About the Fourteenth Annual Capitol City Challenge

The American University Washington College of Law Stephen S. Weinstein Advocacy Program and Mock Trial Honor Society thanks all participants from the Fourteenth Annual Capitol City Challenge for their efforts preparing for and competing in this year's event. This year’s competition took place on March 5-8, 2020, at American University Washington College of Law's Tenley Campus.

The competition featured a civil case problem.

The Opening Ceremony


The Opening Ceremony was hosted at the WCL campus on the evening of March 5, 2020. All participants and coaches were invited to a welcome reception to meet and greet each other. Following the reception, all teams will participated in the Challenge Ceremony.

The Challenge Ceremony


The Challenge Ceremony determined all first-round pairings. A representative from each team drew a number. Beginning with the team that drew number 1, team representatives stood up and announced who their teams wish to compete against in the first round. When a team was challenged, that team had the opportunity to indicate whether they wanted to argue for the prosecution or the defense. At the conclusion of the Challenge Ceremony, all teams received their courtroom assignments for the following morning.

21st Century Courtroom Experience


The competition, in keeping with WCL's strong commitment to experiential learning, exposes participants to the dynamics of trial advocacy in a 21st century courtroom. 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. All of the rounds will occur at American University Washington College of Law's new Tenley Campus.  The competitors will be evaluated and critiqued by approximately 50 experienced federal and state prosecutors, public defenders, and private practice attorneys.  The advancing semi-finalists and Best Advocate awards are announced at a Casino Night following the preliminary rounds, and compete the following day.  On Sunday morning, these four advancing teams will compete in the semi-finals, of which two will advance to the final round.