Our Faculty and Staff

Cynthia Goode Works

Cynthia Goode Works, J.d., LL.M


Director, Trial Advocacy Program


Upon graduation from AU WCL in 1992, Professor Goode Works completed a judicial clerkship in the District of Columbia Superior Court. Following her clerkship, she worked as a criminal defense attorney at the renowned D.C. Public Defender Service. Works  then left criminal litigation and worked as a corporate and civil litigator and later as the Director of Training and Education for the National Legal Aid & Defender Association,  where she was responsible for the program development and curriculum design of continuing legal education programs for civil legal aid attorneys and public defenders across the country.

Professor Goode Works has a solid background in the academic arena, having held faculty appointments at George Mason University School of Law, Howard University School of Law, and AUWCL. At AUWCL, Goode Works has coached trial advocacy team students and taught evidence to 2L and 3Ls.

During her tenure as a professor at Howard, the advocacy team compiled an impressive number of accolades and titles, including being named as one of the top sixteen trial advocacy programs in the country, securing several regional championships, and culminating with winning the National Championship at the NITA Tournament of Champions Competition – a historic first for an HBCU. While there, she also taught in and managed the Criminal Justice Clinic component of the Law School's Clinical Law Center.  She concentrated her legal research agenda and teaching activities in the fields of reentry, criminal law and procedure, evidence, and clinical education. For her scholarship, Goode Works received the Distinguished Faculty Author Award from the president and provost of the university.

In addition to the practice of law, Professor Goode Works specializes in the development of advocacy training programs across the United States to law firms, corporations and government agencies.  Most notably, she has served as a faculty member and program director for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy in both their public and in-house training programs for almost 20 years, teaching in over 100 advocacy programs. She has also taught for Lawyers Without Borders and the National Center for State Courts in the Caribbean and Africa.

To complement the practice of law and the teaching of advocacy, she  matriculated to Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law’s innovative and highly selective LL.M. in Trial Advocacy Program where she received the Most Outstanding Advocate Award from her professors and peers.

Professor Goode Works is an accomplished trial attorney who was named a 2020 "Top Lawyer" by Washingtonian Magazine and maintained a private law practice located in D.C. and the Maryland suburbs handling complex and high-profile matters, prior to coming to WCL.

Joseph Lester


Associate Director of Advocacy Training and Student Competitions

Joe Lester is the Associate Director of Advocacy Training and Student Competitions at American University Washington College of Law. In this role, he oversees ADR, Moot Court, Mock Trial, and Transactional competitions and competition teams. Before coming to WCL, Lester was the Hiram H. Lazar Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Southern Illinois University School of Law. Lester previously taught evidence, criminal procedure, gaming law, and trial practice at Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law. During his twenty-year tenure at Faulkner, he also served as the school’s Director of Advocacy Programs for more than a decade, overseeing Moot Court, Mediation, and Trial Advocacy. During this time, he coached more than 30 teams to regional championships and qualified 20 teams to national finals. He also created and ran national trial competition the Mockingbird Challenge.

An active member of the national law school advocacy community, Lester maintains a website to track national trial competition results, which are then used to formulate the Trial Competition Performance Rankings. Lester has been a trial consultant for a wide variety of cases in state and federal court. Author of Thomson Reuters’ Alabama Practice, Alabama Evidence series, he also serves on the Alabama Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee for the Alabama Rules of Evidence. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and received his law degree from the University of Kentucky.

Victoria Castillo

Victoria Castillo

Senior Program Coordinator, Advocacy Training and Student Competitions


Victoria Castillo is the Senior Program Coordinator for Advocacy Training and Student Competitions. Victoria graduated from Boston University's Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies with a BA in International Relations. She is passionate about equitable access to higher education. She managed several international scholarship programs as a Scholarship Specialist at the Organization of American States. She then began working with the LL.M. in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at WCL where she managed the online, hybrid and in resident programs, both in English and Spanish. She has experience coordinating international events, coordinating, and negotiating international bilateral agreements on education.

In her role, she works closely with students, honor societies and organizing student competitions.

Adjunct Faculty & Coaches

Success of the program is due, in large part, to the more than 100 legal professionals who teach, coach, and volunteer to support our mission. Area practitioners and judges impart their vast expertise as they teach a wide range of advocacy courses. The Advocacy Program also welcomes the expertise of faculty and other skilled practitioners, who have coached student competition teams to more than 25 national championships over the last 8 years. Adjunct faculty and competition team coaches act as invaluable resources for students and come together to build a formidable network of practitioners to support Advocacy Program students.

Adjunct Faculty

Team Coaches