. The final two teams narrow down a larger group of evaluators to several judges (jurors) in the final round through voir dire, thereby creating a more realistic trial experience for the finalists.