About the Eleventh Annual Capitol City Challenge

March 21-24, 2019

The American University Washington College of Law Stephen S. Weinstein Trial Advocacy Program and Mock Trial Honor Society proudly announce the Eleventh Annual Capitol City Challenge. This year’s competition takes place on March 21-24, 2019, at American University Washington College of Law's Tenley Campus.

 The competition features a criminal case problem.

The Opening Ceremony


The Opening Ceremony will be hosted at the WCL campus on the evening of March 21, 2019. All participants and coaches will be invited to a welcome reception to meet and greet each other. 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.

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.